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The 9 Most Splendid Answers from An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer: A Reddit AMA.

By Jodi Clager | Seriously Random Lists | November 19, 2013 | Comments ()


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Neil and Amanda are answering questions on reddit to bring attention to their various projects. The couple recorded some tour dates a couple of years ago and the collection is now available and is called “A Night with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer”. Neil is a writer. Amanda is a performer. DID YOU KNOW THAT?

1. Over the past few years you both have been accosted with questions, comments, and general bitterness from people who say not-so-nice things about your relationship. How do you cope with it at the end of the day, when you’ve been married for two years now and yet again someone has to say something spiteful or ignorant?

Neil Gaiman: “I had run into nasty people on the web before I married Amanda, but marrying her opened the door on a whole new level of unpleasantness. It was like lifting up a rock and seeing what squirms underneath. And then slowly I started to realise that an awful lot of the nastiest haters appeared to be one person cutting and pasting away, and industriously spending every evening googling my name and Amanda’s and posting strangely unpleasant dispatches from an alternate universe. And then I felt very sorry for that person, because it doesn’t seem like much of a life.”

Amanda Palmer: “this is a good question.
first off: neither neil nor were strangers to haters when we met each other. from the first outing of the dresden dolls in 2000 (my first band, which was just me and one other guy) in boston, i was confronted with the amazing phenomenon that is People Who Love To Spend Their Time Hating & Criticizing Artists. back in 2003 when the dresden dolls built a proper website, i even made sure our designer put in a section called “hate mail”. and this was pre-social network, pre-myspace. these were just plain old hate letters, via email. that site is still up, and the hate mail section lives on!!!: http://www.dresdendolls.com/hatemail.html

there was even, back in the heyday of livejournal, an entire community was dedicated to hating my band.

neil can chime in about his own pre-marrying-amanda-palmer experiences, but he certainly had his own field of trolls and neil-gaiman-haters before i showed up.
so it came as no surprise to both of us that our union ushered in a whole new exciting era of hatred for the trolls and critics.

on the upside, coping with it when you have a partner who TOTALLY UNDERSTANDS how it feels to read a load of bullshit comments is WAY easier, and i think it’s one of the big reasons neil and i are and were attracted to each other. our job is weird. we’re constantly in the public trying to communicate and make art and it’s impossible to do that nowadays without facing haters and trolls….and it can feel really lonely.

we also serve to edit one another. both of us try to protect each other from taking troll-bait. we’ve traded “DELETE THAT TWEET YOU’LL ONLY ENCOURAGE THEM” emails and phone calls with one another more than once. it’s nice to feel like we’re part of an engine room that way….we protect and help each other.

i WAS a bit shocked when i realized that there was a whole subculture of WOMEN who were basically grumbling “fuck that bitch amanda palmer for dating/marrying my favorite author. now i can’t like either of them”. it seemed to me emblematic of the entire problem with feminism…a bunch of women scratching their own (and each other’s) eyeballs out because they’ve been fed the cultural lie that there’s only one place at the table for a single power, instead of understanding that the more we support and encourage each other as women, the more powerful and happy we can be on this fucking planet.
and the truth is…it’s just part of the job. i have accepted that doing this job (especially as a woman, which generally means i’m more of a target) means that “learning to deal with the trolls” is part of my everyday to-do list. you get good at it.

and honestly….the more i do it and learn about this part of the universe, the more i approach the haters and yellers with compassion. the more i look, the more hurt i see, and the less i feel like yelling back. from where i’m standing, the ones screaming the loudest probably need the biggest hugs.”

2. Neil, when I was in college, several professors told me to read your work as they though it would inspire me. I did, and it did. I’ve been writing for some years now and put a few short stories out to float about in the world. People seem to like them, but here’s my struggle: I love writing novels. I’ve written quite a few, but every time I go to re-read and then send them out on their own, I find something else that needs fixing, something else that could use some tweaking. How do you decide that yours are done? Also, what is your go-to writer’s fuel? Do you have a special writer’s hat? And how much does your dog help you write? Because mine mostly walks on my chest when I’m trying to work.

Amanda, you are strong and awesome and powerful and “Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under” is my go-to album experience when the doldrums overwhelm. How do you be married and a artist all at once? My husband can get overwhelmed by my artistic rants and rages and I don’t want to bury the poor, lovely man.

NG: “There’s always a point where you have to let a story go. Art isn’t finished, as many people before me have pointed out, only abandoned. And eventually you abandon your new child and hope that you’ll get it right next time, or the time after that, and you never do.”

3. How did you guys meet?

NG: “We were introduced over email by Jason Webley, after I said something nice about one of the songs he and Amanda did together as Evelyn Evelyn on my blog. We met because Amanda asked me to write some stories to accompany photographs of her dead, to make a book called WHO KILLED AMANDA PALMER. We met in the green room of the NYC Comic Con, and we didn’t fancy each other at all. There are photographs of us and Stan Lee together there. Amanda did not know who he was. I found this refreshing.”

