Just finished watching the video of Neverwhere (still brilliant after all these years) and then watched the interview with Neil Gaiman. One of the things he said was that he was taking a journalist on a tour of one of the sets and the journalist was very weirded out by the whole thing and said it was like an acid trip he had had once, whereupon Neil Gaiman pointed out that it was like that in his head all the time. I have always thought that the inside of Mr Gaiman's head must be a very strange place to live; whilst I like to visit Gaiman-world on a regular basis, I'm not sure I'd like to live there permanently. (Though if it was a choice between the inside of Mr Gaiman's head and the inside of Mr Vandermeer's head, I'd choose Mr Gaiman every time. Ambergris is not nice.) Don't get me wrong, I love Neil Gaiman's writing, I think it's genius-level.
The second thing that struck me was that Neil Gaiman said that as a child, people repeatedly told him to stop making things up. Apart from the fact that it is deeply deeply wrong to tell any child not to make things up (a friend of mine stopped writing stories because a teacher told her that you couldn't ascribe emotions to the sky; and I was quite traumatised by being told that the sky is never green, when I had noticed it being green), it is certainly even more deeply wrong to tell people like Neil Gaiman not to make things up. The world would be a much poorer and duller place if it was not enriched by his stories. I would have gone on believing that Snow White was nice if it wasn't for Snow, Glass, Apples. And his view of how deities work (as in American Gods) is very inspiring and interesting for many polytheists. (Ditto some of Mr Pratchett's theories.) What if Neil Gaiman had thought, 'oh yeah, they're right, I'll stop making things up', and just became an accountant? It would have been a tragedy, for both him and the world. His head would have exploded with all that pent-up creativity. He made light of the whole thing, but it could have been a disaster.
The sky is green at sunset, as there is a spectrum from red to violet as the sun descends over the horizon... into the underworld. I have also seen the sky a deep olive green immediately before a massive freak hailstorm with hailstones the size of eyeballs. And you can have skies with emotion - if it was good enough for Balzac, Flaubert et al, it was good enough for my friend. But even if the sky was never green and never looked emotional, that shouldn't stop people writing about it. There's an excellent story by AS Byatt where the sky turns green, and the eldest princess is sent off to find out why, and she gets distracted in her quest, because, well, she knows she is the eldest and therefore doomed to fail (because it's always the youngest sibling that finally completes the quest), so she wanders off to live with a nice wise woman, and decides that she actually quite likes the new colour of the sky, so everyone will just have to learn to live with it.
So please don't ever stop making things up, Mr Gaiman, or anyone else with a rich and strange imagination. Pass the cheese and bring on the nightmares...