I’m going to break out of writing mode this week, and into fangirl mode. There is a (tenuous) link. Bear with me.
I’m a Brit who doesn’t earn enough to justify attending Comic Con – something that saddens me, and one day maybe I’ll save up specially. But I do pay attention to the news, tweets, etc that come out of it because – as previously mentioned – I am something of a massive fangirl. And this year at Comic Con, something beautiful happened.
Jared Padalecki, star of TV show Supernatural, has been vocal about his fight with depression. He started a campaign earlier this year called Always Keep Fighting to help raise funds and awareness for people dealing with mental illness. I paid particular attention to this as I deal with mild depression myself. In May this year, Padalecki had to pull out of attending his scheduled convention appearances due to depression. He asked his fans for understanding and they gave it.
Then came Comic Con. During the Supernatural panel, a room full of over 7,000 people passed out Always Keep Fighting tea lights and raised them en masse to show their support. This is an incredible act of kindness and love by a huge number of strangers, brought together by a simple fantasy TV show. Just reading it made me feel emotional. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be there.
This is the kind of audience that makes telling stories more than just rewarding. They make telling stories an essential bedrock of community. They turn the stories into a community, and do beautiful things on the strength of them. That’s magical. That’s an audience I’m proud to be a part of, and a genre I’m proud to write in.