Fans and Creators…drawing a line of decency in the sand

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If you know anything about my story, you know that my writing a blog about Outlander and finding myself in the middle of a fandom was a complete accident.  At the suggestion of my nieces, I started my blog as a way to practice writing. I needed something to write about, so I started writing about my favorite series of books.  Unbeknownst to me, my nieces sent my blog to Diana on Twitter.  She read it, commented and retweeted and I started gaining readers. Then it was announced there would be a TV series and as they say, the rest is history. For the most part, being part of this fandom has been wonderful and has brought a lot of joy and wonderful people into my life and so, I try pretty hard to stay out of fan drama. It isn’t always easy, but I try.  Mainly I don’t add my two cents because I feel like I’ve already said my two cents and I’ve yet to see any behavior in this fandom change because of what I said (hard cynical eye roll at myself). No sense beating a dead horse. But, after reading that Matt B. Roberts, Outlander executive producer, effectively shut down his Twitter account, I thought, well this could have been predicted. Then I thought, I did, I wrote an article about this very thing. So, I went looking for it. I wrote it back in season 2 and I have to say, it has aged well. The trajectory of personal attacks and character assignation that will effectively ruin a chance of any constructive criticism being heard by TPTB seems to moving forward unabated.  In the years between this article’s publication and now, a lot has happened in this fandom and our country.  I have to wonder if the increase in uncivil behavior has some connection to the uncivil political discourse we are inundated with daily.  I re read some of the comments to this article and I’m still struck by the logic that excuses bad behavior because it is generated by passion. Do people feel strongly about Diana’s books and characters? Yes. But, this adaptation is someone’s attempt to tell a story and not personal. Fans are free to express their likes or dislikes of the series, but I still say there is a line of decency that shouldn’t be crossed, no one, even those in the entertainment industry, should have to have skin that thick.

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Sunday, I was made aware there was trouble brewing in the Outlander fandom over some edited footage from the final scenes of the episode “Faith”.   It’s been a couple of days and I’ve had a chance to see some interactions between fans, creators, author, and cast.  I’ve let my thoughts sit for awhile and I think I’m ready to put those thoughts to words today.  

I just watched the entire clip

http://outlanderbts.com/deleted-scene-season-2-episode-207-faith-beautiful-work-sam-h/

and what came to mind was how ironic and sad it is that love of such a wonderful story has engendered so much ugliness.

When “Faith” first aired I posted my reflection on the blog and was overwhelmed by the response and moved by my reader’s stories of tragedy and grief.  http://wp.me/p4mtBT-3zD  That episode dealt with a part of life spoken of mostly in whispers if spoken about at all.  The real and honest portrayal of the loss of a child generated thoughtful discussion and for some it created a desire to tell their own story maybe for the first time.  It was and remains an amazing episode of TV.

I am not nor have I ever been an expert on the creation of a TV show.  Despite my voicing from time to time my likes and dislikes about certain episodes, the truth is I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to adapt the books to screen.  Oh, the show has piqued my interest and I’ve done some reading , but I have no experience in the creation of a TV show.  Like most people, I just know what I like and don’t like and then watch or don’t watch a show accordingly.  I felt the need to place my qualification to be a bonafide tv critic right upfront because this whole thing is bothering the heck out of me and I need to talk about it, but I want to make sure everybody knows who I am…a fan.

I’ve heard Diana say before that she fought for a scene to be left in or left out of the production.  Sometimes she wins and sometimes she doesn’t.  She always makes sure to add that no one has to listen to or include her in the decision making, but she is glad that they do.  Overall, she seems very pleased with the adaptation.  I always try to remember this wasn’t the first time someone had an idea to make Outlander’s story into film and I then remember that only she really knows how wrong this could have all gone.  What is really confusing me with these edits is that nobody seems to know why the scenes were cut and they aren’t being shy about saying so.  It isn’t only fans expressing their displeasure or surprise, it’s Metyin, a director,  tweeting he thinks the scene was better in the edited footage, and Diana and Sam Heughan, lead actor, adding their two cents.  They aren’t blaming anyone, but they seem as puzzled as I am.

