This past weekend, I had the incredible privilege of attending the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference. The workshops were fantastic, the attendees even more so. But the lessons I came away with were more about life than craft:
1. As I hinted during my last post, I love My Little Pony (Semi-embarrassing thing #1). There. It’s out. *Covers face and speaks through hands* And I love The Last Airbender (the cartoon!) The Legend of Korra included. And H2O. And all frosting. Especially straight out of the can (but none of the light fluffy crap. That’s sugared air. It doesn’t count).
You might not want to be my friend because I like My Little Pony. That’s okay, I understand, because somewhere along the journey of my life, I was told liking these things wasn’t good. For a long time, I believed the lie and treasured my loves in secret. But we do the world a disservice when we hide part of ourselves.
I don’t need to hide the nuances that make me me.
For every friend I lose, I’ll find another one who also loves the Pony or appreciates this child-like side of me. I found a couple new friends at the conference. One even had a tattoo of Princess Cadence and Shining Armor. She has a permanent residence on my Top Ten Favorite List.
2. Social media is not about shrieking “BUY MY BOOK” like a beginning violinist, but it’s an exchange, a transaction, between people. A way to truly see and trust and love each other, to give space for other voices until we have so many melodies we create a symphony.
I loved that.
Though I may have the impulse to run around naked in public places during inappropriate moments, like church or the grocery store, just to surprise people (Semi-embarrasing thing #2), I highly doubt I’ll ever be as trusting as Amanda Palmer, who strips in front of her (sometimes drunk) fans and trusts them to sign her naked body with markers.
Something about the intoxicated strangers.
But I see her love and trust as beautiful, and I think we should each strive for it in our own way.
3. When I graduated junior high, each student wrote their dream job on a flashcard. The student was then called onstage, where the card was read aloud in front of the entire audience (including his/her crushes and parents and, well, the school).
Most of the students wrote benign futures: Red Ferrari. Doctor. Lawyer. Hot spouse.
Same old. Same old.
Then my name was announced. I stood in front of the school.
“Abby wants to create a wormhole and travel back into time so she can convince the ancient world of today’s biblical archeology in evidence of Jesus.”
Silence. While I grin, grin, grin.
This qualifies as semi-embarrassing #3 because, apparently, traveling through a wormhole is not a very popular preteen’s dream.
Who are we when we travel through wormholes and pop alongside stars? When all escape routes are cut, all handholds gone—when we are just as stripped as Amanda—and stare down the gods and monsters in our lives?
I loved this, too. When we float in space, nothingness surrounds us. We are bare. Nothing remains except our humanity and the monsters we face and our responses to them. Do we focus on the horror of the nothingness we drift in or on the incredible beauty of naked stars?
This is where true horror and true stories lie—in the star-lit cheeks of humanity.