In the last few weeks, I’ve had some amazing encounters with people who have been affected by what I do, either with my show or what I do online. I wanted to share a few of these stories because I think they might speak to anyone who creates. And because it shows that “entertainment” can mean much more than that, even if it is totally inadvertent.
-Leaving Emerald City Convention last weekend, Amy Okuda and I were going through security and unfortunately found that jam and peanut butter are banned items in a carry-on. But that’s not what the story is about, haha. During the bag search, one of the TSA workers approached me and thanked me for The Guild because, as he explained haltingly, he met his wife because of it! Evidently, they met through friends, he introduced her to the show, they had date nights and watched episodes together, started gaming together, got married… Then he pulled out his phone, and showed me a picture of his baby, six months old. And then he thanked me for making a show for “us gamers”. I left kinda quick, because I felt pretty ready to cry like a maudlin baby, but it was an amazing moment. And a beautiful baby
-I received an email through my website last week from a guy named Mike, who was perusing my website, and read my bio last year. He said that:
There have always been things I’ve wanted to accomplish and do well, but I never felt like they were attainable. When I read your bio it gave me a completely new outlook and drive to get up and start accomplishing the things I had put aside…I was inspired and decided to pick up the violin, again, but even more seriously than I ever had before.
To summarize, he decided to practice the violin. For himself. Hundreds of hours of practice later, he gave a recital (he linked me a video of his performance.) Watching the video was so inspiring, not only because he performed one of the HARDEST violin showpieces so well after 15 years of not playing AT ALL, but because, to me, the totality of his journey represents the true essence of creativity. Whether you reach 10 or 10 million, being an artist is first for yourself, but ultimately for the world.
-We had a signing a few weeks back at Barnes and Noble in The Grove (it’s the mall I shop at frequently, so seeing the banner in the window was one of the biggest thrills!) A girl holding a beautiful art poster approached the table, VERY emotional. I got a bit flustered, but since SHE was way more flustered and almost in tears, I told her to sit down while I finished signing and we could chat when she got her composure back.
After the line waned, she gave me the poster. On it was a note on the back, and a printed Tweet from ME from 2009, linking to a Kotaku article about an art auction organized by the boyfriend of a girl, Kat, who was struggling with breast cancer. He had arranged for friends of his, video game concept artists, to contribute works of art to benefit her and her medical bills. It was an amazing story, and, like I do, I shared it. And that’s where it ended with me two years ago, with a Tweet linking to the auction. But it began again at that signing.
The girl with the poster was Cat, in real life. She fought through breast cancer, and is now a survivor (as she told me her story I started crying, she is so beautiful and has endured so much). I never even put a face to her name when I linked the article, but her boyfriend’s efforts were, at the time, something I wanted to support. The fact that my Tweet helped her through a horrible time in her life, and helped spread word of the auction, is so amazing to me. A gesture of kindness that echoed because of the power of the internet. Cat you are still an inspiration. You can check her blog out, Beautiful Grim and see more of her story if you like.
I would never want to get too self-important or precious about what I do, but these stories do make me stop and think. I create entertainment, but the by-product of my work has had effects I’d never have thought of. I think it’s important to realize that the little things we do, by sharing who we truly are, can echo through other peoples’ lives in ways we can’t imagine.