Art Matters by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

When I walk down a street I take often, I don’t need telling where the hump is or where the manhole splays. But even so, on days the street light doesn’t work, I feel a pinch; as if the little streak of light was a guide and despite being on a street I was well acquainted with, I need occasional help, a spurt of inspiration, a wise prelude.

‘Art Matters’ is that little streak of light.

Gaiman has long been an author who unspools the complex doings of my mind and weaves them back together in simple but profound sentences. He has seldom deployed complex levers to put across the point; I think his propensity to remain a child forbids him to do so. And in this delightful partnership with Chris Riddell, he once again comes closer to my world and whispers truths I had always known but wasn’t privy to their clear outlining. 

Why should I let ideas thrive? What values must I impart freedom with? Why do I need fiction? Why should I support my local library? Do I lose out on the race of creating art if I don’t know the rules? Why do I create art? When should I create art? Why imitation is not all that bad? Why creating a good work is the most important thing in the scheme of writing and selling books?

I believe that ideas do not have to be correct to exist. I believe you have every right to be perfectly certain that images of God or Prophet of Human that you revere are sacred, and undefilable, just as I have the right to be certain of the sacredness of speech, and of the sanctity of the right to mock, comment, to argue and to utter.

People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate. 

A Library is a place of safety, a haven from the world. It is a place with Librarians in it.

When you start out on a career in the arts, you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not and you should not.

I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything, If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.

I found these fabulous answers and more in the gorgeous pages of this petite book; pencil sketches by Riddell accentuated their meanings, giving the whole idea a reverberation of perennial kind.

Read it today. And tomorrow. And whenever you feel the lights flickering on the street of life you are walking on.

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