AP: “it’s true. i was also in a relationship at the time with no interest in falling in love with neil gaiman…and i barely knew his work. we’ve looked back at the photos from that day and had a good laugh. neil looks like hell and has a black eye (his dog gave it to him…..long story) and i looked (according to neil) pudgy and mannish and absolutely “not his type”. nor was he mine.

the reason we’re convinced this relationship has legs is that we fell in love with each other’s personalities and brains and then, later, with each others bodies and faces….from a deeper place.”

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4. First question, does it surprise you when your works are challenged or censored? Is it a moment of pride when something impassions people so much that they attempt to ban it?

Second question, as a (fairly) young writer, I was hoping for words of advice when it comes to publishing a piece of work (poetry, short story, novella). Anything?

NG: “It’s mingled pride at being thought worthy of censorship and grumpiness at the people who think that the solution to ideas is to try and stop them.
Keep writing. Don’t be disheartened when stories don’t sell.”

5. Now for kind of a silly question: How would each of you describe the other in bed?

NG: “Amanda tends to sleep on the right and often sleeps naked. She’s cuddly, much less talky than I am, unless she decides that she wants to talk. She likes sex. She reads in bed before sleeping more than I do these days.”

AP: “i’m taking “in bed” literally here. neil is selling himself short: he’s an excellent cuddler. he also likes sex a lot.

we tend to use bed as our space to talk about our actual relationship and our sex life…we don’t do that shit over dinner. it’s the place where we can hold each other, be safe, away from work, phones and other people and let all of our feelings out.

we’ve recently been apart for about a month until a few days ago and this morning we’d planned to get up at 8:15 am and go to a yoga class and lunch together before hitting this reddit at 1 pm. instead, we woke up at 8 and had sex and airings-out and arguments and makings-out and generally caught up about all of our feelings and shit (it’s been a month, after all) until noon. when we’ve been apart for a while, that tends to be necessary when we get back together. and we prioritize it.

neil also sleeps strictly with a pillow made of beans and i sleep strictly with a squishy tempurpedic pillow that i also drag around on tour with me.

and we both grind our teeth, so we both use night guards. it’s really un-sexy and therefore sexy as hell.”

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6. I always hear things about an American Gods HBO Series, pilots and greenlights and all sorts of things. Whats the truth?

NG: “There is an American Gods TV series in the works. It’s no longer with HBO. The moment that things are ready to be announced I am sure they will be, either legitimately or via a leak in a big Hollywood Agency mailroom.”

7. Being polyamorous I’m often curious how others arrive at opening their relationships. How did you two breach the subject of an open marriage and was it a result of rigorous tour schedules or have all your relationships been open?

NG: “We both came from closed relationships (although Amanda had tried all sorts of relationships before that one). We both wanted to be with each other, but also we wanted more than that. From the very beginning of the relationship, in early 2009, possibly even before we started actually going out, we knew we wanted to be free to be with other people when we were away, and that we wanted to build the kind of a relationship in which that would bring us closer. So far it’s working pretty well.

I don’t know. It works okay currently because we have people we can kiss all over the world. If we both lived in a small town and never left, we might decide it was easier to have a closed relationship. Or we might not.”

8. Between your two television episodes and the 50th anniversary short story, you’ve written a bit of the Eleventh Doctor (and quite enjoyably, I might add). If you were to write a story involving any other Doctor, who would it be and why?

NG: “The Doctor is the Doctor. Matt Smith wasn’t cast when I wrote the first draft of The Doctor’s Wife.”

9. I don’t really have a relevant question, so I’m just gonna ask how many toasters you have at home?

NG: “There is only one toaster and it is TERRIBLE. It eats toast, and then I have to turn it on its side and shake it to get the toast out. And toast crumbs come out too and go all over the kitchen.

Why do I have such a toaster? Surely I can afford to replace it. Sigh.”

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • blackholenebula

    Neil Gaiman would like to think only one person finds him and his repulsive wife to be despicable lechers who lack a moral compass, but whole armies of people agree. Just read the comments.

  • dr_zayaz

    It's almost as if they didn't read the article..."And then slowly I started to realise that an awful lot of the nastiest haters appeared to be one person cutting and pasting away, and industriously spending every evening googling my name and Amanda’s and posting strangely unpleasant dispatches from an alternate universe. And then I felt very sorry for that person, because it doesn’t seem like much of a life.” - Neil Gaiman, proven correct...as always.

  • Shannon

    "The most 9" ?

  • Pinky McLadybits

    Yep. I was tired.

  • Shannon

    It happens. And your user name MORE than makes up for it. Love it!

  • stardust

    To me Amanda Palmer is like Peter Murphy - as long as I stick strictly to listening to her music, then I love it. When I start reading blog her posts, listening to her interviews, etc. then I can't with her.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Wait, what? American Gods is no longer in production for HBO? Booooo.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Let's hope for the BBC or ITV.

  • Emperor Cupcake

    Haters are gonna hate. I, for example, go into a blackout rage whenever I'm confronted with that woman, and I wake up several hours later with no memory of where I've been.

