Back in the yore-days of college, I spent a portion of a very excellent class in a perfectly stellar semester studying the most addicting, complex, and beautiful graphic novel I’ve yet come across. Normally I’d say “Caveat lector” to anyone accepting my recommendation, since I’ve not yet delved deeply into the world of graphic novels and thus might praise a middling story overmuch. And yet…whatever else may be out there, I am convinced that it could not render Neil Gaiman’s Sandman “middling.”
What is worthy about The Sandman? Many things: the intertwining of so many lives and stories; the questions it raises about life and death, of waking and sleeping; and the artwork: ethereal, infernal, spellbound and spellbinding, lucid and muddled by turns. The horror of what men do to each other, and what dreams may bring them to do. The fight for honor and personal property. Nightmare. Drugged stupor. Ecstasy. Hope.
It’s hard to discuss the whole story, not only because it’s been a few years since I’ve read it in full, but also because it’s quite convoluted. So I will mention one episode, “Calliope” of Dream Country, wherein an author who acts contemptibly for the sake of writing ideas is punished with ideas, with dreams, with stories in abundance. There are only so many ideas he can write down before his mind is seized with more, and there are only so many his mind can hold. It’s right up there with “The Monkey’s Paw” as an injunction to Be Careful What You Wish For, Lest You Get It.
All this comes to mind because I was surprised to find, in the midst of my unending struggle to keep my papers in order, that I’ve a number of ideas written down. There’s some doggerel, some simile sketches, poems of other people worth analyzing and sharing, and at least 4 stories in the works. It all needs a good deal of fleshing out and perhaps some figurative epidermis, but behold! There are skeletons in place. Thanks, Muses, they are ideas enough.