Pull Up a Chair, It’s a Saturday Book Share: Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Speech

I am enjoying this meme so much, Styling Librarian πŸ™‚

make good artI bought this little book–even before I listened to the speech–because I buy new things by Neil Gaiman. I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that it is designed by Chip Kidd, so that was an added bonus I discovered when I opened it up. It is a delightful little book, and an important one, too.

On May 17, 2012, Gaiman delivered this speech at commencement at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. At the beginning of the book, he thanks his wife, Amanda Palmer, for showing him that “he could tell people real things.” And he does just that–telling graduates the his truth about writing and creating and how it’s great to not know what you are doing because “If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.” What a freeing thing–what a crucial thing–to say to our most creative young minds out there!

I love so much about this book, that it will be difficult for me to let go of it. But I think that my daughter needs to read it. She is 18 years old, a drawer, a painter, a sewer, a writer, a dreamer. She wants to be a costume designer, and she wants to go to California or New York to follow her dream. She is absolutely frustrating to live with at times, as everything one might cast aside or throw away is a possible material or inspiration, and she piles it all up wherever we will let her and often wherever we will not let her. Β In her defense, she has been getting better lately. But even so, when I give her this book to read I am faced with the likelihood of not seeing it again, not because she has “lost” it and wants to keep it but because she has lost it and has to find it. She is absolutely wonderful to live with at times, as everything one might cast aside or throw away is a possible material or inspiration, and she mixes it all together and creates beautiful and amazing and sometimes disturbing things. I love that I don’t always understand her. And I love that this book will be able to say to her what I could not have said myself, and what she really, really needs to hear.

As I said, the book is delightful and important, and I think everyone should buy it for themselves or for someone in their lives. But you don’t need to buy the book to get the message. Gaiman includes a link to the speech itself inside the book.

The speech is worth a listen, even if you do get the book, so you can hear Gaiman say it all himself. Of course, I could listen to him read names out of the phone book and be mesmerized (he and John Malkovich, both πŸ˜‰ ). Seriously, though, do listen to it or read it and then share it. A lot. With everyone who needs to hear his message.


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