Star Wars has always been about an adventurous child traveling to far away lands. Luke Skywalker was forced out of his home, but I like to think that some element of fannish wish-fulfillment involves choosing whether or not we want to leave a place. We want to live in a universe where we could leave the homestead if we wanted to. I think about this as I fly over desert states.
I'm headed to Celebration Anaheim, and will be reporting throughout on The Force Awakens and some of my favorite parts of Star Wars. On the plane ride across the country I play Creatures Such As We, a choose-your-own-adventure game about games and people and fans' relationships with art. Some of my own friends who are most tied up in fandom are going to be in Anaheim - people with whom I've had dinner and played Destiny and played word games.
Gaming and adventure, are so tied up in my relationship with Star Wars too. It sometimes feels more like the easy play-acting of children instead of licensed video games, and that's good too. Fandom has the ability to move one beyond oneself. There is of course the uniform of the fan, the cute or disorganized fashion of which I've seen a lot leading up to SWCA. Star Wars is also about people wanting to be heroes, though, about finding bands of friends.
As we fly over Texas I think about the desert between it and California, and about how I'm coming closer to George Lucas' home. Tatooine was always really Modesto, the place he must have wanted to both romanticize and escape. Now I'm headed toward the same area, toward a place for which I can feel nostalgia without ever having been there, without ever having an especial love or hate for it.
I meet Erik Blythe in the boarding tunnel. I must be a bit tired, because it takes a different, overheard conversation for me to realize that he said Peter Mayhew is on this plane. The woman sitting next to me, a well-traveled engineer who shows me on the map in the back of the in-flight magazine the route she wants to drive one day, points out a demarcation in the desert.
Erik Blythe and friends find me at the baggage claim and I offer to help them help the person beside them before I realize it’s Peter Mayhew, long curly hair going silver-gray.
Later that night, a group of podcasters and bloggers meet for dinner near Downtown Disney, in a quintessential resort cabana. Then a we take quick trip to Downtown Disney, and then a drive back through that beautiful evening. There are meetups and things still going on tonight, and people who will be in line for 12 hours or more, awake in the convention center, but I go back to my room to shower and get ready for a long day tomorrow. Maybe I’m writing these things down to ground myself, to stay alert in the dreamlike atmosphere of a con. To remind me where I am on the journey.