Vail

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Signs

I'd gotten engaged. Naturally, I had a nightmare. My parents had thrown me a surprise wedding. The caterer was doing my hair. My wedding gown was a belted, airbrushed t-shirt from the mall, the image possibly my yearbook photo from sixth grade. In my mounting panic, I looked up at the ceiling where the gods are supposed to dwell and asked them for a sign. I looked out the window, and there it was - a dragonfly made out entirely of flower petals floating by. I heard a voice in my head.

Follow the dragonfly.

I woke up.

A few minutes later, my nephew, Thomas, ran to the door, ready to haul us over to breakfast where my folks would be meeting my fiancé's for the first time. Thomas turned around and told us to follow him.

He had a dragonfly on the back of his shirt.

I shit you not, people.

Everyday after that, I saw a dragonfly. On busy LA streets, by the beach, in my backyard, every day I saw a dragonfly, cementing my belief that my request for a sign had been heard. One scorching hot afternoon during a return trip to Memphis, I scouted for a place to get married, coming to a field in front of the Pink Palace. The coordinator guided me to the spot where all her brides typically chose to tie the knot, but something in my gut was directing me deeper into the grass. I pointed at the lone tree and said - "There." We walked closer, and it wasn't the tree I was looking at anymore, but the hundreds of dragonflies that swarmed the spot where Caleb and I would get married a few months later.

My first thought was, alrighty. Message received. My second thought was, "Huh. What if there was an actual guy whose job it was to process all those signs from folks below?" Two seconds later. "What if he f-ed up and sent the wrong sign to the wrong person?" A few months later, The Department of Signs and Magical Intervention was a finished draft. And because I am crazy lucky, the script won the grand prize at the Vail Film Festival, allowing me and Caleb to take our first child-free vacation in 2 1/2 years, further proving to me that somebody up there thinks that the two of us together is a good thing indeed.

Signs

This was my first bonafide film festival, so I don't really have a reference point, but I couldn't believe how lovely the staff of the VFF was to the writers. I'm half wondering as my transformation into HIlary Swank is reaching its critical mass if my doppelgangerness afforded me such good will. But they were also just really nice. We were given a filmmakers pass that let us in to all the parties, screenings and free booze vestibules. I had to gently explain to anyone who asked about my "movie" that it was only a script, but people still came to the staged reading Saturday morning. There was my introduction, the reading performed by various staff and filmmakers, and finally my Q&A where I tried not to poke out an eye while flailing my hands and imparting sage advice to the sweet 12 year old in the audience who was writing his first script. Bless our hearts.

In another amazing stroke of luck, we met up with a super fun gang (gaggle? Crowd? What do you call a bunch of awesome documentary filmmakers and photographers?) and partied the day and night away. Literally. We had two hours of sleep before our evil, evil shuttle came to get us at 4:30 AM. Still paying for that one.

So what's next? I've had a lot of encouragement to make my short. I've done a lot of talking myself out of making it. There are so many reasons - sound, practical, reasons - why I shouldn't take the plunge. But right now, this very moment? Practical can take a hike.

I'll be the lady with the bullhorn and the jodhpurs.

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