Neil Gaiman Drops Knowledge

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Tonight, let's sit back and enjoy some brief interviews with Neil Gaiman. I'm doing a bit of research on Gaiman, collecting quotations -- anybody got favorites? Leave me a comment.

On Writing

Gaiman offers advice for young writers while being interviewed on The Nerdist podcast. Some nice person has set his words to music ("La Vie En Rose") and clips of various writers writing in movies. My favorite part? After telling writers to write, when they ask what else to do, Gaiman says, "You have to finish things. That's what you learn from."

Advice for Young Writers

"All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come in the night and finish any stories for you. And they won't. It's only you." A similar sentiment to the video above, but a bit more concise. Also, elves.

On Copyright, Piracy, and the Web

"When the web started I used to get really grumpy, because ... people would put my stuff on the web." He changed his mind.

Answering Reader Questions

On dream projects: "I'd like to do some plays. ... I'd love to do some really strange live theater." SIGN ME UP.

Advice to Aspiring Artists

When asked by an aspiring director whether there were enough artists in the world: "Saying there are ... enough directors out there? Yeah, well none of them are you."

How to Be a Graceful Interview Subject

I'm pretty sure the interviewer here has never read a Neil Gaiman book, but perhaps looked up Gaiman's basic history on Wikipedia in order to ask some super-generic questions. This is a spectacular example of an author being graceful and eloquent in the face of a dumb interviewer. (Disclosure: I have been a dumb interviewer many times, though not for Mr. Gaiman.)

Best quote: "I want to make shit up!"

Look at You, Chasing Butterflies!

Patton Oswalt in conversation with Neil Gaiman, regarding Gaiman's house in Minnesota. My favorite: "I could buy an Addams Family house with seventeen acres of spooky woods around [it] for approximately the same cost as a parking space in central London. That was back in 1992; these days parking spaces in central London are a lot more expensive."

Commencement Speech, 2012

The instant-classic speech from last year's commencement at the University of the Arts. "You want everything to happen and you want it now, and things go wrong. My first book, a piece of journalism I'd done only for the money...should have been a bestseller...if the publisher hadn't gone into involuntary liquidation. ... I decided that I'd do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn't get the money, then you didn't have anything. And if I did work I was proud of, and I didn't get the money, at least I'd have the work."