Friday, August 30, 2013

Make Good Art

I recently watched again Neil Gaiman's 2012 commencement speech for Philadelphia's University of the Arts. If you haven't seen it or heard of it, you might be living under a rock somewhere. If you have, it's a good time to remind yourself of his wise words:

Make. Good. Art.

"Be wise, because the world needs more wisdom. And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who's wise and then just behave like they would."


I have personal relationships with writers, or rather, with their words, their powers. Even if I never meet them in person. I had a close friendship with Ray Bradbury, and he never knew. But it was powerful, brought into existence by his words and their affect on me. It began when I was eight. He was sixty-five. He was writing because he was compelled to write, to create, to spin worlds into being just by recording his thoughts. He wasn't writing for me. But his words found me. They filled an empty place in my life that I didn't know existed until his words were there. I called him by his first name, and people who know me know who I mean when I say, Ray. He died last year, and I cried as I would for any beloved grandfather. But the friendship lives on, as his words do.

I have a similar friendship with Neil Gaiman. I discovered him with Sandman and reveled in his short stories and novels. Neil is another writer with whom I am on a first name basis. He doesn't know. He's never met me either. But the power of his words have changed my life. When he delivered this address, I felt as if he were speaking to me. I know a lot of other people felt the same way. In any case, I have decided to do what he advises. Neil, thank you. Thank you for your words, for your vision, and for the inspiration you have given me. I will go forth and make good art.




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