I watched I Remember Mama the other night. The accents are off. The audio was a little rough. The movie itself is in black and white. I loved it. It struck me that this is a little story. I Remember Mama clip
I remember little stories growing up. Rascal is a little story about a racoon. There was another with pet skunk named Betelgeuse. Erma Bombeck wrote simple stories, funny ones, about being a housewife. The Little House on the Prairie series is really a collection of little stories about growing up. Even Profiles in Courage, whose author goes on to a large and dramatic life, tells a story simply. (If you’re not smiling click the link and find out who that author is.)
We don’t see these little stories much any more. There is still a human need for them, a demand. The Chicken Soup for the Soul books are filled with stories that could be little, if they weren’t so dramatic or inspiring. Reader’s Digest still prints an occasional “I’m just a normal every day person” drama with a rescue or recovery at the end of a great trauma. Memoir has become a publishing niche. That’s what I Remember Mama is, a memoir. But the memoirs I have read seem written to highlight the unusual rather than the ordinary. Every day, even painted with vivid colors and glorious language, is just not enough any more.
But we all have our little stories and we still want to know we are not alone with them. Where do we turn? To the bloggers. It is on-line in these blogs where our little stories play out. They may not be as carefully crafted. Time moves at a different pace in the blogosphere and the pressure to put something, ANYTHING, out there on a regular basis is pretty high.
The blogs we choose to read let us know that we are not alone in the world. Other people have struggles, just like we do. Other people have wonderful insights and moments of clarity, just like we do. Other people can make us laugh, or cry, or reach out in sympathy.
The advantage of the blog is that most of them allow for comments. The dialog is short. But over time friendships form. This is especially true when bloggers read and comment with their fellow bloggers. There are several that I read regularly, a few I comment on pretty often but only one or two where I feel I’ve made a real friend. That’s typical for me of friendships.
I know other bloggers who count everyone who’s a “regular” as a friend. I feel that way too, but that’s a different kind of friendship. Those are friends like a good book is a friend. They are there to snuggle up with when I need a reminder that maybe my life isn’t so different from everyone else’s after all. They are there to make me laugh or to remind me to look at the sun shinning through the clouds. There are days when those commenters, those other bloggers, are my lifeline to the world.
I treasure the little stories. I am grateful to share them, as well as my own. I only hope that I can be that ray of hope, or little laugh, or small reassurance for someone else sometimes. I like the idea of giving back when I have gotten so much from this blogging world. So check out the other bloggers on my blogroll, and leave a comment here and there like breadcrumbs to a possible new friend.
Finally things are starting to bloom here in Minnesota. Not the least of which is the legislature passing the Freedom of Marriage Act. I’ve been listening to the debates all day. (That’s my excuse for the late posting and I’m proud of it.) It’s quite incredible to me how threatened people feel by something that doesn’t really affect them at all.
The business arguments, “What if my religion prevents me from selling my product to ‘those people’.” are as hateful today as they were when they were used against black people, or immigrants or women. When you sell bleach do you ask if it’s going to be used in a bomb? When you sell guns do you ask if they are going to be used to kill people? These things violate most religions principles as well.
Does marriage count if it’s sanctioned by a religion other than your own? If not then it really isn’t persecution of your religious values, it is your religion persecuting others. If it does count then who are you to say what other religions may or may not sanctify? Pagans have been marrying same sex couples for years. The issue wasn’t the sanctity of the union, it was the legality. This law rectifies that on a civil and public level. Maybe soon the entire country will understand this issue from that viewpoint.
There are people who believe this law somehow requires them to marry someone of the same sex. Seriously, that’s how confused people are by the debate. There are people who believe this law somehow requires ministers in their church’s to marry people who don’t conform to the religious values. Actually, ministers have always had autonomy regarding who is and isn’t allowed to be married in their churches or religious ceremonies. I’ve known people who shopped for Christian ministers who were willing to concede that their “mixed marriages” were worth sanctifying. These are couples that don’t share the same religion, although there was a time in my lifetime when other kinds of “mixed marriages” were equally frowned upon. There isn’t agreement on this issue even in the religious arguments.
