Neil Gaiman: My dad stroked me for a book hidden in a family gathering

Writer Neil Gaiman says his father constantly patted him in search of a hidden book at a family gathering and stopped reading.

Sandman’s comic creator said he saw his excessive imagination as his “big weakness” but was unaware that it would become a “superpower.”

Speaking on the desert island discs on BBC Radio 4, he found “comfort” and “friends” in the book, and said he became a very greedy reader.

“When I was a kid, my friends weren’t very good at it,” he said.

“The book didn’t disappoint you. The book doesn’t make fun of you. The book was wise.

“It wasn’t until I became a father three times that I came to the conclusion that the children didn’t actually arrange the bookshelves automatically in alphabetical order. I was the only one.”

He continued, saying he had a physical examination at a family gathering for contraband literature.

“He literally stroked me because I was known for hiding books under jumpers, and he locked them in the car.

“Even if we could find something to read wherever we were, it didn’t really work because it wasn’t what I wanted to read.

“But I went to a family gathering and read Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yidish because it was the book I found.”

Gayman admitted that as a kid he discovered that many horrifying things influenced his writing.

When asked what he was afraid of, he said:

“I was really envious of the unimaginative children who had nothing in the shadows.

“I couldn’t turn it off, and I thought it was my big weakness, and one day I wouldn’t expect it to grow and become my superpower. It was.

He added that some dark elements of his work, including Coralin, are a way to reassure his young self.

“I was seven and just wanted to tell myself that I was afraid of the darkness. It’s okay to be scared.

“Being brave does not mean that you are not afraid.

“Being brave means that you are scared and just keep doing the right thing.”

The uninhabited island disc will air on Sunday at 11:00 am on BBC Sound and BBC Radio 4.

Neil Gaiman: My dad stroked me for a book hidden in a family gathering

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