Neil Gaiman Saves The Day
OK, famous (and infamous) writers have been in our lives and in and out of our house forever. Our kids eye-roll as they pack up their sleeping bags and move into the basement or sit through yet another reading or author dinner. They are unfailingly polite and always feign great interest in these grownups.

But this week, Neil Gaiman came to town. Now we don't know Neil Gaiman. And 10-year-old Chayo was not at all happy about that. Thanks to Coraline and The Graveyard Book and his kid picture books, she is a huge fan. (So's Eric for the record, but for other reasons and he's at college so he's not part of this story). "Why don't you know him?" Chayo demanded. "He's an author, you're an author. Finally, here's somebody I really want to meet. He's my Author Crush!"

Demoralized, we "cursed" Neil Gaiman on Twitter and bemoaned the fall from grace of Daddy The Amazing.

Neil saw our posting and wrote immediately. Said he loved the Mexico poem (below). And he invited us to come to his reading and he'd say hello to Chayo backstage. Redemption!!

We went to see him last night as part of Naperville Reads and escorted our beaming daughter (who spritzed herself with perfume in the car) backstage to meet her Author Crush.

Neil Gaiman was warm and friendly and completely charmed the little kid in our house. He asked her what he should read and she responded (with little hearts in her eyes), "Anything would be good." He posed for a picture with her and, as we left, swept her up and swung her in the air.

She hasn't come down yet.

This morning at the bus stop, she was mulling over the authors she's met and figuring out her favorites. "OK," she said. "I LOVE Colum McCann. But he's more my friend because we hung out and everything. And I don't think I'll read his books anytime soon. But Neil Gaiman ... well,I think he's my real Author Crush. He's amazing."

Thanks, Neil, for making a 10-year-old girl so happy. And for helping her Daddy stay cool in her eyes.

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