How do you describe in an articulate fashion what occurs when a group of individual comes together to form a tribe that is nothing short of magical?
I've been mulling over this since I boarded my flight home. Sure, my photo album captures some of the magic, but to put it into words is a whole other challenge.
Fargo, North Dakota is a city that I've spent less than two weeks in over the course of my life. Yet, every moment spent there has been important to my well being both professionally and personally.
Misfitcon is an event with no website, very little public details and unlike any conference you've been to.
When asked my standard answer is "It is an intimate gathering of some of the best and brightest trouble makers in the world."
What other event would people pay for, fly half way around the world to attend and still be ok with simply receiving a text reading "8 am at Ecce. See you there."
This was my second Misfitcon and while there were familiar faces, it was different at the same time. The other side of the familiar pillow that you flip because things have changed while staying the same.
Travel delays forced me to miss the opening party at a treehouse out on the North Dakota prairie, but it allowed for a chance meeting with a fellow Misfit at the Chicago airport and the quality conversation that comes whenever that happens.
As is the norm, the speakers and performers were a cornucopia of amazing. Looping violinists, a man cycling around the world, a college skipper, multiple Shakespearean actors, entrepreneurs, artists and bourbon makers all took the stage.
Notebook in hand, I wrote down bits of inspiration that I wanted to take home with me to go with the emotions that would be in my heart.
Because of how raw and emotionally open the environment is, I share the quotes in bulk in the hopes that even without the context they may inspire others.
- My quotes form a boat that floats me to safety.
- Believing Works
- Human survival is contingent on everyone being able to tell their stories.
- I use to be defined by logos
- When you have a kid, it time fucks your life!
- I saw my hometown was dying and I knew I had to do something before it disappeared.
- If people call me an artist, I must be an artist.
- Seth Godin is my Beyonce.
- I wanted to live a life where I inhaled passion and exhaled art.
- Making money doing shit you don't want to do makes space for the shit you do want to do.
- Encouragement gives physics the finger.
- It takes a lot of work to make Shakespeare boring.
- I don't hate my ADD, I enjoy every minute of it.
- You have to turn away from the darkness and face where you want to get to.
- Arts education teaches people to listen and turns bubble blowers into rocket scientists.
- Courage is a decision not a feeling.
- If someone tells you no there is not enough room for you and your idea, say bullshit and make the room!
- If you hide how to do something from people too long, they'll forget they can even do it.
- If it is worth it, charge for it.
- For fuck sake, stop reading TechCrunch.
- Don't burn bridges, blow them up.
- Calvin & Hobbes is my happy place.
- This thing changes lives, other conferences just make you eat bagels.
Looking back at my blue ink scribbles in my neon orange Field Notes brings me back to the purple blue lit room and the emotions contained there.
Contained isn't accurate though since it was only a room.
A room filled with art made from the discarded and chairs with more variety than those who would sit on them. Bathed in colorful lights and filled with beautiful humans. But, it was something more while we were gathered there.
It was a campfire of creativity and inspiration. It could have been on a rug in Istanbul, camp chairs in the Rockies or on a beach blanket in Thailand. Gatherings like this have happened through the ages and I wonder what people will write about these gatherings in Fargo years from now.
I know businesses are being launched, good is being done and souls are being rejuvenated. People are being given permission to chase their dreams and held accountable to make a life out of them.
A whisper over a chocolate croissant becomes an online business.
A hug over a hand-crafted cocktail becomes a beautiful painting.
One minute you are watching breakdancers in an abandoned middle school hallway and then you are buying a piece of art from the furry chinned guy in the corner.
Magic is alive and well in this world.
The days, weeks and year since I was last at Misfitcon were not spent the way they should have been. It was dark, confusing and by all accounts not what I wanted. Yet, I know it was the path I had to walk to get to where I am today and I'm determined that a year from now when I arrive in Fargo that my story has continued to be written and in a direction of my choosing.
To my fellow Misfits, I love you all and thank you for the nagging questions, hugs and motivation to keep pushing forward. You are all extremely important pieces of my life puzzle and whenever I need a pick me up, I know I'm only a coffee mug or railroad spike away from you.
AJ, Melissa and the entire Misfit Team, thank you. Thank you for the most beautiful love letter every year and for sending it to me.