Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Moments from working a Ren Faire

Working at a Renaissance Festival provides for some incredibly interesting moments in my life. Working retail at said festival  can make things just that much more interesting, especially when the shop I work for is a large and well known Pagan store. I find myself in philosophical debates over faith just about as often as I find myself trying to keep drunks from licking the display cases.
Here are just a few interesting moments from working in the shop this past weekend.

-Customer walks to the counter with a leather bound journal to purchase and hands me a credit card to pay for it.

Me: May I please see your ID?
Customer: I am old enough to buy a journal. Look they sold me beer *holds up his beer to prove he is of age*
Me: *Raises eyebrow at him*
Customer: *looks confused for a moment before look of realization comes across his face* Oh...you want my ID to make sure the credit card isn't stolen. You weren't carding me for the journal.
Me: How many beers have you had this morning?

-Two customers looking at the statues of different Gods and mythological icons.

Customer 1: Why do they have two Poseidons?
Customer 2: They don't. One is Poseidon and one is Neptune.
Customer 1: Aren't they the same person?
Customer 2: Not exactly. One is a Greek God and the other is a Roman God.
Customer 1: So same God, different name?
Customer 2: Pretty much. Like Hades and Ares, both gods of the underworld, one is Greek one is Roman.
Random customer eavesdropping: Wow you really killed that smart vibe you had going there for a minute.
Customer 2: What?
Random customer: Hades and Ares are both Greek. Hades rules the underworld, Ares is the war God. Pluto is the Roman God of the underworld.
Customer 2: *looking flustered* Whatever *walks away with customer 1*
Random customers friend: Dude how they hell did you know that?
Random customer: *shrugs* I watched a lot of Xena as a kid.

-A man in his mid 40's and his mother are looking at rings and he has the typical wide eyed reaction to me in a bodice.

Man: How do you get your boobs to do that?
Me: I get dressed?
(The mother referred to me as Big Bada Bosom the rest of the time they were in the shop much to her sons dismay)

-Two middle aged women looking at the jewelry in our case and see the tray of silver pentacles.

Woman 1: Are those Jewish?
Woman 2: Stars of David?
Coworker: The Star of David has six points, these have 5.
Woman 1: So are they like evil devil worship signs?
Coworker: No not really.
Woman 2: Well why do they always show it in movies when evil devil worshipers are doing stuff?
Coworker: Well Hollywood tends to like to use symbols people don't understand for whatever they like.
Woman 1: So it isn't evil?
Coworker: Well you can take it to mean whatever you like, but typically no, not evil.
Me: A five pointed star in a circle is meant to be a sign of protection and peace.
Woman 1: Oh I like that.

Friday, November 7, 2014

An Ending Place

I am a consumer of stories. Ever since I was a little girl I have been practically obsessed with tales of things outside of myself. I suppose it is a side effect of an over active imagination. Every story I come across id just fuel for the fire so to speak.

I am not really picky about the format my stories come in. I am just as happy to pick up a book as I am to turn on the TV or go out to the movies. The rather impressive collection of books and DVD's in my house is proof enough of this.

I am also not really a genre snob. You will find a little of everything on my shelves. High fantasy books sit happily next to leather bound classics, which are in turn nestled up against my collection of paranormal smut. If you look at my movies shelves you will find Bram Stokers Dracula sandwiched between Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog and Easter Parade.

As a lover and collector of stories there is one thing that I find so incredibly vexing that I have actually lost sleep over it; unfinished stories. There is nothing worse than having an author stop writing a book series for whatever reason or having a TV series cancelled before the story has ended. I have actually been known to watch shows I don't particularly enjoy or books I am not fond of just to see how the story ends. So you can imagine how distressing I find it when a series I enjoy doesn't ever get its ending.

Early on in my relationship with the husbeast he introduced me to the Wheel of Time book series. I believe at that time Robert Jordan was somewhere around book 8. Jordan was one of those authors who took his time writing each of his books. He wasn't as bad as George R.R. Martin is (or so I am told, I don't read those books) but it was enough to make most of his fans overly anxious.

I stopped reading the books around book five because it had gotten to the point that I needed a flow chart to keep the characters and their past lives straight. I was still interested in the story though, so I would have the husbeast just tell me what happened in the other books to satisfy my need to know. It was a system that worked well for us.

Robert Jordan sadly became ill before he had finished the series and all of his fans were left terrified that he would pass away before he had finished telling this epic tale. Luckily for us he managed to write out several key chapters for the last few books as well as audibly tell the end of the story to his family and another author so that the story could be finished.

While the Wheel of Time got its ending, there are so many other stories that will never have an end. Authors die unexpectedly, shows get cancelled, or any other number of things happen that cut short well loved stories before their time has come. We the audience are left to forever wonder how the story might have ended.

Sure I could just use my over active imagination and write my own ending to the story. That is always an option, and it is one I have employed on several occasions. It is never really satisfying though. I am always left to wonder where the original author or creator would have taken the story. I want to know what they intended for their creation.

While book series that end prematurely are often times because the author has passed away, TV shows and movies are often given an early termination because ratings do not please the financially concerned executives that give them life. I wish, in this situation, that there was a place where the writers could go and just tell the fans, no matter how small the fan base is, what they had intended to do with the rest of the story.

I would love to see a place where the answers to the pressing questions that are left behind are answered. I mean most of the time when a series is cancelled there was some form of cliffhanger at the end of the last season. Farscape fans were horrified by the last episode of the last season and until Peacekeeper wars was thankfully made their last image of the story was incredibly unsatisfying and disturbing.

Not every series is going to get that wrap up made for TV movie. Most series are just going to leave you wondering if the character that was left bleeding on the floor of a basement actually died, or if the bad guy was ever caught, or if the boy actually gets the girl. Most cancelled series will just leave you full of disappointment and questions and that is sad.

I know some writers don't want to tell the ending of the stories without actually telling it. Just blurting out the ending without actually creating the story in some medium seems wrong to them, which I can understand to a point. This still does not stop me from really wanting them to just tell the ending anyways because in a way I feel that their audience deserves it, but more importantly the characters deserve it. I try not to be one of those demanding sorts of people who expect things of others but seriously don't start a story and then leave people hanging.

Alas a magical database of the endings to unfinished stories will never be. Characters will forever be left in limbo and questions will forever be unanswered. I will have to be content with the endings that I created in my own mind and move on to the next story.

Thankfully there are always more stories.