blog_2013-06-18

the ocean at the end of the lane (a book & marriage review)

people often ask me which neil gaiman book they should read first.

i’m not a neil gaiman expert. well, that’s not true. i wouldn’t call myself an expert. i’m maybe…a professional? an advanced amateur? i know the MAN. really well.
the BOOKS, the COLLECTED WORKS…not as well.
i’ve met neil’s fans.
i cannot compete.
i don’t even want to try.
i haven’t read the complete “sandman”. i’ve said it before.
to be totally honest, if you’re counting EVERYTHING (and mr. dude has published a shit-ton) i haven’t read a pretty good percentage of his work.

so: usually when people ask me what to read, i size them up and, depending on their age bracket and demeanor, i usually recommend “the graveyard book” or “smoke and mirrors” (my more favorite of his two short stories collections). i even find myself recommending “american gods” if they look like the correct strain of brainiac, even though the book didn’t totally do it for me (sue me). i owe it a re-read. neil keeps telling me he’ll give me the secret glossary so the whole thing doesn’t fly right past my soul the way i am now convinced it did on first reading (or maybe i just don’t like it. that’s allowed, i guess).

my friend casey long was once walking with me in the south end and she made that laughing/snorting sound she makes (she sort of sounds like a goose, and i can say this, because she’s hot and she knows it. but it sort of sounds like: snortHAHAHAHAHA)
and i said
what?
and she said
you know it’s really funny that you married neil gaiman.
and i said
why?
and she said
because he writes all this stuff that is about not-real things and science fiction and all that
and you’re like the QUEEN OF FEELINGS.

snortHAHAHAHAHA.

hahahahaha.

this is the first time, since the wedding blog, i suppose, i’ve written a long blog just about neil (or about me and neil, as the case may be).
theoretically, this is a blog about his new book. but actually it’s impossible to write a blog about his new book without talking about us.

it’s not something i do a lot, talking about our relationship.

we may show each other a disgusting amount of affection on twitter, or do shows together, or plug each others’ projects, but our *actual* relationship…the feelings and fevers and discussions and layers of attachment and complication underneath…that’s….for us. our close friends follow the intimacies of this strange journey we’re on with each other. but it’s not for the blog, it’s not really for the public. sharing too much about our actual relationship wouldn’t be at all fun or wise….we have enough trouble as it is keeping people out of our faces (and i’m doing a terrible job of that lately…people are so up in my face lately that they’re practically blocking my vision in every direction).

but that being said, sometimes it’s impossible to talk about the art without the story behind it, and then, things get messy.

if i’m going to tell you about neil’s book, in the way that only i can, i need to tell you more about us and things.
it’ll be fine. as a matter of gracefulness, i’m going to send this to him before i post it.
i don’t want any of this making him upset. so…rest assured, by the time this is posted, anything in this has been neil-approved.

the first thing i need to tell you is that neil’s new book is absolutely fucking amazing. he’s really proud of it, and so am i.

but not just because it’s good. it is good.

it’s unlike anything i’ve ever read…it’s an explosive combination of dark and light, and it’s incredibly intimate.
and the most important thing i can tell you (that maybe neil can’t) is that it was hard for him to write, and while he’s insanely excited for its release and is showing the rah-rah enthusiasm of a book release….it’s also scary for him to put out into the world.

he doesn’t usually write things that are so personal.
we’re different, him and me.

i write super-personal shit all the time…in this blog, in my songs. and as i’ve gotten older, i’ve become less and less veiled and poetic and more and more direct in my writing, allowing my aches and pains and difficulties with the world, the public, my heartaches, and my own history to flow freely off my tongue.
granted: it’s not a style that’s for everyone.
but those who appreciate it seem to appreciate it deeply. and i come to appreciate whose who appreciate it more and more, if you know what i mean.
i’ve spent a long time facing the consequences for sharing myself the way i do. i’ve never written fiction…not really. i mine the depths of my own experience and lay them on the page. i am, i suppose, a “non-fiction” songwriter…for the most part. except when i’m not.

neil writes fiction. i interviewed him for my webcast (the AFP Salon) a few weeks ago and we discussed our differences in writing, and a truly bizarre metaphor (but an apt one, i believe), came tumbling out of my mouth.
we are the ingredients of our own art (much like i said in the writers’ conference speech: “we can only connect the dots that we can collect”), but the amount of distance from the “reality of our experience” to the “art we create” spans a scale of one to ten on the blender of art-making.

we start off with all these fresh ingredients, recognizable (a heart, a finger, an eyeball, a glass of wine) and we throw them in the art-blender. i only let things mix very slightly. i keep my blender on 2 or 3. you can recognize the component parts: in the final art-soup, the finger might be severed and mangled, but you can peer into your bowl and see that it’s a finger, floating there, all human and bloody and finger-y. neil puts his art-blender on 10. you wind up with a fantastic purée, but often you have no fucking idea where the experiences of his life wound up in the mix of his final product. if you see a finger, it’s not recognizable as a human one. and that’s part of what makes Neil Gaiman (capital N and G) work. and, i’d argue, my choice to dial my art-blender down from a 5 to a 2 or 3 over the past few years, as i write more and more “direct” songs…i don’t know, it may be part of what i’ve needed to do to survive as an artist (or more likely, as a human).

we do these things instinctively, i think.


EXHIBIT A
-art blender on 1-

woody guthrie:
“My mommy told me an’ the teacher told me, too,
There’s all kinds of work that I can do:
Dry my dishes, sweep my floor,
But if we all work together it won’t take very long.”

or william mcgonagall, writing about the tay bridge disaster in his famous “worst poem ever”…
“Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array,
And your central girders, which seem to the eye
To be almost towering to the sky”

or me:
“When I was six years old my sister Alyson
Asked for a stove for her birthday
A miniature one you could actually cook with
And my mom was nice and she bought one
Alyson needed a reason to bake something
Barged in my room and she grabbed me
She said:
‘I made a cake and we’re going next door
To sam weinstein’s and you’re getting married’”

(from “do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help your black ass”)

(and actually, i fictionalized sam weinstein’s name. it was actually eric brockett).


EXHIBIT B
-blender on…9?-

impossible to understand things i.e. i don’t know…the cocteau twins?
(and mind you, this is just an interpretation of the lyrics on the internet, because ACTUALLY WHO KNOWS):
“You and that land which one dresh are leaving
Hold me onto a mess a plenty
Me and that land should grow, end to a hard part
Meant a Christmas that’s me and a friend”

or neutral milk hotel….
“Oh comely, All of your friends are all letting you blow,
Bristling and ugly, bursting with fruits falling out from the holes
Of some pretty, bright, and bubbly friend
You could need to say comforting things in your ear”

and…
-blender on a complete 10-

i searched the internet for a good twenty minutes and all i could come up with was william s. burroughs:
“their photos weather-worn points of polluted water under the trees in the mist shadow of boys by the daybreak in the peony fields cold lost marbles in the room carnations three ampoules of morphine little blue-eyes-twilight grins between his legs yellow fingers blue stars erect boys of sleep have frozen dreams for I am a teenager pass it on”
…but actually, too much of that makes sense.

maybe a perfect ten is just this….jackson pollock’s “the pulse of ism”:

anyway.

for this new book, neil dialed his blender down a bit, and it was harder for him to do than i think either of us ever would have thought.

and poetically enough, neil wound up in the blender-ingredients of my record, which was inevitable. “trout heart replica” was a song birthed from a strange experience we had together, watching fish getting slaughtered by a frozen lake. (neil also wrote a poem about it, and zoë keating, the cellist, who was there too, still owes us her perspective – all three of us were so stunned by the thing that happened there that we agreed: this moment would wind up in all of our blenders, for sure). and another was birthed straight from an anecdote that neil once told me, a strange visual that was too good not to turn into a component piece that would ultimately become “the bed song”. we slither into each others landscapes.

a few years ago, we were in australia – in surrey hills outside of melbourne – and we sweatily slowed down from taking a long jog in the park. we’d been walking in silence for a while. it was nice. i was coming up with something, a tune and words in my head. we were having a rough time….or i was, at least. i was writing a song in my head about the very rough time i was having at the exact moment neil tapped my on the arm and told me he wanted to tell me something. something personal, he said, that he wanted to share with me.

yes. i want. but can it wait a second?, i asked him, i have this song stuck in my head and i want to get it onto the piano at home before it escapes.

we were about 4 blocks from the house. he nodded – but he went black after that.
once i was accessible again, an hour later or more, he’d gone back into his head, and wasn’t coming back.
i wasn’t going to get the story, i realized.
i pleaded.
no, he said – the moment’s passed.
i felt selfish and stupid and guilty.
you can’t fix those moments, you can’t take them back.
even if you apologize, you’re that asshole.

i’d put my work before my husband.

but wait.
i was also pissed off.
i felt like i was being punished.
wasn’t this our deal with each other?
can’t things fucking wait while i capture my fleeting ideas?
I’M AN ARTIST.
i’ve sat in restaurants quite happily while you jotted down lines and thoughts that you didn’t want to forget.
goddammit.
why was this different?

WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?

here’s the thing:
we’re both used to having control over our minds, our time, our creative domains. we’ve both been solo (in our ways) for so long.
mixing? it sounds wonderful in theory….but it doesn’t always work, and it doesn’t always feel kind, and we don’t always do it right.
most of it is context. on that walk, we were already in a rocky place. he took my gesture as a flat-out rejection. i hadn’t meant it that way. (weirdly, looking back, i can’t say i regret it. it maybe got a whole book out of him.)

so….shortly after that, with the landscape still rocky, neil went back to the states and i stayed in australia to make “theatre is evil”, the infamous kickstarter record.

it was a hard time for our relationship, but i didn’t understand quite how hard it was on neil.

well, i take that back. i understood, but didn’t really want to accept it.
i was too thoroughly focused on making my record, which i’d been preparing to make for four years.

it was game time.
i wanted to do what i always do when making a long studio album.
this one was technically my fourth massive attempt, after the first two dresden dolls’ records (the self-titled and “yes, virginia…” and my first big solo record “who killed amanda palmer”).
for those first three i’d been pretty much single, un-relationshipped and unfettered, and able to pull the blinds down and focus on nothing but tracking, recording, and making…obsessively.
i had habits and rituals. i’d deliberately chosen australia for our record-making destination because i knew there would be almost no distractions.
we’d be in a different time zone, i thought giddily, far away from any responsibilities to our normal lives.
i turned my email off (mostly).
i told my team and all my friends i was going to be AWOL.
i focused on the people in my orbit, and the task at hand.
any friends i had, or any social calls i made, were within blocks instead of thousands of miles.
i localized my brain.

this is a great strategy for making a record.

not great, i found, for a marriage.

neil had a hard time with it.

as i turned into a zombie of a wife, he started working on a short story, something he’d had in the works but wasn’t quite certain of. it wasn’t a memoir, per se, but a purée on a lower blender speed. some part of what pushed him to work on this (instead of the other four projects he had deadlines for) was to give the story to me, like some kind of olive branch, maybe….the story that never got shared that day in surrey hills.

so there we were: i went into australian-album-making mode, and he took to his writing desk somewhere in america, wherever he happened to plant himself. while i was slaving away in the rehearsal space and the recording studio in melbourne – with the band (and john congleton, our saint-like producer) – all with barely a day off for a month straight, neil started crafting a string of words that was like a long hand reaching out of his heart and across the void that i’d put between us. i didn’t understand that, then. i only see it now.

after the smoke cleared a month or so later, we met in texas, where i needed to spend a week to mix the record with john in his dallas studio.
neil came to spend the week with me.

