Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wherein I still cannot listen to Neverwhere

I love audiobooks. Love them. Listening to an audiobook is like being told a story, a sensation that I hope to never outgrow. Even my pug, Sam I Am, likes audiobooks. His favorites are Seamus Heaney's reading of Beowulf, and Neil Gaiman's reading of The Graveyard Book. I know these are his favorites because when they are on, Sam, who is an older gentlepug, will get up and go to where the speakers are, and then sit in front of them, quirking his head in that mix of attentiveness and puzzlement that pugs show when they are interested in something.

I also love Neverwhere. It is the first thing of Neil's I ever read. (True story: my first year of law school, an acquaintance began the book, realized "it was full of weird shit" and that as she didn't like "weird shit," she wouldn't like it. Knowing that I was someone with a passing fondness for weird shit, rather than tossing the book, she gave it to me.) Outside of Sandman, it is my favorite of his books. Door is extraordinary, and brave, and she has red hair. And Richard shows the grace inherent in being an ordinary person, who chooses to do right. Also, I should quite like to have the coat of the marquis de Carabas.

I was given the audiobook of Neverwhere as a pre-Clarion gift. I tried to listen to it as I loaded my iPod for the drive to San Diego. And then I unloaded it. The problem, you see, is Misters Croup and Vandemar. Or, well, Neil's voices for them. The voices are terrifying. They actually gave me bad dreams. I had this nightmare that my story for week 4 was such a failure that when I went to my conference with Neil, it wasn't him there at all, but Croup and Vandemar instead. When they don't like your story... well, let's just say they don't express their displeasure with a red pen.

And then today. Today, I have been working on writing the synopsis for my novel. This is a process that has been so frustrating that I have begun to understand why so many writers are driven to drink. So I thought, well, I'll give myself a break, and a bit of a treat, and listen to something nice while I fix dinner. I put on the CD of Neverwhere. Sam perched in front of the stereo. And then Croup and Vandemar came on.

I'm rereading the book instead. Quietly.

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