Sunday, May 15, 2011

Surrealist garden; Serious Confession Time; Social Media's making me shake my head

I have come across the most amazing surrealist garden, and it is in one of my favorite places: Mexico. I just put this on my List of Places I Absolutely Must See.

You can find more pics and info at Lady Lavona's Cabinet of Curiosities (oddly, that's what I call the sex-toy drawer in my nightstand). It reminds me of the movie Labyrinth. And I expect the Great God Pan to come strolling along, grinning, asking me to dance. I would.


A Serious Confession: I do not like Neil Gaiman.

There. I've said it. All right, a year or so ago, I was gaga for Gaiman. What happened?

I read The Graveyard Book first, and to say I loved it would be an understatement. And in a whirlwind of sudden, absolute admiration for this marvelous author, I proceeded to read American Gods, Neverwhere, Coraline, and one of the Sandman comics.

And I really, really disliked them all. I wanted to like them. I mean, he wrote The Graveyard Book, which I loved, and besides that... everybody knows that Neil Gaiman is a Genius, First Class, Do Not Pass GO Just Squat On Boardwalk. I mean, everybody knows, right? It's a Universal Fact, right?

I loved Good Omens, but that was co-written with Pratchett. I wonder if what I love about it is due to Pratchett, or Pratchett's influence on Gaiman. Either way, it's only in GO and TGB that I find the characters having depth, and that the writing rises about the mundane.

Also, there was this thing. Twitter.

And here I devolve into a discussion of social media and why I am increasingly disillusioned. Two of the first people I followed on Twitter were Gaiman and Joe Hill. I have unfollowed both since. Because I dislike their writing? No. I unfollowed both because they're pretentious twats who use Twitter as their blog instead of, you know, blogging and tweeting the link. Not to mention, the amount of smugness and self-importance exuded by these two knows no bounds. I may not agree with someone's political views or personal philosophies, and I wouldn't unfollow based solely on that. And perhaps there is some degree here of sexism, and why Men Succeed Where Women Don't -- because of their apparent natural born arrogance, their absolute certainty of their own intensely high worth. Meh. I don't know. They're both fucking annoying, so I hit unfollow and breathed a sigh of relief.

Will I still buy Hill's books? Sure. Gaiman? No. And not because of Twitter, but because I really, really don't like his writing.

Man. I felt totally uncomfortable saying this out loud, but last night, on a whim, I googled, "I don't like Neil Gaiman." Hello, fellow peeps! I had no idea there were so many of you! Including Quentin Crisp. Crisp make a valid argument, and he arrived at it the same way I did, essentially -- through reading, and through a vague, growing disenchantment that turned into outright dislike.

That's all. One last thing: someone just tweeted a link to a site that lets you keep track of who unfollowed you on Twitter. Unlike LJ, you don't receive notifications. One day you've got 60, next day 58, and who is gone? Who knows? Well, this site knows. While that's interesting -- and the majority, I find, are spammers who you didn't follow back within a 7-day time frame -- what I disliked was the company's assertion that you can use this to "call out unfollowers!" Dear lord. Are we that juvenile? Yes, actually. I see it all the time on Twitter. I don't get that -- why would you do that? If they weren't spammers, maybe they just decided you no longer interested them. So? Maybe you don't have anything in common with them. Whatever. It's akin to people on LJ posting that they've been de-friended. Get the fuck over it. Are you serious? Since when did following and friending become lifetime committments? And when did unfollowing and de-friending become personal attacks?

Maybe I've just got too much on my plate these days (and I do, and if I don't get some serious time off soon, I'm going to have a meltdown), but in the vast universe of What's Important, this sort of stuff is barely asteroid dust. Let them burn on entry, shooting stars when you look up. And then turn back to your book and your flashlight, snuggle deeper into your sleeping bag, and remember that in the dark, the monsters in the forests come out to snatch away people who are foolish enough to sleep alone in fields at night. ;-)

Hasta la vista, babies. I've got fic to write. But first, some french toast and coffee...


  1. Well, from what I´ve seen it´s extremely hard for anyone to stay interesting on Twitter. One would have to be committed and talented, generally people aren´t. Follow, unfollow, bleh, can´t maintain an interest. And I don´t like the thought of talking to some random people, I like talking to people I like! Gaiman -- annoyingly in love, good for him.

