I don’t think I have ever read straight through a book of short stories before. Usually, when someone gives me those anthologies, I tend to pick and choose which ones I’ll read and leave the rest like the unwanted chocolates in a sampler box.
But Fragile Things is something incredibly different. I’ve always been aware of Neil Gaiman. I read Neverwhere, obviously. Stardust and Mirrormask are two of my favorite films. The Doctor’s Wife and the Nightmare in Silver will top the list of every “which Doctor Who episodes are your favorite” until the day I die (and probably beyond, if any paranormal investigator/Doctor Who fan clubs manage to do an EVP session at my final resting place).
But Fragile Things has reminded me of how much I love short stories. It also reminded me that there are no rules to writing. Or if there are rules to writing, that you can pretty much use the paper they are written on to clean up any bodily fluids that may occur in the process of writing. So long as you give proper due respect to the people who are your betters, you’re quite free to write whatever story it is you want to tell.
That, in a nutshell, has been my goal lately. To tell the story I want to tell. Not to tell the story that other people think I should tell. Note the subtle difference.
Thank You, Neil Gaiman.