The price

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It’s been a busy weekend and I just sat down with a cup of coffee in my hedgehog mug <g> to catch up on all the news in Outlander world.  I stumbled across an interesting thread on Twitter from Terry Dresbach our costume designer extrodinaire. She was enjoying some personal time doing some of the things that I read other folks were doing; cleaning, organizing, and planting veggies.  Everyday. Normal. Stuff.  But,… to her…it is so much more.  Terry has written about her discovery that the secret to surviving the “glamorous” life of creating films is to be grounded in a place to call home, a sanctuary.  What we see as a “fairytale” existence comes with a price tag that we might not be willing to pay.  Time.  She is doing what she loves; her art, her husband is doing what he loves; creating and writing and I’m sure like other artists they cannot picture themselves doing anything else and will do what they need to do to be able to continue because it really is a dream come true to be able to work at what you love.  But, the time…apart…from each other and family because they are chasing their dreams is tough. As Terry said this morning, “you better be sure you want that piece of cake”.  So, when I read she is enjoying her “sanctuary” and surrounding herself with friends and cooking a special recipe or curling up with a soft blanket and a cup of tea, I smile. I smile for all of us who try to balance the pursuit of what we love to do with time with those we love.  I smile when my 15year-old granddaughter wants to spend her birthday fishing off my dock and Terry plans a dinner party in a greenhouse and we both create memories and moments.  We try to find the divine in the everyday.  So, this morning I’m smiling because Terry is enjoying the good stuff of life and sad that she misses her family and happy that they long to be together…just like me and mine…and you and yours.

May your pursuit of happiness be filled with memories and moments and love,

Beth

 

He Thought He Was Going to Die… now… how does he live… Outlander Episode 15 & 16

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SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES WHAT HAPPENS IN EPISODE 15 & WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN 16 AND EVEN A WEE BIT OF DRAGONFLY IN AMBER. IT MIXES WHAT YOU SAW AND WHAT I’VE READ BECAUSE THE TWO ARE NOW FOREVER A HARMONIOUS BLEND IN MY MIND.

SPOILERS!

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I WAS prepared.  The scenes at Wentworth unfolded much as they had in the book.  The menace was there.  The eerie certainty that Black Jack Randall would have his way was there from the moment he rode in to ” save” Jamie from the noose.  He could barely contain his relief and excitement.  His masterpiece lives and is his.  Tobias’ portrayal of Jack’s sick fascination with Jamie was perfectly executed in shades of reverent respect and barely contained sadistic lust. He would have his surrender. I was horrified and moved.

I’ve tried to boil down what exactly it is that moves me so much about the scenes between Claire, Jamie and Black Jack in that dungeon in Wentworth Prison. I think it has to do with this piece of dialogue from the book;

You can’t,” I whispered. “You can’t. I won’t let you.” His mouth was warm against my ear. “Claire, I’m to hang in the morning,. What happens to me between now and then doesna matter to anyone.” I drew back and stared at him. “It matters to me !” The strained lips quivered in what was almost a smile, and he raised his free hand and laid it against my wet cheek. “I know it does, mo moduinne . And that’s why you’ll go now. So I’ll know there is someone still who minds for me.”

The gut-wrenching knowledge that this could truly be the last time she saw him, knowing she had to leave him battered and in pain and in the fiendish hands of Black Jack Randall was painful to watch.  Her only chance to save him was to leave him …but… she knew she was leaving him to face his last few hours on Earth in a nightmare. Jamie was sacrificing his life to save hers… his compliance was being assured with a threat to his wife’s life.  He is keeping his word to give Claire time to get away,  He thought he was going to die, so what did it matter… her decision… his decision… both rooted in their love for the other. This is what moves me so much.

Cait’s tears of pain and grief gutted me. But, Sam’s silent tears and eyes wide with pain shook me …beyond words. It took me a moment’s reflection to understand what I was feeling and to understand those tears silently falling down his cheek. I saw the agony visited on his heart.  He was doing what he never thought he’d do…he was giving in …and suddenly he could still feel his father’s kiss, but now it was forever linked with the revolting kisses on his back and the taste of his wife’s salty tears of anguish on his lips. Yeah…I was moved and horrified.

