April 14th, 2019
I just finished reading all ten volumes of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.
This will be a long post, so I’ll see two, maybe three of you down there at the end.
Rarely in your life do you experience a work of art in which you are changed and you can never go back; you can’t forget and you will always remember. Sandman is one of those moments for me.
I bought and tried reading the first volume many times, in my twenties. I’ve read a lot, if not most of, “the classics”; critically-hailed graphic literature like Watchmen, and I never had any problem with reading or understanding them. Or any books, really, for that matter. But Sandman would always elude me, or make me feel lesser. And I found out it was because I just wasn’t ready.
But this last time, I was. I had to be who I am now in order to travel down Morpheus’ path with him and have it mean anything. The book is about change and purpose and goodbyes and I had to figure out what those things meant to me on my own terms — by living, by creating my own art — to feel the echoes of Gaiman’s words so deeply and fully. And I did, and I do.
Sandman is not easy. It is hyper-intelligent and super-literate, deeply sensual and darkly erotic, it’s romantic, it’s horrifying, it’s hopeful, it’s terrifying, and it’s filled with more throwaway lines about the most important pieces of life than I have ever seen put together in one place.
And it’s about dreams, which are essential to me. I’m very glad I wrote my own book about dreams before I read Sandman. Because I found the gaps I dug and the bleeds that all humans feel without any literal influence. And that was rewarding in itself.
Anyway, this story changed me. For the better. I just realized a longer post is in me and a longer post would do it no more justice. So read it. And if you don’t: then just dream it. And know that everything changes and nothing really ever goes away.