It’s that time again–when people all around the world participate in something called GISH. What is it, you ask? GISH stands for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt”. Established 10 years ago by actor Misha Collins of Supernatural, the motto of the hunt is DEATH TO NORMALCY!!! For one week people complete a list of crazy, seemingly impossible items like launching a Christmas tree into the upper atmosphere or flooding Lin-Manual Miranda’s Twitter feed with historical raps, while also spreading kindness through fundraising and engaging our local/global communities. Participants, called “Gishers” also raised money for a dance company in Africa and registered to be bone marrow donors, amongst participating in other worthwhile causes.
A bedazzled image of actor Richard Speight Jr for item # 130 – “It’s hard not to be dazzled by your favorite celebrity. Create a bedazzled portrait of them, then post it to social media and tag @GISH and the celebrity with #YouDazzleMe.”
I participated in the Hunt in 2013 and 2016, but then I decided to become a sideline observer of the madness. Not because of the “unreasonable pain and suffering” as GISH can push you mentally and physically to your limit. But because I felt I was TOO normal. When I see the amazing artwork and creativity coming out into the world from GISH every year, it blows my mind how talented my fellows in fandom are! It also makes me feel woefully uncreative and not talented enough. I fell victim to the comparison trap thinking what could I possibly bring to GISH that others are already bringing in so wonderfully?
An origami dove for item # 156 – “In our most recent mini-hunt, we wrote letters to Willie Simmons, a man who has been jailed in Alabama for 38 years over a matter of a $9 robbery. He’s still in prison, despite good behavior, a clear victim of the inequities of the for-profit incarceration system in the United States. Let’s do something about that. Send an origami dove to Gov. Kay Ivey (600 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36130). On it, write a quote about justice and “Uncage Willie Simmons.””
This year I was lured back. Our team captain and my friend Amber asked me to be on her team and she made an offer I couldn’t refuse. She presented to me the promise of a laid back team more into encouraging each other to do our best and accomplish whatever items are most in our wheelhouse, as well as to be there for each other when attempting items that take a little more bravery and cultivate new skills. Even if we decide there is nothing that we can do on the list, we can cheer each other on from the sidelines. Having a team like this has made being a part of GISH a lot more fun than my previous outings. It gave me an opportunity to pay tribute to my mother who passed last year by sharing a photo depicting our last trip together. I slid into the DMs of famous actors who have brought our greatest superheroes to life to see if maybe, MAYBE we can talk about fascism. Even writing this essay is part of GISH!
A work-in-progress of a portrait of Stan Lee made of spices for Item # 88 – “In the past, we asked you to Salt and Pepper Iron Man, so it seems only fitting you create a Spice-Art tribute to Iron Man’s creator, the late, great Stan Lee. Whether it is the man himself, or his comic book creations, create a Spicy-Art tribute to Stan. Excelsior!”
Would it be nice to win the grand prize vacation with Misha Collins to some exotic locale? Sure! To be showcased in the Hall of Fame or in the annual coffee table book? Absolutely! But for me that isn’t the draw; for me GISH is about coming together, supporting and encouraging one another to do things that we wouldn’t otherwise dare to try while being a little weirder, a little more creative, and a little kinder.
For more information, visit www.gish.com.