The sacrifice was bigger than either of them could imagine.  The deliberate infliction of pain and humiliation by the rapist and sadist named Black Jack Randall, a man who finds his pleasure in the total domination of another, could not have been imagined despite the evidence before them both. Jamie naively believed that he would be able to remain unaffected by Black Jack Randall’s advances.  He knew there would be pain involved and he would feel repulsed, but he believed he could remain emotionally distant.  His illusions will be shattered within minutes.

What will we see in Episode 16 and the Aftermath of Wentworth

Later, In the book, Jamie feels the need to tell Claire what he experienced. He tells her that anyone can be broken if you work hard enough at it and Black Jack worked hard at it.  He wanted Jamie’s surrender, he wanted him broken and begging. His dark appetites for control and power over this seemingly unbreakable man were satisfied.

BJR will rape Jamie. The damage done physically would heal. What is more difficult to heal, of course, are the wounds that cannot be seen. Like many who suffer such trauma, once the shock fades and he has had time to process what has happened, Jamie feels distraught to the point of wanting to die. It is his own belief that suicide is a “mortal sin” that prevents him from taking his own life to end his despair. That and a desire not to give Black Jack Randall one more moment of his life, “…he has damned me in life. He willna damn me in death”.  .

What we haven’t talked about is the part a lot of rape victims don’t talk about, physical arousal during a rape.  This seems to be the aspect of the rape that  causes Jamie the greatest mental conflict. This is the part that causes him to cry out in anguish,

“… he hurt me -hurt me badly- while he did it, but it was an act of love to him. And he made me answer him- damn his soul! He made me rouse to him!”  The hand bunched into a fist and struck the bedframe with an impotent rage that made the whole bed tremble.”

The guilt, rage and shame that Jamie expresses over his physical arousal and orgasms at the hands of his rapist causes Jamie to question his identity.  I’m not saying that he questions his sexuality; he is hetero.  However, I do believe for the first time, Jamie isn’t sure he can trust himself.  He feels betrayed by his own body and mind.  Adding to the confusion is  BJR’s use of pain and mental gamesmanship.  We know that Jamie does recover enough to be with Claire and they go on to live their lives.  But, the fact that he was able to have a functioning relationship with Claire?  A miracle

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe there was some sound scientific theory behind Claire’s rescue attempt.  She used his own weakened and traumatized  mind to set him free.  It was sort of like a version of aversion therapy.   She exposed him to what he feared, but this time…he got to fight back. His Highland Warrior spirit fought its way home.  It makes sense, but the fact that it worked?  A miracle.

Like so many of us who journey through this world with the baggage of our past, Jamie must find a way to carry his knowledge and pain. He was going to die…so, now how does he live? The aftermath of Wentworth is living a life with a self-image, a core, that has been torn apart and patched back together. The scars are always there. Jamie is not the same man he once was. And… he discovered things about himself in that dungeon he didn’t know and now regrets knowing.

Jamie came to his wedding bed a virgin. His experience of sex up until Wentworth was found in the arms of his loving wife. Like many men, I believe Jamie closely relates sex to love. In fact, in one of the later books, Claire makes a comment to Jamie that love and sex are actually two different things. Jamie’s reply is that for him …they are very close. He associates sex with love. How confused must he be by his own body and its traitorous response to Black Jack’s “acts of love” .

In Dragonfly in Amber, Jamie has returned home from a night observing and resisting debauchery. He and Claire fight and he admits it was a near thing;

Too close,” he repeated, moving back a bit. “It was too damn close, Sassenach, and it scared me.” …”…it was … well, those women. What I felt like with them. I didna want them, truly not …” … “But the … the lusting, I suppose ye’d call it … that was … too close to what I feel sometimes for you, and it … well, it doesna seem right to me.” …“I always thought it would be a simple matter to lie wi’ a woman,” he said softly. “And yet … I want to fall on my face at your feet and worship you”— he dropped the towel and reached out, taking me by the shoulders— “and still I want to force ye to your knees before me, and hold ye there wi’ my hands tangled in your hair, and your mouth at my service … and I want both things at the same time , Sassenach.” He ran his hands up under my hair and gripped my face between them, hard. “I dinna understand myself at all, Sassenach! Or maybe I do.” …“Such things— the knowledge of them, I mean— it came to me soon after … after Wentworth.”… “I thought at the first that Jack Randall had stolen a bit of my soul, and then I knew it was worse than that. All of it was my own, and had been all along; it was only he’d shown it to me, and made me know it for myself. That’s what he did that I canna forgive, and may his own soul rot forever in hell”…“You’ll lie wi’ me now,” he said quietly. “And I shall use ye as I must. And if you’ll have your revenge for it, then take it and welcome, for my soul is yours, in all the black corners of it.”

