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Sunday, October 26, 2014

NYC or Bust: Or Why I Almost Cried on Friday, Part the First

A Sunday morning post! Weird, I know, but I have a lot to tell you all about my trip on Friday. I also needed to take yesterday to finish letting my brain absorb it all. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, I'm so glad I didn't give up and decide there was absolutely no way I could make it because...Oh. My. God.

First, if you're new here and unaware of my deep love of all things Henson, you can check out my previous post about the new Muppet Movie. Got an idea of my feelings towards them? Great.

Second, most of you should by now know that I'm working to become traditionally published. I'm querying, entering contests, submitting, and writing new and different things all the time. About this time last year I entered the Dark Crystal Author Quest. Out of roughly 500 entries I made it to the top 25 and landed as an Editor's Choice. Sadly not a top 5 finalist and obviously not the winner, I was bummed but ecstatic to have made it that far. See, all the entries were read by editors at Penguin, but only the top 25 went through Cheryl  and Lisa Henson and Brian and Wendy Froud. Even if they didn't choose mine, they had read my words. That alone was huge. (If you're curious, my entry can be found here.)

Fast forward to the end of last month. I received an e-mail inviting me to a special reception after a Fan Fest screening of The Dark Crystal in New York. The reception was for all Editor's Choice winners, along with the Creature Contest finalist. Present would be the Frouds and Cheryl Henson. After initially declining, I was able to work out something with my family that allowed me to change my response, because how many chances would I get at something like this?

Already excited about the event, the deal was made better last week with an e-mail stating that we were invited to a special Muppets Workshop tour with Cheryl Henson. Uh...yeah. I took five whole seconds to accept that invite.

My mind was buzzing with a mix of excitement and nerves by the time we arrived for the tour on Friday. Truthfully, I expected the tour to be professional and museum-like. I was not prepared for what it was.

Cheryl Henson and Z (the head of the Jim Henson Foundation) met us at the door, through which we had already caught a glimpse of Snuffy. I introduced myself and Ms. Henson smiled and said, "I'm so glad you came. I loved your story."

Ok, so that was cool, but part of me was thinking she said it to be nice. Not that my ego minded, because I mean, Cheryl Henson just said she liked my work.

We all mingled and chatted before the tour, snapping pictures. Well, I took four pictures before my brain melted, but Erin, who accompanied me, took a lot more. I'll be stealing some of her pictures later this week to show you all. For now, here are mine from Muppet Workshops:

Original reception desk with Sesame Street characters

Mr. Snuffleupagus!!

Skeksis chair from the movie!

Me, in the skeksis chair. ;-)

Tour itself was fantastic. Everyone was laid back and willing to chat with us. The main project they were working on were walk-around costumes for a SNL skit. It was fun to see them working on those as well as muppets for Sesame Streets around the world. Yes, they make all the muppets and replacement muppets there. Also, yes, I got to play with one of the muppets - a green wolf-like muppet. My hand was found to be too small to work that particular muppet correctly. I could barely reach the mouth padding.

Ms. Henson let us wander and ask questions after. I have to say, she was warm and genuine and down-to-earth. She wanted us to network and talk about our work and open the possibilities of future collaborations and interactions between everyone gathered. No, "Here's the Tour, Here's the Door." She encouraged us to hang around as long as we wanted, chatting with us the whole time.

Here comes the first near meltdown.

Cheryl Henson comes over to me and says, "I need to tell Emily something about her work," to which I reply, "Uh oh."

Guys...I'm still having trouble comprehending this, so bear with me. She tells me that my writing is fantastic and my story was wonderful and then she asks me if I know why I was dropped. (Remember everyone, 25 entries went through her and I NEVER mentioned my work, title, nothing. She only has my name to go off of.) She tells me they couldn't pass me on because of the Garthim. They discussed it, but because they had put up the rule about the Garthim they couldn't risk having another author crying foul, so they couldn't put it through. THAT WAS THE ONLY REASON! She said someone needed to tell me that, because my writing is really good. So, yes my fears were well-founded, but to hear it from her made my day. She then told me to keep writing and not stop, that I needed to continue.

Guys, hearing praise like that is always awesome, but coming from Cheryl Henson?!!?! AHHHH!!!

But that's not the end. Not by a long shot. However, this post is already nearly novel-length on its own, so tomorrow I shall fill you all in on the party, because, once again, NOT WHAT I EXPECTED!!!

Don't worry, all good things, all good things. ;-)


  1. Amazing, Emily! I can't wait to read the next part! :)

    1. I have it scheduled for tomorrow morning. :-)

  2. Hurry with the next part! I'm so excited for you and so glad you got to go and heave this experience.

  3. Also, what was the rule about the Garthim?

    1. Thanks, Angelica! They wanted the story to be pre-Garthim. In my research, I missed that rule. I hit the submit button and discovered the rule on the discussion board literally a minute later.