On Monday, February 24th, UC Merced hosted Satine Phoenix for a night full of advise and wisdom on storytelling, professionalism, community, and--of course--Dungeons and Dragons. The event was co-sponsored by UC Merced Office of Student Involvement, the Merritt Writing Program, & DnD company, Cauldron & Tower.
Phoenix is a professional storyteller, graphic novelist, dungeonmaster who paints, writes, and does "all the creative things." As a women of color, her efforts for over 10 years in the Dungeons & Dragons community have exposed the benefits, healing, and communal elements that role-playing games offer all while expanding said community. In that time she has been the Community Manager for the Dungeons & Dragons brand, host of GM Tips for Geek & Sundry, as well as founding her own collaborative creative company, GildingLight, among many more achievements. Currently she is writing a book about how Dungeons & Dragons helped her through her own personal trauma.
The conversation, moderated by John Bultena, an MWP lecturer who is teaching a Sparks Seminar on Dungeons & Dragons, offered a photographic glimpse of Satine's journey to success and examined the role and power that storytelling has to offer those seeking to build branding and maintain community.
Some of the many night's take-aways :
- Satine Phoenix loves homework, and we all should too. In her experience, life is all about homework and much of her work these days involves what many would consider to be "homework." Her take: homework is everywhere and we should embrace it.
- Life is an unexpected journey, and we should embrace it. As Phoenix explains, often we are unaware of the life events and experiments which can add to our "arsenal of badassery." Phoenix's background working in home and furniture stores, for example, has given her an uncanny ability to narrate rooms down to specific details, an unexpected contribution to her current work in storytelling.
- We should not wait around for others to give us approval - especially not if you are a woman of color. "I'm not going to wait around for someone to say it's okay to be me," Phoenix explained. She encouraged those out there to find the online Twitter community - as a place to both support and hold up.
- People are more alike than they seem. When asked about what her travels around the world have taught her, Phoenix told us that the one common element she's found is that "everyone wants to be heard, and everyone wants to connect."
The conversation with Satine Phoenix left a strong impact on those in attendance - her journey offers an alternative guidepost to success, one where people can follow their individual passions and carve to carve out their careers. In Satine Phoenix's case, she's gets to "play for a living" and this is a possibility for anyone. "If you see a void about something you are passionate about, do not wait around! Be a catalyst!"