I know that the tribe of people we collectively refer to as “Fairelanders” are just that. They are people.
It is clear to me that Beryl is not really a big, black cat, no more so than Oldesoul is a tiny, grey one. I know that Gar is not a dragon, and Sonya is not a bunny. Alia is not a Fallen God, no more than David is a demon nor Kasi a drow. I know that Avariel is not a unicorn, Zaps is not a mermaid, and Vasa is not a satyr. Encaiteron is neither a Tookie (whatever the heck that is!) nor a detective.
And I know that the Boss Fairy, Elizabeth is not – well, no. I am pretty sure she actually IS a fairy. Still!
I know these things, and yet…
As the Faire has risen from the virtual mists each year for the last nine years – and for that brief, precious window of time before they dissipate into mist again – that is precisely who each of these people truly is.
If the internet provides some of us with the opportunity to sink to the lowest level that is within them, to others it affords the chance to rise to the best idea they have of themselves. Unfettered by the mortal coil that was thrust upon them, freed from the constraints of the so-called “real” world, these people lock arms, wings and fins, straighten their whiskers, polish up their horns and set about the doing of a mighty task.
They come to do battle with a monster.
Some have argued that it is not productive, nor accurate to personify cancer in this way. They warn us of the dangers of employing too martial a language in the Survivor’s struggle to get from one day to the next. Maybe they have a point. I leave it to those far wiser than me to say.
But I watched my father battle cancer and that is exactly what it was. It was a battle, one that left him with many a bruise and scar. It was a battle that ultimately claimed his life.
So, when the American Cancer Society sees fit to urge each of us as Relayers to, “Celebrate, Remember, and FIGHT BACK” who am I challenge their choice of words?
And who am I to see the form each of you chooses to take in our shared, magical realms, and hold back so much as an ounce of belief in the deeper truth that form reveals. The shape you take is the truth of your spirit and there is ample evidence everywhere I look that the truth of that form exists on a level much deeper than the avatars we stroll about in outside the world in which the Fairelands exist.
I Relay with dragons, elves and fairies, with cats both large and small. I Relay with satyrs and unicorns, with angels and demons, mermaids and werewolves and wizards.
If I invest my belief in the forms that take shape before me, it is only because that is the debt I owe to Fairelanders of all shapes, sizes and forms.
Because nine years ago, they did the same for me. I claimed to be something I was not: an organizer of Fantasy Faire. Fairelanders chose to look past the fact that I had never done anything quite like that before. They believed and- in the nine years that have followed – they transformed a fiction, a fantasy, into reality.
I believe in magic, because by magic was I transformed from a broken, grieving son into an empowered Faireland Relayer. Be the best idea of yourself, bring that personification to the Faire.
And I will always believe in you.