neil gaiman in the hizzle

This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.

mr. neil gaiman yesterday to came to stay for a short week’s visit to work on the album/mystery/photo book with me (i felt like having him as a houseguest might result in some wonderful time-space continuum warp in the guest quarters….or i’ll go down there and all of a sudden the room will be filled with multiple neil gaimans sitting at his writing desk, surrounded by strange flying animals, exotic fruits and old wooden keys that sing, in swahili).
kyle cassidy the wond’rous photographer has come up for some shooting, literal and figurative, as well. this is shaping up to be an excellent project.

i’ve been embroiled in a shitstorm of business-y manager-y and label-y activity, the phone is lighting up every 6 minutes and the emails are pouring in, decisions to be made, and things things things to be done done done.
i need to do a lot of things that i’m not doing.

but it’s always this way.

i’m getting better at just doing what i want….

i’m taking walks in the public garden with neil, eating watermelon slush and talking about things that have nothing to do with real life.
this, i think, is better. it has to be. because it is. i get this now.

and i haven’t been a COMPLETE hack: today i practiced some songs for the upcoming tour while neil sat in the room and quietly scribbled in a book while listening to me play.
i would finish a song or two and he would read me what he’d come up with. this is sort of heaven, to let someone hear me practice, which i find very hard to do, unless there’s a reason, and there’s almost never a reason, but today there was a reason. and that felt wonderful.

there’s very few people with whom i have to spend almost no time to feel complete trust, and the dude won me over fairly instantly. he’s one of the kindest people i’ve ever worked with.

i feel very, very, very lucky, a little too lucky….of all the things this fancy man could be doing with his time and energy, he’s chosen to hang around my house and work on a totally obscure little art project.
we were chatting today about our years plans and neil’s are: “well, after shooting this film of my novel for miramax i’ll be on book tour of the UK and then in china researching a new novel, and then writing the new batman comic series, and then….” and i’m wondering: WHAT the FUCK are you doing here in this po-dunk new england city with this hack songwriter for chrissakes?
but i can answer my own question.
we’re having a wonderful time.
there you go.

i’m also very happy he can see the house this way, in the bowels of the summer, all covered in thick green with all the windows knocked out and everybody puttering around being beer-y and laugh-y and art-y.
the winter here is desolate.

i think this book we are making together is going to be amazing.

in other news:

the new video is up and it’s….awesome. “runs in the family”. it was so late at night we filmed this shit that i was going for broke, because I knew we would only do a few takes and probably only use the footage for filler, or at least only one segment of a larger theme. but no: we ended up just using the amanda-freaks-out-in-the-attic-in-the-middle-of-the-night footage and goshdarnit i think it works pretty well. the songs sounds incredible. that’s all ben folds you’re hearing, this song was his baby. he played all the percussion and synth parts and arranged all the strings. genius.

from comments:

at first, i thought this blog was a bit odd. but in the end i’m glad you posted it. i found it very educational. most of the time when this stuff happens to people they keep it to themselves. so thank you amanda. off topic, i got tickets to see you in L.A on Aug 4th. yay! i’m looking forward to the show.

-Posted by Emily on Jul 23, 2008 8:26 PM

if I don’t ramble about vaginas, who will?

decidedly bookish said…

Ah, so that’s why God made those absorbant little sea critters… I’m surprised he didn’t make little tampon fish as well.

On the vagina subject, what were you encouraged to refer to your vagina as when you were a small child? My nan used to call it a “dilly,” and I made up my own name: “widgy.” Unfortunately this was also my nickname in the family. We’ve yet to come up with a good, all-purpose word. “Vagina” can sound a bit clinical. “Cunt” is hardly something you can say to the nurse. I hate “pussy,” plus there’s the whole cat bad-joke potential there. “Front bottom” is just wrong on so many levels, as is “flaps.” “Minge” is hilarious. There are vague references, like your “bits” or “down there,” but they just basically serve to avoid what doesn’t need avoiding. “Vagina” is the favourite, I think, but I maintain that we need a new word which isn’t also the scientific name. Any ideas?

