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Technicolor Nightmares

Viginia Woolf Writers (and artists in general) have a million quotes that all basically come down to the same thing: we feel like lightning rods for the human experience, and as such, we need to find a way to redirect all that feeling, emotion, darkness, and energy somewhere else, or we'll explode. We live the life of everyone we talk to. We dream of worlds no one has seen. We take all of the invisible, intangible bits and try to give them shape.

Being a person who walks through life feeling this way is complicated and exhausting, mostly because the only people who truly understand what life feels like to us, is other people like us (and we tend to not spend enough time around those types of people!) This is why my life changed when I first set foot inside the hotel at my first RWA National Convention. It was like Dorothy walking into Oz and seeing the world in color for the first time. I didn't have to explain myself to anyone. I didn't have to make apologies for needing a few minutes to introvert. I didn't need to explain that I love socializing and being alone. These were my people. 2,000 of them all in one place. There were other people like me in the universe (a lot of them!) who geeked out over information and reading, who believed in happily ever afters and the power of transformative experiences. These were people who could talk about hair and makeup one minute and the deep underlying meaning of racism and misogyny hidden in popular literature the next.

This is why I treasure the internet. It took me over 30 years to find other writers and artists to connect with. Without the power of the internet I wouldn't have the network of people and support I've been able to gather over the last few years. The internet is amazing. Conventions where you can spend time with people who have similar interests are amazing. The world is huge and it can be very lonely, but it doesn't have to be anymore. You can find your people.

I'm writing all of this because this weekend took a dark turn. Dark. The kind where being a lightning rod became too much and I really felt like I was on the verge of exploding. Actually, it felt more like a well of sadness so deep and strong was trying to escape from my soul that the only way out was by it spilling out of my heart like a tidal wave. That if I didn't find a way to let it all out, that sadness would carry me away with it--because it had to get out and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

I don't know exactly how that much sadness winds up inside me, but I suspect it comes from me being me. I pick up emotions from everyone I meet. I absorb them and take them in. Maybe I store them up so they don't have to, or maybe I accidentally leave them lying around in a back storage room until the room is full and there's no where else for the stuff to go. I'm really not sure.

In the past I dealt with this alone, but then I became a writer and I finally had a real outlet for this stuff. I could finally redirect all the feelings and stories I collected each day into a channel that could handle it. Along with that came finding friends who understood me and I was able to build a community of support that I've never had before.

And I want everyone who feels this way to know there are people like them out there, and that taking those steps to go to that convention, or meeting, or school is the right step. It can feel overwhelming, but it is worth taking the chance. Not every attempt will work out, but you have to put yourself out there in order to find the one that will. Find your art, find your people. They are out there.

Pisaro quote

Magical Match Up: The Leprechaun vs The Tooth Fairy

I write stories with my kids. We write a lot of stories. On the walk home yesterday we got to talking about leprechauns since a sneaky one had caused chaos and havoc in my youngest's preschool classroom that day. I mentioned that a mischievous leprechaun might come by our house that night. And wouldn't it be funny if my oldest finally pulled out his two impossibly loose (yet somehow still in his mouth) teeth and then the Tooth Fairy arrived at the same time as the leprechaun. The following silliness ensued:

Magical Match Up: The Leprechaun vs The Tooth Fairy

Magical Match Up-

One night, after weeks and weeks and weeks of my parents begging me to pull out my tooth, it happened. Pop! One wiggle before bed and suddenly the tooth was in my hand. 

We bundled up my little tooth and stuck it inside my little blue tooth pillow. I stuck it under my sleeping pillow, kissed my parents goodnight, and fell asleep. I was excited to find money under my pillow the next morning.

There was only one problem.

One giant. Terrible. Horrible problem. 

Something I hadn't thought to prepare for. 

It was St. Patrick's Day Eve.

There's nothing to worry about! You might be thinking. It's only St. Patrick's Day! We all wear green. That's all there is to it! But you'd be wrong. So very wrong, as I discovered that fateful night. The night the sneaky, tricky, somewhat greedy leprechaun visited my house in search of gold.