I agree with Metyin when he said the edited scenes tied together all that happened in the previous episodes. The last time edited scenes were released, I found myself able to see why each scene (except the one with Murtaugh on the beach with Claire) was cut.  I could easily see how each would affect the overall storyline, pacing and character development if left in. I remember thinking that having more time doesn’t necessarily mean the story will be better told.  Sometimes less is more.   But, this time…more looked and felt pretty good. I’d love to hear the reasoning behind the edit because…that scene was amazing.

I’m not sure I know exactly where the buck stops in this production, there appears to be a lot of thumbs in the pie and a new merger had to have some impact.  I do, however, know where the blame for fan displeasure has landed and that is squarely on the shoulders of Ron D. Moore, executive producer.  Here’s the thing, even if he did make the decision to cut this scene totally on his own, he doesn’t deserve the nastiness fans are spewing.  NO ONE DESERVES THE SHIT I’M SEEING .  He hasn’t destroyed or sabotaged the show, he isn’t disrespecting book fans, he doesn’t hate Jamie or Sam, he isn’t making decisions based on what his wife wants or overreacting to what fans say NEEDS to be in the show (thank God), there is no conspiracy or agenda (other than making the best show he knows how to make) …sigh…did I cover it all?  Oh, and, it isn’t personal.  But, the attacks sure are.  Some are thinly disguised as “concern” from fans who LOVE the show, but just want RDM to get with the program and deliver what they want which is more of “the core” of the story.  The truth is we may never see book Jamie and Claire, but I’m not buying the line that Jamie has been emasculated to make Claire look stronger, or that the relationship between the two main character’s has been altered beyond recognition.  This fandom seems to have as many shouting points and conspiracy theories as the presidential election and they get repeated about as often. 

Here is another thing I’m puzzled about. How do the same shit stirrers get access to and notice of the cast and creators?  I swear it’s the same dirty dozen that lie in wait for something negative to be said about the show and then pounce.  They sit in judgment of the show and its fans.  They feel it is their right to degrade the show, its stars and makers in the name of “critique”.  Translation… you didn’t make the show the way I wanted so you are wrong.  The meaner they are the funnier they think they are and the gloat-fest goes on for days and their infamy celebrated.  The dissatisfied jump on the bandwagon with “I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that way”.

bandwagon

 

Critique

Critique is one thing and being judgmental another, but some fans tend to use the two interchangeably.

Judgmental usually refers to people who have a fixed, negative attitude about something.  It carries a meaning of “passing judgment”, black or white, thumbs down or up, like a judge ruling whether someone is guilty or innocent.  It focuses on the negative result in that process. It also has a moral component.


Critical, at least by  tradition, carries the idea of a well-reasoned, expert, articulate, and in-depth examination of the ideas or quality of a thing, not the thing itself: something that a literary or movie critic might do.  Though it tends toward negative, it’s not necessarily so – a movie could receive critical approval.  Critical comes from critique.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-being-critical-and-being-judgmental

  • Criticism finds fault. Critique looks at structure.
  • Criticism looks for what’s lacking. Critique finds what’s working.
  • Criticism condemns what it doesn’t understand. Critique asks for clarification.
  • Criticism is spoken with a cruel wit and sarcastic tongue. Critique’s voice is kind, honest, and objective.
  • Criticism is negative. Critique is positive.
  • Criticism is vague and general. Critique is concrete and specific.
  • Criticism has no sense of humor. Critique uses humor to soften the “blow” of the critique.
  • Criticism often looks for flaws in the writer as well as the writing. Critique addresses only what is on the page (screen my addition to the list) .https://chroniclesofharriet.com/2012/03/06/a-critic-critiques-criticism-critically/

 

Loved what this article had to say about the “vocal” fans.

It isn’t just Outlander dealing with fans who have crossed some sort of line of decency in the sand. Social media has given us access to creators and it has been a learning curve for them and frustrating to fans who aren’t the vocal minority.

This unfortunate behavior mostly comes from vocal minorities. But it’s an unfortunate truth that those who yell the loudest are usually the first to be heard, which is how you get TV writers blinking in panic at the idea of having to cater to fan whims. I wouldn’t be surprised if, despite saying otherwise, fan backlash results in far less communication between creators and fans, rather than more.

