High Fives Taken to the Level of Art at Liberty Park

Do high fives make a difference if they come from complete strangers?

You won’t need to wonder about this if you ever have the pleasure of circumnavigating Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park when master high fiver Brent Walton is putting in his laps.

Walton’s running regime includes high fiving every person he passes, putting smiles on just about everyone’s faces. In fact, he runs out of his way to high five each person, crossing between the inside and outside paths, and letting out his infectious woop, “Yeah!”

I defy the most curmudgeonly among us to not respond when Walton approaches. In fact, it’s pretty fun to watch people melt under his spell.

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It’s amazing! And we all need it. I get happy just thinking about it now as I write this. He’s taken the whole high five thing to the level of art!

Brent manages to carry it all off in a way that’s not annoying or invasive, just wonderfully unusual.

He’s like a breath of fresh air breaking us out of our playlists, thoughts, and conversations for a brief moment–one that feels like equal parts motivational trainer and whimsical, random musical–and I mean that in the best way! His high five campaign is like the best parts of those two things.

My walking partner and I are slow enough that he usually laps us, meaning we get a double dose. I try not to grin the whole time he approaches, because we can hear him well before he reaches us.

More than once, I’ve marveled at how powerful this has been for my day. The best way I can describe it is: encouragement at the most primal level. He doesn’t know anything about me, and he doesn’t need to. We don’t have to talk about anything. He’s just transferring energy without reservation!

That’s pretty cool. In a way, high fives might be most powerful coming from a stranger. There’s something about the wordless yet core understanding exchanged that bears unique momentum.

Eventually, I decided I wanted to know more.

Brent’s Story

So this morning, as I sat in my car thinking through something, there he was! He came trotting up to his car parked nearby, and I reached out about blogging this.

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And he didn’t run away! So he’s brave. It was great to make a new friend and he let me know there is indeed a story behind his doing this. He started doing this one day while waiting for his car to be fixed. He tried it out a few times and got hooked on the positive energy, which he describes as a “buzz”.

It’s also interesting that he sees himself as the biggest recipient, as evidenced by this quote from a description he linked me to on Facebook:

“I purposely chose to run ‘opposite’ the normal flow of foot traffic to increase the number of high fives I would receive. Maximum high fives! Woo!”

I love that. He’s giving so much to people, by putting himself out there and sharing his positive energy.

And yes, I think it’s best to assume that all germs disintegrate in the abundance of that energy. So go ahead, get to Liberty Park one of these mornings and take the high five!

If you haven’t had the pleasure and don’t expect to, I’m sure he’d approve of us considering this your inclusive high five. Way to just be there, dealing with what you’re dealing with, and doing your thing. “Yeah!”

Comic Con FanX15. . .Favorite Costumes and Panel Recap!

This year’s Comic Con FanX 2015 was of course fabulous so I wanted to give a quick recap of my panels followed by a dozen of my favorite costume pics.

I love panels as an opportunity to talk about my fiction and non-fiction work, and a way to meet others who are writing or creating speculative fiction in various mediums.

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The “Writing and Your Health” panel covered a lot of fascinating aspects of mental, emotional, and physical health for people who are creating stuff.

I loved hearing about how other panelists utilize principles of martial arts, meditation, and many other tools. It was also so interesting to hear about how creativity depletes dopamine, which is why it can be so stinking exhausting! So if you feel like writing your novel is like slogging through a bog (even though you love it!), maybe there’s a bonified reason. I’m excited to look more into how to use that information to continue to improve my writing productivity.

I talked a bit about my book HOW TO DICTATE YOUR WRITING LIKE IT’S…2015, which helps writers be less sedentary. Available on Amazon:

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The “Equality in Fiction” panel also generated some awesome food for thought. I loved thinking about different ways to approach diversity in works of fiction.

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I thought this discussion went in some cool directions, including defining what equality might mean as well as how privilege of various kinds influences writers’ struggle to succeed, and how to deal with all that.

I learned to never again sit where there isn’t a mic stand. I was proud of myself for not dropping the mic because I definitely talk with my hands.

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I wish every single audience member could have chimed in–actually, I feel that way about every panel! But especially this one. I hope we addressed the topic thoroughly. I know it is an important one to me and I really appreciated being part of this.

And lastly, here are some of my favorite costumes! I can’t believe the effort people put in. So cool.

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Comic Con FanX 2014. . .Costumes and Recap!

As a panelist for this past weekend’s Comic Con FanX 2014, I had a bird’s-eye view of some amazing trends in speculative fiction.

Perched up there among other fabulous authors, filmmakers, and comic artists, I tried to add a relevant chirp or two, which I will be blogging about topically in case you missed attending the con.


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I loved the questions and comments from awesome audience members. It was so fun to make new friends and find out about interesting projects!

With everyone so focused on similar interests, I was energized just by being there. Even now, on Monday morning, I feel a residual energy and perspective about writing in this industry. That is what is so cool about these conferences! I left the Con feeling exhausted as introverts do in these situations but that is no indication of how much I enjoyed it.

Today, I just want to revel in some of my favorite costumes. Enjoy!

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…and these were with my more lousy camera, sorry to not do these justice! But awesome costumes!


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