Monday, May 4, 2009
How Neil Gaiman Saved My Virtue
"Hail the voice of the Bard!
Who Present, Past and Future, sees:
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees" - William Blake
There is a common misconception about people who enjoy reading Fantasy/Horror fiction; that fans of this genre seek only pure escapism and have not interested in exploring the issues of real hunman emotions or situations. Even the writers of this fiction are often accused of not being able to face the real issues of everyday human reality. I have even seen television episodes on those crime show genre, showing fans of vampire or comic book fiction as individuals suffering from arrested development and living in a self made fantasy world invented by the fiction that they love to read. But, I can only state, that is not the case with me or the writers I have grown to admire and love to read. There are such writers such a Joe Hill, the greatly talented Joyce Carol Oats and the brilliant Neil Gaiman, although rooted in the black, magical, sinister genre of Fantasy/Horror Fiction, have written about the intense personal pains of the human experience.
I'm spending the last leg of my Spring Break in Montecito, staying at the charming Montecito Inn. While sipping cocktails at the Four Seasons, I ran into a mutual friend of the man whose house I sat for in Malibu this Winter Season. This man also lives in Malibu, is very handsome and is very married. He was staying at the Four Seasons, alone, on a golf weekend with the "boys". I was strangely happy to see him, even though whenever we have met in past, we have locked horns or politics. I, a Liberal Democrat and he is so Right-Winged he makes Rush Limbaugh look open-minded! He loves to accuse me of drinking the CNN cool-aide. Still, seeing a familiar face was lovely and he has a very lovely face indeed! He reminds me of Jay Gatsby, blond haired, blue-eyed, tan and always neatly dressed and put together like a GQ model. His wife is also, a classic Daisy beauty, blond, fashionably thin and only wears the latest fashion. Don't believe, I've seen her wear the same outfit twice!
While sipping my Lemondrop martini, watching the sunset over the Pacific ocean, I heard this friendly male voice :"Hello, Comrade." and I looked up to see this handsome, golden man, standing over me,"Up the rebels!" I exclaimed. "So, you're now a member of the I.R.A.?" "I'm with any group that rattles cages."I answered.
He sat and joined me for a drink, I'll would sit with Rush Limbaugh if he is paying for the drinks and the drinks at the Four Seasons aren't cheap! We did not talk about politics but he told me of his golf game and I told him of my bout with poisoning and adventures in wine tasting. Here is a man, who thinks nothing of dropping $500 on a bottle of wine!
There was that usual moment of awkward silence, that happens between a man and woman, when suddenly, out of left field he made a bold declaration of intense romantic attraction to me and stated he couldn't stop thinking about me and that he wanted to explore a love affair with me. I was shell shocked. Taken, completely off guard by his proposition. However, at that moment I realized why I was so attracted to this man. It wasn't his handsome face, I see handsome men everyday at the yoga studio in West Hollywood. It was the fact that this man has always listened to me and actually respected my opinions!
I recall once hearing on a program on the Oprah radio station, a speaker making the statemnet that the greatest act of love is to listen! That is why so many people experience the feelings of transference while going to psycho therapy and why people arer so happy to write out a big check to a theapist that says nothing but just listens to them.
The man could see I was taken off guard and gave me his business card with his personal cell phone number on it and gave me his room number at the Four Seasons and stated to think it over.
I took a long walk along the beach then walked back to my own hotel room in the Montecito Inn. I open a bottle of wine trying to relax my mind. Then I decided to get my mind off this situation and decided to read. I always travel with a set of books while on my road trips. I took along a copy of Neil Gaiman's book "Fragile Things" . Mr. Gaiman is a master story teller. He possess a poetic, felicity of language. His stories have a dry, English wit of P.G. Wodehouse with a dark sinister, existenial edge of a Nikolia Gogal. Reading a short story of his is like taking a road trip with a destination unknown, for you are never quite certain how the story is going to lead or end.
I picked up the book , open it and as if an angel's finger was guiding me, I opened it to a short story titled:"How Do You Think It Feels". It's a tale about a married writer whose is having a love affair. Reading it now, after reading about his own twenty-year married break-up on his blog, gave the tale a rather creepy, autobiographical feeling to it. It is well written, rather intense and a little too sexually graphic, at one point, I felt I was reading one of those nasty letter from Penthouse Forum. Still, he writes brilliantly of the emptiness of such a relationship and after reading it I knew I didn't want to be the other woman! I had lost all desire to even be tempted. This story must not have been an easy story for Mr. Gaiman to write for it was written from the point of great, painful, emotional truth.
I'm grateful to Mr. Gaiman, where ever he is and want to thank him from sparing me from entering into such a shallow relationship. Like a noble knight of ancient yore,his words acted like a sword and saved this damsel in distressed and saved my virtue.