Creators and fans need to find middle ground before creators shut fans out completely

Make no mistake, this is what will happen…it already has…

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/8/11885562/tv-fans-the-100-fandom

 

But, …the fans lament, I can’t believe fans concerns aren’t LISTENED to (translation: why aren’t you doing what I want)

…And the amazing news, as far as creators are concerned, is that the explosion of social media might have opened up communication between the artists and their fans, but it’s by no means equalized it. Major studios and publishers, and the creators they’ve chosen to invest in, still have a bigger megaphone than any of their fans on Twitter. They just have less privilege, less complete protection from a dialogue with their audience, than before. Some still find ways to choose not to have that dialogue. That’s fine; it’s their right.   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/are-fans-getting-too-entitled_us_5750ab2ce4b0ed593f13e893

 

Loved this too…lack of empathy…let’s insult the people the creators and cast care about and then act surprised when they get upset…smh…

Fan entitlement, or something like it, can be hurtful—especially for creators who work on beloved franchises like Doctor Who or Star Wars, where fans feel a strong sense of ownership of long-running characters. But fan entitlement is an attitude problem, brought on by a lack of thoughtfulness and empathy. It’s not an umbrella term for every fandom reaction, from death threats to hashtag activism.  http://www.dailydot.com/parsec/fandom-harassment-captain-america-ghostbusters-devin-faraci/

Critique (I just did. I told you I thought the scene was better before the edit and why without taking it personally or damning anyone to hell) can be productive when it is truly critique.

 

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I would not be surprised if Outlander’s folks are setting new boundaries as we speak….

With social media increasing consumers’ access to producers, fans and creators are still negotiating their boundaries online. Sometimes, a handful of fans will wildly overreact to a creative decision (the emphasis is mine) and behave like immature dicks. Sometimes, a creator will misinterpret a piece of constructive criticism as a personal attack and freak out. Occasionally, a hashtag campaign like #OscarsSoWhite or The 100‘s lesbian death backlash will start a productive conversation that might inspire real, positive change.

http://www.dailydot.com/parsec/fandom-harassment-captain-america-ghostbusters-devin-faraci/

 

 

Here is my point, we have NO idea what happened.  Maybe they made a poor choice maybe they didn’t have a choice.  Is the show ruined?  Are folks going to continue to beat the “Ron doesn’t get it” dead horse?  You don’t have to like every decision, but for God’s sake it’s a TV show and these are real people who work hard and take pride in their art.  I understand folks have been waiting a long time to see “their” story on the screen and are disappointed it wasn’t delivered exactly the way they hoped, but you might want to consider cutting the creators and cast a break …it isn’t personal.  And,  if I was a creator?  I’d be building a fence, an electric one…

 

Great insight… From someone who knows…Outlander from a scriptwriter’s perspective 

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I’ve said this before, but one of the great things about writing a blog is hearing from people from all walks of life. In the past,  I’ve posted comments from actors and producers because of their unique perspective.  This past week , I heard from someone who adapts books into scripts for TV.  We all would like to think we know how to adapt Outlander for the screen (just look anywhere the show is discussed on social media), but this person KNOWS.  She agreed to let me share her thoughts in a post.  

Thanks Lori! 



I am an avid Outlander fan. Been reading the books since they were each released. I remember being at the library for each subsequent release and waiting anxiously for them to catalog it so I could be the first to take it home. (LOL – it got to the point that they’d call me the second it came in – small town libraries are wonderful!) That said, I am now a screenwriter. It has been my job to adapt books and stories for the screen.

There’s a lot that goes into storytelling on the screen that is totally different from what’s on the page. The reason that the books are always better is that an author has no limitation whatsoever in what they imagine. It can all come to pass. But for the screen, a variety of things need to be considered. Budget. Pacing. How does the action happen from point A to point B” Would the carving of their initials slow down the overall pace or cause it to stutter. Would it add to the storyline in the future? Is it something easily done by the props department or could that one scene add a hefty amount to the budget? On that one specifically, it would add a bit of a headache for the makeup department – ANYTIME their hands would be shown in the future, the initials would need to be exact. precise, and there. It adds a bit of a headache for continuity purposes. Cause I promise the second they would be seen without it, there would be an uproar! Heck, fans are angry now because it isn’t the proper hand on Jamie that was injured by BJR. I have seen entire blog posts on it -and that’s a simple one to explain!

When adapting to for film, you need to take the book (whatever length it is – 300? 500?) and put it into about 90-120 pages. MAYBE 150 if you have a good budget and are able to put a longer version into theaters. For television, it’s usually 42 pages per episode. That isn’t a lot of space to get in all the good stuff. And sometimes you just need to switch things up a bit to make the story flow better.