    I went to a snooty liberal arts school, and pretentious, exhibitionist people like her, who are apparently enchanted with the fact that they have working genitalia given the frequency with which they shout it from the rooftops...well, people like that were a dime a dozen.

    Neil Gaiman, on the other hand, is something special, and his choice of midlife crisis second wife makes me sad. How can he be happily married to a woman who doesn't use punctuation or capital letters?

  • cicatricella

    Well, *that's* far more than I ever wanted to know about NG and AFP's sex life. I had to stop reading his blog when he hooked up with/married her. The overshare is strong with those two. And Amanda Palmer . . . I just. can't.

  • First time I'm hearing of Amanda Palmer. I'm gonna go ahead and stop any opinions forming. I think I have too many anyway.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I know nothing about this woman other than what I vaguely remember of her poem to the bomber buuuuuuuuuuut

    - Intentionally not using capital letters is not cute, artistic, or unique. It's fucking stupid and comes across as someone trying way, way too hard.

    - she just oozes conceit. I mean wow. Just fuck off already.

  • stella

    Can Neil Gaiman write another Dr Who episode? Please?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Why not all of them?

  • BlackRabbit

    No no, that would be like having every day be a Saturday. Fun in theory, but no good in practice.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Good point. Maybe three per series would be a good limit.

  • Michelle

    I am completely underwhelmed by Amanda Palmer. But yes to all things Neil Gaiman.

  • llp

    I did not know that they were in an open marriage.

    I don't loathe Amanda Palmer like many do, although I do not feel any particular warmth for her. With that stupid poem she wrote, it seemed like she wrote some piece of crap and then hit publish right away - she might need a little more editing prior to instantly broadcasting every thought that goes in through her head.

  • Robert

    She has no filter. She sings about Instagram, slang terms for vagina, and literal metaphors like "I wanna be your bottomfeeder" without second guessing herself. She randomly decides it's totes cool to start doing covers of hardcore rap from the 90s without any editing to the lyrics while playing a ukulele. Whatever she thinks, she does. It's part of what her fans like about her, but she's admittedly a little trapped in that artiste mindset to understand that her gimmick doesn't play without years of context. Call it artist privilege. I can say "that's just AFP" when she does something stupid like that poem since I've seen her say and do worse things in concerts since her Dresden Dolls days and even interacted with her a few times when she wasn't in character. People without that experience can't just dismiss her antics.

  • wojtek

    And now I'm stuck wondering why >I< don't have people I can kiss all over the world. Grumblegrumblegrumble.

  • BlackRabbit

    If you were the Flash it would be much easier.

  • emmalita

    A new goal for the coming new year. Just make sure it's consensual before you go in for the smooch.

  • BlackRabbit

    This Gaiman fellow has some real moxie. I think he'll make something of himself with that kind of pluck.

  • Jezzer

    Yes, all those HATERS, HATING on poor Amanda for NO REASON. Because she NEVER does anything to invite it.

    Hate her. So much.

    HAAAAAAAAAAAATE.

  • grr arrgh

    May I just ask why you personally hate her? I saw the buzzfeed article you linked to, but I would just like to know from the mouth of a "Palmer hater" why you hate her. I'm not preparing to defend her to my last breath or anything like that. I just don't understand why people hate her so.incredibly.much. It seems to surpass sort of the normal threshold of annoyance one can have for a celebrity (though calling her a celebrity is a stretch) and goes to utter rage and hatred.

  • Jezzer

    In a nutshell, because she does stupid shit for attention and then retreats behind her legion of sycophantic fans when she gets it. She's a pretentious, phony, walking blight.

  • grr arrgh

    Also, were you referencing Kyle Kallgren from his Pinocchio episode of Brows Held High each time you wrote "HAAAAAAAAAAATE"? I suddenly realized whose voice I was hearing in my head when I read it LOL.

  • Jezzer

    I just blacked out and let my soul do the typing.

  • grr arrgh

    Ah. I can see how people could (and do) view her that way. Thanks for answering me.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    I honestly know nothing about her (music is my pop culture black hole) so I'm genuinely curious as to why. I gleaned from these images that she has questionable taste in eyebrows, but not much else.

  • Jezzer

    Oh, and then there's this image from her TED Talk, which is practically a war crime in itself.

    HAAAAAAAATE.

    http://imgur.com/oFV0u2v

  • sweetfrancaise

    Ugh. UUUUGGGHHHHHH. Honestly, I did not like AP pre-Gaiman, and nothing has changed since.

  • Twillahiss

    Your hatred amuses me. I don't like her either, she's a pretentious pseudo-intellectual and I'm also a little jealous that she's with Gaiman.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    I am so angry at you for bringing whatever the fuck this is into my life.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    It's like a lost scene from Toys.

  • Jezzer
  • I know nothing of Amanda Palmer. I just read that entire article and did not see one single enumerated item that I found hateful or that would make me hate her. If her sense of humor/irony is not your cup of tea, well and good--find another cup of tea somewhere. After all, Neil Gaiman found her good enough to marry...

  • Jezzer

    That's not evidence of her being worthy. That's evidence of Gaiman's fallibility.

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