(Um, Yeah. My brain. I'm getting somewhere with this.)
A big mucking envelope arrived, and my boss (!) opened it, and it had Procion dye, patterns, and a note that said my object had failed, and if I didn't get a minimum 335 on the written test, I would have to knit something and dye it, and make a coat with pleather pockets to pass. Of course, I got a 225 on the test, and now I had to make the choice about whether to make the stuff, or give up on the PhD.
What did I do (keeping in mind, that in real life, neither of those projects would offer any obstacles)? I threw a temper tantrum, because I didn't want to make the stupid stuff (though now I'm thinking about it, stripey knitted mittens with big huge cuffs would actually be rather cool). The machinations of my fevered dream states aside (I have always had very vivid dreams), I know why the outcome of that dream pissed me off so much - I resist being told what to do when it comes to my creativity.
The word "maverick" has been somewhat overused in conversation recently, so let's stick with "non-conformist", or maybe "stubborn little girl". The one absolute way to put me off something is to tell me I should do it. This might stem from the other side of this phenomenon that I experienced as a kid - if someone said I wasn't able to do something, I had a tendency to dig my heels in and not only show them that I could, but that I could do it better than them. But the reverse happens as soon as someone tries to push my creativity in the direction that they think it should be going, and I suddenly want to flee from outside expectations.
(I also know that no-one does this to me on purpose, so no apologizing for something that is my fault, guys! I'm the neurotic here, and don't you forget it.)
This is not always an asset - in fact, it rarely is - though I have managed to channel it in fairly positive ways, looking at things people haven't done before and working out how to make them reality, or just allowing my brain to run free over possibilities without any restrictions (believe me, even as I'm writing this, my brain is planning an absolutely useless pair of mittens with awesomely huge cuffs). If I never say "I can't do that", then I'm never going to block myself from trying something new. However, I have to consciously hold back the desire to run in the opposite direction as soon as someone tells me "you should do ____!" It's weird, but it's a deeply ingrained response, probably related to my issues with control and powerlessness.
But, I have also learned to trust my instincts when it comes to my creativity - sometimes, a thing works best in the moment, or in a specific format, and the life in it dies when it's moved to a more formalized place. This, I am afraid, is all working towards telling you guys that there will be no offical Attack Laurel party at Pennsic this year. I'll happily come to your parties (assuming you want to invite me after reading this), but the AL party captured something so energetic and perfect, that I really don't want to kill the memory of it by making that party just another annual party at Pennsic.
The reason I'm telling you guys this now is that I'm starting to see people mention the party for next Pennsic, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm taking a pass this year.
Plus, I really don't think the glowstick thing would work again; it was so organic, so perfect. Trying to re-create something like that is actually terribly difficult, like trying to create a gecko from assorted dead lizard parts - you can sew something together that looks like a gecko, but it won't catch flies for you (or sell insurance).
(Attack of the zombie insurance selling geckos! "Raaaaaaaaatessss... raaaaaaaaatesssss...")
(Anyway. Stupid joke. Never mind.)
I know a lot (okay, some) (all right, maybe a few?) of you will be disappointed, but I'm not saying I'm never going to have another Attack Laurel party; I'm just saying it's not going to be a regular thing, because that will kill it. I want it to stay special for everyone.
One of the things I've realized over the years about creativity is that you can't force it - one year, you hand everyone a glowstick, and suddenly everything gels, and you have an awesome party and a bunch of people all over Pennsic going "what's with the glowsticks?! and you will know, and be smug that you were there. The next year, if you do the same thing, it won't work - people will try, but it just won't have the same kind of fun. By the third year, it's just another party on the list of parties you have to put in an appearance at that night, if only to pick up your free glowstick. By the fifth year, it's boring, and most people won't even bother to go (and everyone at Pennsic will be so over the damn glowsticks). Understandably, I'd prefer to avoid this.
Trouble is, you can't re-create a moment like Glowstickgate - it was the combination of newness, excitement, and humour that created something completely spontaneous, and it was that spontaneity that made people enjoy it. Spontaneity cannot be scheduled, not even if you hand everyone shots of tequila.
(Spontaneous vomiting does not count, though you get points for growling in the grass in an especially amusing manner.)
I loved the party, and I enjoy thinking up new things for the Academy, but I want to keep it funny and fresh (it's one of the reasons I try to control Attack Laurel doings). For this reason, I want to keep the party as a special occasional thing. I hope you guys understand - and also understand, I'm not averse to a meet and greet, I just don't want to do a whole performance thing, and I don't want to put the Attack Laurel name on it. Anyway, the Attack Laurel Dean is a shifty creature who spends a large amount of time in an undisclosed location, so you never know when she's going to turn up (usually about the time I think up something really new and interesting to do).
If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that humour and creativity can't be forced. (Besides, I need more time to think up something really awesomely funny and cool to make the party totally memorable. That stuff is hard.)