This is, by far, the best adaptation I have seen from page to screen. They have been beautifully faithful to the books. Often, when buying or optioning the rights to books, the filmmakers love the story, but they want to tell it their own way. They see it more as an inspiration. I have been brought in often by authors because they know how much I love the source material and that I will usually remain faithful to it rather than try to change it to make it my own. I have had a couple of authors who have given me leave to run with their characters and build what I want from their universe (Jodi Thomas was beautiful about that – just want to give a shout out there!) but more often than not, it’s the other way around. And authors just aren’t as understanding of how storytelling goes on the screen because it’s so different.

I deeply admire the creative team and showrunners on Outlander. I watch each episode and come away utterly delighted from the fan perspective and blown away as a writer. I know the razor’s edge they walk in order to keep fans of the books happy AND reach out to new viewers who have never read the books. It’s a horrible balancing act and it’s rarely done as well as it has been here.
:) Thank you for highlighting some of the differences and showing perspective on this!:) Love your wraps/insight!  Lori Twichell (@Twichie)

 

 

Marathons, Fan Art, and Adaptation…A look ahead to Outlander episode 2×13

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The new Outlandish Anticipation post is up!

Outlander Online

Beth-TopperI feel so out of the loop!  So, much has happened since the last time I wrote anything about Outlander!  Forgive me if I seem a bit uninformed, but there is no way I could get caught up.  I just got a chance to see my DVR’d episode 2×12 The Hail Mary this Sunday.  I’d do a review, but I’m pretty sure it was covered in a timely manner.  I haven’t read any recaps or reviews, but it has been pretty hard to avoid comments on social media the few times I’ve been on.  Sex or lack there of seems to be the topic of conversation. My guess is the conversation is surrounding the entire season rather than this last episode.  The perception is that fans have somehow been cheated and that the core of the story of  Jamie and Claire’s relationship diminished.  One of the comments I saw said…

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The Hail Mary…A Look Ahead to Outlander Episode 2×12

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New Outlandish Anticipation post!

Outlander Online

Beth-Topper

“Hail Mary, Coach Wesson! Throw a Hail Mary!” was the cry of one of the fans in the stands at my husband’s football games.  He coached for over thirty years and I heard a lot of things yelled at him from the stands, but the memory of that phrase lingers for a couple of reasons.  First, the lady that yelled it at every game was a great character and it was always yelled with such fervor and good intent. The second reason was my husband’s reaction to her yelling at him to throw a “Hail Mary”.  He would just smile and shake his head, No.

Read more after the jump!

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“He expected the taste of victory to be sweeter”…a reflection on Outlander Episode 10 Prestonpans

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Photo credits to OutlanderOnline.com

 

My husband said, “I could almost predict what was going to happen.”

Curious, I asked, “How, so?”

He explained, “It’s the way they’ve been portrayed.  You knew Claire was going to take charge and Jamie was going to fight to do what was best for everyone and that Dougal was going to throw himself into the battle.”

After speaking a bit more, I understood that he didn’t mean the plot was necessarily predictable, but that the characters had been so well drawn for him that he felt like he knew them. Personally, I think that is a good thing.  If you are able to feel you know a character that well then the actors have done their job.  They have made you feel something about the person they are portraying and we are able to suspend our disbelief and go with them into battle and care about what happens.

Ensemble:  a group of musicians, actors, or dancers who perform together.

Sam Heughan said this was his favorite episode because of the performances of the ensemble.  In truth, I felt Outlander’s actors were able to act off of each other in a way we haven’t really seen before. All of their character’s beliefs, experiences, values, and personalities arrived in Prestonpans and we were treated to seeing everything that has come before come to a type of fruition.  I understand what Sam was saying, this ensemble made the whole, the episode, better…because of its parts.  There were some truly wonderful performances. The actors emoted so much through a subtle swallow or a momentary grimace, glance or the blink of an eye.  Bear McCreary’s musical score, the realistic costumes, sets, makeup and special effects, and the filming (wow, just wow) all combined to make me feel like I’d fallen through the stones.  Our characters were going to war.  What would Murtaugh and Dougal do?  How would Claire react?  What was each of their places in this battle? My husband was right; I could practically predict how each character would react.