This story of a woman and the man that she loves is so much more than a romance or an adventure. To me, the books and show are a monument to what it means to be human and … to the power of true love.

“Blessed is the influence of one true loving soul on another” Unknown

 

 

 

It’s taking on a life of its own….Wentworth and the Outlander fandom

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*Photo credit to Britta Fahl

If it’s being talked about this much now, what will the talk be after?!?! Wow, the response to this week’s upcoming episode of Outlander’s “Wentworth” seems to have taken on a life of its own!  If I was writing a plot for what is happening on social media it might look like the cover of “Moby”,  intersecting twists and turns. I fully expected people to feel nervous about watching, after all it is about torture. However, I didn’t expect the variety of and depth of reaction in the fandom.

Folks in the media who have seen the episode have seen fit to “warn” us that it IS horrifying. I believe their warnings were well-intentioned, but the words they have chosen to describe the episode have moved me from feeling nervous to almost feeling fearful.  THEY, the people who watch TV and movies for a living, have been taken aback by what they’ve seen. After reading some of these warnings, I find myself wondering what in the heck did they do? I was prepared for uncomfortable and maybe even difficult, but I expected to be moved not traumatized!  And, I am evidently not the only one. Fans are starting to buzz about how bad this really is!  And, the reactions are all over the place!

The I can’t watch folk

There is a certain population of fans who do have PTSD who knew they would need to skip this episode. I respect their decision for self-care. It is just a TV show and not worth the pain. But, there are others who have joined the ranks of the I can’t watch folks because they are too fearful that the scenes WILL be too close to the book and the media warnings.  There are some things I know I can’t watch like slasher films because I …well…I just can’t.  There seems to be a growing number of folks who have decided they can’t and WON’T be watching what happens to Jamie.

The “creative” watchers

These folks should be sitting in “think tanks” solving bigger issues! They have come up with all kinds of ways to help them through Wentworth. Seriously, I think they could have figured out how to get Jamie out of the prison cell last Monday! They have created  survival packs that consist of chocolate, whisky, tissue boxes and various assorted cuddly objects that can double as a shield. Some fans will be watching together and live tweeting each other for support.  The most ingenious folks, in my opinion, have an idea that probably won’t make Starz happy, but they are planning on waiting and then watching episodes 15 and 16 back to back! They feel they could handle 15 if they know some light will be coming in the next hour rather than two (you heard me right) weeks!

Those folks who are getting feelings and need someone to blame

I’m seeing some grumbling, as well. Some fans are wondering why all this “sex” and violence is necessary. They can’t see “why” this has to happen to tell the story. In fact, they see it as distracting and detrimental to the story line.  They are blaming Starz and are leaning toward creating conspiracy theories that  claim it’s all a plot to earn awards and money for the studios. To quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that”.

Folks who are having a tough time not blurring the lines between art and real-life

This afternoon, Diana posted a lovely letter on her Facebook page from a lady who was an actress.  She had acted in difficult scenes of a violent and sexual nature and wanted to share how taxing these were for actors. She shared that it took a great deal of vulnerability and trust to truly do these scenes right. The emotional toll appears to be great.  She felt the need to write because of some the crude and unkind things she was seeing written on social media. After her letter appeared, I saw a flurry of memes and posts reminding folks that these actors were playing a part. Tobias isn’t Black Jack. I’m sorry to say there are folks who need and will need reminding. What truly makes me shudder about the Wentworth episode is that after it airs there is chance these brave actors might actually read some of this insensitive thoughtlessness.

The I’m scared, but I’m excited too folks who are going to watch

Count me in this group.  I just know that no matter how uncomfortable this episode will be to watch, I WILL watch because I just know they are going to do the material justice! They have so far and I couldn’t be prouder of the whole bunch. This story is complex and full of real emotions and truths about what it means to suffer, persevere and love.  The sex and violence in this story is not gratuitous and is an integral part of the plot and the characters’ development. Wentworth and what happens there affects Jamie and Claire for the rest of their lives.

