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!”

My Panelist Schedule for Comic Con 2015 #FanX15 in SLC

Comic Con FanX 2015

I am super excited to be a panelist at next week’s Comic Con 2015: Fan Experience in Salt Lake City, Utah. The last couple have been an absolute blast! 

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For all you writers, my book about how to save your poor wrists while amplifying your hourly word count came out a month ago: HOW TO DICTATE YOUR WRITING LIKE IT’S…2015. The first book in my middle grade series HULDUSNOOPS is also available, for those of you needing some Icelandic fantasy / sci fi in your lives (this should be all of you).

13 Advantages to Dictating Your Writing and What a Writing Walkabout Looks Like

Here is my panelist schedule, though you can also search for my name on the main event site or download the app. Please come up and say hi!

Friday January 30, 2015

2:00 pm: Writing and Health, Ballroom C

8:00 pm: Equality in Speculative Fiction, Ballroom C

I love going to Cons. The energy you get from being around that much nerdiness and creativity is palpable. And in the words of Stan Lee:

Comic Con Stan Lee Quote

So. Whether you are local or need to make the trip, it sounds like this is where you should be next weekend!!

But if you can’t make it, I’ll be posting about epic costumes and miscellany on Instagram which feeds to the right on this blog. 

My Writing Panelist Schedule for Salt Lake Comic Con 2014

Courtesy of Comic

Participating as a panelist at the SLC Comic Con Fan Experience (FanX) 2014 earlier this spring was a blast, as was speaking at Fantasy Con 2014 mid-summer. 

Now the geekery continues with the autumnal Salt Lake Comic Con 2014, at which I’ll also be a panelist. Basically, Utah creates enough demand to justify a nerd conference once a season. . .at least. Winter? The awesome Life the Universe, and Everything (LTUE 2015) Sci Fi & Fantasy Symposium of course!

I am so excited. I learn so much and meet awesome people at these things. I’ll be contributing on topics of writing productivity, writing skills, fantasy, and science fiction in general, and likely relative to my two series, HulduSnoops (mystery and fantasy) and The Salt Sheen Paradox (time travel science fiction thriller).

I’ll be participating all three days, on the following panels:

Thursday September 4, 2014

6:00 pm – Comic Con Writer’s Retreat Part 1: Planning and Outlining Your Novel, Making Time to Write – Room 255C

Friday September 5, 2014

5:00 pm – Magic, Myths, Legends, Archetypes and the Supernatural: What Writers of Speculative Fiction Have to Work With – Room 255E

Saturday September 6, 2014

2:00 pm – Why We Love Time Travel  – Room 255E

If you’ve never been to one of these conferences, maybe consider this or something like it closer to you. As with previous conferences, I’ll be posting pics of my favorite costumes to social media. I know there will be so, so many…