    Right now, I kind of like Twitter and tomorrow´s another day. I don´t know if it´s good for me, though, it encourages my consumistic (consumptionistic?) tendencies. I already want everything right away, I should be made to practise zen instead of riding da tweet-wave =)

    I agree with you, these things aren´t lifetime committments. Having said that I still try to be as engaged as I can and want to be, and I do like getting to know people =) But no, I won´t be offended if people don´t want me. I find the Universal Truth that it´s really not about me strangely comforting =)

    That garden is lovely. I´m hoping grass will grow in my garden. I´m suspecting that maybe I really, really suck as a gardener...

    I went retro today and visited some old places. Had fun ;)

  2. Good for you for being honest - sometimes it is surprising how many people think the same and they're just waiting for someone brave enough to say so.

    I'm half way into The Graveyard Book and I do like it, but I had to force myself to finish American Gods, and it was painful.

    I think he does better with shorter fiction, Fragile Things has some good work in it, especially his s.s., The Hidden Chamber. I loved that one, along with some of his 'wonders' like, The Fairy Reel.

    I wouldn't put him up there with Joyce Carol Oates or John Hart, two of my favs, but he's okay. I think I read him when I need story ideas, because his writing is out there and often gives me some slipstream-like creations.

  3. that garden is gorgeous and i really want to go there too now.

    can't weigh in on the gaiman issue because to be honest, i've not read anything by him (shocking, i know) but it's kind of refreshing to hear a differing pov than the whole, neil gaiman is a god thing. but i definitely agree with you about the idiocy of 'calling out unfollowers.' huh? i thought we all had free will in these matters, though i will admit i'm not quick to unfriend on lj for fear of starting something.

  4. Asuqi--It's hard for anyone to stay interesting. Indeed. The problem is that, in an attempt to stay interesting, some cross over into "really annoying" territory. Constant self-promotion or writing 10,000 word blogs over 71 tweets in a row (yes, I just used the calculator). Gaiman, I think he believes his own hype now. Sadly.

    Glad you had fun today! Sometimes, we need to take a definite break from the day-to-day. It's rejuvenating.

    Erin--American Gods has got its own cult following. I'm confused by that, but to each their own. And I absolutely think you're right, that shorter fiction showcases his talent far better. Fragile Things had some great stories. Now, I don't know who John Hart is, so thanks for mentioning him. I'm going to look him up on Amazon.

    Kitty--Lately, the trend on Twitter (or maybe it's always been like this and I just follow enough people now to see it more often) is to post lists of people who've unfollowed you. Sometimes with a snarky message. Um... why? Why would people do that? Goodness. Not everyone has to like you -- which, btw, was very hard for me to swallow at one time, LOL! But anyway. Yeah. I've been unfollowed and defriended, and there is a moment of, "Huh?" But I've never been tempted to publicly post a scathing indictment of the person. Some do, though, and I can understand why you'd feel that way about being loath to defriend.

  5. Haha, that's brilliant! I've totally thought the same thing about people who shout out others who unfollow them on twitter. And its not like the person who unfollows gives a shit!

    I've yet to read any Gaiman, though I feel a little unnerved now as a publisher compared one of my m/s to Neverwhere. I'd not even heard of it and had to go look it up! (The publisher passed, btw!)I'm too scared to read the book in case I end up pressing delete on my own!

  6. Hm. Should you read Neverwhere... Well, I didn't particularly care for it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. My issue is that his characters don't make me feel anything for them. I could not care less whether they make it through the book. Cardboard. This was a big problem in Neverwhere -- I really didn't get why we were following this guy (I hesitate to call him the protagonist, he was that bland).

    OTOH, perhaps the publisher was referring to your imaginative, world-building qualities, or you sense of atmosphere, or perhaps the novel was set underground, beneath a major city? If so, those are good things. Cool. :)

  7. Ah! You've said it! We all have our quirks. You might not remember what I said about xTx's stuff awhile back. Same diff.

    (One redeeming factor is that Gaiman is the now hubby of punk-cabaret mistress Amanda Palmer whom I've love for years and years?


    It's important for writers to branch out on dislikes and likes. We should be pushing the boundaries of what everyone says is kosher and popular.