The magnolia trees burst out in blossom last week. Now we shouldn’t have magnolia trees. The ones we do have are ornamental and are tucked into microclimates in people’s yards. Magnolia’s bloom in their native environment sometime in February. They are an old tree, probably survivors of the Jurassic period. They predate bees in the geologic record. They bloom before the leaves come out.
In flower languages the magnolia is a bloom of nobility. It is joyous and bold. As an ancient species there are also associations about perseverance. They are a magnificent flower. What an appropriate sign of the times for them to be blooming when the state declares marriage legal for a joyous and bold population.
Which brings us to tulips (two lips). Tulips need the ground to thaw all the way down to the base of the bulb, and they get planted fairly deep. It takes awhile. Mine just opened today. It feels like spring. In flower language tulips are the flower for the perfect lover. Like roses, a bouquet of tulips can be seen as a declaration of love.
Tulips are one of the plants Michael Pollan covers in Botany of Desire. A really interesting read if you are fascinated by the way humans manipulate their environment. Pollan’s take is that there are plants in the environment that recognize humans as a resource and have manipulated us. I can see it with tulips. The desire, the anticipation, of the color and variety that signals a true end to winter is palatable. The way they retain their stately form, even as cut flowers, until the very end is also appealing.
The tulips are coming out and so are the couples who have been together for years. The partners who want to share their property without paying inheritance taxes are coming out. The families who want to be allowed into emergency rooms and ICU’s are coming out. The lovers who want to hold hands in public are coming out.
Tuesday Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota, will sign into law on the capitol steps the Freedom of Marriage Act. The anticipated crowd will be filled with all the colors of the rainbow. Tulips being one of the most diversely colored species on the planet they are a perfect symbol of a community uniting for love.
Soon there will be daffodils and iris, violets and borage and lilacs. Remember last year’s post about Weather? Check the date on those photos. When I said we were a month early I wasn’t kidding! I just hope that we have a mad “catch-up” in the next two weeks or there won’t be a long enough growing season for many of my favorite plants.
Hopefully the rest of the country will do it’s mad “catch-up” as well. Minnesota is 12th of 50. There are plenty more to go.
One of my dear readers actually said she was looking forward to hearing about my Beltane celebrations. See what happens when you comment? It’s been a whirlwind of a week since I last posted. The weather has almost been as crazy as the schedule! Here’s the recap with editorial commentary about the season.
When we celebrate Beltane in my Wiccan tradition we make a may wine for the chalice. Traditionally this starts with a Rhine wine but I’ve found I like a lighter voignier. We infuse this with strawberries and woodruff.
Woodruff blooms in England at this time of year but it’s always at least up in my yard. I maintain that woodruff is one of those smart herbs, something you can predict planting weather by watching. This year as I went out in the May 1st snow to gather my herbs it was barely peeking out of the ground.
After a snowy morning we spent the evening at Circus Juventas.
How can you not think of spring with butterflies coming out of their silk cocoons and bright colors rolling across the floor?
These kids were spectacular and it was definitely a great way to spend an evening.
A mood altering cacophony of colors and lights.
Thursday was Pagan Coming Out Day. Because it isn’t safe for everyone with alternative religious practices to tell their families, or their employers, or sometimes even their children, this day serves to encourage those who can to “come out”. By identifying publicly as Pagans we demystify the religion. When it stops being a scary myth and becomes about someone you know it’s easier for people to begin to accept the idea that we’re out there for real.
The great thing about making this an event is that it’s provided a support for people choosing to stick their tows in the water. It’s also become resource center for Human Resources departments asking questions about how to deal with employees claiming unfamiliar religious holidays. We had dinner out with one of the organizers at a local family friendly pub.
It snowed yet again on Friday. Most of what I got was gone by the afternoon, but just east of here there was as much as 12″ on the ground.
