Timpanogos Storytelling vs. FanX – Part 1 of 5

If I could clone myself, the weekend of September 5-7, 2019 would have been it. I was cringe-worthy of guilty pleasure as I attended FanX in Salt Lake City…while missing fantastic and earth-shattering storytelling with the 30th Annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Lehi. I repented of this guilty pleasure by taking my boys all day and night for the Saturday part of Timpanogos.

So what draws me to both FanX and Timpanogos?  You certainly have two different crowds.

The FanX crowd is where mainly adults with the occasional child dress up. Some people transform into beloved characters while other people dress with color and style to celebrate their uniqueness of being human with no connection to anything seen on a screen or what was read in a book.  A part of that “uniqueness” included a few ladies revealing more than necessary…though thankfully most people are covered–or completely covered as in “I hope you can breathe”–in fantastic renditions of otherworldly beings.

The Timpanogos crowd is family-friendly in manner and mode. People dress modestly. Some people have on neck ribbons much like some parents do for their Scouts all jangling with pins.  Yet, these neck ribbons are certified Timpanogos gear.  From Board Members to Volunteers to Fans, pins clatter about with the 30 or so “pin of the year” designs infused with themes of past Timpanogos festivals. Plenty more fans dress in story-related t-shirts such as “Liar” or “Greatest Hits” that lists all the storytellers who ever told at Timp. I was pleased to see several people wear Story Crossroads t-shirts.

Considering the dressing up at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, perhaps the fanaticism is not that different from FanX.

Think of it.  There were 6,000+ people at the Saturday night concert for Timpanogos howling (thanks Don White) while that number hooted and hollered with energy for special guests in the Grand Ballroom.  Truly, truly, I see these worlds on the edge of each other that I want to explode with glee.

My FanX time with my husband included seeing R2-D2 and BB-8, some of the most inspiring droids in history. I admire the people able to replicate and then let these inventions roam for others to take a trip to nostalgia.  Though, I had nostalgia galore when I saw Megan Follows who played Anne of Green Gables.  The librarian side of me bubbled with joy as people dressed up as Anne or other key characters for that panel.  Dressing up is a way to honor the lessons learned through that stalwart and spunky red-headed gal. I was thrilled to see John Rhys-Davies usually known as Gimli with Lord of the Rings or Sallah in Indiana Jones.

John–can I call him “John?” because sometimes it feels strange to not say the whole name–expressed the importance of saying “Good Morning, sir!” or “Good Morning, ma’am!”  As I heard this from 20 or so rows back, I thought, “How interesting that he wants to share something before others get a chance to ask him things.  He is doing this is such a humble and respectful way…we can learn a lot in these few lines.”  He continued that there will be plenty of people who will glare at you for saying something so offensive as “Good Morning!”  Though, he said, persist in it and eventually those people will melt.  John then reiterated, “Good manners is more than knowing how to use a fork or knife.”  John’s favorite word was “comfortable.”  He said he wanted to talk in such a way to us so that we are comfortable.  He believes that success in life is based on how we make others feel comfortable.

I have tossed around this thought.  In the storytelling world, International Storyteller Elizabeth Ellis has said that we–as tellers–make the comfortable uncomfortable and the uncomfortable comfortable.  Though, I could see what John was saying with his theme of “comfortable.”  As with anything, it is best in moderation rather than extremes.  Thus, I think most of the time it is to be comfortable in who we are and who others are while also being willing to allow the uncomfortable so that we can really talk, come to some kind of action, and progress.

Do you see how the two worlds of FanX and Timpanogos can collide though bring about deeper thoughts?

Interested in Parts 2, 3, 4, or 5 on Timpanogos vs. FanX?  My final verdict with Part 5?  Come back tomorrow. And the next day after that. And after that.  And that.

Until we tell again.

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