Quote Monday: Neil Gaiman

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.”

-Neil Gaiman


5 Things: weekend away, zombies, Hamilton, art shows and pen pals

The 5 things that brought me joy this week:


Last weekend I went up to Doug’s parents’ place with Doug, and two of his best friends. The views from the area are gorgeous and it’s so peaceful there.


While at Doug’s parents’ place we went to the gun range. I have never shot a gun before, but this was my target. I’m thinking if the zombie apocalypse ever happens, I’ll be okay.


I’m currently reading Hamilton: The Revolution (about the musical). It’s really interesting, fun, and a beautiful book. Also, I love the soundtrack.


I received a flyer in the mail today from the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) about a couple of exhibits that they’re having later on this year, and I’m super excited. There’s the Small Wonders one, which is what the above picture is about. And there’s also a showing of Monet and Van Gogh. Super stoked.


I’m involved with Postcrossing, but Postcrossing also lets you make direct swaps with people, which is awesome because now I have a pen pal in the US. I’ve never had a pen pal before, so I’m really looking forward to this.

As always, my 5 Thing is inspired by Cupcakes and Cashmere, which is a great blog and something that you should check out if you haven’t already.


Review Tuesday: The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has a way with words. He is one of those authors that makes me look at things completely differently – such as “Night’s Bridge.” That’s a scene and an image I’ll never get out of my head. And he also has a way with speaking – the way that he speaks about reading and libraries and art is inspiring. Thus, I was very excited when I heard that he was coming out with a collection of his essays and speeches in The View From the Cheap Seats.

view from the cheap seatsFrom Goodreads:

An inquisitive observer, thoughtful commentator, and assiduous craftsman, Neil Gaiman has long been celebrated for the sharp intellect and startling imagination that informs his bestselling fiction. Now, The View from the Cheap Seats brings together for the first time ever more than sixty pieces of his outstanding nonfiction. Analytical yet playful, erudite yet accessible, this cornucopia explores a broad range of interests and topics, including (but not limited to): authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Insightful, incisive, witty, and wise, The View from the Cheap Seats explores the issues and subjects that matter most to Neil Gaiman—offering a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed, beloved, and influential artists of our time.

The book is broken down into different sections:

  1. Some Things I Believe
  2. Some People I Have Known
  3. Introductions and Musings: Science Fiction
  4. Films and Movies and Me
  5. On Comics and Some of the People Who Make Them
  6. Introductions and Contradictions
  7. Music and the People Who Make It
  8. On Stardust and Fairy Tales
  9. Make Good Art
  10. The View From the Cheap Seats: Real Things

The book started off strong with some interesting essays and forwards that he wrote for different books. I also really liked that there were some authors and works that I had never heard of because it meant that I kept opening Goodreads or Evernote to find or write down the different book titles that seemed interesting to me so I could read them later. It’s always fun when an author you enjoy essentially recommends new books to you.

However, by the middle, I was starting to falter. The introductions started getting repetitive and I started getting a bit bored. A couple of the people he was talking about became the “one in a million people” and I feel like I would have liked those forwards more if I wasn’t reading them all together in one shot.

The book picked up again though in the last couple of sections and I found myself devouring it. I loved the On Stardust and Fairy Tales section, and Make Good Art, as well as The View From the Cheap Seats: Real Things. There was one essay in that section about refugees that made me cry actually.

I’ve decided that the original essays or speeches that he wrote and put into this book are my favourite and kept me entertained and engaged the most. The forwards are the ones that I didn’t like nearly as much (though I liked the beginning ones more than the middle ones).

Overall though it was a book I enjoyed and I did end up making a list of new books and authors to check out. Can’t go wrong with that!

Quote Monday – Anais Nin

“You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.”

-Anais Nin

Quote Monday – Jeanette Winterson

“Every work of art is an act of faith, or we wouldn’t bother to do it. It is a message in a bottle, a shout in the dark. It’s saying, “I’m here and I believe that you are somewhere and that you will answer if necessary across time, not necessarily in my lifetime.”

-Attributed to Jeanette Winterson (Memory and Dream: Charles de Lint)