“i accidentally wrote a whole book”, he said. “can i read it to you?”

yes. i want, i said. and this time, i heard the whole story….all 50,000 or so words of it, one long night at a time.

i went off to work my days in the studio with john, listening to mixes, fixing vocal parts, adding and subtracting the levels of swirling synthesizer and snipping back-up vocals onto the cutting room floor.
neil would go off to a café or sit on the couch in the room next to the mixing studio, typing the book into his computer (he’d written it longhand, in a journal), chapter by chapter.

at night, he would read me what he’d written. he would stop and start, and his fingers would clickity-clack out the typos and repeated words as he caught them.
if i didn’t understand something, or i thought a sentence sounded clunky, i’d speak up…but mostly i just laid there and listened to the story.

it was a long, terrifying story.
it was a beautiful story.
it was a strange story, mixing up reality and non-reality in a way that felt totally mundane.
he read and read, and i usually fell asleep.
in the morning, neil would ask me:
what was the last thing you remember?
the toothbrush, i’d say, they just got the idea about the toothbrush.
or
lettie just showed up with the bucket, i’d say….and a little bit after that.

and he’d start a few pages back, and he’d read me up to the end of a chapter.
and he did this, night after night, until i’d heard the whole book.

i loved it, but i have to admit, i didn’t fully understand it – it took some sinking in.
i don’t know. maybe i *have* become too literal. that idea terrifies me.
i grew up in an atmosphere with no metaphor, and i can now, as an adult, cast my whole life in a perspective where i see my craving to escape that literalness as if it were the plague.
(it hurts me when i can’t connect the dots.)

when he finally got the galleys of the paperback, i could finally read the book in a few sittings, with my own eyes. read it, not hear it.

it all started to make sense. i cried a lot.

and even THEN, i didn’t get it.

it wasn’t until we were at TED, taking a walk up a little hill in long beach a day or two before my talk, that i finally understood.

we were chatting about the book, i asked him a question about some of the symbolism in the story….and he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and looked at me.

you twit,

he said.

and he filled in the blanks, and connected the dots for me.

i’d missed it completely.

i loved him so much in that moment.

and for a second, a split second, i was a neil gaiman fan.
and i was a fan because he’d tricked me, and he’d tricked me without me knowing, and i’d heard rumors that he does that, but i thought i was immune.
and for a second i felt like what it must feel like when i’m on stage playing “the bed song” and someone snaps a picture of neil a few feet away, looking at me.
and for a second i felt what it must feel like to wait in a line for five hours and have him sign a book that changed your life.
to stand not in admiration of the husband writer, the writer who wants his tea but not with the milk hot because then it’s just wrong, the writer who won’t remember what time he said he’d meet you, the writer who has to sign 12,000 copies of his new book that’s a bestseller before it hits the shelves and actually that’s really annoying because i’m slightly jealous of his instant success no matter what he does, the writer who gets irritated when i leave too many clothes on the floor and he can’t get to the bathroom, the writer who is awkward and has a hard time in party situations when he feels he doesn’t understand the social hierarchy, the writer who is not really a writer are you kidding me he’s just some snoring heap of flesh beside me, sweating and breathing and grinding his teeth and probably dreaming the kinds of dreams that neil gaimans dream, full of dreams and wishes and magic and wonder and all the shit that can drive me crazy if i’m not in the right mood for it….no…the WRITER. the man who actually takes a pen to a paper and writes things and creates a believable world that sucks you in and spits you out, its logic embedded in your mind forevermore. that. i saw THAT. and i love THAT so much, the fact that he can DO that…and i don’t get to see that most of the time. i’m too busy looking at the man. as it should be, i think.

one thing i have learned, being an artist married to another artist:
you cannot separate the self from the relationship and you cannot separate the relationship from the work.
call it poison, or call it the muse.

whatever it is, we’ve infected each other, and the only cure is more cowbell.

that’s the end of my book and marriage review.

i think i’ll always look back at this book (the ocean at the end of the lane) and the album (theatre is evil) as a weird matching set.
the first two big, complete projects we undertook within our marriage…and neither could escape their contexts.

i’m not going to tell you any more about the book, the plot, or whatever. just this: you should read it.
from now on, whenever anyone asks me “which book”…it’ll likely be this one. it’s just that good.
and being that i’m not a fanatically fanatic neil gaiman fanatic, that should mean something….hopefully.
i think it’s the best thing i think he’s ever written. that i’ve read, at least.

and i already told you, i’m not a completionist.

the only thing i want to know completely is the man underneath the books….

and that is a life-long journey that i never hope to finish.

if i ever finish knowing neil gaiman (and i don’t mean in the biblical sense), stick a dessert fork in me and turn me over, i’m done.
if i ever finish knowing neil gaiman, i get an A+ from god and a diploma from alain de botton’s philosophical school of life and every honorary doctorate in america plus a spiritual certification from the buddha himself that i can stop my life’s work and just drink mai tais in a jungle mountain hut while the ghosts of john lennon and elliott smith sit beside me, strumming ukuleles.

it’s just never going to happen.

and i don’t want to know him…not totally.

i want to be surprised.
i want to be in awe.

i want to give him my heart.

and i want to take it away sometimes and give it back again….to see what he’ll do.

if it keeps being like this, it’s worth it.

i love him so much…and in such a strange way that’s always so hard to explain.

and because i do, i hope that you can read what i read, and see what i see…

this:

the twilight place where the man and the writer smash into each other and for a second there’s a wrinkle, a schism, where you can jam a stick into the works of the blender and see the whole, floating components of a soul so fragile, so human, and so vulnerable that you must love whatever’s in there, unconditionally, because you have no other option.

the ingredients are just too beautiful.

xxx,
amanda on a plane.

p.s. when you read it, let me know what you think. book group is IN SESSION.
i started a thread HERE: bit.ly/TheOceanOnTheBox
here’s the link to order it from amazon (hardcover/ebook/CD audiobook/audible download), and here’s the link for people in the UK.
it comes out in various territories at different times. follow neil’s blog for the details.

p.p.s. we’re about to be apart from each other for a long time. i’m going to see him tonight at his book signing at BAM and then we both go on our respective tours.
for a while. here are his dates (mostly in the states), and here are mine (mostly in europe, the UK and australia). if you come see either of us, remember all of this.
and give us a hug.

p.p.p.s.

“The Blender” image (above) was commissioned by Land Transport NZ and developed at Clemenger BBDO (Wellington, NZ). the design team was Philip Andrew (executive creative director), Mark Forgan (art director), Jamie Standen (copywriter), Scott McMillan (agency producer), Lindsay Keats (photographer), and Geoff Francis (retoucher).

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  • http://twitter.com/indeciSEAN indeciSEAN

    In my eyes, this – all of it (you and Neil, your two beautiful pieces of art, you separately & you together, your honesty, and this specific blog) – fits together like an intricate antique puzzle…
    I connected with more in this entry than I could begin to express, but I just wanted to say thank you. To both of you…thank you for sharing. And giving.
    And wanting to know.

    • Level13

      our great leader of awareness, amanda palmer is our god… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAM9diyVRiM

      • ThomasDolbysUnderpants

        you fucks are not getting another song from us.. f u.. Know it!

        • anon

          Sandman = Logan’s Run. sooooo.. Original!

    • JohnnyQ

      This is the most self-centered bitch in the world. How depressing. To her, even when it’s about him, it’s about her.

      • Lady Peepee

        Its her blog and they are in love….If you are an artist and in love then you affect and inspire and sometimes directly influence eachothers work….If you want a review of Neils Book then go and google one….There are 100s…This is Amandas take on it and she was there during its creation so Id say she has justification to include herself in the story….She says at the beginning that this is an unusual post about their relationship AND his new novel….She clearly adores and admires him….Thats not self-centred…Thats loving someone….besides yourself….

      • Tom Steiger

        If it is true that she is the most self-centered bitch in the world then I suggest that the best way to hurt her would be to deny her the thing she obviously craves most in all the world: your attention.

      • Jane

        “when it’s about him, it’s about her” is sort of how marriages work, dude. And the reverse, or the statements with same-sex pronouns, are true as well.

        • Johnnyq

          Uh, no. It’s not. Anyway, read her story. Basically, she says that each time he has tried to bring up something to share about himself, she has responded with a “wait let’s talk about me instead.” As art goes, he is much more successful, so maybe that justifies in her mind her attitude of “look at me, look at me.” My point is if art is special for its own sake, regardless of judgment, why can’t she experience his the way he seems to for her, unselfishly. Instead, the one time she has to write about it, she starts with “I don’t even read his stuff, I don’t get it”, goes into a story about how he tried to share something once and she shut him down, and ends with, again, how everything is about her. She is willing to share, it’s just a one-way street.

      • Richard Earls

        “Every book review is about the reviewer.” ~ Carl Jung. (Not really, but that’s what he would have said if he read your comment.

  • SabrinaSubpoenas

    Strangely enough after reading this I felt better about never getting married.

    • Val

      Really ? It makes me wanna love someone and it makes me feel lonely

      • SabrinaSubpoenas

        Oh you go ahead and put your pretty little brain in a blender. Put it on 8 and enjoy.

  • Birte Valkyrje

    Thank you. Thank you for your honesty, your writing, your music, your love and your sharing. You are amazing and I loved reading this. I’m not a big sci-fi fan but I’ve always been fascinated by mystery and fairy tales, more in the sense of Narnia and the likes, and I want The Ocean at the End of the Lane to be the first Neil Gaiman book I read.

  • Kelly Harshfield

    Thanks for the review and the look inside the beauty that is Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.

  • http://www.concertmanic.com/ Sarah V.

    “i even find myself recommending “american gods” if they look like the
    correct strain of brainiac, even though the book didn’t totally do it
    for me (sue me). i owe it a re-read. neil keeps telling me he’ll give me
    the secret glossary so the whole thing doesn’t fly right past my soul
    the way i am now convinced it did on first reading (or maybe i just
    don’t like it. that’s allowed, i guess).”

    Funny, just a couple of weeks ago (after the Salon!) I also decided I needed to re-read American Gods, because when I first read it, it really didn’t work for me and I never knew why everyone else liked it so much. I’m liking it a lot more this time. There’s a lot of rough scenes in there for a “feelings” type person, though. It might have more appeal to the people who don’t feel affected so much by violence and pain in fictional settings. The first time I read it (back when it was first released) I was pretty young and I think a lot of it was kind of beyond me, emotionally/psychologically speaking.

    ‘Ocean’ is queued up on my Kindle as soon as I finish ‘Gods’… :-)

  • raliel

    And this is why you two are for curious and strange reasons, perhaps the two most important people in my life. you gave me reasons to keep being, inspired much of my art and made me want to wear clocks on my face (and mirrors) and hand out two headed elephants in queues…You have had time to remember my name and to include me in things that are beyond wonderful. Neil’s books and comics have always resonated with me (perhaps because i have always felt that i more belong to myth and folklore than this realm of humanity) and your music inspired me to connect with the humanity that I never felt part of….

  • lentower

    Casey’s laugh is full of joy, vitality & impishness.

    Maybe more later, when i finish reading this.

    The day lite outdoors is calling.

  • lentower

    My read of “American Gods” might have been improved,
    if i had web searched the places and entities I wasn’t familiar with.

    (I did look up the “House on the Rock” (if I remember it’s name right.))

    • raliel

      indeed, would love to do an American Gods road trip at some point!

      • http://www.concertmanic.com/ Sarah V.

        I always found it curious that “Neverwhere” came out just before I moved to London, and “American Gods” came out just before I took my first real road trip (8500 miles coast-to-coast-and-back in the US).

        I suppose “Ocean at the End of the Lane” has arrived after we’ve had some record rainfall here in Cambridge, but hopefully that will not be prophetic in any way…

      • lentower

        A Works of Neil Gaiman road trip would be even more fun.

        Especially if we could get to the fantasy places.

      • RiverVox

        That is a wonderful idea. Roll up for the mystery tour!

  • abbichicken

    It is, simply, the most beautiful book I’ve read since I was a child. And it made me feel everything, and it’s a book I’ll always keep near. Just in case I need to go somewhere different, and come back feeling safe, and brave. Thank you for this piece, which just makes the book feel even warmer. And Theatre Is Evil a little bit richer, somehow, and that was already my favourite.

  • Hunchie

    Sometimes reading your blog, is like stepping through a curtain and into a secret nook.

    I keep getting new books, and the stack of “I need to read” piles are beginning to tower. However, I feel most compelled to acquire this newbie and in lieu of pile add’age, set it next to the chair. Not just because of your blog, however, it might have booted me in the behind to do so. I think my favorite book of Neils, even tho I have read a few, is The Dangerous Alphabet-is that terrible? It was one of those books (I worked at a local independent children’s bookstore) that had just arrived, I bought it, and gave it away. The next book came in, I bought it, and gave it away. I might as well get that one too, and hold on to it this time. xo

  • Bob W.

    I think of this blog as a companion piece to Neil’s review of the Dresden Dolls concert. Thank you for writing it.

    http://www.spin.com/articles/neil-gaiman-amanda-palmer-dresden-dolls/

    • lentower

      This review of Neil’s should be in a best of the blog book

    • Trina Hatchie

      I’d never read that before. I teared up a bit thanks for posting!

    • lynnaschaefer

      This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Michael_C

    This was the review I was waiting for. Thank you for the beauty, Amanda. I’m at work right now, obsessively checking my UPS tracking order for the status of my signed copy (via Porter Square) to change from “Out for delivery” to “delivered.” My first of three signed copies, actually. I am a little hopeless. Will read it tomorrow, in one sitting, and post all of my thoughts on the forum.

    But for now I have a relevant story. The first time I saw you both was Halloween 2011, before a word of this book was written. The door opened to the sound check at Wilshire Ebell Theatre, and BAM, there was Neil, center stage, awash in light. Every bit the mythic figure I’d built him up to be. He was reading “The Fairy Reel,” I think. I just stood there in awe like any Gaiman fan would and marveled at the Writer.

    And then I saw you, a few feet away, looking at him with such love and admiration as he got ready to perform for all of us. As near as I can tell, you had exactly the look I’ve seen on him when he’s watching you sing.

    Now let’s be honest, when we actually met you both, you dominated that room. Some people just have that effect, but you’re something else. You’re PRESENT. You’re YOU. I remember the exact feeling when you took me by the arm and clarified that I was there dressed as Neil. It was dizzying. Of course, Neil was absolutely everything I wanted him to be as well. So kind and funny and humble and brilliant.

    And the show was perfection.

    Afterwards, my date couldn’t stop freaking out about Amanda Fucking Palmer, and I agreed that there was nothing like meeting you in person.

    But I keep coming back to that first impression. When the doors opened, and I saw the both of you, and all I could think was: “Whoa. That’s Neil Fucking Gaiman.”

    (Huh. It’s almost too perfect to mention, but my package was delivered as I was writing this. Things do happen like that sometimes)

  • http://www.Kambriel.com/ Kambriel

    I wonder in this day of easy access/constant communication & connecting, what art perhaps ~isn’t~ being made, what stories aren’t written down in the long form, because through instant gratification we convince ourselves that we told the story we we needed to tell in a quick update, a few tweets, before moving on to the next thing? Perhaps sometimes it’s the loneliness, the isolation, the feeling of not having a quick & easy answer as to how to get our thoughts and feelings out, where these stories (no matter if they’re on the blender setting of raw, brutal honesty #1 or all the way up to an allegorically fantastical, equally raw, but cloaked in a few extra layers of mystery #10), that the lava is given a chance to properly simmer and boil before it erupts and flows. The hunger & innate desire to express can then make the transformation from an off-the-cuff comment, to something more enduring.

