It’s 3:00 A.M. in the empty LaGaurdia airport as I type this. There’s only one bench availble in this area, and two other people are already asleep on it so I’ve claimed the corner by the vending machine as my own personal little cave.
Friday still feels entirely like three lifetimes rolled into a dream, but I have pictures, business cards and new friends to tell me that it actually happened.
To rewind, several months ago, a friend (thanks Chris!) sent me information about the Jim Hensom Company hosting a contest inviting anyone to submit a 10,000 word story prequel set in the world of The Dark Crystal. Growing up, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth were two of my favorite movies so I knew I wanted to participate. I spent hours researching, plotting, writing and rewriting, and finally turned in my story just before the deadline.
They received over 500 entries and when the announcement of winners came, I was sad to not be continuing, but excited that there was such excitement about The Dark Crystal. It actually wasn’t until a few days later that I realized that even though I hadn’t won, I’d been named one of the 20 Editors Choices. Thrilled, I printed out that screen shot and hung it above my computer and went back to work writing.
Last month I received an invitation to come to New York City to join the winner and other finalists for a tour of the puppet workshop, screening of The Dark Crystal and then a private reception on Friday October the 24th. After a whole lot of debate, I decided I had to do it and managed to sort the details with a bith of difficulty. It worked out that I would be in NYC for 20 hours, just for Friday.
So now here I am sitting in an empty airport waiting for a 6am flight to go home after a whirlwind dream of a day.
I landed in JFK at 10:30 A.M. on Friday, and then was trapped in the airport for about an hour after I climbed onto the wrong train and just went in a circle around the terminals. I finally found my way to the first stop of my trip, The Jim Henson Company Workshop.
Now we couldn’t take pictures in the actual workshop, but it was amazing. We got to see how the various puppets are put together, and just all the work involved in them. There are towers and towers of foam, fur and other supplies all over the place. It was awesome.
After that, I got some help navigating my way to Union Square to have some NYC pizza. It was INCREDIBLE. I ate until I was pretty close to bursting then I just wandered around the area before hopping on another train and heading to BAM for the screening of the Dark Crystal and then the reception for the finalists.
Before the movie we got to hear from Cheryl Henson, Brian and Wendy Froud, and Toby Froud presented his short film, Lessons Learned, which was gorgeous and a joy to watch! We then got to hear J.M. Lee, winner of the Author Quest read an excerpt, and I loved it. I cannot wait to read the full thing. The Dark Crystal was beautiful on the big screen and it was great seeing how much everyone enjoyed it. The theather was sold out.
Afterwards, the finalists went upstairs to a reception with some of the other special guests. I had a blast talking to so many incredible people, and I’m thrilled to know I’ve got some incredible new friends out of the trip. After we closed down the party around midnight, we wandered around New York to get back to one of my new friend’s hotels, and hung out at the bar just talking for a while.
Then finally, it was time to say goodbye to my new friends, and hop in a cab.
And now here I am, half asleep, but too uncomfortable (and paranoid) to sleep, so I’m writing down what happened, trying to process what an incredible opportunity this was. It still feels like a dream and I can’t get the smile off of my face.
Thank you to everyone who helped get me here, and who has believed in me, and stuck with me over the years.