This has been languishing pitifully in the drafts folder for a full three weeks. It is displeased with me. But today, but hook or by crook, I'm clicking "publish."
We were addressed by several people with good things to say.
We learned that Oprah built her empire based on intention. Not the kind that the road to hell is paved with, but the kind, apparently, that changes the lives of scores of people. I have never actually seen the Oprah Winfrey show, incidentally, but don't tell anyone. What I mostly appreciated is that Brian Piotrowicz, one of the show's producers who came to talk to us, cries every bit as easily as I do. Meet a president? Cry. Meet Carol Burnett? Cry. Hear a terrible story of personal loss? Cry. Disagree with a colleague? Cry. Yep. Me too.
We learned that we are basically zombie slaves to dopamine. Okay, it was more complicated that that, but Buster is smarter than I am. Plus, his name is Buster, which I enjoy.
We learned that one way to address the profound problem of water-borne illness in Ethiopia is to get a bunch of fancy friends together and climb Mount Kilamanjaro. Look, I'm not saying it's my way, or even your way, but it was his way. And frankly, he was so handsome and charming (did he call his mother on speaker phone so we could all sing Happy Birthday to her? He did. Did she ask if he was taking his vitamins and had he met a nice girl? Uh...she did.) that you might have been briefly convinced that you could totally climb Mt. Kilamanjaro if it meant you could hang out with him.
But none of that relates to the Girl Scout song.
Make new friends but keep the old...One of the reasons that this has been loitering around the drafts folder is that I felt unequal to the task of explaining how marvelous these two women are. The good news is that during my procrastination, video of their presentations has been published. Now you can just see for yourself how rad they are.
Old, forever keepable friend: Evany Thomas. I have known Evany for about thirty years. (I know!) I don't think there is a bad photo of her in existence, though that is merely an aside. I have often told Evany that she is my hero, but she never believes me. Evany does all kind of amazing things, but she has the grace to be at least a little apprehensive about them first? I appreciate that.
New, shiny bright friend: Lisa Congdon. If someone asked, "what did you get out of camp?" I'd say, Lisa Congdon. Lisa is inspiring and quite ridiculously talented and disciplined and generous and snarky. She is way cooler thsn I am. Now, she is also my friend. How great is that? For Lisa, I will try to put together some kind of vegan menu so I can invite her to dinner and you know I've never made THAT commitment before.
After the Mighty Addresses (which is a title I just made up), we broke into teams and talked about our life lists and identified five things we'd like to get done within the year. And yes, I did cry. It was exciting to hear everyone's plans and struggles and intentions, but what I found myself reflecting on most--even as I blubbered in front of a bunch of almost-strangers--was how damn fortunate I am and, secretly, even in the fearful, underemployed version of myself, how I'm pretty mighty already. Indeed, even while I was down there I got an email about performing in a story slam and another about collaborating on a podcast. I have this extraordinary community of creative people around me all the time of which Evany and Lisa are just a small sample. One of the things Evany suggested would help to make you the best version of yourself was to "have fantiasigreat friends." Check.
Here are a few of them:
Katy writes a song every week. Indeed, she'll even write one just for you.
Daniel and Darren and Rob have filled my life with music in a way I never expected.
So has Hannah. And Lori.
Sara has written/drawn several books. This one is the latest.
Christopher still makes me laugh and I've known him for more than 20 years.
Stephanie takes people all over the world.
Abby flies through the air with the greatest of ease.
Samantha writes and writes and opened the door to storytelling for me, which, to our mutual surprise, turns out to be my niche in the world.
Andy has done all sorts of things including writing this book. He is developing the aforementioned podcast and wants me on it!
And those are just the people most easily linkable. There's a whole cadre of less cyber-present people who are brightening the world while being solidly in my corner. Finding your people is half the battle. This means, I suppose, that I'm halfway to being really quite astonishing.
It's finished! Can I get an amen? You have no idea what a relief it is to hit....publish.