Neverland . . . that faraway place where Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and the Lost Boys live and more importantly, play. This magical fairyland, ruled by the motto, “I’ll never grow up,” can’t be found on Google Earth or any GPS. It’s not that the directions of “first star to the right, straight on till morning,” are difficult to follow, it’s just that only those who truly believe can travel the star-lit path.
Occasionally, however, (probably more out of pity than any other reason) Tinkerbell sprinkles her pixie-dust over the unseeing masses, the enchanted mist dissolves and the road to make-believe and creatively twinkles for those who dare to take that all-important first step.
This past weekend the opalescent path led straight to Oklahoma City and the OWFI (Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc) writing conference. For a brief wrinkle in time, all was well with the world. No politics. No racism. No famine. No disease. No hate. No fake news.
Cocooned in the glass and water-fountain folds of the Embassy Suites, like-minded people gathered to share their stories, visions, and ideas. Even those who fancy themselves unimaginative caught the fever and began to dream . . . to hope . . . to play.
Play. One of the most important, yet dishonored four-letter words in the English language.
Play stimulates. Play relaxes. Produces laughter. Spawns peace. Clears the mind. Heals.
Play keeps us sane.
Fifty-two weeks (except for nine days) I sit in a cube and stagnate. I’m not alone. Thousands of others are in the same boat. It takes the all-mighty buck to survive, right? Can’t eat dreams. Can’t put manuscripts in the gas tank. Laughter doesn’t pay the light bill, ya know.
Gotta’ work. Work. Work. Some are more fortune than others in the work area. These folks have found that allusive formula where play and work combine to produce both abundance and happiness. I bow to them.
But to those of us who haven’t yet found this blueprint, I say, “don’t despair. Don’t give up. Embrace every opportunity to run and play. Go to that conference. Take that trip.
Dance in the rain. Sing in the shower. Drink bourbon. Howl at the moon. Eat cake. Ride the horses. Kiss the babies. Pet the dogs and smell those roses!”
Find your Neverland.
Oops! Tinkerbell is calling. Captain Hook’s on the warpath. Gotta fly!
Thanks for the memories. See ya next year, OWFI.