You see, it was just after midnight. I was happily snoozing. When suddenly I was awakened by a horrible scuffle. When I opened my eyes I could scarcely believe what I was seeing! The Tooth Fairy was hovering high near my ceiling! She was pink and purple, and there was glitter was everywhere. Her long hair hung in ringlets and her wings flapped faster than a butterfly. She was very beautiful.

She was also very angry.

You see, while she was hovering high in my room, a tiny green man with a very stern face was running around my floor. A leprechaun. The Leprechaun! 

"Ahhhh!" I screamed.

The Tooth Fairy looked at me and wailed. "Now do you see what you've done you tiny, greedy man! You've woken the child up! He can see us both! You've ruined everything!"

I looked back and forth between the Tooth Fairy and The Leprechaun with my comforter pulled high up under my chin trying to decide what to do next. What does one do when they wake up with two magical beings in their room? Run? Hide? Go back to sleep and hope this is all really one crazy dream?

But before I could decide, The Leprechaun charged right at me. I thought he was going to punch me in the nose! Instead, with his lightning fast leprechaun speed, he ran up the wall and leapt at the Tooth Fairy.

"Give me your gold!" he cried. His fingers caught her boots. He dangled as she flew in circles. 

"Never! This is for the children, not you!" She swung him into the wall, then turned and did it again on the opposite wall. With each bang the leprechaun yelled and glitter showered down like rain. My bedroom was sparkling. 

"But I need it! I need the gold! It's safer with me than these young humans." 

"Ha! Nothing is safe with you little green man!" She flew straight toward the ground, dragging the leprechaun along the carpet, ramming his head into a wall and flying away when he finally let go. 

The leprechaun looked hurt. Actually, he looked unconscious. What should I do? Should I help him? Hide? Go back to sleep and hope this was a really, really crazy dream?

But before I could decide, the leprechaun hopped up. He was so fast I barely had time to register that he wasn't hurt before golden flying discs went hurtling through the air. "Stop moving you little pixie!"

"I am not a pixie!" she yelled back, then dodged away from another gold coin. 

The Leprechaun was a really good shot. The coins thudded against my walls. Thump! Thump! Thump! They were making so much noise! Too much noise!

"Shhhh!" I hissed. "You'll wake up everyone!"

That's when the Leprechaun landed a good shot. The Tooth Fairy went flying, then dropped to the ground. 

Oh no... I'd accidentally killed the Tooth Fairy by distracting her! 

"Haha! I got her!" The Leprechaun howled. "All her gold is mine at last!"

He crept closer and closer. I had no idea what to do. The Tooth Fairy lay there on the ground hurt or wounded I was sure. She couldn't defend herself. Would it really be that bad if The Leprechaun took all the gold? He'd leave and we wouldn't have to worry about him anymore.

But I also wouldn't get my gold coin. And neither would any of the other kids who'd lost their teeth that night. They would wake up with their old teeth still under their pillows. No magic. No money. No glittery hope for a new day.

I could not let this happen.

"Stop!" I cried, finally leaping out of bed. 

The Leprechaun did stop. I surprised him. Plus I was much, much bigger. In that split second of hesitation the Tooth Fairy jumped back up and whacked The Leprechaun over the head with her wand. "His gold coins are for you to keep." She waved at the coins The Leprechaun had used as deadly flying saucers.

The coins that were now lying all over my room.

"But what about him? What about you?" I asked.

She smiled brightly. "Oh don't you worry about me. This isn't my first encounter with a leprechaun. I'll just drop him off by the rainbow on my way to the next tooth. Have wonderful dreams my dear and thank you for helping me catch The Leprechaun."

And with a flash of light and glitter, she was gone. And I was alone in my room, covered in sparkling dust and five golden coins. 

I had a hard time explaining exactly what happened. I'm pretty sure my parents don't believe me. But there is no way I could ever make up what happened that night. The truth was much crazier than anything my imagination could dream. I mean really, who expects to wake up to a magical match up between The Tooth Fairy and The Leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day?

Certainly not me.

Magical Match Up: The Leprechaun vs The Tooth Fairy © Alexis Sykes 2015