Things I Have (And Don’t Have) In Common With Neil Gaiman

jnl-comicThere’s a Buzzfeed list swinging around the internet (that phrase is so going to catch on) about bestselling author Neil Gaiman and the “14 Things You Don’t Know” about him.

I was surprised to find that the very first item on the list was an obscure food we both love.

So, in the interest of seeking similarities, here’s his list compared to me.


1. His favorite cheese is Wensleydale.

I have to confess: I was introduced to Wensleydale by the Monty Python “Cheese Shop” sketch. I was intrigued by the name, I saw it in a cheese shop (that actually had cheese in it), and bought it on a lark.

But, it turned out to be delicious, with a slightly sweet flavor and crumbly consistency.

Moreover, I’m a bit of a purist. You can hardly find Wensleydale uncontaminated by fruit (at least in the States) but that is how I prefer it. If I want fruit with my cheese, I’ll buy fruit alongside my cheese.

2. He believes that books have genders.

I had never thought of it before, but I have to agree that books have genders insofar as books certainly have personalities.

(Neuter is also a gender, right?)

3. His favorite Filipino mythological character is the manananggal.

My favorite thing to say is now manananggal (“man, an angle”?), but my favorite Filipino mythological character is still author R. Gullekson.

He is a real person, but he qualifies as a “mythical” Filipino character in that he is actually only half-Filipino.

Also, unlike the manananggal, he keeps his guts inside himself.

4. He has a writing shed.

I want a writing shed.

That way I wouldn’t have to hang out in hookah bars and coffee shops to write.

5. He wrote Anansi Boys with a Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen.

I just typed “Anansi Boys” on my keyboard using a red, low-odor, EXPO dry erase marker with the cap on.

6. His least favorite sound is the squeal of car brakes.

That’s a good one, but I would have to give the “least favorite” award to the sound of a bone drill.

7. He had a talking cat.

Yup. And, I think this is far more common than people think.

In fact, I wrote the short story “Reading Cats” about the linguistic capabilities of felines.

8. He is a beekeeper.

Despite their necessity in the food web, I am an avid disliker of all stinging hymenopterans.

Can’t we pollinate and make honey without the proliferation of biochemical weapons? Just a suggestion.

9. When he was 16, he started a magazine called Metro with three friends.

When I was 16, I wrote a sprawling and truly awful fantasy novel called Black Orbs, which I hope has found its way to a landfill by now.

Synopsis: an Asian wizard-monk and a Nordic barbarian team up to find the links of a giant magical chain used to imprison a primordial dragon god. Imagine Lord of the Rings, but there are 99 rings to find, they’re each the size of a wagon, Gandalf is a ninja, Aragorn is Conan, and there’s no Frodo.

Also, I can’t for the life of me remember why it was called Black Orbs. Good riddance.

10. Sushi is his favorite comfort food.

Sushi is awesome. Sashimi (no rice) is better.

Slap some raw salmon on a plate, and I’m a happy animal. I’m going to count this as a halfsy.

11. He has his very own Neil Gaiman rat figurine.

I have my very own Neil Gaiman voodoo doll.

Ha ha, actually no I don’t. Just kidding! That mysterious burning sensation is probably a bee, sushi, or Wensleydale allergy.

12. His favorite thing to cook is omelettes.

My favorite thing to cook is eggs-over-medium.

I’m counting this as another halfsy.

13. When he was a kid, he alphabetized all the books on his bookshelf.

I can’t even decide on an organizational scheme for my books as an adult.

I need to hire a librarian.

14. He began The Ocean at the End of the Lane as a short story.

I began the maritime mystery novel The Ligan of the Disomus as a short story.

There … J. Nelson Leith is five-fourteenths like Neil R. Gaiman.

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