    Love, expression, sharing, mystery.

  • Kim

    Great storytelling-thanks for sharing! Would be cool to see an author video for it. Any plans? Would love to help!

  • Marjorie73

    Thank you for the review. And thank you, too, for being the catalyst that made this book happen. I got my copy on Friday, and on Sunday morning I refused to do anything at all until i had sat down and read it all the way through, and I think it is going to be one of those books which dig in so deep to your heart and soul that you can’t imagine what is was like without it.

    It says so much about being a child, and an adult remembering childhood, not through rose-tinted sentiment but really remembering.

    I wrote a review here http://margomusing.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-ocean-at-end-of-lane-review.html but I don’t have the words to describe how much this book got inside – it didn’t really go through the brain, it went straight for the heart.

  • Ludovicah

    You just made me cry

    • Sarah_NY

      They made me fall asleep. God, it was boring. Honestly.

  • Jenn Falls

    I stayed up late last night waiting for my ebook version to become available. Once it did (at 12:17 instead of midnight), I stayed up and read every word. I then wrote a review on my blog around 2am (http://wp.me/p1PKn7-m2). Reading your take makes me realize that I may have understood more than I thought. It is a personal book that has pieces of Neil in it. Now I realize, it has pieces of you too in there. Happy to have it in my collection, and can’t wait for my signed copy to come from Porter Square Books (sorry his signing it took time away from you).

  • TheCandyGiraffe

    After hearing Neil’s talk in London last night about why he wrote The Ocean at the End of the Lane and then reading Amanda’s side of the story, my appreciation for this novel has grown dramatically.

    From what I’ve read of it so far I can tell that it is something special, something intimate, and it is a privilege to be holding something so brutally honest in my own hands.

  • Diana

    I can’t even begin to explain how happy reading this has made me. I am a fan of both of you, in your very different blender settings, and it never ceases to amaze me how you two come together so wonderfully, even if it’s not perfect (nothing is ever perfect but when it’s good, it’s really good). I have to admit I “met” Neil when I was a quiet, slow burning teenager and fell in love completely with all the magic and carefully woven tales. Then I “met” you and you helped me deal with my more troubled teenage and young adult years (I’m still a kid, only 23!). I love you both so much, god. Never stop being so completely awe-inspiring, Amanda, in all your slow blender speed glory. I fucking love you. <3

    (I was thinking about waiting to order Neil's book since I have a shit-ton of work to do this month but now? I can't wait. I'll have to make time to read it asap.)

  • Steve Whitcher

    thank you for once again letting us glimpse inside of your collective life where your love for each other transcends the mundane version of love that the modern world throws in our face every day ,i hope like you that i never truely know the one i love for we as human beings and this earth that harbors us are both mysterious and special and we should never have full knowledge of either as that will kill the mystery and make life seem less full.
    ocean sits upon the kindle waiting to be started after i put down neverwhere both your works touch me in so many different ways .
    thank you for letting us in and giving us a glimpse of what makes your collective life tick
    good luck at glastonbury
    x

  • badger

    you two are my favorite. And not even just you two as a you two but i grew up loving neil’s picture books (and never really connecting that they were his because i was probably six) and then getting older and loving his novels and then one day hearing one of your songs and listening to the whole album on repeat for a week before going, “wait, they’re married?” and just thinking how awesome. every day i get up and try to work on my art and sometimes its because i’ll have listened to your vegemite song and i want to try and write a funny song or sometimes it’ll be because i just re-read the wolves in the walls and i want to write my own stories (because that’s actually what i do–write stuff and try to be in plays) and i really have no idea where i was going with this but i guess just thank you for existing.

    • raliel

      loved them both before they ever met each other…and agree wholeheartedly

      • ThomasDolbysUnderpants

        I worked with them. Its really not all that.

  • Shann Palmer

    Thank you. This was beautiful. I have long loved both of your work and find it amazing you found each other!

  • Ikari

    Reading this brought so many rememberies to my mind, and borderline tears to my eyes. I sincerely hope that I can someday find (another) love anything similar to that. I had it once…I think. Thank you for sharing that with us. I feel like I have learned a very important lesson on life and love, as well as being an artist and just being…me.

  • Max

    Yeah, you snapped into the reader’s spot there for a second. Your post gave me goosebumps. Thanks for that :)

  • Shannon

    This made me cry a lot. Your relationship with Neil consistently gives me hope as someone who is dating an artist. I wish you two nothing but the best. I can’t wait to meet him in July and read his book.

  • Mike Moore

    When I write books, I mostly want to just tell things flat out. When I write songs, I create places and made up people in them, much more often. I have no idea why.

  • Phoenix

    Thank you very much for sharing this, it’s beautiful. I was already looking forward to the book, my signed copy will take 7-21 days to reach me. Now that I’ve read your blog, I really can’t wait to start reading it. Thank you for letting us have a peek into your private lives. It’s candid, vulnerable and filled with so much love and beauty, even when not everything is beautiful around you. Thank you. A hug for you, and a whatever Mr Gaiman is comfortable with, a hug, a kiss, a handshake, to him.

  • Holly

    I wish things as beautiful as this came out of the rocky patches of my marriage!

    But even though my husband and I aren’t artists in any traditional sense, there’s still a deepness and surprises to be found.

  • DarkFae

    I just downloaded both the ebook and the audio book today. Now I can’t wait to read/hear it. You have beautiful words, lady.

  • Annoying batman

    It’s weird isn’t it , how love kidnaps you and holds you hostage,forces you to blend into someone else’s world. How it transports you into a surreal second alternative universe. How love makes you so insecure but feel so safe at the same time. How love changes you, to the point you not the same anymore but you don’t mind. That is why love is dangerous.

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      Sounds more like a Tom Clancy novel than a love story to me. If love feels like that then it probably was -not- really love but simply an invasion of your privacy. There are people who are not who they claim to be sometimes. They find a way into your life and into your heart any way they can manage, and they get to know all of your very private secrets. Perhaps they record you without your knowledge, and perhaps they create journals when you aren’t around, and maybe keep tabs on where you go, and even all your friends/family. That isn’t love however, but a fantasy you choose to create with a stranger. You think you know someone, decide to trust them, but you really don’t know them at all. Love isn’t dangerous though. Love isn’t about anything like that… Of course, it hurts just like love hurts sometimes. Don’t confuse love with betrayal, contempt, or private investigation. For some people the ends justifies whatever means necessary, including your world and the worlds of others. Real love isn’t about anything like that. It just isn’t.

      • LennyNeedsScrubbing

        Unless your name is lenny, and you are at the other end of the basket to lower bread and water down on a daily basis to keep you alive.

        • lentower

          http://afpwestcoast.tumblr.com/post/52387294813/why-hate-a-meditation-on-internet-comments-6-7-13

          from
          http://observer.com/2013/06/oh-behave-amanda-palmer-stars-at-p-s-122s-spring-gala/:
          ————————————————
          Amanda’s response, on her blog and in interviews, has been unapologetic and straightforward.

          “The Internet is creating a lot of new misunderstandings,” she told
          the Transom. “Most of the people doing commentary on Amanda Palmer
          don’t know most of the story, don’t know me and my community. The
          people who get it—the people who get crowd-funding, who get empathy,
          who get the sense of freedom in the way we exchange and the way I make
          art, those are the people that I want to find. I’m not very interested
          in the critics.”

          ————————————————
          .

          • LennyNeedsScrubbing

            Professor Margaret T. Singer (Berkeley) sets up some well-defined cult indicators.
            For example, she defines which is a ‘Cultic Relationship’ as “those
            relationships in which a person intentionally induces others to become
            totally or nearly totally dependent on him/her for almost all major
            life decisions and inculcates in these followers a belief that he has
            some special talent, gift or knowledge”. She includes important
            provisos, recognizing that the threat (not necessarily made explicit by
            anyone) of loss of property, social environment, earned privileges,
            ostracism, libel, and personal crises resulting from any combination of
            these can and do occur. Singer’s definition suffers from a too strict
            leaning towards ‘behaviourism’ to be satisfactory to serve as a
            practical measure of what it is fair or unfair to call ‘a cult’ in many
            circumstances. In the interests of operationality, I would point out
            that in actual practice there are varying degrees of cultist groups, some showing fewer, some stronger cultist tendencies, yet all of which may well deserve the term ‘cult’.

  • miriamjoywrites

    This gave me shivers all over to read. Definitely putting Neil’s book on my to-read list now.

  • Emily Morse-Lee

    As an artist married to an artist, I totally groked this, especially when you miss those moments. It’s not the easiest thing, but it is worthwhile.

  • leah

    interesting article. The concept of the blender was great, it’s something I have been thinking about lately. I liked when you became a fan. I remember a friend in college I had who was very creative but I was pretty unaware of his work, when I became a fan it was as if some weird thing happened and the person I knew was someone else. The reason why the blender idea resonates so much with me is that in a way the type of thing we create has a different level of objectivity. When someone likes what I have created, it’s embarrassing, but when they say they relate to something I’ve created and it’s something personal, it makes me want to hide.

  • Corey-Jan

    I, too, an an artist married to an artist. And this may be the most beautiful, most real expression of what that can mean – both good and bad. Thank you.

  • Larry

    If I wasn’t already excited as hell to read the new book, this made me even more excited. I can’t wait until next week in Dallas when I get to hear him speak and pick up my copy. Thanks for writing that.

  • Joe Shadows

    Call me selfish and self-centered (and self-pitying), but it cuts me to the quick, knowing that no one will ever love me this much.

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      Why doubt yourself so much? It just means you were right and this is just a fantasy instead. Isn’t that what performers and actors do? Make you think you are somebody else.

  • Kate Herrell

    This is beautiful in a tragic and wonderful way, the way the both of you are sometimes tragic (or maybe it’s just your subject matter that’s sometimes tragic), and you’re both always wonderful (even when you’re not feeling wonderful and your work has to talk for you). I hope you’re never done with lowercase neil, and I hope he’s never done with amanda Capital F palmer. I don’t know that it matters, but I did cry here. And I think it’s because I’m afraid of being too much for my lowercase lover; too busy, too in my head, too far removed in the back corners of my brain. But maybe, like the two of you, however imperfect you are, I too can keep him.

  • Tilley

    All I want to say is that I loved seeing you and Neil together in that restaurant in Boston a few weeks ago. You remind me too much of myself and my love (a drummer in Tasmania, another musician but still quie a different one to me, with different motivations).
    I wrote this poem about you two and us two… It’s kind of not super relevant to this blog post, but I wanted to share it anyway. It’s just about how lucky we are.

    aren’t we lucky?
    I say to her,
    watching him kiss her
    and thinking
    I know

    we have a secret,
    hidden in plain sight
    for the world to see,
    because they can’t

    I look back to me
    a year ago, shake my head
    and smile.
    She doesn’t know
    how her world can change.

    I throw my heart to you
    over icy miles of clouds.

    You kissed me into myself
    with twenty kinds of freedom
    and I’m still giddy
    with momentum.

    • lentower

      Very nice!

      Might you change it into a song?

      • Tilley

        Thankyou! But no, I doubt it… Not many of my poems end up as songs, I don’t usually work that way. Chords/rhythm are the start and the words come from there. It’s hard to create a framework of music for my poetry, since it’s not evenly rhythmic.

        • lentower

          I look forward to more of both!

      • Tilley

        Although I do really like “you kissed me into myself/with twenty kinds of freedom”. I might steal that from myself if it finds some chords it likes.

        • lentower

          ; – }

  • PhaedraHPS

    I married a writer. I was a fan before we married, but I had never (and still haven’t) read everything he has written. We wrote a book together, but I never read it cover to cover, because I was too uncomfortable with what I contributed. I married the man, not the writer. He had a public face (how I first found him) and a private face (which I loved, and married). Then he died, before I finished knowing him.

    • lentower

      My Dad told me after my Mom died (they had over 60 years together), that he had never finished getting to know her.

      • SabrinaSubpoenas

        the bottomless pit of love

  • taylor cathleen

    Thank you. Thank you for posting this. Admittedly, I’m a Neil fan… I just never got into your music and from what I can tell about you I somehow already know that’s ok. It just makes me even more compelled to tell you that this post could not have been any timelier. My husband and I are fighting our way through our own poison/muse dilemma (he is a blacksmith and I am a book artist/writer). We stayed up all last night talking about how to make our relationship work with our art (and in some cases for our art), and I have to say it’s nice to know it’s not an uncommon struggle (especially if even the individuals we hold up as the people whose names we would use to fill in the blanks in sentences like “If I could ____ like anyone, I’d _____ like ____” have to deal with this shit). I’m the 10-speed blender and he’s the 2… and maybe, if I’m lucky, I will be able to find my own creative twilight to let him in to, or maybe I won’t. Either way, I feel better after reading your blog, so thank you again. I hear you couch surf, so if you’re ever in St. Paul and need to crash, you’re welcome at ours.

    • lentower

      St Paul, MN? Do you know where Neil’s home is? ; – }

      ————-

      You might read through Amanda’s blogs, even if you don’t like her music. Be selected? Quite a few are promoting her rock star career.

  • http://www.solveigwhittle.com/ Solveig Whittle

    Very nice piece about love and art, Amanda.

  • JennySue

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. NOW I’m ready to read the book.