I love that this show has a depth that allows me to make connections with real life and its truths. My husband was definitely on my mind this morning as I reflected on this episode.  He is a school principal and as such, he is asked to make hundreds of decisions a day.  Most of those decisions have very little to do with reading, writing and arithmetic.  Most days, he finds himself navigating issues that are less about academics and more about impact on his students’ lives and well-being. I never worry that he will make the wrong decision because of what motivates him.  He bases every choice on what is best for his students. His integrity won’t allow him do anything else.  He makes his judgments based on his belief that his responsibility is to care what happens to his kids. As a result, despite how difficult or unpopular that decision might be, I know it will be the right one and that he can defend his choice and sleep with a sound conscience.

Here in lies the problem for the highlanders in our story.  Unlike my husband, who has a clear idea of what he is fighting for, they are making life-altering choices based on an idea and ideals that are not based in reality.  Murtaugh had it right when he said they needed a better reason to fight than just a more sympathetic ass sitting on the throne.

DOUGAL’S DREAMS vs REALITY

Of all the “stories” told in this episode, I felt Dougal’s was one of the most interesting.  You just knew his zeal and desire for glory wasn’t going to end well.  His hopes for Scotland and a Stewart restored to the throne were based on an idea that just didn’t match reality.  Prince Charles’ idea of what this battle is about does not match with Dougal’s idea of England as the enemy, but Dougal doesn’t know that.   The Prince is fighting for the restoration of a kingdom, a faith, and his father’s approval. Dougal fights for a free Scotland.  The enemy is easy for Dougal to identify, but the Prince doesn’t see it as Dougal presumes and the Princes repeated belief that the English are his father’s subjects and the highlander’s brothers confuses the issue for everyone. Dougal has a romanticized idea of the Prince, I felt sick to my stomach when I saw the look of awe and humble gratitude on Dougal’s face when the prince hugged him and for what this selfish young royal’s desires meant for this war and what that then in turn meant for the future of Dougal’s beloved Scotland.  In short, Clan McKenzie’s war chief has committed himself body and soul to something that doesn’t exist.  The result can only be decisions and actions that will be disastrous for himself and others.

CLAIRE AND JAMIES’ DESPERATION

I was so moved by the interaction between these two in this episode.  They truly are good and honorable people who are trying to make the best of a horrible situation.  Everything they do is colored by the knowledge that the “promise of history” is not in their favor and I could feel their desperation.  It is a desperate state of affairs.  Every touch, every look, every word was filled with poignancy.  I wanted to reach through the screen and hold them both as Claire held wee Fergus.  They have no choice, but to move forward and try to effect change and make decisions to save those they love despite their knowledge of the future.  They have no idea if the decision to turn right or left, do this or do that, will be a sound decision or one that will lead them closer to the abyss that is Culloden Moor.  Even Jamie’s incredulous joy that the battle was won so quickly with so little loss of life was tempered with the knowledge that it was written and might be the harbinger of the future.

MURTAUGH’S SACRIFICE

There were so many wonderful moments between these characters.  Jamie giving Dougal his opportunity to shine before Prince Charlie and then rescuing him from banishment and disgrace, Rupert and Angus’ touching attempts at intimacy, Claire and Jamie’s moving moments of goodbye before the battle, and… Murtaugh and Jamie.  I was struck by Murtaugh’s loyalty and his life of sacrifice.  He tells us that when you fight for your clan every man has a part to play and if you are forced to wound or kill or be killed yourself you would know your memory would live on in your clan and your death would have meaning.  He knows he goes to war without that close connection and purpose and he fears his death will go unnoticed and his sacrifice will mean nothing.  He knows the future too and he knows that because they failed to stop the rising they face almost certain defeat and maybe…a meaningless death. But, despite this knowledge he too fights on because of his own integrity and loyalty and for love of Jamie.

“Watch over Jamie” asks Claire.

“Always” assures Murtaugh.

 

LOYALTY AND FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE

The cost of war is always in lives, future and love lost. In the end, it is the equalizer.  In the end, we all value and fight for the same things and are destroyed by its loss whether you’re a Fraser or a McKenzie, a lieutenant or prince, a crofter or a war chieftain. The episode’s writer, Ira Behr reminded us from the opening scene that the wages of war are death with the image of a highlander lying dead and swollen alone in the woods and in the end, with Angus newly gone covered in his own blood and surrounded by the helpless ones who loved him.

