Good morning, dino-mites!
I hope you’re having a great week, because I’m not. So you might want to wish me a bad morning because that’s what it is. And the reason it’s a bad morning is because I’m suffering from the emotional aftermath of a T. Rexiffic time a couple weeks ago.
Back in July I mentioned I had a crazy month coming, and it was even more insane than I expected! Because last month Mariposa and I embarked on the most extroverted adventure of our lives—a Story Embers retreat and writer’s conference all in a week!
For our daily escapades, read on and discover how Mariposa practically became an extrovert!*
Mariposa and I stuffed the car with all kinds of useless things. I wanted to bring a fire extinguisher because of all the dragons at the conference, but Mariposa wouldn’t let me.
“I’m sure they’ve taken the necessary measures,” she informed me, but I’m not in the habit of believing her, so I snuck the extinguisher into the vehicle when she wasn’t looking.
When we finished packing, I crammed myself in the car. A few hours and a cramped tail later, we arrived at the hotel and waited for the others to show up. Or, rather, Mariposa waited while I glared at the hotel clerk, who insisted I couldn’t fit in the room. Just about the time I was ready to sit on the clerk, some random people stormed in and tackled Mariposa in a hug.
They all peered up at me. A red-haired woman with knives, arrows, and all sorts of poking utensils in her satchel shrugged and introduced herself as Hope and said I wasn’t as ferocious as she imagined. I told her she was more sarcastic than I imagined. After that a couple of bearded men walked up, and I recognized them as Brandon and Josiah. A blue-eyed brunette grabbed me in a hug, and thus I deduced her to be an extrovert. “I know you! You’re Roarlena, right?”
“Close enough.” She smiled.
Then a lady in sunglasses waved and gave me a book to munch on and said she liked to talk a lot. Or at least that’s what I assumed she meant when she said she was Gabby.
“I’m Gracie.” A girl with glasses and a skip in her step joined the hug. “I love your glasses, Aberdeen! How do you keep them from falling off?”
“Uhhhh…I don’t know?”
Brandon raised an eyebrow like he’d spent years practicing the right way to do it. “That’s what you call a plot hole.” I glared at Brandon and would have sat on him had he not been so hard-headed.
After we finished suffocating one another in hugs, we all headed to a park for a picnic lunch (sadly not Jurassic Park). Everyone silently ate and stared at each other awkwardly while they pretended not to stare at each other awkwardly. After all, most people are not accustomed to having a dinosaur joining them for lunch. I informed them I wasn’t hungry and that I didn’t typically eat people, but somehow that didn’t seem to comfort them all that much.
When the awkwardness wore off, we trotted off to the zoo. The first exhibit had a very nice looking tree, the second exhibit had a very interesting log, and the third exhibit had an exceptionally intriguing twig that could’ve passed for a snake had we stared at it long enough.
They guessed that something must have been scaring the animals and all stared at me, but I didn’t pay them any mind since humans don’t know anything.
Although I promised Mariposa I would be on my worst behavior, I couldn’t contain myself and decided to be helpful. Firstly, I assisted Gracie in whacking wet tree branches and shedding the water on innocent people. The problem, however, was that whenever I whacked a branch, I hit the whole tree and that unleashed a deluge onto the bystanders. Secondly, I sniffed out the tastiest Dipping Dots and brought Brandon an empty bowl (I had gotten hungry and eaten them on my way). Thirdly, I broke into the exhibits and chased the creatures out of their hiding spots.
Soon after, an employee chased me out, along with Mariposa’s friends.
Fourthly, I walked the ladies back to the parking lot to protect them from a bearded stalker, who later turned out to be Josiah (I was not responsible for any injuries that resulted).
Later that night, we had the first Story Embers discussion led by Josiah initially and by me ultimately. Needless to say, Josiah didn’t much appreciate having a dinosaur around…
Mariposa and I met the others outside to look for a good place to film a video. I showed them lots of fabulous locations, but Josiah was too stubborn and settled on a less-than-fabulous place with my wholehearted unapproval.
But, for some reason, every time they tried filming there was this strange static in the background.
Don’t look at me—it’s not my fault I breathe heavily!
After an hour of filming a video and not keeping it, we left for some paid torture. This paid torture is commonly known as the St. Louis City Museum—an organization up-to-date on all the various phobias and ways to effectively impale, wound, and maim people without killing them.
While the rest of the group was busy trying to kill themselves, I died from embarrassment. You see, the museum was made by humans, for humans, and it wasn’t equipped to handle a fourteen-foot-tall and thirty-five-foot-long Authorosaurus. Consequently, my head was caught in a slide on the fourth floor, my torso in a cage on the third floor, my feet in a cave on the second floor, and I wasn’t sure where my tail was. Worst of all, people thought I was a part of the scenery and didn’t bother to help!
Finally, Mariposa recognized my cries and slowly rushed to my aid. She crawled into a tunnel to get herself stuck in the process of not helping me. Gabby trotted up to me, and I told her about Mariposa’s stupidity. Gabby dashed inside the hole. A few seconds later, Gabby had successfully helped to add another trapped person to our predicament.
