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Neil Gaiman attended the 2014 National Book Awards in New York City. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Author Neil Gaiman turns 55 today (November 10). A good chunk of those years have been dedicated to writing, creating fan favorites like the comic book series The Sandman and novels American Gods and Good Omens, co-written with his late friend Terry Pratchett. Gaiman spent much of his childhood in libraries, writing in The Guardian, “I had the kind of parents who could be persuaded to drop me off in the library on their way to work in summer holidays, and the kind of librarians who did not mind a small, unaccompanied boy heading back into the children’s library every morning.”

That’s one nugget of information from this great mind. Here are 15 more quotes:

1. On being an individual. 
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” (The University of the Arts)

2. On fiction versus real life.
“Life is always going to be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn’t.” (GoodReads)

3. On reading.
“Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over.” (The Guardian)

4. On finding his ideas.
“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” (Neil Gaiman Website)

5. On perception.
“I’ve never known anyone who was what he or she seemed; or at least, was only what he or she seemed. People carry worlds within them.” (BookBrowse)

6. On creating. 
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” (Neil Gaiman Website)

7. On exercising your creativity. 
“The imagination is a muscle. If it is not exercised, it atrophies.” (CNN)

8. On his creation being turned into a magnet.

9. On his appreciation for libraries.
“A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it.” (The Guardian)

10. On Doctor Who.
“Doctor Who was the first mythology that I learned, before ever I ran into Greek or Roman or Egyptian mythologies.” (TV Guide)

11. On his writing style. 
American Gods is about 200,000 words long, and I’m sure there are words that are simply in there ’cause I like them. I know I couldn’t justify each and every one of them.” (Inspirational Stories)

12. On being an introvert.
“It’s not a bad thing for a writer not to feel at home. Writers, we’re much more comfortable at parties standing in the corner watching everybody else having a good time than we are mingling.” (IMDB)

13.  On how stories last.
“Stories … are genuinely symbiotic organisms that we live with, that allow human beings to advance.” (Brain Pickings)

14. On other authors continuing his work posthumously. 
“Oh, I hope that doesn’t happen. In a perfect world I’ll live long enough to write ALL THE BOOKS.” (Reddit Interview)

15. On accepting advice.
“My first piece of advice is this: Ignore all advice. In my experience, most interesting art gets made by people who don’t know the rules and have no idea that certain things simply aren’t done: so they do them. Transgress. Break things. Have too much fun.” (Harvey Awards Keynote Speech)

Happy birthday to you, Neil Gaiman!

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By Brigid Brown