  • Shelby Edwards

    No review has ever made me want to read a book. I’m too opinionated about wanting to make me own damn choices. This however, was something else. Here’s to art. And giving it.

  • Lisa

    Wow. Before I read this, I kinda sorta wanted to read the book. Now I HAVE to read it. The opportunity to swim that deeply into someone else’s — anyone else’s — world is a gift. Because humans share such a tiny percentage of themselves with each other, even those who love each other, as you’ve said. It’s an open door begging to be walked through. Thanks!

  • Debbie Brink

    Someone once told me, “Life is a strange and wonderful journey. The lucky ones get to pick who they walk through it with; the rest of us just have to accept what we’ve been given.” I find the first part pretty accurate, but the second part’s BS. I’ve chosen you and Neil, if not as friends then as comfort along the way. Between your music and Neil’s books, I could live a long and happy life. I don’t always understand it fully, but it makes me *feel*. I need that in my life. So thank you both for being wonderful.

  • Michael

    I cried. Don’t tell anyone because I’m at work, but yeah, I cried.

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      you never know true pain until you date an artist or a musician, little man…

      • WrathofGod

        or work at a bank

  • cpm

    I met Neil last Friday in Bath, UK and got my copy signed. By the next afternoon I’d finished TOATEOTL and it IS his best work. It’s a myth, a fable, a fairytale. It has something there that I’m not quite getting – I need to read it again to find the hidden ‘thing’ – no other author has written anything that makes me love stories like this; not BOOKS but STORIES.
    Amanda – thank you for being so open. One can never be too open, in my opinion. You’ve taught me so much and inspired me to be a more confident, giving (with my feelings) person. Thank you for writing this blog. It spoke to me.

  • Trina Hatchie

    My friends keep telling me I should be more open to dating than I am right now. Most of the time, I think they are being irrational and not looking at me. Sometimes, I wish I had one of those people around to be my person. Then you post something about your marriage; the work, the magic. You keep me open to the possibilities and really make me want to keep moving forward with my writing. Thanks a thousand!

    • lentower

      I approach dating as a way to meet people and make new friends.

      Of course, the undercurrent is we are both lookign for a relationship,
      but there is no need to let that get in the way.

      • LennyNeedsScrubbing

        Lenny, what I find that helps is a 12-pack of bic-razors, shaving cream, haircut, bar soap, regular bathing routine, and ditching the LL Bean huntsman collection limited edition jacket, and high-horse omnipotent guru attitude; only because you are the oldest person in the club. The old part is fine, and the stylish black-rim hipster glasses. Less jibber jabber; better hygiene. Just some helpful dating advice for you.

  • Alex

    I went to see Neil talk last night, which was fantastic and strangely moving for me as a Neil Gaiman fangirl who discovered Sandman as a 15 year old working part time in a bookshop after her whole life had collapsed. His blender (love that metaphor) was perfectly synced to who I am and what I needed and it inspired and comforted me so that I never looked back and became a hoarder of his work, which I still cherish and often use as a sort of comfort blanket. He spoke a little about the process of writing the book at the talk, and you have beautifully filled in the gaps through your own filter.

    I don’t talk about feelings straight out very often, and it can make me uncomfortable when others do (although despite this, or maybe even because of this, I am a big fan of your work) but there is nothing uncomfortable about reading this. You describe a beautiful meeting of minds and souls and how strange and magical and meandering the act of communication can be. Thank you so much for writing this and giving us your perspective. I can’t wait to start reading my (signed – yes, I’m smug) copy of the Ocean at the end of the Lane tonight.

  • Jessica

    I always get a gut feeling about tuning into your blog posts and i’m glad I took the time today. this is amazing and inspires me in my own relationship. I am happy to know that this magic persists.

  • Nicole

    This is really beautiful.

    the first thing of Neil’s that I read was actually Good Omens, and then I read my way through Sandman and American Gods and the rest. I’ve been counting down to the day I got to read the new book for weeks now. And today I went out on my lunch break to get my copy.

    I’m currently on page 167.

    It’s everything I hoped it would be, and more. I grew up with my nose in a neverending series of books, and this one feels like the very best of them.

    So congratulations to Neil for the book, and hugs (or whatever you’re comfortable with) for both of you, because you both help me understand myself, and the world, better.

  • thathalfasian

    This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you. Thank you, thank you for sharing a little bit of insight into your relationship with Neil. The way you love each other is truly inspiring.

  • Rose Wood

    It’s amazing how simple and yet complex each one of us can really be. I loved this, “and i don’t want to know him…not totally.

    i want to be surprised.
    i want to be in awe.”

    it’s something I’ve been in the mindset of myself lately with my own lover. I read someone a week or so ago that went on to say those in relationships shouldn’t know EVERYTHING about ones past because then you find that you’re out of things to talk about.. but I completely disagreed with that. I found that I loved knowing all the little nuances of his previous life without and found them fascinating on how these things may or may not apply to our life as of now. Not to mention, every passing moment with each other is a total surprise. It IS awe inspiring (whether we’re just sitting on the couch watching TV or holding sweaty hands together on a hike). I feel completely blessed in my situation and I saw in your words the same feelings.

    Again I have to admit how simple and utterly complex we can all be, it’s chilling and inspiring in itself.

  • AJ Sikes

    I see you and Neil in your blender love life, two artists making art and being art and making a life of art and an art of life together that I see other people wanting to imitate. And I am happy. The world is a better place with the both of you in it, together or apart.

    I’m not a fanatically fanatic Neil Gaiman fan. I’m not a fanatically fanatic Amanda Fucking Palmer fan. But I’ve enjoyed your art and his art, what I’ve read, and listened to, and watched. I feel lucky to be alive at a time when NG and AFP are married artists living their lives and making their art and sharing it with the world. It feels like the world can be a beautiful place when I read your blog, or his books, or listen to your songs, or hang out with the #LOFNOTC crew. It feels like hope isn’t just a four letter word that Barack Obama used to help win the presidency. I’m not sure I believe in Obama’s vision of the future anymore. I’m not sure he does either. But if the future includes artists marrying artists and sharing art with the world, then the future is worth living for.

    Fuck. Yes.

  • alex dahlberry

    Beautiful.

  • Sarah

    Amanda, your perspective of your relationship with Neil not only makes me inspired and in awe of your relationship, but it gives me ever-renewing hope and love for my own. Thank you. I can’t wait to read Neil’s book. I’ll be thinking of you both during your time apart (until six months ago my partner and I were long distance, and it was very hard). Good luck.

  • Martina Gritzova

    You made us all fall in love with Neil through your love ! Love to you both!!!!

  • formerballardian

    So much straight up human-ness in this post. Thank you.

  • TX_Ginger

    This is a beautiful piece on relationships & art and the merging of the two… Didn’t know much of your work till a few years ago, been a Neil Gaiman fan forever… But this piece is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing!! And I think it’s awesome that the two of you found each other.

  • Celeste

    Thank you for this blog entry. I thought I’d be too lazy to go through it all, yet I kept going, and I’m glad I did. Wonderful insights about an artist loving and living with another artist. It made me think of things of the past. I was once in love with a writer, and I had difficulties at times understanding him completely; he read me his stories and often we discussed ideas. I was always very curious about what his stories symbolized, and jealous if I didn’t understand; I wanted to live fully in his fantasy world and be part of it. yet all that time i failed to understand I tried little to know the man. we were deeply in love after which we deeply hurt each other..reading your blog made me understand how important it is to know the man, more than the writer. had i done that before, i think i would’ve had just a bit more happy times, and a less hard time trying to get my head around stuff. This entry does little justice in terms of consideration of all the beauty and depth of your thoughts..i wouldn’t normally comment, but something in your open way of addressing us readers gave me courage to do so. Most importantly thank you for sharing, for by doing so, you give us silent readers and dreamers hope and belief that we too can come to find our own way of expressing ourselves. I look forward to reading the book, best wishes to you and Neil Gaiman.

  • C.J.

    This article hit me in a different way. Amanda you are an inspiration, in that you reminds me that there’s a depth of feeling that I’m missing and somehow need to find in order to continue to be part of my own marriage.

  • maybabypedals

    The blender metaphor works very well, I think. Thank you for this post. It sums up lots of things; being an artist, being married or partnered with an artist, being married…relationships are hard. It’s difficult to keep your heart open, especially when things get rocky.

    My husband and I have been together since 1986, married since 1989, and we’ve had some moments when the marriage has held together with the thinnest whisps of hope; we’re still together, still committed to making it work. Hard work, but good work if you can get it.

  • Leo Mörö

    All wanted to say is: That blog writing was truly beautiful and for me the best one I have ever read. Thank you Amanda and Neil. I could not think of any other couple I love so much. Greetings from Finland.

    • seriously?

      Who are you people? I c can’t even read it, it’s so bad.

      • lentower

        http://afpwestcoast.tumblr.com/post/52387294813/why-hate-a-meditation-on-internet-comments-6-7-13

        from
        http://observer.com/2013/06/oh-behave-amanda-palmer-stars-at-p-s-122s-spring-gala/:
        ————————————————
        Amanda’s response, on her blog and in interviews, has been unapologetic and straightforward.

        “The Internet is creating a lot of new misunderstandings,” she told
        the Transom. “Most of the people doing commentary on Amanda Palmer
        don’t know most of the story, don’t know me and my community. The
        people who get it—the people who get crowd-funding, who get empathy,
        who get the sense of freedom in the way we exchange and the way I make
        art, those are the people that I want to find. I’m not very interested
        in the critics.”

        ————————————————

        • Leo Mörö

          Thanks for the explanation lentower. I almost added my own until I realise you had already explained it. Hopefully ‘seriously’ guy get it. Did you think he/she meant my message or the blog writing? I think he/she meant the blog writing, but I just wanted to ask, what you think.

          • LocalGroupLeaderBC@lkjfs.com

            He needs reprogramming.

  • Jessica Nelson

    I saw this posted to facebook when I got home from buying my copy. I had to hurry, you see, to get my wristband for the signing in Minnesota. I am very excited. I can’t start reading yet, because I’m already in the middle of two books – I review books, so I often have one review book and one leisure book going at once. I had just requested a galley for review when Neil made on of his infamous web fails and told everyone to ask William Morrow.heh I assume my request got lost in the sea of fan emails. So, as soon as I finish my current leisure book, this one is next.

    For anyone else, American Gods is a special treat for anyone who likes mythology and knows the pantheons of world religions. And Neverwhere is a treat for those who like things to be seriously silly but still serious enough to be believable. Both would be good starting points.

  • Mary

    I’m a writer and singer and weaver married to a smorgasbord of an artist: porcelain, painting, photography, and anything to do with anything that is beautiful and/or makes a noise. I’m an introvert (as is child number 2, as are the gecko, stick insect, and newt). He’s a rampant extrovert (as is child number , as are the tadpoles). The bright, noisy mess is the thing that keeps me getting up in the morning. Thanks for letting us see a bit of what keeps you awake at night, puzzling and wondering….

    • lentower

      child number 1 is the extrovert?

  • Dan

    I worry that you don’t feel regret about not listening to what Neil had to say that day in Australia. It seems like you justify it by saying that something good came out of it in the long run. I worry that will make it easy for you to not listen again in the future by telling yourself “Oh well maybe we’ll just write another song or another book about it someday.”
    But I give you huge credit for listening to him read the book to you when you got back to Texas, even though you were still very busy with a project that was very close to your own heart :)

    • Murray

      Why regret a mistake if nothing bad comes from it and you’ve already resolved not to make that mistake again. It’s like dropping a bottle of milk because you were carrying too much, but it didn’t break. You pick it up and resolve to carry less next time.
      You don’t cry over the milk that wasn’t spilt.

      • SabrinaSubpoenas

        He hasn’t written a decent novel since 2001. I think he is kinda over-rated if you ask me.

        • Sure Leigh Kahn

          We didn’t.

          • SabrinaSubpoenas

            Hey, I liked American Gods. I wasn’t knocking his ability as a good author. Maybe as a human being sometimes, I suppose.

        • Murray

          Yeah, I see what you mean. I feel the same way about that Tolkien guy…

          • anon

            Just because someone says something you don’t agree with completely doesn’t always make them a massive troll. It is called a discussion board. If you want to surround yourself with cardboard cut-outs of yourself all day and have them agree with you all the time, I think you are the massive troll probably.

          • luci_fer

            Uh. It’s not called a discussion board, it’s called a comments section on someone’s blog.

            Sure, no ones a massive troll for having a contrary opinion, it’s more how that opinion is put.

            Suggesting Neil Gaiman is not a good human being in the comment section of his wife’s blog is almost certainly a troll.

            When the only response that same person seems to offer to any conversational gambit is “fcuk you assshole” or just generally getting upset when challenged, they’re definitely a (bad) troll.

          • anon

            He isn’t the model human being you would like to believe. If you only knew the truth.

          • luci_fer

            Not that it’s anything to do with what I said (that SabrinaSubpoenas is demonstrably and obviously a bad troll, which is not the same as simply having a contrary opinion) but would you like to share with the class what ‘the truth’ is? Preferably via the medium of verifiable fact?

      • dan

        she DIDN’T resolve not to make the same mistake again. To use your analogy, she DIDN’T resolve to carry less milk.
        In fact, she specifically said she would do this again:
        “i want to give him my heart.
        and i want to take it away

        sometimes and give it back again
        ….to see what he’ll do.”

        In any other context, how you can say that she has learned from her mistake? If anything, it sounds like she is straight up telling him “I may fuck with your emotions once in a while, just to see how you’ll react”

        • Ay-me Wok-er

          God forbid humans act like humans once in a while and be all squishy and imperfect and realistic. The horror!