The coven celebrated the holiday on Saturday with flower crowns and may wine. One of our devoted coven members got up at dawn for fishing opener. We had fresh trout for feast, caught standing in 6″ of snow left over from the day before.
I have it on good authority that the weather has truly turned and spring has arrived. We will have rain rather than snow and warm sunshine to light our digging in the dirt. I’m looking forward to spending some time outside!
It’s almost May. My Facebook is filled with photos of my Pagan friends in flower crowns. Many of them celebrated Beltane (the May Day festival – see last year’s post) over the weekend. Somehow I’m still a month behind. I’m about ready for dyed eggs and daylight savings time. I suspect our crazy weather has something to do with that.
Seasonal celebrations are always a conundrum in this climate. It’s not THAT unusual to still have bits of snow on the ground (in the shade) at this time of year. Usually though we’ve at least had a week’s worth of HINTS that spring is coming. The latest ice out date (before this year) on the Twin Cities lakes was April 28 in 1965. This year it has just been cold and snowy.
Then suddenly we finally have had almost a week of warm weather. Unseasonably warm. Almost like we skipped spring altogether and moved straight into summer. A few weeks back you got a post with last year’s daffodils, up in late March early April. This year I’m grateful to see buds on the Hyacinths this morning.
Beltane is a celebration of the blooming flowers, the burgeoning spring. Those flower crowns are supposed to be made of wildflowers plucked at dawn in the morning dew. Our last frost is usually somewhere between May 1-10. In spite of our summery weekend, this year promises at least one more of those “iffy” nights. So we greet the May, which in Minnesota is the month of planting.
The rule of thumb I grew up with “Tomatoes don’t go into the ground until Memorial Day weekend.” The most optimistic of us will plant a few things early “just in case”. We might get lucky and then we’ll have a bounty. I don’t have anything, even peas, in the ground yet. We had a foot of snow on the ground a week ago. The yard is muddy and there are puddles of standing water because the earth underneath isn’t warm enough yet to take on that much moisture.
The way that we can be sure it’s May is that this coming weekend is the May Day Parade. The extravaganza is put on every year by the neighborhood around Powderhorn Park and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater. There is usually some kind of geo-political theme (in honor of the political associations with May Day). Often it’s something like what’s happening with our water, or genocide in Africa, or global warming. These are far reaching themes and ultimately are eco-centric.
The Pagan elements of the day are also honored. The parade marches into the park and ends with a performance where all seems lost. Then the crowd is roused into calling forth the sun. The sun rises on an island in the middle of the lake and is ferried across in a canoe flotilla where it is welcomed and celebrated. Usually the flotilla is led by the family of ducks who make there home on the lake. Often the sun pops out from behind a cloud at the same moment the sun is raised on the island. It’s truly a magical celebration of spring.
Month behind or not, I’m ready to welcome spring. I’m almost eager to wait for Orion’s bus outside in the mornings. I’m itchy to dig in the dirt, even if all I manage is outdoor pots. I’m ready to see the flowers in bloom. Welcome the Sun!
I have a love hate relationship with deadlines. I have to acknowledge that they can motivate me toward an action I’ve been inclined to avoid. They add a pressure to knuckle down and get the work out of the way. They function like a goal line, marking the path to a clear victory. They can also sneak up on you and bite you in the ass!
That pressure can feel like the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. Ultimate doom. Tax day deadline is like that for a lot of people. Often deadlines we know we’re not going to make take on this quality. Those are hard deadlines. We also have soft deadlines, the kind that exist but don’t really have any consequences attached if we miss them.
I’ve always thought soft deadlines were a little silly. Really, what’s the point? On the other hand I’ve had occasions to be very grateful when a deadline I wasn’t going to make got bumped back a little. Those extra few days sometimes make all the difference in the world.
What amazes me about deadlines is the way they like to cluster together. It’s never just one thing that’s due, it’s three, or five. Even better is when deadlines cluster around other commitments. The things you can’t just put off in order to get the work done to meet the deadline. Like when the big presentation at work gets scheduled for the day after your big anniversary dinner.
