I had this whole other thing I was going to write about, and then Amanda Palmer happened.
Well, to be more accurate, Amanda Palmer has been happenin’ for quite awhile now, but what happened was I read her book/marriage review of her husband’s impending book: Neil Gaimain’s “The Ocean At the End of the Lane.”
It’s a beautiful, heart-rending piece, and despite her claiming she’s not much of a writer, she is so visceral and emotive that I can’t help but admire her. She’s like a rock star e.e. cummings.
I mean, just look at this:
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.
Now I probably should just leave it at that because he’s one of my all-time favorite authors and I have the absolute privilege of being one of those people who gets to stand in line for 5 hours so he can sign my book next week when he comes to town to talk about his book on his last-ever book tour, and if I keep writing there’s a slim slim slim chance he might actually read what I say and then I’ll be embarrassed later.
But I’ve thought this awhile so I’m going to just go ahead and say it: I am in awe of that pair.
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. How can you not love them?
I’m pretty much in awe of them separately, of course.
I mean, Neil Gaiman, master of your dreams and nightmares. He taps into literary visions you only wish you could grasp. He’s got an impossible mop of hair, a sonorous voice I wish I could bottle because I’d listen to it every night, a consistently black wardrobe, and a charming dry wit. He’s just precious, and yet also scary, like a beautiful snake that you think won’t bite you but seems like maybe it’s poisonous; at least, it’s been somewhere you’re afraid to go.
And then there’s Amanda Palmer. Frankly, she scares the pants off me. She’s so unafraid, unflinching in front of a crowd or a feeling. (Go watch her TED talk if you’re not sure about that). She does this beautiful zany thing with her eyebrows, and her music is so daring and interesting (ok, I admit that I don’t always get it. But I do always feel it). I’m terrified of her, but I also wish I could be like her, so avant-guard and free and magical.
And then they had to go and get together. And now they provide a whole ‘nother kind of inspiration.
Now, I’m not a big fan on spying on celebrity’s lives: I figure they probably deserve their peace just as much as any of us, thankyoukindly, and sometimes more. But I admit an intense fascination with these two. I don’t go seeking information on their relationship, but I’m always quietly thrilled when one of them writes something about the other, or someone posts a hypnotic picture of the pair, because I try to imagine what being in that relationship is like.
Like a pairing of two titans, I think. Electric.
Though Palmer talks about them having “rough” times, the part of their relationship I (and the rest of the internet, presumably) see is so effusive it’s grandiose. I want to be like that. I love my fiance dearly, and I wonder, if all our secret private talks were open to the world (and if someone cared to read them) would I sound as loving and intense as they do? Or is their affection for each other something special, out of reach for the rest of us?
If, by some slim chance, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer/Gaiman read this, I want to say thank you. Thank you for the courage to love with vivacity, with abandon, with depth, with honesty.
And thank you for giving us glimpses of that love. May the world be blessed with more like it.