How do I begin to describe my experiences of the past three days? Eye-opening, intimidating, lovely and ultimately, supremely-comfortable come to mind.
We began our journey on the LIRR (or, for those of you not from NY, the Long Island Railroad). We arrived in Penn Station with about 75 minutes until our Amtrak train to Philadelphia would depart. I grabbed myself a Dunkin Donuts caramel coolatta and a breakfast sandwich and settled into a seat to wait. We took our Philly-bound train and then caught a cab from the 30th Street Station to our home base, the Crown Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ. All in all, we spent about three and a half hours traveling/waiting.
We checked in, without incident, got unpacked, then headed down to the lobby to wait for Monster-Mania to officially begin. At four o'clock, we were permitted to enter the vendors' area and began browsing their respective wares, some of which were incredibly unique and creative. We saw many costumed folks including several creepy clowns and more than a handful of Freddy Kreugers (including, interestingly enough, Robert Englund walking past a costumed and masked Freddy. Surreal, much?)
Soon, we proceeded to the autograph room where my husband was lovely enough to treat me to an autograph from and photo with Dee Wallace, whom I adore as an actress and am becoming slowly acquainted with through her interesting and enlightening work with what I deem "self-awareness and self-appreciation counseling". Fascinating stuff and much-needed in my life of depression, self-doubt and self-condemnation and my ongoing quest to rise above and beyond. I presented her with a poem I had written for and inspired by her which she said she would be happy to read later when she had time to really sit with it. I briefly shared my struggles and she took both my hands in hers and advised me to "always remember that I am the god of my own life" and to take whatever obstacles I'm facing and "throw them the fuck out". Yes, ma'am. Love her!
Over the course of the next three days, I have been fortunate enough to attend multiple film screenings, attend many panel discussions, witness my first auction and meet the following fantastic folks: Chad L. Coleman, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly, director Lewis Teague, Rusty Schwimmer, Virginia Madsen, Ernie Hudson, Roger Jackson, Gunnar Hansen, Scott Wilson, Lisa and Louise Burns and last, but most-definitely not least, Victoria Price, who inspired me to record my adventures while they are fresh in my mind.
Highlights of these personal interactions included warm hugs from Ernie, Virginia, Rusty and Victoria and some genuinely kind and heartfelt verbal exchanges. Rusty made me laugh like no other and has a heart of gold. SO genuine! Ernie's earnest and true heart shone, Virginia reached out when she absolutely did not have to, Daniel Hugh Kelly forever endeared himself to me with his "Hi, I'm Danny, what's your name?" and a friendly handshake and Victoria impressed me immediately with her sincerity, warmth and complete lack of ego.
This weekend has been a true joy. Having had this opportunity to, however briefly, share a bit of myself with such a diverse group of individuals whom I admire and to, in some cases, have them share a bit back was incredibly fun and enlightening. I hope to take part in subsequent conventions in the future.
What it boils down to is this, no matter who one is, where one comes from, what one's past may be or what one does (or does not) do for a living, what matters most in this life, for me, is being my true self, sharing her with others and being open to experiencing and learning from as many others as I can as much and as often as possible. We are all just beings seeking joy, comfort and connection and really, what more could one ask for?