This is not exactly what I said - it's some mix of what I intended to say and what I actually said, and I might be mixing up the order in places, but anyway, here is something close to the introduction I gave at the Banquet of Mythcon 35:
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About an hour ago when they asked me to do this, they said "Would you introduce Neil? You know him better than the rest of us." Anyone who has spoken or listened to Neil knows that he's warm and funny and entertaining and all those nice things, so I tried to think what I have been privileged to observe that not everyone got to see. And the main thing that came to mind is how he himself is always observing interesting things about the people and places around him, and commenting on them later.
He will say things like "I really enjoyed talking to Alice about her art," or, walking back from Stockwell Hall, he stopped to pick some Rose Hips and open one up to show me how in between the seeds there is a fuzz that's a natural itching powder. I must have looked at him curiously, and he gave me this slightly fiendish smile, and he said, "You know this if you're an eight-year-old boy, and you might put it down the back of someone's shirt."
I think it is this fundamental personality trait, of stopping to observe things and share them, instead of just going from one place to another, that has lead to the wonderful writer we have here now.
That and perhaps the fact that that fiendish eight-year-old boy is only slightly below the surface, of this incredibly literate person it is my privilege to introduce to you: our Author Guest of Honor, Neil Gaiman.
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