Laura Anne Gilman, writer extraordinaire, member of BVC and the world, got me involved in GISHWHES (the Greatest Internet Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) this year. This event/activity/madness was started by Misha Collins of Supernatural, and goes on for a week. You get 200+ prompts, and your team, individually and in groups, accomplishes as many of them as possible over the time allowed. Many of the prompts involve charitable activities and acts of kindness, random and otherwise. Others are just…random.
My team was an extraordinary group: two people I already knew, and a dozen I hadn’t met before. And through the wonders of the internet, we had people all over–not just all over the U.S., either. I will post just my stuff (because it’s the only stuff I can promise I had my hand in), but take my word for it–there was astonishing artistry (when I saw the portrait of Robert Downey Jr. made entirely out of salt and pepper I realized that I would have to step up my game). And brazen chutzpah–Keith DeCandido doing a cartwheel in Times Square at noon wearing a kale tutu, and two other team members posing with the concierge in a fancy hotel, both wearing kale hats (kale is a GISHWHES thing. No, I don’t know why). Not to mention the woman who cut off 10″ of her hair to donate to a “locks-of-love” program, and the woman who wrote a beautiful haiku of appreciation for her father, and Laura Anne going off to find a glacier so she could pose next to it in a bathing suit and floaties. Really: 200+ prompts, and I’m not going to list them all because we could be here until next year.
Me, I was responsible for: building a 2 1/2 foot tall model of the Empire State Building out of sugar cubes (see above with requisite King Kong, and left), and then submitting a film of me pouring boiling water on it to melt it.
Building a dog out of sanitary products as a way of refuting the old saw that dogs are a man’s best friend. I’m always happy to make sure women (and dogs) get equal notice.
Depicting Death’s funeral (I decided it was the Death from Death Takes a Holiday, and that his funeral should be attended by many other incarnations of himself).
Cosplaying a famous inanimate object.
Tweeting about the book that most inspired me, and writing a letter thanking a woman who mentored me, mumbly years ago.
Creating a household fairy to replace the Tooth Fairy (mine was the Great Shoe Fairy, who locates shoes, homework, cell phones, and dust bunnies for children who are late for school).
And doing a 14-second dramatic reading of my grade school report card (this was a challenge, because my school gave long-form student reports, and finding one or two sentences that would give the flavor of 9-year-old me was a task.
It’s a weirdly satisfying game. For a writer, the opportunity to create tangible (silly) objects is really useful, and the opportunity to move out of your comfort zone and take risks, likewise.
Team Inevitable Innuendo completed about 40% of this year’s prompts, which is pretty damned good. The winning team gets fame, glory, a trip to Costa Rica, and the awe of its peers. But really, the reward I expect we’ll wind up with are the fun, the camaraderie, the awe when someone does something amazing (string a hammock across a river? Really?) or affecting (the appreciation for Leonard Nimoy made me tear up) or just deliciously random.
And it’s happening again next August. Interested?