Many of you have probably heard of Lorraine Garland, aka Fabulous Lorraine, who works as an assistant to Neil Gaiman. That means she’s responsible for making sure Neil Gaiman actually has time to write at some point in his work day, which I’m pretty sure makes her a national treasure.
Brian James Freeman: I think the first question most people have is: how did you land a job working for Neil Gaiman?
Lorraine Garland: I was working as a nuclear scientist at NASA, and I can tell you, DULL DULL DULL. If you’ve split one atom, you’ve split them all, and along came this Englishman…You know, many stories can be started with that phrase “Along came an Englishman” can’t they? It’s like in Irish music, most songs start, “As I walked out on a May Morning” the THINGS that happen to people in those SONGS! I’ve walked out many a May Morning and nothing has ever happened to ME, no lovely women washing their hair in the river, no press gangs, no wiggly woggly leathermen saying How D’ye do again…I must not drink enough.
What was the question?
BJF: Ha! What’s a normal day like at the office?
LG: Like a game of Dodgeball. Only not just balls being lobbed at you from all sides, every so often a ROCK comes crashing down in the middle of the court, with no warning and you have to move the rock OUT of there, all the while, not getting hit by all the things being lobbed….
BJF: How about an abnormal day?
LG: An abnormal day would be peaceful, quiet, no email would come and the phone would not ring. Also I would be in Bora Bora.
BJF: What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to do in the line of duty?
LG: Acquire, have shipped, and delivered to studio (and kept fresh) a Haggis for Craig Ferguson
BJF: What’s the best part of your work?
LG: It’s never dull. Or Boring. Always something different, every day, you never know what could happen. And quite literally, anything could. At any moment, and does. Often.
BJF: And the worst?
LG: It’s never, ever dull. Or Boring. Could use that, oh, one day in 30. Also hate the bit where I have to turn into the Princess of NO. No one likes her, not even me.
BJF: Your essay “Top Ten Things Never to Send Your Favorite Writer” has been a huge hit because you found a way to share important information and be funny at the same time. Has it helped slow the arrival of sand, things that squeak, and things that might have been food at some point? Is there anything you’d like to add to the list?
LG: It has helped, lol! I do need to add to it, or write another essay. In fact, just yesterday, another assistant dropped me a note about something she gets sent a lot asking if I agreed and saying it ought to be added to the list. I suggested we write that new essay together.
BJF: You’ve been part of Neil’s career for a very long time now, so obviously you enjoy your work, right? Do you plan on doing this job long into the future? Is there anything that could pull you away?
LG: I plan on doing this job until I breathe my last breathe. So, another 50 years or so. And no, nothing. Well, maybe… No. Nothing could pull me away. Seriously, I love this job, in fact, I do a job very much like it for my Derby team, as Bout Production Coordinator. I love making things work right, I love solving problems. Love puzzling things out, there’s always a way to make it happen. I’ve never failed.
(OK. ONCE. Once I failed. There was this volcano in Iceland and it closed UK airspace. And half of Europe. It got me. This will always rankle me deep in my soul. Forever. I will never forget this.)
BJF: I like to remind readers that the people in the business are real people with real lives, not just cogs in a machine. So with that in mind, are you finding much time for your music? Anything new in the works?
LG: Cog? Me? I think not! I am this show! As far as real lives go tho, it does get tricky. Not much time for music these days, I’ve taken up roller derby and skate with the Chippewa Valley Roller Girls, and I have to say, that’s where my heart is. I’ve never been a part of a team sport like this before, or been with a group of girls quite like this. My Derby Sisters are the most wonderful, amazingly supportive, caring, loving Family I’ve ever been a part of. Doesn’t matter what the problem is, what you want to do, or what you need: One of them will be there. They hit real good too. No messing with these Ladies!
And I have to say as an after work stress reliever, you can’t beat it for anything.
BJF: And finally, here’s probably the most important question: if you had to explain to someone why Bengal cats are absolutely the best, what would you say?
LG: Oh my. There’s an essay in the making. Bengal cats are wonderful, I have 5. I would never recommend ANYONE have 5. They need a lot of time and attention and are quite capable of making sure you understand this, CLEARLY, but if you are willing to change you life some, and I assure you, you adapt to them, not the other way around, they make wonderful friends.
They’re smart. And sleek. And spotted. Like little Leopards running around the house.
But before you acquire one, make very sure you know: They’re like little Leopards running around your house. Some are just as sweet and quiet as any cat. But the Leopard IS there. You need to know this BEFORE you acquire one.
If you’re interested, read EVERYTHING you can find on Bengals, and when you’re done, if the idea of a Kitty who can leap entertainment centers in a single bound, open cupboards and remove contents, mew in six different languages and will quite possibly love taking bathes with you, consider contacting a Bengal Rescue group like mine, Great Lakes Bengal Rescue and adopting (or fostering) one of the many Bengals waiting for a home.
Great interview, both of you!
This was a way cool & fun interview, Brian & Lorraine! Hey, working for Neil Gaiman…how awesome is that! Well, except for working as a nuclear scientist at NASA (I’m not doubting your word, mind you…: ), being in a Roller Derby (Ouch!) & being owned by 5 Bengal cats, and then working as an extremely capable assistant for ‘The Man’! Wow…brains, brawn, bravery, tenacity & ducking-the-rocks ability, Lorraine! I’m sure there is never a dull micro-moment in your life…:>
Honestly, besides working for Neil Gaiman, my favorite part of this interview was about the Bengal kitties. I totally love cats and have 3 strays that I took in over the past few years…well, I’ve always had strays that I’ve taken in for a long time now. Years ago one of them even knew how to use the ‘people’ toilet but, alas, she couldn’t maneuver the flush mechanism. It’s the weirdest thing watching a cat come out of your bathroom then going in to flush after her. Obviously, her former owner loved her a lot to teach her this, they didn’t want to scoop out the litter box or she was a super intelligent super cat. I’m going for the latter! I’ve always wanted a Bengal but don’t know if they would appreciate another cat around unless it was another Bengal…but I really don’t know. My newest addition is an honest to goodness feral cat born last summer from some feral mum under the neighbor’s shed. She’s gorgeous! Her coloring & hair remind me of a Maine Coon but she’s very tiny & being a feral kitty she won’t let me pick her up or pet her unless she’s distracted by looking outside the back door for her feral buds which I feed there every day. Well…enough of my yammering…:>
Great & entertaining interview both of you! Thanks bunches! I always look forward to reading your posts, Brian.
Thanks, Cecilia! Personally, I really want a Leopard Lounge for my backyard! 🙂
Hopefully not made out of live leopards!
beautifully done, my sister. 50 more years–oh, how the mind boggles—
Loved the interview! 🙂
I tagged you for this writing exercise thingy on my blog.
Loved the interview, What is Neil Gaiman publishing now?
I’d like to contact Lorraine or members of her band. I ADORE Buried Things. I teach High School Vocal music and would like to ask how I could acquire their version on Idumea.
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