I think this must be a record for how long it's taken me to post since the last time I've posted. Explanation?
You got it.
OYAN! The 2013 OYAN Summer Workshop, as some of you may know, took place from the 17th to the 22nd of June. I and my brother Seph were the only ones from my family that attended this year, but both Dana and Siani also attended, so we made a good little group, in the end.
As usual, the Workshop was amazing. In four words, inspiring, encouraging, fortifying, and enlightening.
Inspiring. Here's a confession: I had begun to lose faith in my dreams. You know what happens to dreams when you lose faith in them? They slowly, painfully begin to die. I'm the kind of person who dreams big. Enormous, wild dreams of wondrous things -- anything, everything! My Mother has always told me "not to make a big production" of projects I would launch myself into. Being my Mother, she was and still is, quite right. But I had begun to go in the opposite direction, internally discouraging myself from trying for anything too fantastic, settling for second, third, or even fourth best simply to remain 'realistic'. The only thing, believe it or not, that kept me from giving up all together was remembering when Dana told me not to. "Don't give up on your dreams." Every time I became discouraged, I thought of that. (Thanks, Dana, by the way.)
There's something about knowing that others believe in your dreams -- or just in dreaming, for that matter -- that suddenly makes your wildest hopes feel possible. The things you don't dare let yourself believe in, spring to life and beckon to you. And now you feel safe in pursuing them, in making them happen, because you're not alone.
The OYAN Summer Workshop proves that neither I, nor anyone like me, with visions of changing the world through story, are not alone. We are never alone. There are others like us, and they are dreamers, too.
"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake to find it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day or dangerous men, for they may act upon their dreams with open eyes to make them possible." ~ T.E. Lawrence
Encouraging. Similar to what I said before, each time I go to OYAN I learn something new. The Workshop gives writers invaluable tools to act upon those wild dreams of ours. Wonderfully insightful teachers, but not just insightful and experienced, but teachers and speakers who truly care about the OYAN community and want to see it flourish. Not only are we allowed to dream, but encouraged to, and given the tools to succeed.
Fortifying. This one is harder to explain, but there is something about being surrounded by not just other writers, but other OYANers that makes one feel like they can take on the entire world fearlessly. The Reunion part of the Workshop strengthens friendships that normally only happen over the internet. You get to see, hear, touch, and embrace those you've come to love, and even those you didn't even know you loved before, in person. Never discount the power of real life, in person interaction with other human beings, folks!
Enlightening. Back to learning something new every time, but in this sense I mean in a less technical sort of way, and a more sobering one. Not only did I see the light, but the darkness, also. The opposition, the enemy, the battle and struggle, both present and future, we are engaged in simply because of the dreams we have. Dangerous dreams, dreams that will change the world. In all honesty; I'm not kidding. And when there are dreams that will change the world, there will be those who want to crush them. People, ideals, the devil himself. It's hard to see some of those forces at work within the community I love so much. It is at the same time, however, something I glad to know of. I don't want to be naïve, and it is a good test of character to see if I -- or anyone for that matter -- will still love even when there is conflict. To know who will support you, and who you must support. And whether or not you'll stick out the fight, or if you'll lower to the enemy's standards, for the latter is far easier.
All in all, the OYAN Summer Workshop (any one of them) is an experience I enjoy and treasure more than words can express.
Home again! We flew home bringing Dana and Siani with us to stay for the rest of the week. So awesome to have them over for that extra bit of time there without the business of the Workshop schedule. Having Ani about in person was great fun. It's only been a year since I saw her, but it felt like it'd been years and ages. It's always great to see her in person, no matter how long it's been since we last saw each other.
We also had Wynni over for a few days, so our house was quite full. (Wynni is awesome, just so y'all know. A happy ray of sunshine. <3) I organized a LARP/IG for that Wednesday, but I'll probably write a blog post on that later.
Ani left, and Dana stuck around for a bit longer. Also great to have him around. He started this routine of going outside every evening around nine to watch the fireflies over the cornfield. Before long I and my brothers started doing it, too, which made for some fascinating conversations, as well as some comfortable silences. You know you're with a good friend when silence is as easily shared as conversation.
Oh, and Gypsy simply adores him. I have absolutely no idea why, but right from the first time she met him, she became attached to him almost as much as she is attached to me. This is strange because normally Gypsy is very much a one person dog. I don't know what it is about Dana that she loves so much, but whatever it is, it's got her hook, line and sinker. She has been quite sullen lately now that she's figured out he isn't coming back, and finds my ball throwing skills deplorable. Which they are, so I can't blame her. Dana is much better at that than I am and she knows it.
I think that's pretty much it for now. I'm sure I left out a few details, but nothing important. Hopefully this is an adequate explanation for my absence.
And don't worry about FtGG. Dana and I will get right back on that very soon.