Ren Con 2010 is now over, at this point even the organizers and performers are nearly home (many had flights today to the West Coast of the US, England, and Germany). I have caught up on sleep, and food, and am ready to share.
I am so glad I decided to be a volunteer at Ren Con, I could have had a table and might have made some money, but I am richer in many other ways now than I would have been if I'd been sitting behind my vendor's table all weekend. I have made friends, and met people I have read, admired and heard much of but would not have imagined being part of their circle. Even if my time in that circle was fleeting and inconsequential to them it was meaningful to me. I met both Brian and Wendy Froud, both of whom I admire greatly for their artistic talents and their spirits and the grace with which they greet the multitudes of fans that swarm when they just stand still long enough. Brian is whimsical and amusing yet grounded and very approachable. Wendy just radiates an intangible peace, tranquility and grace that I'm having trouble describing. She is a gifted artist, a generous teacher and an old soul who can make you feel comfortable and inspired without even speaking.
I was officially only scheduled for the clean up/break down shift on Sunday afternoon/evening. But I let them (Dave Olsher, who was coordinating the volunteers during the event) know from the moment I checked in I was available all weekend and to let me know where I could be most useful. As an inherently shy person I struggle in large social gatherings and knew my best chance of stretching my wings would be to stay busy in as many areas as I could and place myself in a position of having to reach out and speak to all kinds of people, all weekend long. From that perspective it was a wonderful weekend. I stopped back at the Will Call/Ticket area frequently and there was often a job I could do. It was not long before I knew where things were being kept and could anticipate some of the things/jobs that needed to be done before Dave had to ask. By Sunday I was reassigned and instead of the break down/pack up job I was asked if I could drive Caitlin Matthews and one of the members of Qntal (the feature band from Saturday night's ball) to BWI airport. I was happy to oblige. I have heard Caitlin Matthews speak (and sing) several times and she has been a tremendous influence on my friend Jenny (who was a vendor with me at Faerie Con and was a vendor at Ren Con). Caitlin Matthews, like Wendy Froud radiates positive energy, peace and something intangible/ indescribable. I was honored to accept the reassignment (OK giddy would be a more appropriate word).
Ms. Matthews was charming and gracious and very easy to talk to as we found our way to BWI. Someday I'll sort out how I feel about the GPS systems. They are a very mixed blessing, none of the 3 of us were quite sure how much we liked them, but we were dependant on it for plotting our route there. Lessons learned on that drive: Celebrities are people too, GPS + chatting sometimes results in missed turns, the GPS is easily freaked out and should not be touched while you are driving, don't let the GPS lull you into not reading the road signs, they may be more accurate.
So, after all this babble, I think my wings were stretched. The next challenge is to learn to keep them in motion. To keep pushing myself, to learn new things, to speak up and to just put myself out there.
The first photo is Billy Scudder (Harlequin) and Dave Olsher
The second photo is me, Caitlin Matthews, and Dancing Hands the Faerie Goddess Mother