Neil Gaiman did not graduate from university. He did not even go to university. Instead he pursued his creative ambitions, and became one of the worlds greatest writers. Here he shares some words of wisdom with graduating students from The University of the Arts.
One or two of my favourite Gaiman quotes from this talk:
“Nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it.”
“People get hired because they get hired. People keep working because 1)their work is good 2)they’re easy to get on with 3)they’re on time. You only need 2 of the 3.”
I studied with Neil at the Clarion writers’ workshop in 2008. He told me off for my apostrophes, but also gave me three of the best bits of advice about my own writing I have ever had. If I ever get famous enough to give a commencement speech, I will share them with you.
I’m quite chuffed to say that my story Star has been accepted by new UK based Universe magazine and will appear in their first ‘Albion’ themed issue in May 2012.
Star was written in the 5th week of my time at the Clarion writer’s workshop in 2008. I went to Clarion with the mission of breaking my writing…kicking apart the style I had developed and finding different directions to go in. I spent the first four weeks doing that, and getting suitably savaged in the critique sessions, so in week five I returned to my more familiar style of dark, intense flash fiction and Star was the product.
In one aspect Star is a glimpse at a dystopian, alternative Britain 60 years after Nazi Germany won world war II. Britain’s history as an imperial and industrial power is a strong theme in much of my fiction, and Star was one of the first times I explored this idea. In another aspect it’s a very personal story about growing up in a British culture I felt deeply and often aggressively alienated from. And, reading the story back three years after writing it, I see there is also an emergent idea about belief and materialism in the story mix. So I am very happy that the story has found a good home.
AND: My Lovesick Zombie Boy Band, first published in the Hugo award winning Electric Velocipede, is available for free on Amazon Kindle for a few days from Saturday.