  • Louise

    I feel at the same time really happy that you both found a way through
    that difficult time, and that you have been able to be amazed by him,
    and jealous of you because you have the wonderful privilege of knowing
    the writer, and being able to ask him about symbolism and meaning of his
    stories. I’ve been trying to write fiction for years, and I love
    reading it, but I’m really terrible at reading between the lines,
    finding the hidden meanings of things, understanding symbolism – it
    always feels like I could understand if someone explained it to me, but
    that is so rarely possible, as artists and writers, for good reason,
    tend not to go into explicit detail in public about the underlying
    meaning of their work. But it always feels like I’m either not spotting
    any symbolism at all, or that I’m missing most of it, and I always feel
    like I’m missing out when reading things with lots of layers of meaning. I’d love to have a fairly full explanation of just one of Neil’s works,
    with pointers as to the symbolism of different aspects, as a kind of
    primer for what kind of ideas I should be looking for in other works,
    like an example for me to then use when trying to interpret the meaning
    of other works.

  • Jolene

    I was at the RSL interview last night with my friend, where Neil explained how The Ocean At The End Of The Lane came to be. I noticed that he spoke of you in this quiet, beautiful way- though he wasn’t crowing OH HOW I LOVE AMANDA every five minutes, he spoke for a long while of how he wanted to make you happy, and how much he missed you when he started writing you the short story that became an accidental novel.

    Yes, he can trick you into becoming a fan. It took me years before I bought his books and finally noticed the amazing stories I found in quick bookshelf skims or friends’ recommendations were his.
    But as a fan, you thank him profusely for doing so, for roping you into a series of adventures that you hope will never end. And when you realise books like Ocean is more than just a tale, but almost semi-non-fiction for a loved one, you can’t help but smile.

    Thank you for writing this. My copy of Ocean is ridiculously special because of my adventure in obtaining it, but this post makes it even more so. Both of you are amazing artists, and it’s always lovely to see a couple supporting each other (despite silly reality-elements like work and distance).

  • miserichik

    OK so I AM a Neil Gaiman fanatically fanatical fanatic, and I cannot wait to read this low-speed blender mishmash. I sigh because none of his signing dates are even remotely close to philadelphia and I won’t get to hug either one of you. Amanda, thank you for this marriage blog. If I ever meet you I will kiss your cheek and Neil’s and then I’ll feel as free as a bird.

  • Elia Romo

    That was beautiful.

  • Ken Lindsey

    I have to admit that I’m new to the Amanda Fucking Palmer world. A transplant maybe. I’ve been a Neil Gaiman fan for years. And years. But until recently, it was only the books and comics. Then one day I read his blog. Then I read hundreds of his blogs from the archives. As a writer, I found him fascinating. He put himself out there in a way that so many people never will, and it amazed(s) me. So I went to Twitter and followed him there. Then Tumblr.

    On Tumblr, I noticed a theme. Social issues: gay rights, feminism, equality. Love. These things made me glad to be a fan even more, so I kept looking. Another theme that went right along with these was AFP. So I jumped right in.

    BAM. She has a blog, and music, and twitter and Tumblr, and she’s brilliant. I love that she’s alright admitting that some days feel like shit. I am so happy to call myself a fan. Thank you for posting this, and thanks for being so open and honest with this amazing community you have built.

    I received my signed copy of The Ocean a the End of the Lane today, and I’m already about half way through it. I can’t wait to finish. I also picked up Theatre is Evil the other day. I haven’t heard the entire album yet, because I keep replaying the songs as I go. They’re lovely and passionate and heart-wrenching. I can’t wait to finish.

    Thanks

    • lentower

      There is also the fan forum (click “THESHADOWBOX” at the top of this page), an inacative MySpace account, which has lot’s of fan comments on the blog and A’s art from when it was active, etc.

  • Dags

    I envy you. Really. Not because it’s Neil, but because there’s a double blender in the first place… There’s nothing quite as soul-numbing as standing in the kitchen with a blender, facing an egg beater on the other side. And an entusiastic one, at that, so you can’t even fault the weilder for not trying.
    Lots of people can feed the crazy and creative in you, but speaking as one who lost them all (literally!) to age and/or immigration…I envy you. Really. Not because it’s Neil, but because there’s a double blender in the first place… There’s nothing quite as soul-numbing as standing in the kitchen with a blender, facing an egg beater on the other side. And an entusiastic one, at that, so you can’t even fault the weilder for not trying.
    Lots of people can feed the crazy and creative in you, but speaking as one who lost them all (literally!) to age and/or immigration…
    Just revel in it.

  • Alikaha

    That was one of the most beautiful love letters I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing this. And many many blessings to the both of you.

  • Trudy Holtz

    oh my gods. just beautiful. thank you amanda.

  • saucylark

    I am a huge Neil fan, and fairly recently, a huge Amanda fan. I started listening to your music because so many people on tumblr were complaining that THE Neil Gaiman was married to someone who was “so awful”, and I had to judge for myself and see. I fell in love with Theater is Evil. You both inspire me so much, to not give up on my dream of someday making art, and I have to thank you for it, and thank you for this post. I cried reading it, cause I’m a sap.

  • paola

    this is os wonderful and romantic, and emotional and great! I love you both! you bring love to reality!
    thank you!

  • lentower

    it’s more that you hug into each other’s landscape.

  • http://naturallydotty.wordpress.com Dragonsally

    I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so beautiful – you get to the heart of relationships, the love, the understanding, the misunderstanding the every wonderful and hard thing about interactions that make them worthwile.

    love love love

    thank you so much

  • lentower

    “a matter of gracefulness”.

    more than that.

    as I became a fan during “The Onion Cellar”,
    I quickly found your blog.

    and one of many re-mark-able things i found out there about you,
    is that you didn’t tell other people’s stories.
    bandmate(s), family, friends, etc.

    that you understood that each person had the right to tell their own story.

    • lentower

      And in this case, that you needed Neil’s approval on telling your perspective on a part of your joint story.

  • lentower

    i heard this in Neil’s polit English voice:

    ““i accidentally wrote a whole book”, he said. “can i read it to you?”

  • johnboman

    Great blog about two great artists. As a struggling writer, my wife doesn’t always understand or like what I write, but she supports me none the less. It’s hard to work out sometimes whether your art should be kept to the side in a relationship, like some secret lover. But in the end, you have to realise, it’s a package deal. Excellent thoughts Amanda and thanks for sharing with the world!

  • lentower

    “you twit,

    he said.”

    he know you’re brillant in so many ways …

  • lentower

    Amanda: remember, what you already know, there was a time when Neil didn’t have instant bestsellers …

  • lentower

    I’m glad Neil was the first to read this. I suspect it was another step on his journey of discovering you.

  • lentower

    One of your best blogs to date.

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      blenders full of meat… fascinating stuff… A new door stop for my den. Yippie!

  • Leni

    There are few people in this world who are able to express their feelings as beautifully as you do. And there are few people in this world who can make people fly to another world just with words… Neil does it in an exquisite way. And for that I admire you both so much. I mean, both of you in a separate way, but specially both of you together. It is really funny in a way, being a “fan” of a couple. I mean, I just can’t decide who of you I love the most!!
    I’ve been really looking forward to reading the book, now I’m sort of dying to read it! Can’t wait to have some time to do it.

    Off topic, reading Elliott Smith’s name on your blog made me think how great it would be if you did a cover of one of his songs…

    Leni xxx

    • LennyNeedsScrubbing

      Gee Lenny, how many accounts DO you HAVE?

  • lentower

    “Best of Amanda’s Blogs, Volume One” would be worth a try. Might get to or beyond the 25,000 buyer threshold.

    I wouldn’t edit the blogs themselves, but some of them might benefit from an introduction.

    Though it would complicate the project, including the best of the comments on each selected blog would add a lot to it. Includes the fans.

    Other material might added.

    E.g. Neil’s artcile on his first Dresden Dolls live concert.

    The best Interviews of you, etc.

    So you need a selector more than an editor, or perhaps a team of selectors.

    And a good book designer.

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      You remind me of that little kid in elementary school that sat in the first row and would always raise his hand everytime the teacher asked a question. What are you? Her personal guru or what assshole???

      • DorthyDoesNotLiveHereAnymore

        He sure looks the part. Hehehehehehhehehe

        • ThomasDolbysUnderpants

          He must get a cut from the book sales. its all good dude.

  • K

    When I think about Neil’s body of work, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t the amazing mythologies he spins out of the dusty half-ignored landscape of mundane life (that’s fourth). It isn’t the vivid verbal brushstrokes that form characters so complete I feel I’ve always known them (that’s second), and neither is it the way I feel he’s writing to me about a secret just we two share (that’s third). It’s how much it hurts to read. I don’t own much that he’s written, because there’s none of it I can read more frequently than every few years, and there are some Sandman stories I read once and can never read again because they HURT. His touch with that sick, vulnerable pain, endemic to and inseparable from existence itself, is so deft that at times it’s literally gut-wrenching. It’s the kind of hurt I didn’t know I’d always felt just because it had never happened to me personally. It’s the kind of hurt that you can’t cry out, the kind that stays inside you for days.

    What I love most about your writing is the way it so nicely expresses pain I already knew I felt. You give voice to it, he gives birth to it. Each is vital and when the two processes feed each other, radiantly beautiful.

    I don’t know either of you and it’s likely I never will, but I get the impression that he’s, by nature, much more comfortable riding that line, inside the pain, living in it and with it. He has a higher tolerance for chronic discomfort than you. That’s a guess and it’s not meant to be an offensive or intrusive one. I don’t even know why I felt so compelled to write this response, but it filled me on reading this entry and dude, if the internet wasn’t created to facilitate unnecessary and usually inaccurate commentary on other people’s personal relationships, then I don’t know what I’ve been living for all these years.

  • fan of Neil’s

    Amanda Palmer, I don’t know if you care (you seem like you don’t take too well to anything that’s not praise), but I couldn’t get through this, it was so trivial and uninteresting. I tried to read it, since I am a fan of Neil’s, but I found it impossible. Maybe you could have requested that Neil edit the thing, not just approve of it.

    • fan of Neil’s

      I figured out the word for this: blather. Also incomprehensible.
      Though it seems the other people here who read it, like the blather.

      Do what you like with my review.

      • ThomasDolbysUnderpants

        self-indulgence is a better word for what this is really about… I don’t see originality, artistic integrity, but instead only soapy melodrama. I don’t feel like I would ever know the first thing about either of these two characters, and I think that is probably the only redeeming thing to positively say… Music and art isn’t about this crap AFAIK

        • lentower
          • ThomasDolbysUnderpants

            critical though and criticism are not always a bad thing. It isn’t really hate.

          • Christen Kimbell

            If it is criticism, then please contribute something of value to the conversation. Or stop reading the blog.

          • LennyNeedsScrubbing

            That was my opinion mr. know-it-all douchebag. You can accept that or you can go shove it up your asshole.

          • Tom Steiger

            Calling a personal blog self-indulgent is like calling water wet. It’s the nature of the beast. Pointing that out and whining about it is hardly critical thought. This blog is an attempt to convey intimate thoughts and feelings through an imperfect medium. I suggest you try it: Write a personal blog about something you care passionately about. Post it and wait for someone to call it trivial blather (because they will). Then use that perspective to illuminate your comments. It’s fine to not like or not connect with something. Not so fine to be callously dismissive.

          • DorthyDoesNotLiveHereAnymore

            It was just an opinion. Get a grip assholles.

    • Dijana

      this made me laugh, although I do also feel sorry for Amanda who may possibly feel a bit upset (but has probably got used to things like this by now, one hopes). I like what someone else here said about personal blogs and self indulgence and water and liquidity and I just want to give a virtual hug to the fan of Neil’s that was so disappointed with this blog and, if it is not too much of an imposition, ask what it is that they felt entitled to expect instead?

      In other news, I really wish I could “get it” – the book, that is. It’s a great book and it made me cry a lot but reading this blog of Amanda’s, and especially the bit where she talks about how she didn’t get the book, and then how Neil connected the dots for her and how she finally got it, I am now feeling deprived and wish I, too, could belong to that special inner club of people who “get it”. Any advice?

  • http://discombobula.blogspot.com/ Sue

    Surrey Hills. How weird that you had that misunderstanding in Surrey Hills. I don’t know why. I guess there is still that cultural cringe thing going on where it makes more sense to me to think about peple doing those sorts of thing in Minnesotta or on the Chesapeake Bay (not that you can run on there but you know …) simply because I’m so used to hearing all of those references in songs and books. But nobody, as far as I can surmise, has written a song that has Surrey Hills in it. Maybe you could be the first.

    This post has touched my heart. And do you know I have never not once ever read ANY Neil Gaiman book? I got your album and I’d only ever seen anything about Neil in that famous speech he did for valedictorians or whatever they get called when they are allowed to wear strange headwear. And that speech was great and I can totally see why you would fuck him and you too seriously are just adorable. And thank you for being so open and transparent because I am open and transparent while cloistered and hermetic and it is such an act of bravery even though that sounds really wanky. But thank you. You are one of many who inspire me to keep being willing to bear my scars. Becuase it helps and makes a difference.

    I have The Ocean at the end of the Lane on hold from the library. So looking forward to reading it :)

  • ali

    I haven’t paid for a book in 18 months. I am buying this now. Beautiful.

    • Bob

      I tried reading it. I didn’t like it. Return it to the store. No thanks.

