EDITED TO ADD: NEIL GAIMAN HUGGED ME. AND WAS LOVELY. SO PLEASE, IF YOU COME UPON THIS POST, DO NOT PLAGUE HIM 😛
As you read this, I’m on a plane to San Diego for World Fantasy Con. Which means I will be in the vicinity of my idol, Neil Gaiman.
Random facts: The number of days I write WWNGD on my arm is far greater than the number of days I don’t, The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere are two of my favorite novels of all time, and the five or six times I’ve been compared to Gaiman, I’ve had to resist the urge to laugh hysterically and/or print out the reviews and roll around on them.
So, he’s going to be in this building, and I’m going to be in this building, and when I’m that close to people I admire that much, I get very, very shy, and chicken out (stalker FAIL), and then just sit in a corner with eyes like this: O_O
Because here’s the thing: I’m a speck. I’m a bit of writer dust that hopes to slowly, over the course of years, gain more mass and gravity until one day I matter (OMG, astronomy joke for the win, I’ve been watching way too many space documentaries). Neil Gaiman is a planet. I do not exist. Or maybe I do, maybe I’m starting to, but the simple and ridiculous ostentation of using the same word––author––to describe both of us is absurd.
And yet, we’re going to be in the same place.
So I was thinking that maybe, maybe, if some people tweeted to the planet and asked him to say hello to the speck, he might. You never know. Planets are funny things.
Will it work? Probably not.
You never know. I tweeted to him the other day, and to my (and most of my followers’ immense surprise) he tweeted back. It made my entire week. Small gestures shape worlds.
To be honest, I went back and forth on whether or not to even post this request. All last night I sat on the seesaw of tool/not tool, stupid/not stupid, silly/worth it. I stressed over how foolish I’d feel if I put this out to the blogosphere and the twitterverse, and nothing happened, and the conference passed, and the planet still had no idea of the speck.
It’s pride, you see. Sometimes we shy away from silly things because we don’t want to LOOK silly. I very much like to BE silly, but that’s a very different thing.
And then I stopped and said, HEY V. Don’t be so afraid to look silly. <–this should be a mantra, oft repeated.
So what if it doesn't work? I'm determined not to be embarrassed, because the fact remains that I'm attending the same conference as my idol, and I'm doing it AS A WRITER. Neil Gaiman and I may be different things, but we are still somehow made of the same stuff.
If you decide to tweet him (and really, this post is more a fan letter than a plea, so please don't feel obligated), do be sweet. Don't fill his feed with caps and imperatives and any harassment. You could simply say something like "@neilhimself There's a debut author at #wfc2011 named @veschwab and it would MEAN THE WORLD if you said hi," or "@neilhimself hey, debut author @veschwab is there at WFC with you and she is a HUGE fan and she would die if you said hi to her," or "@neilhimself There's a debut author there at WFC–@veschwab–and you are her HERO. If you find a chance to say hello, it would make her life."
Or some such.
So IF you should feel inclined at some point today to tweet to @neilhimself and encourage him to say hello, it would mean a great deal to this silly little girl. I’ll be the speck in the corner, the one with big dreams (the only kind worth dreaming) of one day having a fraction of his mass and gravity.
…and regardless of what comes of this post, or what doesn’t, I’m damn proud of that astronomy joke.