I have worked very hard to eliminate this kind of pressure from my daily life. For the most part I’ve been successful. Still, as a writer and speaker there are deadlines. If I want to participate in a conference there’s a deadline to submit a proposal. When I commit to present, of course the presentation has to be ready by that date. I have a very understanding publisher, but the contract is clear about how much time I have to respond to the editors comments and requests for changes in my work.
Even when I’m confronted with a crazy busy week I try to take time and make those spiritual connections. Often that’s when I find it’s most important to take a moment and breathe. When the deadlines and activities are a reflection of my spiritual practice it’s easy to confuse the doing with the being. Worrying about meeting deadlines is the opposite of being in the moment. A sense of humor, a little smile, a deep breath are all helpful to stay on track.
This is a heavy deadline week. I’m doing a class on Sunday at Eye of Horus. Two of my great nephews (if I’m their great-aunt they’re great nephews, right?) have a joint birthday party on Saturday. I have a date with my daughter for Dine Out for Life on Thursday. Orion has a major doctors appointment, orthopedics take forever, on Wednesday. I have my dinner/housecleaning exchange on Tuesday. I need to be ready for the workshop, get another workshop proposal (Women and Spirituality Conference) in the mail, put in some serious time on my next book, oh and write my Monday blog.
At least I can check one thing off the list!
Since I don’t have pictures I’ll give you a little humor and this youtube link instead:
When we think about spring the images that come to mind are bright and fresh. Tulips and crocuses and daffodils come in a range of happy colors. New shoots of grass, fresh buds on the trees, robins with their red breasts all evoke a feelings of hope and joy. Even in the worst of our spring images April showers bring may flowers.
Nowhere in the lexicon of spring imagery is the reality of grey ugly snow that refuses to melt. Those April showers in our imagination look more like a warm summer rain than like sleet beating against the roof. Gentle spring breezes of the mind are rarely underlined with cold northern gusts that carry the cold damp through all the layers. Winter hangs on tightly with icy fingers.
I do understand that all of this is the nature of where I live. There are areas of the country where planting is underway. Real planting, not starting seedlings indoors. I know there are places where snow is a rare thing that never overstays its welcome. I recognize that this weather we’ve all been complaining about is actually pretty normal for us this time of year.
I look back fondly on Groundhogs Day. Where I come from it really doesn’t matter what Punxsutawney Phil does. We are getting at least six more weeks of winter. When six weeks starts stretching into eleven it’s easy to become a little frustrated and impatient. Cabin fever and spring fever get all bundled up together in a grey haze and we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
To combat the malaise I’m making small efforts. Spring cleaning happens in fits and starts, even though it’s too cold to open up the windows. Hot house tulips bought at the grocery store are stuffed in vases. I’ll even splurge on asparagus, trucked in from who knows where.
I’ll light a fire in the fireplace and dream of campfires. I’ll make soup out of the asparagus ends and throw snow peas in the salad. I’ll tend those indoor seedlings and sharpen my gardening tools.
Or maybe, like the groundhog I’ll go back to bed. I’ll stick my head under the covers and stay warm until the sun decides to come out. Maybe in May? I have my fingers crossed.
Arts and crafts are not my thing. I have a great talent in the kitchen. I can wield a knife to chop, dice, julienne or even slice fresh bread. I get asked to cut cakes at weddings to serve the guests. I can take apart a roasted chicken practically with my eyes shut. Put a scissors in my hand and I’m hopeless.
I have a degree in theater arts with a focus in stage management. Pretty much that means you need to learn how to do everything. I took classes on costume design. I learned how to make a pattern. I turned in a project for costume design for a play including fabric swatches and design sketches. I was supposed to spend a certain number of hours working in the costume shop.
College theaters are staffed by professors and upper level students. Most of the labor is provided by volunteers and to ensure an adequate number of volunteers most theater classes require signing up to put in hours. These shops get students with all range of talent and experience. They generally require that you prove dependability and competence before you are given anything too complicated to work on. They also supervise closely the new volunteers.