      • lentower

        http://afpwestcoast.tumblr.com/post/52387294813/why-hate-a-meditation-on-internet-comments-6-7-13

        from
        http://observer.com/2013/06/oh-behave-amanda-palmer-stars-at-p-s-122s-spring-gala/:
        ————————————————
        Amanda’s response, on her blog and in interviews, has been unapologetic and straightforward.

        “The Internet is creating a lot of new misunderstandings,” she told
        the Transom. “Most of the people doing commentary on Amanda Palmer
        don’t know most of the story, don’t know me and my community. The
        people who get it—the people who get crowd-funding, who get empathy,
        who get the sense of freedom in the way we exchange and the way I make
        art, those are the people that I want to find. I’m not very interested
        in the critics.”

        ————————————————

        • LennyNeedsScrubbing

          There are many different sets of indicators of cultist behaviour…
          some based on extreme forms of closed cult or clandestine criminal
          groups and organizations, other on those which employ subtle means of
          indoctrination and group pressure. Defining what is a cult without
          having access to well-tested experience and knowledge from participant
          observation testimonies in a great variety of such groups or movements –
          preferably from first-hand or other personal involvement – rather than
          from evaluations made by detached academic observers or persons who
          have probably never had to liberate themselves from any kind of
          indoctrination. Thus some persons regarded as scholarly authorities on
          the cult phenomena sometimes consider the testimonies of cult victims
          and apostates to be unreliable per se. However, the distance from the
          phenomena they study from those who depend mainly on books and other
          media, make their opinions less informed as to the experiences of
          mind-bending and narrow social dependencies to which cult members are
          subjected.

  • FushigiFox

    Wow, thank you for sharing so much. While reading I vaguely remember the tweets between the two of you like when the book was read to you. But to hear the background story of your life really puts a lot into perspective. I am a fan of your music and I am a fan of Neil’s writing. Even though this is a review of your lives and the book and how it came about. . it also helped put my own marriage into perspective. I just had a fight with my husband this morning, stupid stuff. He left for his work a half an hour ago and I opened up your blog and started reading. Makes me realize things I need to rethink. Thank you for opening my eyes. Ours is an international marriage and we have been separated on various occasions by length of time and by countries. We are both selfish in our ways and often fail to listen to our hearts or make time when the other comes out of the shell. Thank you for your long post, I’ve read it twice now and will read it again. I also look forward to getting Neil’s book, perhaps reading it once through in silence and another with your music in the background playing.

  • RiverVox

    When I read the opening chapters, I found myself sitting with my hand over my mouth, barely able to breathe. I was shocked to find the narrator telling his tale in what I have come to know as Neil’s voice from his blog and twitter, having grown used to the modulated voices of his other fiction. I was moved to find the book starting with a post-funeral drive to a former home, which I imagined Neil had probably taken when he lost his father in 2009. It felt so personal and painful that I was glad of the distraction of the Hempstock household as the story moved on. I’m astonished by his bravery in this book.Thank you for giving us some background on the creation of this story and for inspiring us all, (including your husband), to open ourselves to each other.

  • Sure Leigh Kahn

    Holy crap. You made me cry. I read your blog because I love the way you express yourself as much as I love the way he does … I actually read my first Gaiman novel right around the same time that “Coin Operated Boy” was on the radio, and followed you both, getting chills as your lives tangled. I was looking forward to his book, but you can tell him that it was this blog post that made me go get it NOW, instead of putting gas in my car and waiting until I sell something in my shop to get the book. I regret nothing. ;)

  • James Polk

    Amanda, this was a beautiful read. I think we all strive to have that kind of relationship/marriage. Never better said. I’m jealous of what the two of you have. And I am quite content that it is so unconventional. Convention is a wonderful thing is whimsy doses. But relationships like yours are never boring and always interesting. :)

  • Ella

    I am on the verge of tears. In a good way. I can’t wait to read the book. :)

  • http://www.corrieancone.com mizz corrie

    what a insightful read Amanda…cant wait for my book to arrive
    ..apparently in da post acc to amazon!and yesterday my tix to your
    Sydney concert arrived!!and although i have recently moved way down south ,i will venture to the city for YOU!!!cant wait for both ..BIG HUGS now…you r both AMAZING …and leave me hungry for MORE!!!

  • http://musingsofbuffyleigh.blogspot.com/ Steff Leigh

    I purposely stayed away from reviews so I wouldn’t know anything about the book until I had a chance to read it cover to cover. I bought it, read it, and came straight here. Beautiful. This day goes in my blender.

  • Commenter

    “we have enough trouble as it is keeping people out of our faces (and i’m doing a terrible job of that lately…people are so up in my face lately that they’re practically blocking my vision in every direction).” I am an admirer of much of your music, and of much of Neil Gaiman’s writing. But, this rubs me wrong. You make an effort to get people to care about your face and your feelings… it seems rather whiney to whine when you succeed.

    • ThomasDolbysUnderpants

      it is a classic polarized
      us-versus-them mentality… textbook case.

      • lentower
        • luci_fer

          imph. personally I feel her level of transparency she shares and fosters is a privilege, not a right. there should still be boundaries, and it’s entirely appropriate to object when and if they’re transgressed.

          When you do make yourself as open and available as she does you also make yourself vulnerable. Which is brave. But not easy with umpteen trolls under the bridge.

          (edit: bah, replied to the wrong person :p)

          • fascinated

            you know it’s all an act, right? crocodile tears, crocodile everything. all so people will feel “intimacy” with her, and keep the attention coming …

          • luci_fer

            No, I don’t think that. And honestly, that sounds a wee bitter and paranoid.

          • SabrinaSubpoenas

            coming from the guy that pretends they are lord satan, I don’t think you should talk douchebag… Go fcuk yourself assshole..

          • luci_fer

            I’m a she (hence the luci before the underscore, it’s a very old nickname) though on a separate point, *is* lord satan paranoid and bitter as a rule? I would assume he’s simply enjoying himself, what with all the drugs and rock music.

            P.s in keeping with the biblical theme, are you a snake? I’m really enjoying the image of a snake swearing at me but being unable to get the words out properly. “go fcuk yourself asssssshole *hiss*”

          • LennyNeedsScrubbing

            Go worship your satan and stick it up your ass.

          • luci_fer

            So are you guys all from the same middle school or something?

          • Tom Steiger

            Surely not crocodile handbags!

          • Tom Steiger

            Surely not crocodile handbags!

          • esmertina

            I know that YOU think that. (Or claim to, although it beggars belief that anyone who thinks someone’s emotional transparency is faked in a malicious plot to deceive others into feeling a connection so that they will shower her with attention, would punish that person as you do, by showering her with attention. That’ll show her!)
            I’m not sure you can convincingly fake connecting with people without actually having a talent for connecting with people … any more than you can fake being funny without actually being funny.
            Now, if you don’t log on as SabrinaSubpoenas and respond to me with something you hope is really hurtful, I will be VERY disappointed. I know SabrinaSubpoenas is just faking being a jerk. Convincingly ;)

          • SabrinaSubpoenas

            nobody gives a flying fcuk what somebody who likes to call themself lucifer thinks. Why don’t you kill yourself and do the world a big favor mr satan wantabee douchebag.

    • Christen Kimbell

      Really, dude? (This is all I really need to say or am going to say. Quit spoiling things by complaining about them.)

      • Steven Temple

        It sucked. Not worth the bother.

    • Tom Steiger

      I don’t think it’s the people who care about her feelings that she’s complaining about. There are tons of people in her face for reasons that have nothing to do with caring.

  • Siobhan

    Read the blog, buy the book, take the ride.

    • ThomasDolbysUnderpants

      Unsubscribe. Trade the copy to the used bookstore. Take a long hot shower.

      • anon

        wiping your butt with it is optional… they won’t know

    • lentower

      Siobhan:

      ThomasDolbysUnderpants, anon, et al are behaving like Internet trolls. Engaging such people is unlikely to change them. They would benefit from truly understanding and coming to agree with:

      http://afpwestcoast.tumblr.com/post/52387294813/why-hate-a-meditation-on-internet-comments-6-7-13

      from
      http://observer.com/2013/06/oh-behave-amanda-palmer-stars-at-p-s-122s-spring-gala/:
      ————————————————
      Amanda’s response, on her blog and in interviews, has been unapologetic and straightforward.

      “The Internet is creating a lot of new misunderstandings,” she told
      the Transom. “Most of the people doing commentary on Amanda Palmer
      don’t know most of the story, don’t know me and my community. The
      people who get it—the people who get crowd-funding, who get empathy,
      who get the sense of freedom in the way we exchange and the way I make
      art, those are the people that I want to find. I’m not very interested
      in the critics.”
      ————————————————

    • Siobhan

      It’s a bit inane to
      attack on personal taste, and it seems even sillier to voluntarily spend time
      commenting on something you don’t like. There is little room for logic on the
      Internet, and I admit that, as smart as I may think I am, I will never understand Internet trolls. But I digress. I liked the book. I started reading Neil’s work
      because I was first a fan of Amanda’s, and I’m glad I did. Thanks to you
      both for contributing something to the world that isn’t garbage.

  • portentous

    I’ve read your blog for a while now but never felt compelled to respond. I’ve been reading Neil for a while now, but never written any reviews of his work.

    These both, individually, got to me.

    Your blog: I’m in a new relationship that started long distance and is in the transition phase of no longer being that way. I just finished one grad program and am about to start another. And I’m scared that the work will poison the relationship or vice-versa. What I do isn’t art, exactly, but the impetus is the same. It comes from love and the need to create, to perpetuate. Balancing that love with my love for this other person…it’s hard to feel that I won’t fail it all, sometimes. It’s heartening to know that a) this is not an uncommon struggle and b) that it’s possible to make it work. Thank you for that. Also, I love the blender metaphor. Though I wonder if it’s more like soup making? Neil’s soup is very British, in that it’s got a lot of cooked down bits that enrich the stock, but that you can’t quite recognize individually. You may think there’s a carrot in there somewhere, but you’re not quite sure. You, however, make stew with giant pieces. Your carrot may look like a parsnip sometimes, but it’s definitely a carrot, on further reflection.

    Neil’s book:
    I know that you posted a link for the shadowbox, but I don’t have a membership there. And my review isn’t really a review, so much as a reactionary summary of the book. I put it on goodreads, but I wanted to share it here too. Just because.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This is a small book, but the story, like its ubiquitous ocean, is deceptively expansive.Somehow, with this tale, Gaiman captures the flavor of every half-remembered story from your childhood, every sepia toned memory from your dreams – because that’s, in essence, what the story is. I don’t think I can do justice to this work after one reading. In fact, once I was done, I immediately began it again. It’s the type of novel that won’t be done with you once all of the pages have been read, and that you’ll be loathe to finish. Ocean at the End of the Lane possesses that magical quality of feeling familiar, even if it’s brand new; it is the friend you feel you’ve known your whole life, even if you’ve just met. The one you know will be there, waiting for you, any rainy afternoon you need to visit and somehow always says exactly what you need to hear.

    View all my reviews

    Thank you both.

    • lentower

      It’s easy to get an account on theshadowbox.net – a minute or two …

      ——

      Good review.

      • SexyGrrls

        You look like you need to take a long hot bath, and a shave.

        • Brenda

          Why is there some old farty pedobear with a big huge beard telling young people to get an account on a social network?? He looks creepy as fuuck.

          • Tom Steiger

            I refute your argument because FACIAL HAIR! Brilliant.

        • lentower

          http://afpwestcoast.tumblr.com/post/52387294813/why-hate-a-meditation-on-internet-comments-6-7-13

          from
          http://observer.com/2013/06/oh-behave-amanda-palmer-stars-at-p-s-122s-spring-gala/:
          ————————————————
          Amanda’s response, on her blog and in interviews, has been unapologetic and straightforward.

          “The Internet is creating a lot of new misunderstandings,” she told
          the Transom. “Most of the people doing commentary on Amanda Palmer
          don’t know most of the story, don’t know me and my community. The
          people who get it—the people who get crowd-funding, who get empathy,
          who get the sense of freedom in the way we exchange and the way I make
          art, those are the people that I want to find. I’m not very interested
          in the critics.”
          ————————————————
          ,

          • Steven

            always being unapologetic isn’t an excuse for stupidity; it is just defensiveness

  • http://spacedlaw.blogspot.com/ Nathalie

    That was wonderful, Amanda. I am so glad that you are not immune. None of us are, really (we may think we are but that’s just fooling ourselves).

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      Love = Virus.. Ahhhh wonderful immunity.

  • Shimoko

    Your blender analogy was spot-on. There are so many settings to try, and so little time to try it. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil and write about human-flesh-desiring lasagna, but unfortunately, writing is not something that I’ve been able to make into a career, so it languishes on the side, after the 40 hour work week and the caring for the children and the husband and the cat.

    You might consider me a fan of Neil Gaiman’s writing without realizing that I was reading his writing. I read a bunch of his stories in various anthologies of short stories but didn’t know the CAPITALIZED NAME NEIL GAIMEN ZOMG. I simply appreciated the stories. My cousin sent me Neverwhere and Stardust as a gift when I snapped my right arm in half as a teenager and was stuck in the hospital getting surgeries and stuff, and it really helped me to escape, but even then, I wasn’t thinking “oh wow, this Neil person, I am a fan”- it was merely the story and the story alone that spoke to me.

