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Flying Solo

First aired: The Signal: Season 7, Episode 18
Written by Helen Eaton
Read by Helen Eaton
Edited by Helen Eaton

The Can’t Stop the Serenity season for 2011 ended on September 29th, with the last official event, in Dublin, Ireland. As usual, there was barely a pause before preparations for the next year got underway, with the artwork contest. 2011’s running total of money raised for Equality Now and other charities has passed $60,000 and the total since 2006 is over $600,000. There’s no denying that Can’t Stop the Serenity is an impressive achievement and something Browncoats can be proud to be associated with.

Up until this year’s events, my pride in CSTS was rather indirect, because I had not personally taken part in any event. This was not for a lack of desire, but simply because there’s never even been an event in the continent where I live, let alone the country or town. In any case, my nearest cinema is a twelve-hour drive away and I’m unlikely to make that trip just to see a film, unless it happens to be Serenity 2, of course.

In previous years I had toyed with the idea of hosting a phantom screening, as suggested by The Signal back in season 4. The thought of having some friends round to my house, watching Serenity and then making a donation to CSTS sounded like a lot of fun, but a couple of things always got in the way. For one thing, I have a limited pool of English-speaking friends who could be invited. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem though, as there is also a limited number of people who could fit round my laptop and actually be able to see the film. So I didn’t try a phantom screening.

Until this year, I was resigned to not taking part at all in Can’t Stop the Serenity, beyond vicariously enjoying the comments made by fellow Browncoats who had been able to attend events, and daydreaming about what it would be like to watch Serenity on a screen a little bigger than 14 inches across. Then this year’s events came around and I saw that Joss Whedon himself would be attending the CSTS event in LA and that a video of the event would be available to view on the internet. It struck me that this could be my chance to get involved in a more meaningful way that simply sending off a donation and watching the film by myself. So I donated the cost of a ticket to the LA event via PayPal, got the video loading, went away for a good long while (I have a really slow internet connection) and returned later to enjoy it (by candlelight by that point, as there was a power cut).

This was certainly not a conventional way to take part in CSTS, but you know what? It felt good. I may have been separated in space and time from those who were actually in LA on the night, but I got to enjoy hearing Joss Whedon enthuse about Equality Now and what CSTS has done for the cause. I got to share the thrills of seeing the surprise guests and just revel in the blurred boundaries between the fans and the creators being interviewed on the stage - the creators that were so clearly fans themselves and the fans who had become creators, of charity initiatives like CSTS or of more stories set in the Firefly ‘verse, like the folks from Redemption.

There was no one on the stage that night that I’d ever met, but somehow I felt like I was connected to all those there in a new way. My method may have been slightly odd and contrived, but I genuinely felt like I’d finally become a part of Can’t Stop The Serenity.

So, for anyone listening who is likewise stymied by circumstances, I encourage you to try a similar way to get involved, this year or next. As for me, I’m hopeful that I can be involved in a more traditional way next year as I plan to be in the UK around the right time. (Browncoats of Gloucester, I’m looking at you right now...) Even if that doesn’t pan out, I know I’ll seek out another way to be involved, and to share in the happiness that comes from doing good works.

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