HOW I MET DYLAN WILLIAMS
Dylan's passing is a sore...
I was one of many people whom Dylan helped, like a magic character who meets you when you are lost in the forest, if you are in a fairy tale dimension.
It starts with getting into that dimension, first. And that's what happened to me in a curious way. I hesitated to talk about it because all this may sound of course as a sentimental damsel's babble. But still, I have to tell this true story of wonder.
Once I went to Comic- Con, with my graphic narratives in the bag, with a vague thought of possible meeting some publishers or those connected to them. I didn't know anyone in that industry. I stayed in the hostel for surfers, by the ocean, far away from the convention, because that was the only place that still had vacancy. Before taking a train and then a bus to the San Diego center, I went for a walk on the beach.
I was looking at my feet, at the grey pebble; I was thinking rather sad about the lost purpose, about my creative career having gone nowhere and my life having gone somewhere wrong way. Yes, the classical situation well described by Dante.
I was thinking about the pebble. I was thinking: why have I changed so much that I don't find any more those "hen's gods"... That's how they are called in Russia, and in the US they are called "holey stones" - stones with a hole in them made by natural cause. Good luck stones. I used to be a champion in finding so many of them when I was a kid. It was back then as if they were waiting just for me to be found. So, something perhaps had changed in me, -the ability to find them. But it's the same me...I just had to remember how I did it. As soon as I started tuning myself into that almost forgotten wave, I looked down and I saw a hen's god stone. A stone with a hole. I bent down to pick it and noticed another one near by. Then, I saw many of them. I was literally standing on the mine of the "hen's gods"/holey stones. That has been one of the most unexplainable and personal moments in my life.
I started grabbing the holey stones with both hands...I was back into my real lucky self from long ago.
Then, I came to the convention and I wandered there feeling a little lost again, among the abundance of the perfect stuff all around. I tried to talk to some of the publishing guys behind the stands, but the impossibility of that enterprise was obvious. I already felt quite exhausted when I bumped into the stand which made me hold my breath. I felt like home there, and back in my childhood. And it was the same feeling like the one I had on the beach: I was inside the mine. There were so many, many little magical books around that showed the charm of coming from the realm of the inmost. All of them showed an untrimmed personality. And all were so different and unique. They radiated the quality of uniqueness. All were conveying: " Yes, it's possible to be YOU"
The only man who was there at the stand raised to shake hands with me and said with a sunny smile that his name was Dylan. I showed him my printed stuff. He told me that he liked especially the graphic style of one of my stories, Moonbirds. He added that he wanted to do something based on that. When I left with him a few of my stories' samples, he expressed so much joy. And he said he would trade them for some of his books, and gave me a whole bunch of lovely Sparkplug editions, including his Reporter. I felt happy, just happy. I stepped into the ocean that I'd been dreaming about.
Soon after the convention I e-mailed Dylan and thanked him and asked if he really was going to publish that story of mine. What he answered was: " I didn't tell that I wanted to publish that story. I said that I wanted to make a whole book, a collection of your tales, based on the style of that story"
So, that was another magical instant.
Then, the adventure of making my book started; writing text by hand, putting pages together and scanning; Dylan was so helpful with the advice.
He also introduced me to the Shelfari site, with virtual bookshelves; gradually I was getting an idea of the whole range of Dylan's incredible personality. He was so sophisticated and so in love with books per se, he seemed to have read them all. His tastes were exquisite.
The process of making my book stretched for the whole year. During that year, my husband died ( he was a magical character , too, by the way) My book came out after his passing... I went to the APE in San Francisco, though I was still in a daze; I had never before premiered my book at the convention. Perhaps it was all written into my fate, so that I wouldn't have lost hope and purpose? There was still a way to go, right in front of me...
Dylan had that amazing attribute of nobility in him. He would sense what you'd be the best at, what would be the best for you...He paid attention to people.
At the Expo, talking about one of my stories, I mentioned that I loved to draw on leaves since childhood. Next day he brought me a gift - a richly illustrated book written by his mother; surprisingly it was a research of the traditional painting in India, part of which was, drawing on leaves... that touched and influenced me deeply, some element of my soul was eager for that information, and Dylan knew to trigger it .
He would show so much care about the life of his author's book. Always he was aware of the good reviews here and there and e-mailed them to me. Emily made an interview with me, to introduce the book. Dylan matched me with Juliacks, for us to make another book together. For that premiere, I went to the New York's show....It was a chain of unfolding excitement. All arranged by the Renaissance-type and Taoist-type, smart and light-hearted magician Dylan.The process of giving another the joy of recognition seemed so enjoyable for him. That was a saint in him.
So amazing how working on the book with Dylan was most of all about encouragement.
I think the message that Dylan wanted to transfer into his authors/artists' hearts was:
"It's beautiful enough, it's perfect enough to be YOU and have a courage and desire to express it. "
Now I am struck by the simple truth which many millions of folks on Earth discovered before:
All the paper sheets will turn to sand.
His personal guidance and support was forever