I want to look like you. I want to be so thoroughly anchored into some sort of pop culture aesthetic that nothing can knock me over or wash me away or make me hate everyone. I want to sleep again.
I don’t need to tell anyone how inventive Neil Gaiman is, but I’m going to anyway. I’m amazed at the consistency with which he is able to layer the familiar with the unfamiliar, to keep readers grounded in emotional reality while creating unknown elements and mythologies that feel completely original. He’s not a traditional world-building fantasy author; he is a writer who can take the world we know, insert fresh ideas into it, and make them seem like memories we can’t quite remember.
When I was thirteen I spent a lot of time pretending to like dance music because everyone at my school seemed to love it. If only I’d known it was OK to have different tastes to others and that one day my mind would be blown open by an older man who would introduce me to The Smiths, The Cure, Buzzcocks, Talking Heads and almost every other band I adore to this day. I also wish I’d been reassured that one day, yes, a boy would actually fancy me in spite and potentially, deliberately, FOR my zero boob/skinny legs combo. But mainly I wish I’d listened to my mother when she said learning to play the piano might come in handy in the future and would actually be something I would thank her for forcing me to do.
—Alexa Chung, It
Not that I stuck with piano, but at least I played long enough that I remember how to read music.