In the end, I too could predict what would happen to the characters dreams and fears in this episode because of a universal truth the show so wonderfully and effectively allowed us to see, “war tastes bitter no matter the outcome”. The song to life sung by Rupert and the crofter was a song sung for all of us.  Love and live life well while you can because death comes for us all.

 

The Madonna Breaks…A Reflection on Outlander 2.7

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A BROKEN MADONNA

I remember the blood most of all. The blood that wasn’t supposed to be there. The blood that was too much. The blood that wouldn’t stop. I remember lying on a sterile table in a cold sterile room surrounded by strangers. I stared up at the operating room lights and tried not to feel as I heard their efforts to clean my womb. I remember the pain that did not result in joy and always the child that would only live in corners of my soul.

Last week, in my look ahead to episode 7, I discussed miscarriage http://wp.me/p57847-o0A.  I talked of statistics, grief, and guilt. My readers told me their stories of loss and lingering sorrow. My own story resulted in the decision to not have more children, but they told me of bravely trying again and as a result, finally experiencing the joy of motherhood. Others shared that they had tried and tried again…and again. I cannot fathom how they coped with that cycle of hope and despair.  All shared they had never forgotten the children they never knew. I was moved by their stories.  And, so, I hoped that Outlander would be able to show us a story that reflected the truth of expectancy miscarried.  They did. They showed us a broken Madonna.

This was storytelling at its best. They told a honest tale of how sometimes life breaks us and they did it with such astounding insight. Once again, Outlander has honored its subject matter by allowing the audience to see the full measure of the effects of an event like miscarrying a child. They didn’t gloss over, sensationalize or romanticize Claire’s trauma instead they chose to show us the depth of this woman’s suffering that then allowed the audience to experience empathy in a powerful way. This episode showed us the power of compassion and forgiveness.

THE STAGES OF GRIEF

I don’t know if the writers and producers decided to show us Claire navigating the stages of grief, but it is what I saw and I was able to respond to the story they were telling with connections to my own life and experiences with grief.

DENIAL

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My daughter is a photographer and especially gifted at capturing images of people’s beauty and personality.  She has volunteered to take pictures of servicemen in that moment they finally come home to their families and birthday parties for 95 year-old grandmas or grandpas who may not be here much longer, and Senior portraits for a girl who is confined to a wheelchair and disfigured from a car accident and needs to feel beautiful, and pictures of babies “born dead”.  She volunteered because she felt it was important, a way to help these grieving parents say goodbye.  But, she found she couldn’t despite a desire to help because it was just too much, too much grief, too much sadness.  She needed to stop for her own self-care.  

I don’t often write about the actual filming of the scenes, but, the way the camera closed in, panned out or gave us angles of perspective added so much to the telling of this story. We are first given a close up of Claire’s face her eyes swollen with crying, pale, expressionless and reminiscent of Jamie on the pallet at Wentworth. The camera pans out so that we may float on the ceiling looking down on the blood and the birth turned butchery. She later awakens and we see her try to make sense of where she is and what has happened. They kept it real and allowed Claire to be a woman whose body has been changed by her pregnancy instead of bowing to a sexier/less realistic representation. I knew what she felt when she touched that empty belly so recently vacated.  Her panic was a true indication that she knows something is wrong and yet,…denial, ” No, it isn’t possible”.  Her confusion and changing feelings were all expressed in rapid and yet moving succession. She demanded and pleaded for the baby she knew must be there. The flashback scenes of her holding and crooning her love to her dead baby were so poignant.  

A worried Mother Hildegarde calls in Louise to try and reach her friend who won’t surrender her dead baby. As Louise approaches Claire, we see her touch her own child and we feel her compassion for another mother.

“She is an angel.”

No metaphor was ever more true and Claire knows it is time to let go, but how? When she kissed her child goodbye, I took a ragged breath and said a small prayer for all those who must kiss their children goodbye.

ANGER

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When I was in eighth grade, my Uncle Chuck  finally came home from Vietnam and my grandmother finally got to take the placard of a star, that designated them the parents of a soldier, out of the parlor window. He seemed to be adjusting well and she was finally able to sleep at night without worrying that a uniformed soldier might come to her door with news. It wasn’t a soldier who came to her door it was a deputy sheriff.