The problem was that I had avoided the costume shop for most of the time I was working on the degree. It may have been the first time I was required to put hours specifically in costumes but most of the staff knew me from working on other things. Maybe I didn’t get quite the attention I should have? I was given an easy task. It was sewing a simple seam on the sewing machine. The machines were already threaded and ready to go. The fabric was pinned. This is pretty basic stuff for the costume department.
20 minutes later, having jammed up three sewing machines in a row I was kicked out of the costume shop and told I could do my costuming hours down in the props department. Seriously. I did end up putting in a few hours with costuming helping with hand sewing here and there over the course of the next year, but not that quarter. I really was that bad.
I know a lot of people who sew. I enjoy spending time with people working on projects. I find myself invited to tag along when a “major sewing event” occurs. Events like ‘let’s make everyone a swimsuit for the season’. Sometimes there is a great new pattern that everyone wants, like (shudder) Zumba pants. SHAZAM! An excuse for a mad sewing extravaganza. I have literally had the scissors taken out of my hand and been asked to find something in the kitchen to do to keep myself busy!
The really tricky part is that when there is a sewing event and I’m on the list of people who need the garment (in this case ritual robes) I don’t fit the pattern. I’m too large, too tall, too long in the waist and arms, too broad in the shoulders to fit a standard women’s pattern. Things need to be adjusted. I need to get invited, even though everyone knows I’m really not much help.
This weekend I got to spend some time (not) sewing. It’s good to spend time with friends. It was great helping out in the kitchen. I got prodded and pinned and fussed over as the pattern was dramatically adjusted to fit. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my sewing friends. How lucky am I to have people in my life who are willing to work so hard just to be sure I’m included.
Thank you Rachael, Michelle, Vonnie, and Judy – the actually workhorses behind this extravaganza. Thanks also to the men in the group who also don’t sew but who don’t feel nearly as guilty about letting the women do it for them. (Sexism and male privilege at it’s best.) At least I wasn’t alone.
The idea of the fool is an old one. In modern times the word implies a lot of things, most frequently including a lack of common sense. But the concept of the fool is an old one. The court jesters and mythic tricksters were also considered to be fools.
Very often these characters were foolish simply to disguise their intelligence. The court jesters were also often spys as people would say things in front of them assuming someone so “foolish” was also to stupid to understand the conversation. This misperception was enhanced by the fact that many courtly fools also had some manner of disability or disfigurement that added to their “outsider” lack of status.
The other role of the courtly fool was to play up the absurdity of the actions of the nobility. Satire and wit were their weapons. Our most notable modern day fool is probably Stephen Colbert. He plays a likable character who embodies the viewpoint he most frequently pokes fun at. His sense of wit, timing and both self aggrandizement and self depreciation make him seem harmless and somewhat “foolish”. But there are indications that most young people get their news, not from the news stations but from Comedy Central’s Daily Show and from the Colbert Report.
There is a turn of phrase in English “too smart for your own good.” This phrase is the epitome of the mythic trickster. Reynard the fox in European mythology has associations both for intelligence and foolishness. The Tlingit Raven embodies similar qualities. Coyote, the most familiar trickster in the Americas, is very smart, but not very wise. Still the tricksters, like Stephen Colbert, are often teachers.
The bumbling professor is another modern archetype of the fool. Fred MacMurray in The Absentminded Professor is the classic example of this. In recent times Dumbledore of the Harry Potter series appears to cultivate that silly absent-mindedness and he is underestimated because of it. He is seen as a fool in spite of his fame and historical feats in the wizardly world.
There is a great deal of discussion in the Pagan blogosphere about the term BNP (big name Pagan). It seems that several folks who are coming into the title are pushing back against the idea of their own popularity or fame within the community. (Peter Dybing ”Killing Big Name Pagans”, Crystal Blanton ”Sensationalizing Pagan Leaders: The damaging social structure behind BNP status”)
Crystal and Peter make some good points. Being labeled as a BNP decreases their ability to be “one of the people.” This impacts their effectiveness at serving a community since they all share a viewpoint that everyone’s contribution is valuable and necessary.
