I could've just stayed at home and relaxed. But NO! This was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I am not about to let it pass.
I suddenly remembered that I was in Kobe when Neil Gaiman toured Tokyo last September 2007. If I had a LOT of money at that time, I would've bought a Shinkansen ticket just to see him. But it was either that or starvation. Nonetheless, there was hope and yesterday proved to be a blessing. Therefore, I couldn't think of any good reason NOT to see him in person. Hehehe, not even Mina the typhoon. And the wonderful part about that was, I was not the only one willing to face the bad and unpredictable weather just to catch a glimpse of Mr. Gaiman.
Oh. Did I mentioned that I was there?
Yep, I went to Fully Booked at the Fort and attended the awarding ceremony of the 2nd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards as well as the launching of the book Expeditions, which contains the works of last year's winners (one for each category; comics and prose). Mr Gaiman provided the foreword of the said book(s). Thankfully, the weather cooperated with us (just a drizzle) and everything went smooth as silk. Local magician Eric Mana and a group of percussionists/musicians/arnis practitioners (forgive me, with all the excitement I forgot their name) graced the evening and provided entertainment.
I was contented to be just a few feet away from Mr Gaiman, though I wished I arrived much earlier and owned a better camera, fit for those zoom shots. But its fine, I had fun and it was really heartwarming to hear Mr Gaiman applaud the winners for their good work and talk about the uniqueness of the Filipino tradition and culture. Now, the contest is in its third year, and Mr Gaiman asked all interested parties to submit their best works. He even announced that they are including a new category: short film (to the excitement of the crowd). The organizers will be giving the future contestants a year to do their stuff, hence, mediocrity is NOT an option.
I'll leave all the writing/drawing/moviemaking to the professionals; I'm just happy to be one of Mr Gaiman's fans and be in the same place as he is. The most memorable event of the evening was when Mr Gaiman requested his son, Mike, to join him in the stage (wherein Mr Gaiman expressed that one can profit from your children's nightmares, hehehehe). You can see that apart from being an amazing storyteller and bestselling author, he is first and foremost a father and family man. Better yet, read his blog; he gushes over his children.
That's basically it. Oh yeah, I also bought an autographed copy of the movie Beowulf script and won an autographed Sandman bookmark (which I have yet to claim). Thanks very much Mr Gaiman, hope you can visit the Philippines soon, you are ALWAYS welcome.