    Eventually, as I got older, I was introduced to the Sandman graphic novel series and it sort of just snowballed- suddenly I was seeing his stuff everywhere, from randomly encountering a used copy of American Gods in the thrift store for a quarter and feeling very grumbly about starting to read it (like psyching myself up to eating a plate of hated broccoli) until I started it and finished it that night because I couldn’t put it down, to watching Mirrormask and thinking “it was written for me only ten years ago,” to the copy of “The Wolves in the Walls” that my daughter received for her 1st birthday and disappeared because it was really quite too scary for her at the time so I hid it to The Graveyard Book that my mother in law bought me on a whim and while reading it, my brain totally ignored as being based on the Jungle Book until right around the end of the story.

    So I became a fan. I realized that many of the stories that I could swear I had never read before sounded familiar, like I had heard them read to me sometime in the past. I realized that pretty much everything I’ve read that he’s written is wrapped up in the voice that reads books to me when I read them to myself.

    I know that this sounds silly, but I like hearing about the other end- seeing someone as a person first and an artist secondary. Somehow it makes the fact that he creates these stories to be less a question of something that fell out of some amazing gash in the universe and more of an energy that is possible for others to tap and use as well.

    Really, it is disingenuous to call me a fan of Neil Gaiman, for I do not really know him.

    I am a fan of his work, first and foremost, and of the voice that he uses to read his work, which reads aloud in my head even without an audiobook or a recording present. I’m a fan of the variety of what he writes about, and the mediums he chooses to write/create within. And I am forever grateful for the flights of fancy and the escape from the darker parts of my everyday life that his work has given to me.

    And I can tell that I’ll enjoy his new book, chunky bits and all.

    Thank you for this blog. :)

  • Tom Steiger

    Such and explosion of art came from that incident with the trout – from you, from Neil, from your friends and fans – that I’ve always wanted to ask whether this was a random happenstance or if you knew in the moment that something momentous had occurred. Thanks for answering!

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      I have explosions after I eat trout. You may want to check to see if you have an allergy.

      • lentower

        http://afpwestcoast.tumblr.com/post/52387294813/why-hate-a-meditation-on-internet-comments-6-7-13

        from
        http://observer.com/2013/06/oh-behave-amanda-palmer-stars-at-p-s-122s-spring-gala/:
        ————————————————
        Amanda’s response, on her blog and in interviews, has been unapologetic and straightforward.

        “The Internet is creating a lot of new misunderstandings,” she told
        the Transom. “Most of the people doing commentary on Amanda Palmer
        don’t know most of the story, don’t know me and my community. The
        people who get it—the people who get crowd-funding, who get empathy,
        who get the sense of freedom in the way we exchange and the way I make
        art, those are the people that I want to find. I’m not very interested
        in the critics.”

        ————————————————
        .

        • SabrinaSubpoenas

          Will you please stop stalking me and posting the same thing over and over again?

          • Ay-me Wok-er

            HAHAHAH! The stalker doesn’t like to be stalked. Classic! *dies laughing*

          • luci_fer

            That’s a trifle rich. Though if we’re making requests, could you please try and swear correctly? It just hurts your trolling when you can only manage “fcuk” “assshole” or “assholle”.

            Unless your school has a profanity filter you need to bypass?

          • Steven

            luci_derp please go shove it up your cunt

          • luci_fer

            showing improvement! keep working at it.

  • CatherineJay

    This post made me think of this XKCD cowic http://xkcd.com/968/

  • Jennifer Minz Stowe

    Smiles and tears. What a big love.

  • Lis K.

    i like this review.

    i don’t like when the reviews simply tell you half of the story, punctuated with commonplace opinions… they throw you a bunch of spoilers and try not to give the major twist of the plot away. and i don’t think a review should be a summary.. with a bunch of ass-kissing compliments. anyway, but i digress, people should write reviews however suit them better.

    but in my mind it makes more sense if it just transfers to you the emotional and aesthetic and blabla impressions the reviewer had while experiencing the specific thing, the piece of work. i think that’s what people want to know, how would they feel experiencing that piece of work. :)

    changin subject, i like your grand theft orchestra work much more than your dresden dolls’ one. and weirdly as it may sound, as i commented to neil once, i think your ‘grand theft orchestra’ album is much more.. ‘neil-gaimish’. i mean, i do agree with your blender metaphor, but it’s also sort of clear that you’ve “contaminated” each other’s art. i’m not sure i can say how ‘theater is evil’ resembles neil gaiman stuff. it seemed a bit more visual and in that sense more story-like. it also seemed more idealistic and also more honest. it may sound ironic, but despite being desguised, i think neil’s work is.. incredibly honest and raw. i mean, he dares to expose humaine dark corners and contradictions and etc that many people are terrified of even stepping on.

    so i mean, they both represent honesty but in different shapes. i suppose i had more things to say but now i sort of lost my thread of thought and i’m sleepy.

    so.. i suppose that’ll be it :)

    o/

  • Ay-me Wok-er

    Gorgeous. I know these types of blogs feel very exposing–but there’s this weird celebrity thing that makes our brains do funny things and then we put pedestals under feet and gape and crave one more song and we can FORGET how human all the humans are. Windows like this one make people remember. <3

    • SabrinaSubpoenas

      It was actually well written. I wonder who really wrote it.

      • lentower

        http://afpwestcoast.tumblr.com/post/52387294813/why-hate-a-meditation-on-internet-comments-6-7-13

        from
        http://observer.com/2013/06/oh-behave-amanda-palmer-stars-at-p-s-122s-spring-gala/:
        ————————————————
        Amanda’s response, on her blog and in interviews, has been unapologetic and straightforward.

        “The Internet is creating a lot of new misunderstandings,” she told
        the Transom. “Most of the people doing commentary on Amanda Palmer
        don’t know most of the story, don’t know me and my community. The
        people who get it—the people who get crowd-funding, who get empathy,
        who get the sense of freedom in the way we exchange and the way I make
        art, those are the people that I want to find. I’m not very interested
        in the critics.”

        ————————————————

        • anon

          The only person creating drama is Amanda. The rest of you are stupid sheep.

  • Heather Dryer

    Thanks to Julie Czerneda for posting the link to this, what a beautiful way to introduce us to the book. I’ll admit, I’ve not read a lot of Neil’s books, but you’ve sold me on needing to read this one. I’m downloading from Audible now. Sounds like you have a great relationship and I wish you many many years of happiness.

  • chenoa

    I already wanted to read it, but now I really do! Beautiful blog.

    • Thomas

      I came here for the music. Very disappointed.

  • Joanne Sprott

    Thanks for cracking open his heart for us and for you, and for him. Hugs!

  • jkilps

    thank you! you always make me sob!

  • Chris Hill

    http://www.threadless.com/blackandwhite/art-never-dies/

    –Please check out my drawing/shirt, have a vote & a ‘like’
    This isnt ‘spam’.
    This is an artist desperately tryin to find some votes.
    Im only a few hundred behind the leader atm.
    It only takes a few seconds to vote/like. Please?

    But Im Here bc I am rather fond of both Neil & Amanda :)

    http://thrdl.es/~/2cm0

  • Brennub

    I’ve read this a couple of different times through just to make sure I caught everything correctly….it was a lot to read. Your blogs are always very raw and honest and that is part of what I like so much about them.

    This is one of the most, well… vulnerable (?) ones in awhile, in my opinion. And it was beautiful. You should right memoirs. You’re a wonderful lyricist, but your work would translate wonderfully into that kind of medium.

  • Nathalie Suet

    From an unconditional Neil Gaiman’s fanatic (and an Amanda Palmer fan as well actually, just made the connection between Dresden Dolls and you when I saw you married Neil, on twitter…love life). A big thank you, a huge applause and please pretty please keep your blenders awaken. You are both keeping mine on. Thank you just for existing and one more thing: while you’re on a plane, a train or whatever, READ THE SANDMAN SERIES. These books are pure golden, you do not have to be a sci-fi or fantastic genre fan to read it, you just need to be a human being. A sensitive one, a tough one, a raging one, a tender one…you just need your eyes and you heart, half-closed, half-opened.

    And a wandering mind.

    Take care, a pleasure to read you
    Namxxx

  • dan

    “i want to give him my heart.
    and i want to take it away
    sometimes and give it back again
    ….to see what he’ll do.”

    Is Amanda straight up telling her husband “I may fuck with your emotions once in a while, just to see how you’ll react” ?

    • xxx

      truly manipulative … well, remember, she once faked a suicide and recorded her then-boyfriend’s reaction – classic.

      • SabrinaSubpoenas

        sadistic but true

        • DorthyDoesNotLiveHereAnymore

          They are both fake and over-rated. Why do you ever want to read this kind of bullshit?

          • Executive

            I don’t really think they write their own stuff. Just my two cents.

      • dan

        I’ve heard this story a few times… Any citation? Who was the guy? Any reputable sources for this story? It seems just anecdotes

  • Fanintheattic

    In what form was the book reviewed. To me this is you again talking about how deep you are, how insightful bla bla bla. I do respect the fact that you love and support your husband but please!!!!! Do you really believe all this bullshit that you say about yourself.

  • Fanintheattic

    Christ after reading the posts left by others you are not alone in believing your own pr

  • http://kizi-yepi.kizi2.com/ kiziyepi

    THANK YOU!! This is a very vivid, emotional, and
    inspiring blog post. An excellent motivational read…

  • Cheryl Anne Ruebner

    I was led to this entry by your mention at the BAM show (thank you for giving away all of those CDs -What a fab gesture; I can’t wait to listen!) and am so glad I read it before starting the book, which is now going to lead to me staying up past my bedtime! Anyway, not only was this an incredibly moving blog in its vulnerability and honesty, but I feel like I am so much better prepared to approach the reading of this book on a deeper level. I believe that having an understanding and empathy with the circumstances behind the creation of an artwork can only increase the reader’s experience in really getting into the world of the piece. I feel like I’m already swimming around in the emotional ebbs of the story. Thank you for sharing this most intimate and touching essay with us!

  • DefaultAllyson

    Such a beautiful explanation of being an artist married to an artist.
    Amanda if you get that secret glossary for American Gods please share. I would consider myself a very big fan of Neil Gaiman the writer, but American Gods didn’t really do it for me. I would love the chance to read it with greater potential for understanding/appreciation.

  • Fanintheattic

    Why do my comments disappear into the ether that is cyberspace I’m beginning to think that this champion of free speech and creative expression is censoring me…… Paranoid I know.

    • lentower

      I have found that “Disqus” the third party app that is used by this blog for comments often enough doesn’t accept a comment.

      I try to resubmit it:

      C-a, (highlight & select the entire comment),

      C-c (copy it), C-r (refresh the web page),

      click “Reply” (to try to comment again),

      C-v (to paste the comment),

      click the “Post as …” box (to resubmit the comment).

  • soron

    I read this from a link who is a huge Gaiman fan. I realize why I’ve never quite warmed to Amanda Palmer’s brand of musicianship or performance or social media presence. The need in ALL CAPS to state that she is an artist seems quite the opposite of artistic. Maybe there’s a bit of game of thrones going, but the king doesn’t need to say he’s the king. An artist doesn’t need to state that she’s one. Particularly to someone she claims she loves. I dunno.

    Does one need to declare artistic ability in a post to prove that one is an artist?

  • http://corvustristis.wordpress.com/ Corvus

    D’awww.

    I was so stoked to go get in line outside the Tattered Cover in Denver all early for to get a ticket to the signing, and I got stuck at my night-shift work, finishing up an organ donor case (which are rather time sensitive, so… oh well). On the plus side, case went through successfully, so hey, people got new organs! And I shall experience vicariously through blog posts and youtube!

    But still.

  • Bookfool, aka Nancy

    I just read The Ocean at the End of the Lane and I’m not sure how on earth I ended up at your blog, actually, but . . . this is just so beautiful it makes me ache. I loved the book and I thought I sort of understood it but now I’m convinced I need to read it again, before I say word about it. There’s one thing you’ve nicely confirmed for me. I don’t always “get” Neil Gaiman’s books. Some work for me; some don’t. But, this book seemed to me to be deeply personal and I’m glad to find that it is. I may not understand in what way it is so personal but what I got out of it — whether right or wrong, from a standpoint of what the author was trying to say (I’m pretty dim when it comes to imagery) — was very meaningful and I loved it. And, I’m so glad I read this. Wish I knew how I got here. Good luck to both of you on your tours.

  • j-coby wayne

    JUXTAPOSITION: PRONOUN | PROPER NAME

    Amanda, like it’s her living room + we’re invited into the beautiful mess in Northampton, Mass.

    Him – he doesn’t go thinking of himself doing Neil Gaiman things – in a generic vanilla hall with 1500 desperate strangers.

    Inviting us – at arm’s length – into intimate chambers of his childhood, tucked up under the eaves.

    How beautiful + complete that he shares the creation than surprised him as it unfurled for Amanda, who wanted to know.

    Messy + bloody + loosy-goosy wrapped up in the crystalline Coraline bow.

    She was Coraline before he even knew she existed.

