All that silliness aside, my first exposure to him was when I picked up the first issue of the iconic graphic novel, Sandman, many moons ago. For whatever reason, I never stayed with the series, but it had made quite an impression.
Now, a few decades later, I have begun to read the series in its entity and may I say I am blown away. Thanks to my lovely local library, I am able to get the The Sandman Library which has all ten collections of the run. Yes I would love to purchase it, but it is a little out of our price range at the moment. Regardless, last night I finished reading The Dolls' House and may I say it was the creepiest, most offensive and repulsive thing I ever read. yes, it was sheer awesomeness. A whole section about serial killers at a convention of their own kind was too unbelievable. His imagination spans realms that I never thought possible. I am not a big fantasy reader because I am particular about ho much disbelief I can suspend, but with his works, I am easily lead into the world of the Endless, the Graveyard and London Below.
One of the other interesting things about The Sandman is seeing the basis for American Gods peeking through. Like I have said before, I will not read that book yet for fear of having it influence me too much. All I would need is to read it, then discover we have similar characters. That would suck something awful. And, of course, the more of his work I read, they more it influences my own writing. What I try to take away is not his style or voice, but the structuring. The way his plots can lack restraints and how he weaves in a myriad of characters throughout a story. I use him as a teacher of sorts even though there is no classroom or Q&A. Can you imagine? The man would run from me because I would pick his brain to no end. Actually, I am sure there are worse fans then me out there. Ha ha!
My writing has had its up and downs, but The Sandman has begun helping me alter my perception of what a story should be or how it can be told. This greatly assists me as I write my Angels story. I can break away even further from conventional theories that we, and most religions have, of angels and heaven and hell. Not that I have not been rebelling on my own as I write their stories, but it gives me an extra push and washes away any lack of fear to let my characters go where they want. Sometimes it is off course, but I think one needs to allow these mistakes and detours to improve one's writing.
Maybe one day I can thank Mr. Gaiman for his influence and for writing such fantastical stories. And I promise not to squeal like a school girl...maybe. ;-)