I remember being woken in the middle of the night by my mother’s voice raised in anger. She was screaming “How could he!  How could he!”.  I wandered down the stairs and was confused by the tableau I saw in our dining room.  I couldn’t figure out why my Uncle Harry was there or why my step-father was hanging his head with tears in his eyes or why my mother was furious. My Uncle Chuck was home one month from his third tour in Vietnam and was killed in a car accident trying to avoid hitting a deer.  My mother was angry because he had gotten himself killed.  This was my first exposure to the different forms grief can take.  The anger isn’t always rational, but someone must be blamed for such an inconsolable loss.

Mother Hildegarde’s conversation with Claire was a brilliant example of what often happens in the case of miscarriage/still birth. Claire is grieving and she is filling in the “utter void” left by Faith with anger and blame directed at Jamie.  The dialogue here was so revealing of grief and the use of anger to cope.

“My husband betrayed me mother… a year of mercy is all I asked…Revenge mattered  more to him than me or his child.  He might as well have run his sword through me”.

“God bids us to revel in mercy, tread sins underfoot, and throw iniquities into the sea.”

“I’m not sure there is a sea deep enough”.

Many who experience such loss cope by wrapping themselves in blame, naming sins, and never find that sea.

BARGAINING

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I promise I’ll never…I promise I will…If you give me this…

Very few of us that grieve have not at least thought of a bargain with God or the universe. Like children we beg and offer to change or sacrifice if only this would not be true.  Claire doesn’t bargain for Faith and I was so moved by her expression of total loss, “My sins are all I have”.  Acknowledging she is still angry with Jamie, once she hears why he broke his promise she bargains for his life with her virtue, “I will count it among the things I’ve lost in Paris”.

DEPRESSION

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When bargaining doesn’t work and anger exhausts us, depression moves in.  Our loss colors everything.  We see the world through grey fog.  Life has beaten us and changed us.

Claire’s fragility was so piteous. We could tell by the troubled look on wee Fergus’ face and the offering of flowers he still held that the woman we were about to see was altered.  I was so moved by the servants waiting to welcome an obviously loved Milady home. I couldn’t help but feel those steps from the carriage to the house were some of the most difficult she has ever taken. Even in her weakened state she tries so hard to give these people what she can.  Her not allowing Magnus to bow to her and bowing to him instead was so Claire.  She is not a respecter of personage, she does not judge anyone by anything but their heart.  

We see her face devoid of emotion as Fergus brushes her hair,…a child caring for an adult is always so heart breaking.  It’s not supposed to be that way. Then when she is drawn to the spoons, I was reminded of unused baby clothes and a prepared nursery waiting for a child that will never come and I understood how this joyous gift now only serves as a reminder of her loss. She angrily pulls on her robe in the need to take some sort of action and quickly realizes she has nowhere to go and nothing she can do and falls apart.  

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Loss changes us.  But, life it goes on.  Acceptance is the bittersweet stage of the grieving process. It isn’t about suddenly being okay or “over it” because we are never okay with this kind of loss. It is rather about accepting a new reality.

The “will you make me beg”scene between Jamie and Claire was one of my favorites in the books and one of the three scenes I picked preseason as having the potential for award winning performances.  The scene was different from the books, but no less convincing in its portrayal of the power of acceptance, compassion and forgiveness.  

“The weight of what has happened here is too much for anyone of us to bear alone. The only way we can live with it is to carry it. Together.”

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In my opinion, Outlander has fulfilled its promise of being something different.  They continue to show us the story of two decent people who want to do the right thing and struggle with choices, people who admit their mistakes, make sacrifices for the sake of others, and choose to forgive. It is a rarity on TV to be sure. There was so much in this episode to write about and talk about, but I think for now, I’ll concentrate on this story-line of loss and how it affects everyone it touches. This breathtakingly wonderful adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s story of Jamie and Claire was able to capture the depth and wonder of this rich and complex story.  I would like to thank everyone who has so lovingly cared for this story, the actors who moved me, the writers who spoke to my heart, those who guided performances and filmed perspectives that added to our understanding, those that helped create the costumes and sets that helped suspend our disbelief and made these people and this world real.
This episode reminded me once again of how lucky we are to have had this story given over to such a serendipitous group of people. People who care.  I thought of all the complaining about shortened episodes, petty differences from the book, a heroine characterized as selfish, and a lack of sex in the former episodes and wondered how difficult it must have been for them all to stay silent knowing what was to come in this episode.  I wouldn’t have traded that moment of Claire’s self-awareness and Jamie’s compassion for all the hot sex in the world. There are wonderful lessons to be learned about what it means to be human here for those who care to look and I for one will have “faith” that Ron D. Moore and company will continue to do honor to the story of Jamie and Claire.  