    He was a planet she never thought she’d visit, let alone stay in orbit, sinking herself into his gravitational pull.

    j-coby wayne | 06.20.2013 | @n.g. book event

  • rosesarered23

    I don’t know why what you said struck such a chord with me being where I am and feeling what I’ve been feeling but it did, so I have to say thank you for writing it. Something somewhere in there pushed me to finally put down in writing some things I’ve been keeping locked up for a long time and I’m grateful that it did. http://tarantella23.blogspot.com/2013/06/call-and-response.html

  • JohnnyQ

    Holy shit…I usually enjoy your blog immensely. You’re open, raw even. That’s refreshing. This one started off good. i thought, “she is going to do what I’ve read Neil do so many times, which is step up and bare his soul for the person he obviously loves, whether it’s just a line or two that mentions she’s in Australia making music and making him proud doing what she loves, or writing 500 words on how proud he is of her for making history with kickstarter.” Unfortunately the good feeling didnt last long because… jesusfuckingchrist can you be any more selfish? Can you make this any more about you?? You had the perfect opportunity to do an utterly selfless act and write about your husband’s exciting event and how his talent amazes you. And you did to a point. A fine point. But it ended up feeling like a quick opening for you to talk about how you apparently put your art before him. How you one moment say you feel guilty and the next justify it. How you have issues. How you don’t appreciate or get most of his writing which is HIS art and which goddammit deserves to be nourished by the one who loves him especially in public, instead of saying “i don’t get it.” Saying he blessed it isn’t enough…that speaks to his quality and love. Some things shouldn’t be asked. He’s given better and deserves better.

  • JohnnyQ

    Holy shit…I usually enjoy your blog immensely. You’re open, raw even. That’s refreshing. This one started off good. i thought, “she is going to do what I’ve read Neil do so many times, which is step up and bare his soul for the person he obviously loves, whether it’s just a line or two that mentions she’s in Australia making music and making him proud doing what she loves, or writing 500 words on how proud he is of her for making history with kickstarter.” Unfortunately the good feeling didnt last long because… jesusfuckingchrist can you be any more selfish? Can you make this any more about you?? You had the perfect opportunity to do an utterly selfless act and write about your husband’s exciting event and how his talent amazes you. And you did to a point. A fine point. But it ended up feeling like a quick opening for you to talk about how you apparently put your art before him. How you one moment say you feel guilty and the next justify it. How you have issues. How you don’t appreciate or get most of his writing which is HIS art and which goddammit deserves to be nourished by the one who loves him especially in public, instead of saying “i don’t get it.” Saying he blessed it isn’t enough…that speaks to his quality and love. Some things shouldn’t be asked. He’s given better and deserves better.

  • sdx76

    My sister Tanya loves you. Adores you is probably more the word. I havent quite gotten you yet (though I do love the vegemite song) , and I’m a bit behind. I recently just broke my comfort zone of Cure, Depeche Mode, Buckley and Social D to get into her reco of Lana Del Rey. But she was all happy, and she posted this. My first thought was “AFP doesnt like American Gods…what?” But I read on.

    And I get it. I get the spark. You’re so poignant, so open. Fairly brazen and unapologetic, yet able to stand outside your self. Im a sucker for great metaphors, and the blender metaphor was so amazing. And I look greatly forward to reading this book, but I’ll clear Neil preconceptions from my eyes and mind, before I do. Its such a beautifully touching review. I cant wait for it to get in the mail, then I can pass it on to my sister when I’m done. (and maybe get my American Gods back :P)

  • Cara

    I wasn’t sure I’d buy this book, but after reading this I find i just have to get it. Thank you for sharing.

    Checked out your tourdates and noticed you’ll be performing in Copenhagen. Somehow I will find a way to come see you.

  • lynnaschaefer

    Neil started reading his new book to me, nearly the instant it became available on Audible. I generally prefer to read the words on the page myself, and I will certainly be getting a copy of this book, but there is something about listening to his voice speak the words.

    So grateful for the recognition of kindred spiritness. Books have always been my refuge from this confusing, frightening, inexplicable world. The articulate way he writes our childhood inarticulateness is just…well…I haven’t the words for it. Thanks to Neil for writing them, and thank you for your transparency and your love.

    • lynnaschaefer

      AND he understands kitten medicine. I’ve met so few men who do. Love.

  • johnnyq

    jesus, can you be any more “it’s all about me”?? you’re husband is talented off the charts which is a subjective opinion, but I thought you were all about “making art” and it seems like the quick verse you throw him about it is “I don’t really get most of it”. what a smack. you’re story is telling, you’re much to self centered to share. he must love you a lot, but from this side, it doesn’t look like you give as good as you get.

    • roscoe p

      she’s just jealous

      • sell me

        yep

  • Nathalie

    I have been a fan of both of you for such a long time and having just finished The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, your blog makes me want to go back and re-read it instantly. It’s also my favourite book he’s ever written and I’m honoured that I finally get to meet him in Portsmouth. I’ll be sure to give him a hug, in the same way I hugged you many years ago in Brighton. Just remember that no matter how far apart you are, you’re both under the same sky. I love your literal style and your fearless feeling and I love his sense of fantasy and speaking in metaphors – you’re two sides of the same penny. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Thanks for sharing Amanda xxx

  • NancyFuknPants

    I really fucking loved this blog. I had waited all this time to read it. Afraid, in some stupid way. Afraid, that it would get to me like of course it has. Love has been a sensitive subject for me lately…I thought I knew it. I have no fucking clue and you have just made me feel sane about feeling this way..thank you. The first book I read from Neil was Coraline.I remember being at work , desperate to get home to the book. I had given up tv and internet at the time and found peace in books. His book scared the living shit out of me at times but I fell in love with it and his work. That’s all I knew about Neil. When I found out you two were together it made a lot of sense and I was very excited that two people I admired so much were together. I messaged him on tumblr telling him of a moment you and I had shared at the middle east. A moment that changed me. He was sweeter than my dad had been until that point in my life. I am grateful…for you both.

  • former_me_girl

    i may never know this love in a reciprocal form, but my god, i know this love from deep within and that’s something. i feel this post. thank you for this. today.

  • Courtney Powers

    Wow…this brought me to tears in a very good way. Sadly we were not able to hug your wonderful husband as he signed our books and my ukelele. But we made him laugh and gave him good tea for the tour. Hopefully that helped him a bit!

  • lol

    NEIL GAIMAN’s BEST BOOK?

    IS THE ONE ABOUT ME!

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

  • Jacqueline

    I ordered the book after reading this blog last week. It arrived this morning. I just read it all in one sitting. It made me want to cry and I don’t know why. I wouldn’t even say it was one of my favourites of Neil’s stories, and I’ve read a fair few. That’s not a criticism.
    Your review is beautiful, and moving. And I found it added a little extra dimension to the story as I read it (I knew what the dedication meant for a start). And in a way the book reminded me of another story (one that I also find hard to read), by another of my favourite authors, one who was a friend of Neil’s- Diana Wynne Jones, and Fire and Hemlock. And that was good too.
    Good fiction is always real, no matter whether it is set in the house over the road, or in another world entirely. It makes no difference.

  • Joanna Chan

    amanda, this is beautiful. so beautiful and sweet it makes my heart ache. I’ve only just started reading the ocean at the end of the lane, and it revived something in me. thanks for opening up <3 as a fan [and fellow human being] this is what i love most about you.

  • Joy Shannon

    Thank you so much for sharing such an incredible and intimate part of yours and your husband’s personal journeys. You both are deeply inspiring to me on an artistic and personal level. Thank you.

  • Ant

    Hi there, I just came in to say that out of watching the “What’s in my bag?” with Neil video out of pure chance, I got curious about the Pinaback album, I got it and… woah, brilliant, I fucking love it. I can already say it’s one of the records of my year 2013. Have been listening to it non stop since yesterday.
    So basically, thanks :)

  • valeri blossom

    omg. i’m married with THREE kids and that “let me write this down before we converse” thing is rarely my reality. i’m losing thoughts and ideas and sketches all the effing time. sucks BUT thank you for making me feel so normal for asking for that respect, as an artist, and for knowing that even if i were married to another artist it wouldn’t guarantee that giving one another that time would be problem-free.

    i also sort of love that you weren’t a huge gaiman fan, previously, and i thought it was cute that you view his projects as achieving instant success when he’s had a following for decades that, maybe, took decades to acquire but that pretty much guarantees people will line up in anticipation of what he does next (as do your fans, too, i’m sure).

    xoxo

    • lentower

      Have you considered “jotting” your notes down on a digital voice recorder?
      {Assuming you find a few moments to transcribe them ; – }

      Great comment!

      • valeri blossom

        i have, actually! since i can’t be trusted with pen + paper because i’m always losing one or both (i actually have twenty thousand notebooks strewn about and it’s too challenging to keep track of what’s in them anymore) but have recently started using the voicememo on my iphone, like my own personal stenographer. even over the loud sounds of small children i can hear my own voice ;)

        • lentower

          ; – }

          • http://www.cisforcapetown.co.za CisforCapeTown

            Love this. I have the exact same gripe – impossible to jot down thoughts/words with 2 demanding smalls underfoot. I’ve also taken to using voice recording but my words in my voice sometimes seem off-puttingly pretentious, especially with a litany in the background of ‘Mum, mum, mum, muuuuuuuuuuuuum!’

  • http://formlesspoet.blogspot.com/ Zahhar

    AFP, a friend of mine wrote a bit of prose vignette inspired by you. It’s pretty awesome. I hope you’ll find the time to have a look:

    You are The Fucking Revolution

    :)

  • Priscilla

    You’re a match set all right, both terrible.

  • Kari

    This review made me go immediately onto Amazon and order a copy. I’d never heard of your husband or his work before, but knowing the story behind the work necessarily makes me want to read it. Thank you!

  • ClaraBelle

    As always thank you for sharing this part of yourself (yourselves) with those of us who care. And those of us who don’t, but love to hate people they don’t know. (I don’t understand it, but if it makes them happy I say we let them carry on.)

    You’re right about the book. I read it in under three hours. I told my mum afterwards that it felt like breathing in. Then I read it more slowly the next day to see the bits I’d missed when I was frantically inhaling words. Then it’s like I remember that art and beauty and weirdness all exist and are wonderful and I can relax again. My life has gotten too sensible. It’s going to be the death of me.

  • Jojo

    Thanks for sharing this Amanda.

    Just wanted to say I hated American Gods the first time round. (After everyone telling me to read it, I felt it was very overrated.)

    Anyway a good few years later I picked it up again and now it is one of my favourite books. I realised it was the stage of life I was at that affected my attitude.

    I say give it another chance. You never know.

  • Richard Earls

    Amanda – I’m a recent fan of yours, a long-time fan of Neil’s. This is the best book review I have ever read. ~ Best, Richard

  • Mirais

    This blog seems like a meditation on someone who is no longer in love with their partner and doesn’t want to say it.

  • Leileanna

    married for almost 1 year to my partner of over 6 years. you capture a lot about marriage and loving here. though i am a scientist and he is figuring out what he wants to be when he grows up, i can relate to a lot of what you said. thanks for saying it all so fucking amazingly. <3

  • Xris

    you nearly made me cry. strange love is great. By the way, at times, you write things like Neil would. As it happens, I was a Gaiman reader before he even had a wife. A then he links “Dear Daily Mail” on fb and I find your great music (I will definitely be paying for that. Not sure if I want to buy at the show..or if I’m going)… coincidences of the best variety.

  • Dy Loveday

    I read Neil’s latest story and loved it. I admit, I wasn’t a fan until I read that story, although several writer friends recommended him. Maybe that’s what put me off. When people talk things up I’m always worried my interpretation won’t match theirs … that the magic will disappear. I didn’t enjoy American Gods. Couldn’t finish it (it was an audio version that I listened to on a lousy flight from U.S. to Sydney, and I’ve never liked being read to).

    I adored his latest novel, and he might have found a new fan. I cried twice during the ending, and I cant remember the last time I did that. So I went looking, hoping to find out more about a person who could write such a sensitive book, and found you! So much of what you say resonates. All the best on your ventures.

  • Drazil

    Thanks for writing this piece. I appreciate the window onto your creative process, and his, and the window onto a relationship between two artists who love each other. The blender analogy is useful, too.

    Last but not least — I’ve been reading Neil’s work for many years, since the Sandman days, but your work is new to me. Thanks for the piles of Evelyn Evelyn that were at Neil’s Los Angeles stop (well, Glendale). I took one and have enjoyed all the twisted notes and words.

  • Jimmy Quentin Trapp
  • Donna

    Ocean is my favorite. I’ve given as a gift a few times, mostly as teacher gifts. Some get it straight away, others later. It’s the most complete story i can think of. I love it. I wrote my feelings on Neil’s facebook page and he “liked” what i wrote. HE TEAD MY WORDS! Yeah, that happened.

  • melissa2u

    That made me cry. I can relate on certain levels with shushing a husband to finish writing a thought and how relationships bleed through those words and how work keeps us apart for long periods. Thanks for reposting this today on FB. I needed to read that. Now I need to go buy his book and then put my soul in a blender.

  • tabitha

    It is an amazing book. It made me feel things. I can’t describe them. Like wonderment and amazement and fright and sadness all mixed up. Your husband is a wordsmith.

  • James Barney

    dammit amanda, read sandman

  • Michael Zinfandel Rork

    …and now I’m going to go listen to Theatre is Evil while I work on my own art. :-)

    I loved Ocean, and I loved Theatre is Evil and now I love them both even more knowing the story behind them. And now I love you and Neil even more.

    Also, I’m in the middle of reading American Gods for the first time. Only about 4% into it so I can’t say much about what I think yet.

    I found this post by searching Google, “What is Amanda Palmer’s favorite Neil Gaiman book?”

  • Gunnar Tveiten

    If you didn’t understand the book until Neil explained it to you, what are the odds that I will ? (or any other reader will) ?

    I guess that’s the question I’m left with here. Neil is clever, but sometimes when I read his books I get the impression that he’s too clever. That is, there’s some terribly clever point here, but I’m not getting it.

    Is there any cure for that ?