Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I want to be Neil Gaiman

Okay, maybe I don't really want to be him, but maybe I can be like him. I seriously think I might be his biggest fan. If he wrote directions on a cocktail napkin, I'm sure they would be just as dark and lovely and riveting as any other story he's written.

Which is why I was surprised when I read his blog yesterday. Mr. Gaiman (mostly) spoke about going to the Shirley Jackson Awards and had this to say about his chances of winning:

"I looked at the list of nominees, did some mental handicapping, sat back comfortable in the knowledge that I wouldn't win and definitely didn't have to worry about making speeches..."

Really? My first thought was, "The judges must be morons." (They aren't.) It made me wonder. When do we, as writers, ever get over that "I wish I'd revised that one more time" or "I wish I'd written that story instead" feeling? Do we always have that case of little nervous jitters even when we're famous and write award winners and bestsellers every time we sit down to write?*

Maybe we do.

Granted, I have no idea what Mr. Gaiman was really feeling. It sounded like nerves, though, and it was endearing. I want to be (okay, be like) him even more now. To write stories like that and still be nervous about their reception? Genius plus humility. Amazing.

What about you? Do you have an idol? What is it you like best about him or her? Do you think we ever get over those nerves or stop thinking we could have done better? I think we stagnate if we stop striving to do better. Agree or no?

He won two awards, by the way.

*Yes, it's hyperbole. (No, not hyperbola.) I told you I was his biggest fan!