From the Introduction of Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

by Sami Bennett

From the “Introduction” of Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders:

“I think…that I would rather recollect a life mis-spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt.” The words turned up in a dream and I wrote them down upon waking, uncertain what they meant or to whom they applied.


As I write this now, it occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are. There were tricks we did with eggs, as children to show who they were, in reality, tiny load-bearing marble halls; while the beat of the wings of a butterfly in the right place, we are told, can create a hurricane across an ocean. Heart may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkable to kill.

Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on air, composed of sounds and ideas—abstract, invisible, gone once they’ve been spoken—and what could be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simple ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created.

And while I do not believe that any of the stories in this volume will do that, it’s nice to collect them together, to find a volume for them where they can be read, and remembered. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Neil Gaiman
On the first day of Spring 2006

(copied from here – thank you)

“It seems that Neil Gaiman just lives in a way more interesting world than any of us.”