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I went to dinner with Neil Gaiman and I didn't throw up. Unfortunetly, there are no pictures...yet.

Graham and I went down to the Millennium at about 4:30. We signed in, got our badges, program, and suvineer book that has biographies of all the guests of honor and artwork never before published. It's keen.

At five I was at the lobby looking for people to go to dinner with. One by one, the groups with their guests of honor left until there was only us. And then there was Neil.

We all walked out side and waited for taxies. There were 11 of us, so we had to take 3. 2 showed up, so I volunteered to wait for the third taxi along with a coordinator and another guest. While we were waiting, another coordinator came out to make sure we were getting to where we needed to. I looked at his name badge and it looked familiar, and asked him if I had sent him a shirt (that was my job for people who don't know). He said yes and the four of us chatted for a bit. He said he had to go and write an impromptu opening ceremonies speech. We joked around and I jokingly said he should pretend to introduce Terry Pratchett. The guy laughed and was all "That's a GREAT idea! Oh, but i have a theme I've been working on for about 2 years...but if I had more time! Oh, that would be WONDERFUL!" By then, our taxi came and we went off to Origami.

We met the rest of the party upstairs, and luckily no one had been seated yet. They lead us to the table which was set up against the booth. Neil sat on the bench in the middle, and I figured that this was no time to be humble - how many times am I going to be able to have dinner with Neil Gaiman? So I sat right across from him. After a bit of discussion about what is good to eat, Neil said it was time for introductions - name and where you're from. I added "Oh, and an interesting fact about yourself!" And he loved the idea and went with it.

Appetizers came and I turned to Neil and asked him if I could ask him a question, and he said of course! This was the time to do it! So I asked him why he liked the movie "All That Jazz" so much - the only other person I know who loves that movie is my father. Neil gave a great answer and we talked for a bit about the movie. It was AMAZING.

Dinner came (I had squid, eel, tuna, SUSHI IS GOOD!) and I talked with the nice people sitting around me. everybody had interesting stories to share and the like. Finally, it was about time to leave, someone said it was so nice for Neil to do this, and suddenly, in a moment of pure eloquence, I said pretty much the following:
"I'd really like to thank you. Not just for giving us your time tonight, but for what you've done and what you've created. To me, you are one of my most influential writers. What you do, taking old stories, familiar stories, the myths and such, and then writing them and making them your own. That's so amazing to me, and as a starting writer it really shows what I can do, what I can say. So for all of that, thank you."

The rest of the table applauded and said "ditto!" "What she said!" It was amazing. I couldn't believe I said that, and said it well. I mean, how many times in your life do you get to tell someone whose work has had such an amazing impact on your life just how thankful you are? It was amazing.

We paid the bill and left in taxies again. We got to the hotel, bummed around with some people outside the conference room (only after being kicked out for being in there too soon) and took our seats in the third row infront of the mike. The guy I talked with earlier came out to give his intorduction speech...and he did the Terry Pratchet bit :) People laughed and afterwards he said that he got the idea from a girl, but forgot his name. THAT WAS MEEEEEEEEE!!!

So Neil came up and read to us not from Anasie Boys, but from a short story he had just written two weeks ago durring the elections. It was a late 19th birthday present to his daughter Holly (If you go to his blog you can read about it).

We were the first people ever to hear it read aloud. And it's AMAZING.

He also read us a bit of AB, then we had a break. I got up to streach my legs and I said "hey! you used the bit! awesome!" to the speaker. He then asked for my name to give me credit - I was hessitant, but he demanded it. So when the break was over he got up and thanked me in front of everybody, and people applauded. It was amazing.

Neil then started to talk about MirrorMask, the new Jim Henson movie he wrote and Dave McKean directed. The bits we saw were FANTASTIC! All I can say is that "Close to You" by the Carpenters is hella, HELLA freaky and I think I may have nightmares tonight.

After the presentation, people started filing out, and I figured maybe I could go and get a picture with Neil, and maybe he could sign my book. Well, everybody was flocking to him, and I didn't want to add to that (I'm sure I'll have time this weekend) so as I was moving away, I noticed 2 other guests of honor, artists Jill Thompson and Karen Berger from Vertigo just standing there chatting, no one else was really around them. So I asked if they would mind signing my book on their bio pages. Both of them agreed. Karen (who I sent a shirt to as well!) Asked my name a wrote a small blurb. Jill then took it, sat down with the book, AND DREW ME A PICTURE OF MORPHEUS IN MY BOOK. She then signed it "to maragert" OMG.

My goal is to get all the guests to sign by their page.

Overall, amazing first night. I met Neil and it was amazing. He talked to me. He looked me in the eye. It was just...special. I got to thank him for all he's done. I got to meet new people.

I feel like I can do anything right now.
You sound like you're making a good impression.
Awesome dude!!! What is this event?
Yay! Go Meg!
That's awesome that you had a good time! And now a whole convention of people know you can write funny speech bits :P

Although I am a little dissappointed.....no naked sushi.
WHOOOOOOOOOOO! And you didn't babble or puke. That rocks;)