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Archive for June 7th, 2014

Letting your imagination run riot

For a split second last night, I felt like the protagonist in a horror movie. It happened during an adventure out to see an artist friend’s work during First Friday – the monthly celebration of art, culture, and strange that takes place in downtown Phoenix. 

Thing is, I forgot that Downtown Phoenix that this particular evening promised  a traffic superstorm: second day of Comicon, Atlanta Braves at the Arizona Diamondbacks, and First Friday. Woo-hoo! Twelve-dollar parking … so glad I had cash with me!

 As I headed toward the Arizona Science Center to see Lisa’s art projected on the dome of the Dorrance Planetareum, I encountered many a kooky character.

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Waited in line almost 20 minutes to buy a bottled water from the Chicken and Waffles vendor only to hear: “No! I’m all sold out of beverages.” Big chalkboard right there with their prices on it – they couldn’t mention the no-beverages situation and save the people who just wanted some relief from the heat the fruitless wait? Oh, wait … Comicon. These people are impervious to heat!

Finally made it to the Science Center, where they were blessedly well-stocked with beverages, from beer to wine to soda … and water.

Then I saw Lisa’s show. We’ve been friends for nearly a dozen years and I love her art, but this was something extraordinary. Most of her paintings range in size from 5″ x 8″ to 16″ x 24″. In other words, not very big. But there they were, projected on the planetarium dome as big as the roof of my house!

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Note the little red dot on the bottom right of the picture – that’s the EXIT sign!

Lisa did a series of paintings featuring comedian Louis CK. This one is delightful … and the creators of the planetarium show animated it so that the wings flitted and the “bee” buzzed all over the dome before settling in the middle of the painting.

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These still photos don’t do her work justice. These were part of a series of five animal totems … each one more gorgeous than the last.

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It was, by far, one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Lisa’s art is absolutely gorgeous – but the animation and the music just made the experience other-worldly. If you’re in Phoenix and missed the show (or will be in Phoenix in the next couple weeks), Lisa’s looking to do a command performance for VIP guests. You can come as my guest, provided you’re willing to do it on a Sunday morning and you email me that you’re interested (laura@writemarketdesign.com).

It was on my way back to my car that the horror-movie moment happened. I was casually strolling, enjoying the coolish 90-degree weather, when I looked north and saw a GIANT mob of people moving toward me. People were beginning to line the street I was walking, so it was only seconds before I realized it must be a Zombie Walk. I figured I had plenty of time to cross the street and make it to my parking garage without incident. Then, the noise behind me got louder. I turned to look, and the mob was turning the corner onto the street where I was walking! Shit, they’re coming this way. It was such a comical thought, because I could imagine the heroine of B horror movie uttering that very line.

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Little zombies. Big zombies. Religious zombies. Alien zombies. French maid zombies. Zombies with green hair. Zombies with tattoos. Every kind of zombie you can imagine – all were out in full force.I am, admittedly, not a fantasy or horror fan. I bought a couple paranormal romances authored by a Facebook pal (and they were actually pretty good!), but overall, these are just not my genres of choice. But it occurred to me that these are a LOT of people’s genres of choice. The 2013 San Diego Comicon is estimated to have generated in excess of $163 million – from 150,000 attendees. Yes, you’re a writer – but do the math! That’s an average of nearly $1,100 bucks a person. Now, not all of that money was spent at the event – hotels, food, car rentals get factored in. But these are still people who are shopping.
What’s my point? If you’re an author in any of these genres and there’s a Comicon anywhere near you, shouldn’t you be there with postcards on a street corner, at the VERY least? Dressed as your main character or villain, if you’re really willing to get in the spirit? Doing impromptu readings, if you’re willing to go the distance?

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Speaking of paranormal fiction … a member of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup which I facilitate said something priceless at our last meeting. One of our regular features is that we each announce an action step we plan to take before the next meeting. I write those down and post them. Then, at the start of each meeting, we go around the room to check in and see how everyone did with their goals. This accountability piece is really one of the most valuable things we do, in my humble opinion. At any rate, L, who writes under the pseudonym LS Brierfield, said, in discussing her current projects: “One of my characters told me the other day that she wants to have her own series.”

I just found this idea so charming … that L’s characters speak to her, and that she listens to them and takes their comments seriously enough to share with our group. We should all listen to what our characters are telling us! Even nonfiction authors have characters in their stories.

 So, there you have it. My serendipitous lesson cultivated as I wandered among elves and fairies and zombies and out-of-this-word creatures. I think we can all do to get out of our self-imposed boxes and cages and limits every once in a while to see what other creatives are doing.

Here’s to imagination!

Laura

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