According to singer, songwriter and crowed funder extraordinaire, Amanda Palmer, there’s an “epidemic of mild-mannered British men who say weird shit in their sleep.”
Her husband, author Neil Gaiman, is no exception.
Neil Gaiman is a total weirdo when he’s half asleep. in a GOOD way, usually. you know all that cray shit he’s been writing for the past 30 years? it has to come from *somewhere*. the guy is a fleshy repository of surreal strangeness, and he’s at his best when he’s in the twilight zone of half-wakefulness. he’s the strangest sleeper I’ve ever slept with (let’s not get into who I’ve slept with…different animation) not just because of the bizarro things that come out of his mouth when he’s in the gray area, but because he actually seems to take on a totally different persona when he’s asleep. and when that dude shows up, the waking Neil Gaiman is impossible to get back, unless you really shout him awake.
She’s made a habit of jotting down her husband’s choicest somnambulistic mutterings. One paperless night, she repaired to the bathroom to recreate his nocturnal statements on her iPhone’s voice recorder as best she could remember.
As someone who’s sorely tempted to get incontrovertible proof of her bedmate’s erratic snoring patterns, I wonder that Palmer wasn’t tempted to hit record mid-rant, and let him hoist himself on his own petard. Revenge does not seem to be the motive here, though. Palmer uses the device as more of a diary, rarely revisiting what she’s laid down. It’s more process than product.
That said, when she rediscovered this track, she felt it deserved to be animated, a la the Blank on Blank series. (BrainPicking’s Maria Popova urged her on too.) The ever-game Gaiman reportedly “laughed his head off” at the prospect of getting the Janis Joplin found text treatment.
The financial support of some 5,369 fans on the artist-friendly crowd funding platform, Patreon, allowed Palmer to secure the services of animator Avi Ofer, who reenvisioned the couple as a New Yorker cartoon of sorts. He also managed to squeeze in a deft Little Prince reference.
Perhaps his services will be called upon again. Gaiman reports that his very pregnant bride is also prone to nonsensical sleep talk. (“I want to go dancing and i don’t want them to take the sheep, Don’t let them take the sheep.”) Turnabout is fair play.