Yesterday was a good day. I managed to do some of my errands in the morning, even though I failed in finishing what I was supposed to do when I took the day off.
I headed off to Rockwell later that afternoon, hoping to get a chance to see Neil Gaiman again and get my books signed. Thankfully, I did! I got my number and boy, I knew I was in for a long wait.
From the third floor. The line to get a number was shorter now. People were just milling around, waiting for the event to start.
This is what Neil refers to as “Neil faces.”
I decided to walk around a bit and find a nice spot to sit in while waiting for my turn. I checked out the mini exhibit of the Revelations art contest finalists (you can read about the winners here, then I went to the cinemas on the 3rd floor and found an elderly couple checking out the movie schedules. They didn’t look like they normally went to watch movies, and it took them a while to decide but they finally did. I wanted to ask them what they were going to watch.
It was way past 4 PM when Neil arrived. I had a nice seat and I was really, really decided on staying put, but damn, that man’s pull is too strong. So I got up, snapped some pictures and went to find a different place to sit as I was expecting my chair to be occupied.
Someone loves me again because the seat was empty. So I went back there and decided to stay put because I knew that it was going to be a while.
It was an interesting spot. I had a clear view of Neil as he was signing, and watching his interactions with his fans was something I didn’t get tired of. He was always cheerful, even though clearly he was tired. He had something to say to everyone, even though probably a lot of the questions were ones he already answered in his blog or in interviews (then again, one can’t be expected to keep track of all of that, and there’s something really cool about hearing it directly from him, than just reading about it).
Almost every female, even some guys, asked for a hug. A lot gave him something to take home: books, drawings, cards, toys, food, drink, etc. In his recent blog entry, Neil says he’s got two boxes to be shipped home, but he took a few of the things along with him, including one box of chocnut, a package of dried mangoes, a book and a bottle of local rum (lambanog, given to him by a guy who looked like an expat himself. Hi, if you read this, I want to know your story ^_^).
He comes in, he waves and he starts signing
Some girls made this sign and was on the mall’s 2nd floor. They called Neil and for a few seconds he stopped signing and waved at them with both arms.
This guy can draw fast, and the likeness, even though it’s such a simple sketch, is evident.
I still have a long way to go
I’m about the 4th person from this girl
Watching him from the sidelines as I waited my turn, I couldn’t help but think about why people love him so much. His works are great, one I’ll admit even though I’m not a fan of all his works. I haven’t finished “Sandman” and I prefer the stories and books he wrote that was geared for kids (Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Odd and the Frost Giants, etc). But seeing how he interacts, how he takes time to connect with each person in that very long line (300 plus, with at least a thousand books), it isn’t any wonder why he’s so popular.
What’s funny is that while he was still gracious and polite and chatty, it’s the people around him who were not. I understand the pressure and the stress of organizing and handling such an event though, and how tiring it is to wait for your turn, but it’s the least we can do for a chance to talk to him, right? I just hope no one felt shortchanged. I don’t, even though I never got a hug (because I didn’t ask for one, boo to me, hehe).
When it was my turn, I had already lost some of my nervousness because whilst he was chatting with the girl ahead of me, he turned to include me in the conversation and looked at me straight in the eye. It was only for a few seconds and he won’t remember it, but I was so floored. The conversation flowed easily between them then on to me, like he was just talking to one person.
The girl said she was eighteen when the Sandman series first came out. Neil replied, “Well neither one of us is eighteen now,” then we laughed (yes, umeepal na ako sa point na to haha). He pointed at his hair and said that someone told him “You’ve got grey hair that wasn’t there five years ago,” and that was when he looked at me.
They talked for a bit and she went on. He slid my books near and said hi to me. I patiently stood beside him before I blurted out, “Have you ever considered learning to write with your left hand?”
Thanks to Erwin for taking these pictures. He and the other photographers were there as long as Neil was.
Neil replied, “I did, actually,” but he it looked so different, plus he mentioned that he injured that hand. “My signature is actually a series of muscle movements,” he said, and the injury made it hard to try it with his left. He moved the pen to his left hand and showed how he couldn’t bend the hand to write properly. “It wouldn’t really look the same,” he said. I quipped “No one would believe that you wrote it.” He replied, “Exactly.”
With that, he finished signing my books. I took them, smiled and him and said, “Thank you.” He replied, “Thank you for coming.”
Exit, stage left.
When I arrived home, the boys were playing a racing game with this new USB steering wheel they got. I see the electric bill rising again.
Here are my books.
Note: I shall edit the photos later on.
P.S. To my friend, Elise, soon it’ll be your autograph I will line up for.