I don’t think it’s a secret to those who know me (or frequent this site) that I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fangirl. I’ve read his books, watched the shows he’s penned, followed him online and spent far too much time obsessing over what to me is some of the best writing written in writery words.
Fangirl yes. Lover of his books? Yes, obviously, but for a very different reason, Gaiman has garnered my respect.
I have a friend, Elaine. I adore her. We have geeked out many a time over our various loves in literature, film and television. We encourage one another, critique each other’s writing, complained about out the things in our lives that get us down. And she happens to be one of the strongest, most patient, incredibly amazing women I know. (And I know many).
A few months back, we told you guys about Gaiman’s Calendar of Tales project he worked on with BlackBerry in the “Keep Moving” campaign. Gaiman took to Twitter and “asked fans around the world to help him tell a new kind of story. A few weeks, thousands of Tweets, twelve stories and a galaxy of art later, A Calendar of Tales was born.”
My friend Elaine inspired “October” with the following:
@neilhimself asked: “What mythical creature would you like to meet in October? (& why?)”
@elainelowe replied: “A djinn. Not to make a wish. But for the very best advice on how to be happy w/ what you already have.”
I say that Elaine is a great mother for many reasons. She is kind. She is nurturing and, the very least of which, she is raising an autistic son. Being happy with what you have, for her, means embracing the struggles, because they teach valuable lessons; understanding that the challenges we each face are meant to build character, for us to garner a semblance of the person we should strive to be. For her, that means embracing each temper tantrum, each shift in schedule, every challenge in not only parenting, but parenting a child with autism so that she appreciates how beautiful, how unique, how very special her little man is.
She does it all with grace.
It was her personal inspiration that kept her from attending the Calendar of Tales release which Gaiman’s camp so generously offered for free to each of his “winners.” She couldn’t leave her home and go to Boston because she cannot usurp her son’s schedule. She had the following communication with Gaiman as a result:
elainelowe: Alas, I can not attend release of Gaiman’s #CalendarofTales due to inspiration for prompt, my autistic 9 year old. Hope to send card though!
@neilhimself So sorry I couldn’t attend #calendaroftales event in Boston yesterday. Hope you got my thank you card for picking my tweet!
neilhimself: @elainelowe I did. Please give your son my love. I’m looking forward to the book. And I love your tweet & its reason/sentiment so much.
Gaiman didn’t need the help of his millions of followers to inspire anything, but he wanted them to be a part of the book. He wanted them participating, he wanted them actively involved in the creation of his art. No one forced his hand. He did so because he genuinely seems to believe in the community of people who not only embrace and enjoy his books, but who inspire them as well.
For me, when Elaine told me about her communication with my favorite author, something shifted. His kindness, his generosity, elevated my attachment to Gaiman. I’d always admired his gifts, his amazing ability to create the unimaginable, to make the impossible seem very real. Now I respect the man behind the curtain because he was generous to my friend, because he understood and loved how inspiration can be found right in front of us.