The things I carry with me: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
So many things to say about this one. I think I read American Gods in college and it changed what I thought about everything. Screw Philosophy 101, I had my own new textbook about what was meaningful and what was not.
American Gods is about Shadow Moon who falls into the employment of Mr. Wednesday who is on a cross-country quest to unify the Old Gods against the New Gods that American's have created: Media, Technology, and everything else that American's sacrifice themselves to.
And then there was Neil Gaiman himself. A British author who had managed to capture the problem with the American condition. He is a hard-core feminist, someone who animately believes that dragons can be beaten, and an author who crossed genres with little more than the bat of an eye. If you've seen the new Lucifer series on FOX, that's a brain child of Gaiman. If you remember Coraline, that made buttons scary for me, that was Gaiman as well.
So what exactly do I carry with me from this extremely influential author and this paramount of a book?
1). That we determine what we worship and what we expend our energies on. The most powerful part of American Gods is that people created the gods based on what they sacrificed their time, blood, sweat, and virgins to. The power is really within people, the gods take it and live off it with very little in return. I carry with me the notion that I choose what I deem sacred. I choose what I spend my time on, no one else.
2). World-building doesn't have to be middle earth. As Kim Falconer talked about here, World Building is just as important to your story as who is in the plot. Gaiman was an inspiration that Magic could be found in everyday life with normal humans knowing nothing about it. World building was research into the normal horrors that could be magical, as well as strange things that could have a double story. Its pretty much the philosophy behind Urban Fantasy, only Gaiman took it to a national level and not just a city.
3). When things get bad, make art. When things are good, make art. Art can change, can be used to make the world better. It seems like more and more, we need to fight for what we believe in and Art is a powerful force to make out point.
So, in case you didn't know, STARZ is making a miniseries of American Gods starting on April 30th. I am very nervous about this as this book is a fundamental part of who I am and what I do. So hopefully next month, I will be able to report that its natural wonder was not stripped away, but that it faithfully imparts the lessons that the book did.
Until next time, carry on.