Monday, November 11, 2013

One Day I Will Wake Up and It Will All Fit Together (after I use a jigsaw to recut the peices).

Royal Pavilion In Brighton
We all dream of that magic moment when life suddenly comes together and we get the thing we've always needed - even if we didn't know that was what we wanted. The overnight success story is part of the American Dream. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, though. If you pull the curtain back, you'll find out the "overnight success" was years and lots of hard work in the making. I'm not a big believe on waiting for things to happen. In fact, I hate waiting. I'd rather be doing something. As James A. Owen says in his book Drawing out the Dragons there are two kinds of people: those who things  happen to, and those who make things happen. If given a choice (and we're given a choice every day of our life), I'll make things happen. So, that's one of the many reasons I attend the World Fantasy Convention.

I knew this year's WFC would be a challenge since it was going to be in another country (England) and very few people I knew were going to be attending. Do you know what I found out?

I was worried about nothing.

Turns out I knew lots of people. People I'd met over the past few years at WFC and maintained loose contact with since. I recognized even more faces than that. One of the great things about WFC is you can go up to anyone, yes, anyone, and start a conversation. A lot of those conversations start with "Were you at" or "Didn't I meet you at WFC in _______?"

Going so far outside of my comfort zone allowed forced me to make things happen.

I saw landmarks that I'd only read about. I walked the streets of Mayfair. We saw a musical. Did you know that if you buy a video game in London it won't work on a game system bought in the United States? We found that out. A very helpful sales clerk at Hamley's allowed us to return the game despite (or maybe because of) our stupidity. I spent the day rambling around London after the boys got on the train to Heathrow, and explored Brighton. A friend, Matt, became acquainted with an antique bunny in the hotel bar (no bunnies or people were harmed in the making of this picture).

Did you know the beach at Brighton is comprised of large pebbles and not sand? Or that when the surf hits the coast it hits so hard that the spray shoots up more than five feet? Or that people surf off the Brighton coast? I didn't until I went.

When your small group of friends is otherwise occupied, and you don't want to sit alone or go up to the room and call it a day, you talk to people you don't know. You have no choice. Even if you manage to find a place to sit by yourself it isn't long before someone you know walks by or someone asks to sit with you. I met a lovely couple who live less than ten miles from my office by way of a mutual friend who lives on the other side of the United States. I talked with publishers, agents, editors, and to writers at all points in their writing careers, from superstars to people just starting out. I talked to fans and readers and  book dealers. I talked to so many people for so long that I lost my voice. And, of course, the collective group ran the hotel bar out of all its beer and mixers by Sunday night.

Okay, so swinging back to the topic - all the pieces in your life magically fitting together.

I believe that people come into our lives for particular reasons. Each person we meet, each interaction, is another piece of the puzzle that makes us who we are and life worth living. When you take a new piece out of the box, you often don't know where it goes or  how it fits with the other pieces. Heck, sometimes you can't tell if the piece represents a cloud, foam from the ocean's surf, the molding around a building or a cow. It takes work for the pieces to fall into place. Sometimes it even takes the handy application of a jigsaw to recut a piece.

If you don't go out and acquire the pieces, you'll never complete the puzzle. If you don't try to put the pieces together, you won't wake up one day and have it all fit together.

So, when one day I wake up and it all fits together that moment of serendipity will be because I spent the time to make the connections (gather the puzzle pieces) at places like WFC.

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