We are getting to see our beloved story come to life and I’ll be in front of my TV (probably with one of those survival packs) feeling anxious, excited and proud.

p.s. I’ve heard from some folks who have said Hey! You forgot about us! The just “show the damn episode” group ! (STDEs, 😂😂😂)   These folks are fearless and ready!

The One Where I Was a Fly on the Writer’s Room Wall…Outlander Episode 14

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ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! It is 3:00 am Monday morning and I JUST got done watching Episode 14 “The Search”,  the world and a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend conspired against me! Woke up about an hour ago to a finally quiet house and couldn’t go back to sleep knowing that I still had some viewing to do! I really should find out how people get those advance viewing privileges….anyway….let me say ….wow.  There have been some beautiful scenes shot in this series, but as of right now,  these scenes are my favorite! I felt this episode was rich with strikingly beautiful or unique images that I am officially dubbing “Metaphorical Moments”.  The puppet show alone was worth watching the entire episode! I’m in love with whomever thought of and created that piece of whimsy! And,…Murtagh…alone against a starry sky?  Sniff …sniff…

It strikes me as ironic that just about the time the series is over, I’m finally starting to understand this adaptation stuff!  One of the many reasons that I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and her writing style is the amount of rich detail she uses.  In her books, I have learned everything from how to keep and store a cadaver to how to make blood pudding. Her descriptions of what it feels like to give birth or put your hand inside a live body or watch a beautiful man sleep naked among the ferns while an ant crawls across his hand are written so descriptive that isn’t hard to imagine what the character sees, hears or feels and I find myself lost in her stories as a result.  But, sometimes …she leaves things to the readers’ imagination (like a good writer should) and I’m starting to see how that fact might play out in the Outlander on Starz writer’s room.

Like many of Diana’s long-time fans, I’ve had the singular experience of watching the whole TV adaptation unfold from the first day she announced that the series was a go. What a wonderful time we have had interacting with the folks creating the show. Over the past year or so, I feel like I’ve gotten to “know” some of the creative folks helping to make our beloved books and characters come to life.  We’ve had a chance to ask them questions, read their tweets and as a result, gotten to know a little bit about what they do and something of their individual personalities.  So, I’ve decided that in this article, I’m taking creative license and writing my own screenplay…about what I think might have happened in the Outlander Writer’s room when they were creating this episode…..

*Producer’s note: (that’s me! Giggle, snort!) I really don’t know if these things were ever said or who might have said them.  It’s based on my experiences “interacting” with Ron, Maril and Matt over the last year that guides this bit of guessery!

Setting the scene: A room with folding tables their tops scattered with paper and resource materials and the remnants of assorted beverages. At least three writers, Ron, Matt and Maril are sitting in various states of contemplation as they stare at a wall full of chronologically posted dialogue from Diana’s book.  They are discussing how to write episode 14 “The Search”. 

Ron: Okay…we’ve got two women striking out on their own to rescue a man they both deeply love…a devoted sister and a desperate wife.

Matt: It makes sense to follow the chronological order here, in fact, I think we have to.  The arc for this episode isn’t going to be hard to figure out, it’s all there.

Maril: Yes, I think it’s going to be pretty easy to stick to the book this time. Nods her head in satisfaction

Ron: Agreed.  Now, let’s start by discussing these women.  They are not going to have the benefit of superior strength or intimidation that a male might be able to use in this situation. They aren’t going to over-power anyone. Ironically, it is their femaleness that is their best weapon.

Matt: Yes!  The whole deal with Jenny throwing herself into the road relies on chivalry for its success.  Poor man never knew what hit him. Doomed by gallantry. Chuckles at the irony

Maril:  Might be fun to play with the interrogation.  Diana doesn’t give us a lot about that scene other than they made it uncomfortable enough that he told them what they wanted to know. Now what would that look like?

Ron: shrugs Good cop, Bad cop?

Matt: Ohhhhh…I like that…Claire, of course, is the good cop convincing the prisoner that Jenny is just a hair-trigger away from doing him some real damage!

