As much as I hate ranking life moments against one another, if the Reaper came a-callin' right now, tonight's events would have to be in the list of "top five coolest moments ever".
Through a combination of luck and charity of friends, I just got to sit in on a long armchair-and-scotch chat with Neil Gaiman, Gardner Dozois, Michael Swanwick and amazing local photographer Kyle Cassidy and my talented up-and-coming writer/editor friend Mike VanHelder. Just the six of us. At Neil's hotel, after he read a chapter of the Graveyard Book in Philly tonight.
To say that the conversation was incredible would be an understatement. Watching three literary giants exchange ideas about everything from politics to steampunk (not to mention the entire science fiction genre) was inspiring beyond most experiences. I wish I could put the world on pause for a year and read, and paint, and read, and paint some more. I also wish I could've gotten over my shyness and piped up at any number of moments when I had something thoughtful to say, but... well, spilled milk.
To quote Mike (whom I owe a tremendous favour to for making this happen), "apparently I've died and have reincarnated as someone significantly cooler than me."
Inspired and wanting to give Neil a thank-you note of sorts for being consistently inspiring, I did this sketch last night. I'm actually rather embarassed, having only had about an hour to crank something out from starting-to-think-about-it to putting the brush down. A super-quick rush sketch painting ISN'T what I wanted to give a major idol in my life, but hey... it's better than just begging HIM to give ME and autograph. I don't need an autograph, I got to shake his hand and talk to him. The memory beats a scribble, fo' sho'.
Anyway, his assistant Cat took it, said very nice things about it very excitedly while showing it to everyone around her, and said she'd give it to him right after the show. (but She seemed genuine and was extremely pleasant and friendly, so I believe it got to him, or will.) She was so kind to me, really. What an awesome lady.
Anyway, that's that. I have the distinct nostalgia of being eight years old, offering a broken dandelion in hopes of making friends, terrified I'll be laughed at. And that's okay.