When the tunnel had gotten nicely crowded, Josiah moseyed over and offered a helping hand by crawling into the same tunnel and getting stuck too. After that, Brandon came and got stuck, then Roarlena, then Gracie, and then Brianna, until they were all one big, happy, stuck family.
Hope, the last free one, came over and sawed them out with her knives. We torpedoed out of the building before the security guards could detain us for destroying property.
Once everyone had recovered their strength, we drove back to the hotel and were greeted by a hoard of people who had showed up for Realm Makers. Some person stared at me and Mariposa.
“Aren’t you from Story Embers?” he asked, recognizing me first because Mariposa is unimportant. I promptly introduced myself, and I learned that the man was little (but all humans are little in my perspective). After a brief conversation with the little fellow, Mariposa and I proceeded on to yet another Story Embers discussion that was partly about business, and mostly about how we should never be like Brandon.
We went to a bookstore—two bookstores, in fact. Each time I looked at a book, my stomach would growl, but I would swallow hard and tell myself that I wouldn’t chew up someone else’s property.
But I might chew up Brandon’s, Roarlena’s, Brianna’s, or Josiah’s property while they were busy sipping their Starbucks and putting their lemon bars on other people’s tables (yes, Brandon Miller, I saw that). Next, they all went to lunch, except Brandon, because he was broke from having to rebuy the books I’d eaten (and everyone knows that books are more essential than food).
Later that day, we headed to Steak & Shake so Story Embers fans could meet us (mainly me though, because who wants to meet humans?). I plopped myself on a seat and ordered a juicy bookburger. I met and chatted with Jenna, Catwing, Shaina, and more! I tried to convince them to let me eat their books, but they were stubborn and pretended not to hear my question.
Unfortunately, though, the waiters were so scared out of their brains after seeing a dinosaur that they forgot everyone’s orders and everyone left hungry (except me, because I ate all their first drafts while they were talking).
After dinner, I tagged along with the SE staff as they walked around the square. We sang Tangled songs in the clock tower, tossed coins in the fountain and made wishes, and stomped around the lake while Brandon told us about obese gold fish in Canada.
Day 4 (First Day of Realm Makers)
That morning, I dressed in my dragon costume (Realm Makers has a silly rule about “dragons and elves only” or something). No one suspected my cover, though Wayne Thomas Batson gave me a suspicious look. But then he smiled and welcomed me to his class on balancing life and writing. I told him that Mariposa was terrible at balancing and that without me she’d never write a word. Wayne promptly offered me a job, and I almost accepted, but I knew Wayne didn’t need me like Mariposa did.
Besides, he was a little too big for sitting on.
During the class, I sat quietly just like Mariposa wanted me to (though I did whack some of the attendees in the head because they were falling asleep). I even behaved all through lunch with Hope, but mainly because Hope let Mariposa hold her sais, and every time I tried to sit on Mariposa, she’d poke me.
When all our classes were over, Mariposa and I dressed for the awards dinner. We decided to go as Beauty and the Beast. Obviously, I was the beauty and Mariposa was the beast.
We headed for the banquet hall, and I acted like the perfect gentledino. I didn’t try to bite off the White Witch’s head, hit Flynn Ryder with a frying pan, or even photobomb all the writers taking pictures (okay, maybe once). I did, however, sit on some crook named Josiah so the grammar police could arrest him for using extra spaces.
Unfortunately, though, the crook said his wrists were hurting, and the policewoman loosened them, giving him a chance to escape (don’t worry, I’ll catch him next year).
Day 5 (Last Day)
The next morning, Mariposa, Gabby, Hope, Brianna, and I strolled around the hotel (everyone else was either too tired or unsociable to come with us). Later, we went to the bookstore again to help Gabby go bankrupt. During that time, we bumped into the little fellow again and chatted about various writer things and then we snapped a selfie. Except dinosaurs aren’t very selfigenic and often get their heads cut off in pictures.
Once the conference started, everyone left, and Mariposa and I departed to finish packing. We joined the SE crew for one last lunch at a place that served moldy tacos, or that’s what I assumed they meant when they called the restaurant Fuzzy Tacos…
We then gathered around to take one last photo together and hug each other to pieces (and I was so not crying…that was allergies…I’m allergic to goodbyes). I even apologized for all the books I consumed.
Gabby squeezed me tighter. “You have to eat books—otherwise you’d starve to death.”
“That’s always an option,” Brandon commented, and all the girls glared at him.
I wiped away my tears and blew my nose as they gathered around. Mariposa actually didn’t threaten to fire me, and I didn’t threaten to sit on her for once. We were just glad to have friends who didn’t care if she had a dinosaur assistant, and loved her all the more for it.
Except Brandon, because he thinks I should starve to death.
And yes, I’m sitting in the fountain for this picture (wasn’t room on the edge for me to sit).
Back Home in the Old Office
So now we’re back, crying and laughing over all the fun memories we made and wondering how we’re now 68% introverted after the excursion?! We can’t wait until the next retreat and are predicting how much more extroverted we’ll become after that one!
Authorosaurus’s note: All of this is based on a true story and the drawings are based on real photos taken during the retreat. For a less dinosaurian version of this adventure, check out Hope’s post.
*Don’t worry, she resisted and remained her unsociable self.