neil gaiman

“We could change things back. If we believed. If we dreamed.”

From: The Sandman, specifically from A Dream of a Thousand Cats

Genre: Comics

Who said it?: A Siamese Cat

The story behind the quote: The quote comes from the highly acclaimed graphic novel series, The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman. The Sandman is a non-conventional “comic book” series and focuses on Morpheus, the personification of dreams and stories. He is also not really a hero and he is sometimes not even the main character in his own series. However, most of the stories do have him interact with the story in some way.

The quote comes from one of the series’ short stories, A Dream of a Thousand Cats. In the tale, a cat is listening to a Siamese cat with a rather radical belief that cats used to rule the world and humans were the pets instead of the other way around. The Siamese cat came to this realization because Morpheus (looking like a black cat) came to her in a dream and showed the cat this reality. This reality was destroyed because enough humans believed in a vision where humans ruled. Enough humans eventually believed it and that dream became a reality. The Siamese cat then tells the other cat the quote, stating that things can be changed.

 

Geek wisdom: We sometimes feel helpless with the way the world currently is but we refuse to believe that anything we do will change anything. This isn’t true and the only thing that’s stopping us from changing the world for the better is the thought that anything we do won’t matter. But, if enough people actually get together and believe and dream for a better future, then the world will have not choice but to change.

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“It always ends. That’s what gives it value.”

From: Death: The High Cost of Living

Genre: Comics

Who said it?: Didi/Death

The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Death, one of the characters from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Specifically, the quote comes from the miniseries, Death: The High Cost of Living.

Essentially, a suicidal boy named Sexton meets a girl named Didi who claims to be the personification of Death. Didi explains to Sexton that, in order to appreciate taking away the lives of people, she is reincarnated every 100 years to experience one day of walking among the living. Sexton is amazed (and strangely) drawn to Didi as she expresses such joy in simple acts, such as eating a bagel or riding a taxi. He decides to follow her around and tries to see if there is a meaning to his life.

By the way, MASSIVE SPOILERS ARE AHEAD! Please read the series since the quote will have a deeper significance when you really appreciate the story. Don’t worry. The story is deep and I think non-geeks will love the story.

The quote comes from the end of the miniseries where Didi has a conversation with Death. Death asks how it felt to be alive and Didi beams and exclaims that it felt so wonderful to be alive and wished it didn’t have to end. Death then delivers the quote, explaining that life has to end, making every minute precious.

Geek wisdom: We take life for granted. Even the simple joys of eating a bagel is lost when we don’t realize that we’re lucky to be alive to eat the bagel. The sad thing is, we also take the big things in life, like family and friends, for granted.

We shouldn’t have to wait for our time to be up before we start appreciating life. We should be living and enjoying what little time we have left on this earth now.