On the other hand, having some notoriety allows someone to share their knowledge more broadly. Bloggers have something to share and they look for more readers. Likewise authors aren’t always as interested in sales for profit as they are for sharing their work broadly. Becoming a big name often requires a serious effort of underlying self promotion.
Dumbledore isn’t the head of Hogwarts because of the way he hides his abilities. Stephen Colbert isn’t as popular as he is because he doesn’t have anything worth listening to. Raven, Coyote, and Reynard the fox often get their fellow mythological creatures invested in their grand schemes because, on some level, they make sense. They are also accessible.
Bill Nye the Science Guy, and classic fool, is easier to understand and accept than the pompous academic scientist who uses jargon and expects the students to keep up. Part of Alton Brown‘s charm is his foolishness, but his culinary science and depth of knowledge isn’t foolish at all, just accessible. Ultimately, true fools are teachers. Teachers need an audience and that, especially in the modern world, requires some level of fame. It’s a conundrum. It’s a balancing act between credibility and accessibility.
In courtly circles, and in modern times, a physical disability often provides the balance. Someone with Cerebral Palsy, or Tourette’s, or dwarfism doesn’t need to work to hide their intelligence. The disability does a sufficient job of that. Those people work hard to get past the imposed perception of foolishness to be taken seriously. Another balancing factor that people fight hard against is age. There comes a point where age both demands we be heard and also allows us to be dismissed as “foolish”.
We revere our successful fools and celebrate them this day. But wouldn’t it be nice to be simply accepted. All of us have our foolishness. All of us have our faults and failings to be made fun of or to remind us we are human. All of us have something to offer, to teach.
How do we as leaders, as teachers, as writers reach our audience without becoming a “big name”? I don’t know that we can. I do think we can remember the balance. We can allow ourselves to be foolish and therefore not revered quite as highly. By embracing our foolishness we remain human, members of our community, and therefore even more effective communicators and teachers.
We’ve all had those days when as Robert Burns so aptly said “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley”. Sometimes it’s a whole week like that. March has been that kind of a month.
Synchronicity is that thing that happens when all is right with the world and everything falls into place just as it should. Sometimes when plans go awry it is because synchronicity happens. Whatever I was planning wasn’t as fun, important or rewarding as what the shift in plans brings. For me, these usually involve avoiding a chore.
In March I was settling in for an evening with nothing on tv and no promising books to read when I got a call from an old friend I’d not heard from for months. I was going to get some writing done and a friend stopped by and we stayed talking, catching up, for hours longer than a quick visit. I was going to do laundry but Karina needed me to be Mom and listen to her rant about the crazy in her life. “Oh well, it was meant to be.” ”It’s a good thing I hadn’t really started yet.” “I’m so glad this opportunity came along.” Synchronicity.
Then there are those times when it seems we can’t do anything right. I had a few of those too. Days when I would wake up with good intentions only to check Facebook and disappear down the Tube of You until it was too late to run errands. Days when the phone wouldn’t stop ringing with calls from telemarketers, appointment reminders, and the I don’t have anything to say so I thought I’d call you friends. These days are kind of the opposite of synchronicity. They are the days when I know I am fighting my alignment with the universe. I could get on track and do what I need to do, if only I’d get my head out of the sand.
I’ve had a couple of no good, horrible, very bad days (maybe I should have moved to Australia with Alexander). The worst one included misplacing my best serving trays which I’d promised on load for the weekend, not being able to find my fondue pot which I needed for a dinner party that night, driving to 4 thrift stores and finding several trays but no fondue pots, hearing from the woman I was borrowing a second fondue pot from that she was sick and wasn’t coming, dropping the bottle of wine I had bought special on the tile floor and breaking it in the bag of everything else I had packed for the evening, the toilet backing up, finding my fondue pot had been sitting under a drip in the ceiling for what looked like a century…….. In the end it all turned out just fine. The dinner party was with my best girl friends and they were happy just to be together. The trays were eventually found. I managed to borrow all the fondue pots I needed from another friend in the nick of time.