Maril: Which she probably is!  What could she do to him…..?

Group continues to discuss the good cop bad cop idea and concludes it would be the prefect time to introduce Murtagh to the story-line

Matt: ….and, he prevents the women from having to commit murder.

Maril: Murtagh is one of my favorite characters.  His devotion to Jamie! Diana doesn’t tell us a lot about him.  He’s always portrayed as quiet, dour, serious, a bit of a mystery really.

Ron: LOVE his devotion to Jamie and… how Claire might be the only one who really knows why Murtagh is so devoted.  The viewers are going to love finding out about the bracelet connection.  We have a chance to develop Murtagh’s character here. He and Claire working together is an interesting dynamic.

Matt: Nodding Yeah, it is!  Love how Diana had Murtagh devise a plan to find Jamie. They have no idea where to look,  so they are trying to help Jamie find THEM by making themselves the talk of the Highlands.  They travel from village to village exploiting their skills to call attention to themselves; Claire’s healing, fortune-telling and Murtagh’s singing.  chuckles Does anyone know if Duncan can sing? Or Cait?

Maril: laughing I think Cait can and I’m pretty sure I heard Duncan can’t.  Going to have to find another skill to highlight.  Dancing?

Ron: Diana left a lot to the reader’s imagination with the visits to the villages. We could really run with this.   They stare at the wall for a while and then suddenly Matt begins scribbling madly on a piece of paper.

Matt: Okay, okay listen to this.  Reads from his scribbles  What if we DO go with dancing?  Murtagh doing the sword dance, but here’s the thing.  He isn’t any good. They boo him.  Throw vegetables at him.  It would highlight the lengths he is willing to go for love of Jamie.  The serious dour man allowing himself to suffer the indignity of dancing in front of a crowd.

Maril: warming to the idea  I like it!  The women had to step outside their comfort zone to rescue Jamie and so does Murtaugh.  But, how about this twist?  He thinks he’s good!

Ron: Laughing  It has a whole  “Shakespeare in Love” vibe. Actors acting about acting and performing.  Nothing’s really changed has it?!  They laugh at Claire getting comfortable with her performing and Murtagh’s anger at their audience’s obvious lack of appreciation for superior dancing skills. They rapidly add ideas to the pot including nods to 1945 and Claire’s new performance incorporating a song Jamie would recognize.

Matt:  …And…the gypsies.  They play an important part in this.

Maril: There wasn’t much about that in the books either.

Ron:  Gypsies?! How great is that going to be? What are gypsies famous for? More discussion insues and they decide that the gypsies steal the Sassenach song and complicate things for Claire and Murtagh.

Maril: …so, that’s how Jamie gets caught.  He follows the song right into the path of the Redcoats.

RON: …and that leads us to the scene with Dougal.  I think we can stick pretty close to what Diana has written.  It’s a great scene. Powerful and a bit shocking. Not liking Dougal much in this scene.

The group continues to do what they do best…look at the source material and adapt it for a visual medium trying always to bring the story back around to where it needs to go. I sure this process takes hours and not just bit of argument. Hence the need for drinking and naked Twister afterward.  

So, this is what I imagine goes on in the Outlander’s screenwriter’s room.   This episode made a rather vague area of the book fairly pop with intriguing possibilities and images and still brought the story back to where it needs to go.  I get it.  And … I. Love. It.

A place where peace dwells…..Jamie and I remember

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bethwesson:

This is the first post DG ever read of mine. I wanted to repost in honor of Mother’s Day and dedicate it to those who miss their Moms like I miss mine!

Originally posted on My Outlander Blog!:

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I’ve been re-reading The Fiery Cross and just finished the scene where Jamie comes home to Fraser’s Ridge after the gathering. He is trying to wear down his rambunctious horse when he suddenly comes upon a place he recognizes. He calls it a place of peace. He feels himself and the horse calm and knows he is in a special if not holy place. He then has a sensory memory of his mother. He comments that he owns a few of these memories. They are scenes so real he can even smell them.
I have a few of those too. I’m never sure what triggers them, but they are welcome and precious. I have a memory of rolling around in the grass with several puppies crawling all over me while I giggle uncontrollably. I own a memory of my three month-old daughter lifting her head and smiling at me. I…

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