5:03 PM

my mum always referred to it as a “tushy”

sarah said…

Hey, Amanda. I don’t know if you appreciate somewhat unrelated comments or critique. I trying hard not to be inappropriate contextually.

Since you posted a few new music videos for some of your newer material… I thought of this. It’s been on my chest for a while…

I was at the Filmore in San Francisco. I heard Boston played with an accompanying violinist.

I was emotionally affected by your performance, first of all. The heart-rendering agony, hope and bitterness of a tenuous, long term relationship– you breathed life into this.

Secondly, the violinist pushed this song over the edge for me and was absolutely essential. I have searched for a happenstance recording of this, Youtube, etc, but I may just have to let this go as part of the vital power and magic of the night.

Would you be interested in re-recording Boston with an accompaniment? I respect your creative decisions enormously and just wanted to propose this idea, (perhaps a bit contrived), but nevertheless, the question stands.
7:45 PM

that amazing violinist was named meredith yayanos.
she’s increidble: we should indeed find a way to get that recording online. let me poke someone.


I have a question about the eyebrows, in case you don’t mind my asking. Or rather, a few questions. If anybody could answer, please.

1. Do eyebrows grow back? (Might sound like a stupid question, but I’ve heard conflicting info about this from various people, none of which have probably ever gotten rid of their eyebrows. I know unibrow hairs grow back for sure, but I’ve never heard first hand info from someone who’s shaved/plucked/whatever their actual eyebrows.)

i believe that the “eyebrows won’t grow back” thing is a myth if you SHAVE. if you pluck, you’re damaging the follicles and that would make sense.
but then again, bodies are weird. don’t blame me if you do it and wind up with a bald face for life.

2. If they don’t, what do you do when you don’t feel like doing your Art-Drill that day? Do you just walk around eyebrow-less?

i often walk around eyebrowless if i’m not going out. i will often walk eyebrowless to the store to get coffee and toilet paper. i walk around eyebrowless when i’m in my tour bus at night.
the shit stays on GOOD, unless i sweat.

3. If they do, how long does it usually take to grow them back?

these questions are out of order. i shave them about every 3 or 4 days. the shaving takes under 5 seconds. the drawing takes under 10 seconds. it’s very lom-maintenece.

4. Should they be shaven or plucked or something else I haven’t thought of?

i wouldn’t pluck unless you want that bald face.

5. What eyebrow-drawing-in art tool would you recommend? (Specific brands, if possible… please? I’m not really good at looking at a giant wall of products and guessing which one is best. Unfortunately.)

i SWEAR by the one i use, and i’ve tested them all, honey.
maybelline. black. waterproof. liquid eyeliner. accept no substitutes. perfect pen. won’t smear. stays on all day. every drugstore in america got that shit.

6. Is there any other advice that should be given to a (hopefully)-soon-to-be budding member of the Eyebrow-Arting-Out community?
I think i’ve always had a very naive dream to stay absolutely silent for a day, to completely observe people around me and to just keep my mouth shut. I’ve tried it and managed to stay quiet for maybe… 20 minutes.

i don’t see what eyebrows and silence have to do with each other, but i’m sure i could if i tried.
i would recommend trying something new. i’ve always thought that eyebrows are a bizarre thing. you don’t pay much attention to them, usually, but they shape your expression, which shapes how people respond to you.
maybe try gluing objects. lots of 60s models did that, with feathers and whatnot. looks interesting. start a cult. why not?

I’m glad you are doing well. Good luck with your silence, have you invested in a dry erase board for communication?

ah, my silence being long over, i can only thank you for the support in retrospect. but it rocked. i recommend it.

Do you have a mailing list where you send out your blogs? When I’m sailing about the seven seas, I am incredibly bored. And you write alot. And I enjoy every word. And I can’t access Myspace while I’m out there. Or hey, if you’d like to hear about the o-so-exciting life of a sailor, I answer pretty much any email I’m lucky enough to get…. Please, repond quickly for I ship out again soon.

As we say in the Navy, fair winds and following seas.

i’m working on getting a more newslettery or emailable thing going for my blog. stay tuned.

that’s it lovelies

be art to each other



Back to Blog