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I’m gonna be at MalCon this weekend. I’ll be on eleven panels and will be sitting at the Shiny Garden Non-Profit table most of Friday, so come on by and say hello! But that’s not the main reason Iâ€™m writing today.
June was really hectic for me and I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about it.
Before I go, let me say that I’m gonna keep names out of my story because I want to protect people’s privacy.
My Hectic Month
I started June house sitting for a friend of mine. My friend has dogs that have special needs and it was more convenient (and cheaper,) if this person had someone stay at their house then kennel the dogs. I’ve house-sat people’s animals before, so this was no big deal.
I was there most of the month. By the end, I was dying to sleep in my bed, shower in my bathroom and cook on my stove. It became harder and harder to live in someone else’s home. When my friend came home, I was relieved.
The last weekend I house/dog sat, an acquaintance of mine received notice that his family had to move out of the house they were renting. My friend’s wife was nine months pregnant, at the time. So the call went out for help and a bunch of people came to pack and clean the house they were renting in preparation for a move that had to be made by the middle of July. On top of this, I had a friend leave Denver, so I went to their two parties, I volunteered at my church, and mentored a couple of new writers.
Finally, I ended up on eleven panels at Denver Comic Con, half of them as moderators on panels that I did not submit. If you know me, you know I am morbidly obese and getting around the Denver convention center can be difficult. Yet I did it anyways.
Why? Why did I commit – some would say overcommit – to help so much in June?
It took me a while to figure out an articulate answer.
I did it because people are worth it.
I have come to the conclusion that humans are built for community. It is where we feel the safest, the most whole. It’s also where we are the happiest.
I did these things because I felt a sense of obligation, a duty, if you will, to help my friends.
Words like duty and obligation don’t have the value they once did in our society. That doesn’t mean they’re still not important.
My wife came with me to help our friend pack. We weren’t sleeping well and dreaded both the drive and the packing we volunteered to do. While I helped my friend pack their house, something interesting happened. Instead of feeling burdened with obligation, I enjoyed myself. I had a good time being around my friend and their family. I met wonderful new people. In addition, I got to know the family better. It was a really good experience.
I know for myself that sometimes people can be a drain. That trying to be a friend to that person always in need, can leave you hallow and empty. But the reverse can leave you calloused, alone and brittle. It’s better to be open with your time and get a little taken advantaged of then to be guarded and along. I’ve watched some friends take that path. They turned into paranoid loners, scared of people, weary that they’ll be taken advantage of.
Like I said I am morbidly obese. Standing for any length of time is difficult for me. But I remember my master’s degree ceremony, where I had to stand for an hour in a line that didn’t move, then walk a couple of hundred yards to a field where the ceremony took place. The funny thing is I remember being in pain â€“ but the actual pain I have forgotten. What I do remember is the satisfaction of knowing I had my degree and the warmth of the people who came to celebrate with me.
THAT is the Point
Many times we don’t do things because we don’t want to suffer, or be inconvenienced, troubled or put out. But when the struggles are over, we don’t actually remember the inconvenience or trouble. We remember overcoming the difficulties. We remember the accomplishment. If we do it with loved ones, we’ll remember the laughter too.
I encourage all of us to try to do more for one another. To serve each other. In doing so we will create or foster bonds of friendship. We will have great stories to tell and fond memories to relive. We will weave meaning into our lives.
This is why I am proud to announce that I am the Chairman of the Board for Shiny Garden, a new non-profit dedicated to bringing all kinds of fans together to enjoy each other. Shiny Garden will be the administrative head of Myth & Legends Con. We will also organize WhimsyCon in March, as well as Hexacon, a new gaming convention, in January.
Through Shiny Garden I hope I can better serve the literary and fandom community.
Here is my MalCon schedule:
Fri, 8:00 PM-8:50 PM, How to be a better Roleplayer (Nevernever)
Sat, 9:00 AM-9:50 AM, Merging Steampunk and Fantasy (The Shire)
Sat, 11:00 AM-11:50 AM, Diversity in Fandom (Serenity)
Sat, 12:00 PM-12:50 PM, Costuming 101 (Room of Requirement)
Sat, 1:00 PM-1:50 PM, Lord of the Rings: Digging Deeper (The Shire)
Sat, 3:00 PM-3:50 PM, Corsets Q&A: Tightlacing, Waist Training, and Myths (Room of Requirement)
Sat, 4:00 PM-4:50 PM, Game Of Thrones: The TV Show Beyond the Books (Kings Landing)
Sat, 9:00 PM-9:50 PM, Epic Rap Battles of Literature! (Helms Deep)
Sat, 11:00 PM-11:50 PM, Author Readings (15 min each) (Kings Landing)
Sun, 12:00 PM-12:50 PM, Shiny Garden and New Events (The Shire)
Sun, 1:00 PM-1:50 PM, Catastrophic Seasonal Climates in Game of Thrones (Kings Landing)
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