It was in February 4, 2013 when Neil Gaiman collaborated with Blackberry for his Keep Moving project. For 12hrs Gaiman released questions via Twitter, pertaining to the 12 months of the year, intending to write a collection of short stories based on his favorite responses.
Neil Gaiman wrote everywhere possible in the span of three days. By February 19, two days after recording the audio versions, the stories were completed, and then he asked his fans to submit art that will correspond to each story.
The result was phenomenal. The stories are work of collaboration between author and fans. A Calendar of Tales. To accomplish such astonishing feat the relationship between reader and writer required depth –the writer knows exactly what the reader wants, the reader understands the writer’s true message.
“I tried to write stories that would make pictures in people’s heads. I hope I succeeded.”
Each 12 story is very different from each other -no story is alike, no art is alike. While each story is really good, I have chosen my top 3:
“What is the most unusual thing you have ever seen in July?”
“…an igloo made of books”
(1)July Tale, a wife walked out from her husband. This sudden change affected the husband so much that he cocooned himself in an igloo of books. He refused to come out even to eat. He weathered his depression through reading, believing himself in the arctic. When he eventually crawled out and lay down on the ground, he thought he was looking at the Northern Lights instead of the 4th of July fireworks. His wife was lying there too, watching with him. It was words that broke them apart, but it was also words that held him through his darkest hours.
“What mythical creature would you like to meet in October? (& why?)”
“A djinn. Not to make a wish. But for the very best advice on how to be happy w/ what you already have.”
(2)October Tale, a genie found his way back into the real world. Astonishingly, the lady who rubbed the genie’s lamp has no wishes; she is fine and good as is. Instead, knowing that the genie had been deprived of all comforts while in the lamp, the lady offered the genie a drink, food, and eventually, a room in her house. They started talking, taking walks together, and the relationship blossomed. In the end, the genie realized that there is no need for wishes, he have her in his arms.
“What would you burn in November, if you could?”
“My medical records, but only if that would make it all go away.”
(3)November Tale, a miracle for the terminally ill. Eloise bought a metal brazier from a garage sale. When she got home, she put it in the backyard, but completely forgotten all about it because she had medical issues to bother with. When she accepted that seeing Christmas is already impossible, she decided to burn some memories away. As she was throwing letters and photographs into the brazier, she realized she no longer remembers the man in the photograph or why she almost killed herself for him. Next, was photo of a beloved dog that she buried under the tree in the backyard, but when she looked up there was no tree. Somehow, these didn’t shock her. She got up, took her medical records from her nightstand, and burned them too. When she walked back in and gazed herself in the mirror, she was welcomed by a new Eloise. Everyone deserves to get their miracle even if it’s from fiction.
“Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.”
Once more, Neil Gaiman proved his genius, and belief.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Here are the links for A Calendar of Tales.