But apparently I’m not done being derailed. I had several ideas for my Monday blog this week. I spent the weekend off in the woods of Wisconsin. Packed my camera. Never took it out of the bag. I played with the dogs. Watched a very smart turkey grab the branches of saplings and bushes and let them go sprong so that all the seeds and new buds would fall on the snow for him to eat. Had a delightful relaxing time. But not anything to write about (except the turkey) and no photos.
I have been thinking for a week about an article in response to some things I’ve been reading in the blogosphere. An article that is ripe for controversy and needs to be carefully crafted to actually say what I mean. An article requiring a block of uninterrupted quiet in order to write it. Of course Orion was home sick yesterday. Derailed again.
I’m looking forward to April. Do you think I’ll manage to get past the 1st?
Orion and I spent the weekend in a hotel room. We were there as volunteers to keep things tidy, put out food, answer questions and talk to folks. Actually we didn’t even stay at the hotel, just spend long hours hosting the hospitality suite - the actual con suite -for Paganicon.
Our local Pagan Pride event has been going on for years in the Twin Cities (Paganistan) area. They’ve held events that were like weekend psychic fairs or community meet and greets. They’ve had Big rituals and small workshops.
A couple of years ago it became clear that Pagan Pride needed to serve two purposes. First to be “out loud and proud” in the larger community. That’s kind of tough when your event is holed up in an odd community building off the beaten path. The second purpose was to provide an opportunity for those who’ve been long time members of the community to network and expand their own knowledge base. To become an event that went beyond 101.
In 2009 Pagan Pride started doing a fall event with vendors, music and public rituals in an outdoor setting. Pride at Minnehaha Falls is an event that the general public can see and participate (or not) along with the existing and exploring Pagan community. It’s a great idea and a pleasant historical venue. The “meeting place of waters” is appropriate for expanding awareness and acceptance.
In 2010 Pagan Pride held its first Paganicon. A hotel based convention loosely modeled on Pantheacon. This is still a small convention but it has good buzz. I haven’t gone in years past because of scheduling and money issues but I’ve certainly heard about it from the community at large. The convention/fair model seems like an excellent expansion of Pagan Pride for this community.
I don’t know if I would have made it to the convention this year either. Money is tight since I came back from California. Orion is not too keen on sitting through the workshops I’m interested in, and he’s not quite independent enough to manage a convention on his own. We come as a pair most of the time and for a weekend long event I certainly couldn’t afford to get away. At the last minute the Pagan Pride committee discovered their regular “Suite Goddess” was swamped at work and were scrambling for someone to take her place. It sounded like the perfect solution to my predicament so I signed us up.
Someone asked me how I managed to deal with “missing” all the workshops and stuff. Essentially ‘why would you do so much work when you don’t even get to go to the convention?’ My feeling was pretty much that the convention came to us. Sometime during the weekend almost everyone attending made their way through the hospitality suite for a cup of coffee, or a snack or to sit for a minute and chat.
It’s not like we were all alone. The roving volunteer crew – the “Flying Monkey Squad” – were available if we needed help lifting heavy things (like coffee urns). Often they sat “on call” in our suite knowing that when they were needed this was where people would look. If nothing else they swung by to get those fabulous capes to wear during their shift.
There were several times during the weekend when we were “standing room only.” People would come in crowds talking about the workshop they’d just attended. Or they’d sit for a minute before the vendor room or the ball opened up. I did manage to stick my head into the vendor room (and immediately left lest I be tempted.) I also got to wander through the art exhibition which was a new and delightful addition to this year’s convention.
Yet another opportunity for me to explore community and my relationship to it. Again I got to meet new people and visit with old friends. It was nice to have an opportunity to be of service to something I support and still reap the benefits of the social support of community. I’m pretty sure Orion had a great time too. Win/Win.