there’s only one of you

loan  kayak at shilshole

A little over a year ago – more? I don’t even know. I think that’s what comes of having spent so much of the last year on the road –  Neil Gaiman developed a series of short stories as part of a project with BlackBerry. They called it A Calendar of Tales.

Long a fan, I was intrigued by the project, the immediacy of it, the collaborative nature of it, the short films that were made along the way.

And yes – the films offer the added draw of Neil Gaiman talking. I love his voice and am reluctant to go to the crowded places where I might hear him speak live.

Recently, the series of videos for the project was made publicly available and Neil posted them on his blog.

Watching and listening, I found myself inspired again by the particular combination of kindness, humility, and wisdom that Neil embodies. If you’ve heard his Make Good Art speech, you know what I mean.

I hit the pause button so I could write these down.

Good fiction unites us as humans because it gives us empathy, because it makes us look at the world through other people’s eyes. And it’s a wonderful way of realising other people exist.

The hardest part of being a writer is you get lonely – it’s just you and the stuff in your head and nobody else can do it for you.


There are lots of artists in the world, but there’s only one of you, and the only person who has your point of view is… you. If you decide not to make things, all you’ve done is deprive the world of all the stuff only you could have brought to it.


For me, a book is a door, to another world, to another person’s head. Reading gives you more than one life. It gives you an infinite number of lives, or if not infinite, at least as many lives as there are books on the shelves.”

See what I mean? Seriously, Neil Gaiman is the shit.

Now, to take all this inspiration and put it on the page. Kind of like the man in the rowboat, making his way across Shilshole Bay, nobody else can do it for me.


  • Thank goodness there is only one you—I don’t do well in crowds 🙂
    I wait with bated breath (or maybe baited breath—yum earthworms in the morning) for the opportunity to share the voices of the characters/stories in your head.

    • If there were more of me, maybe it would be something like Orphan Black, and I’d have even better stories to tell?

      I’m equally eager to share them. When they have a little polish on them. Which actually means I’ll have to spit on them first. Will you still want to read them after I spit them out?

    • Paulo, glad you liked the quotes. I am a big Neil Gaiman fan. Have you read his latest book (for adults)? The Ocean at the End of the Lane is brilliant.

      The readlists group of writing quotes is quite a collection. Someone put effort into that. Nice!

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