Icebergs, Prince, and Outlander…My reflection on episode 2.3

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So, who the heck on the Outlander set is messing with the time continuum?  I’m convinced someone is experimenting with time travel because that was the shortest hour of television I’ve ever watched! It flew by and I found myself surprised when all too soon it was over! I believe I actually screamed NO! when the screen faded to the credits.  I have to wait a whole other week to find out what happens next? Say it isn’t so! Grief stricken, I did what any normal feeling person would do…I rewound the episode and watched again!  Whose a Time Lord Now!?! BOOM!

I  don’t do recaps.  I feel like you all watch the show if you want to know what happens next.  I don’t necessarily do reviews either.  I believe there is an element of a review when I sit down to write about an episode of Outlander, but I think what I’m really doing is …reflecting? I know what I do isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and after this week, I’m okay with that.

I’m big at making connections.  I tend to make meaning between loosely related ideas or disparate events.  A friend told me that I see a thread and pull on it until the whole thing unravels.  I like that image.  It rings true to me.  Somehow, in the process of unraveling, I make meaning and then reassemble the whole thing using a story to tell a story. That is what happened this week when I sat down to write about Outlander 2.3, “Deceptions and Useful Occupations”.   I saw a thread and pulled; Icebergs, Prince, Outlander.  Not sure you could get more disparate.  But, here I go.

ICEBERGS

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There is a phenomenon called the teacher job satisfaction curve. Teaching is a profession for idealists. Teachers want to believe that we touch the future by teaching children. We are life-long learners who constantly hone our craft in an effort to engage our students in learning in the hopes of creating a spark that will make them want to learn more!  We start out every school year excited to get into that classroom and make a difference in children’s lives.  We envision students who will arrive in our classroom ready to  learn! Students who have loads of untapped potential, who are just waiting for us to inspire them!

Yep,…reality…not so much …sometime right before Christmas break you start counting the days before retirement.  The enormity of the task you have taken on becomes crushingly obvious.  There are so many variables you are unable to control.  Not all students are ready to learn or even want to learn. If I heard, “but, we’re Seniors!” one more time, I seriously thought my head would explode!  However, the disillusionment we all feel in December begins to fade and you start to feel hopeful once again.  After all, there is always next year and so, I begin to reflect on the current year and how I will make changes and hone my skills to inspire students next year, … for sure!

During this period of reflection (at my desk at the end of 4th period), I had a particularly puzzling student approach me with a friend to ask my advice.  Without giving away too much, I doubt she will ever see this, but still, there were things happening in her life that would have made it difficult for anyone to concentrate on “The Importance of Being Ernest” or “The Canterbury Tales“.  I hope my advice did help because often I feel helpless to affect change in their lives, but her asking me reaffirmed that even when we don’t think we are making a difference…sometimes, we are.

Thinking of what this girl projected on the surface made me think of icebergs.  And, I was reminded once again to look at my students a little deeper. That behavior that drives me insane may have very deep roots and the anger or apathy they display may have nothing to do with my request that they pay attention or stop talking and everything to do with how they are trying to deal with what is happening inside themselves.

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PRINCE

This week also brought news of the death of the artist Prince.  An outpouring of grief and love for this man was found all over the news, social media, and the streets, even here in Ohio.

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Many of us became reflective.  We asked ourselves what this man’s life had meant to us, including Terry Dresbach, costume designer for Outlander.

…not only is he an incredible artist, he is a man of principal and ethics, he is fiercely independent, he is going to do things his own way. He is not going to bend to the commercial interests of corporations. He is going to control his own art. He may be as famous for his willingness to go to the mat for his work. Famously giving up his own NAME rather than control of his music, scrawling SLAVE on his face for public appearances. He refused to give up in the face of the corporatization of the music industry, fighting to the end for the rights of the artists…

So what did he mean to me?

Who am I? I am an artist, first and foremost. I am a product of my time and place. I am part of a generation,…

…As the child of union organizers and political activists, I struggle every day as an artist in a corporate world I struggle as a human in a human world. Ron constantly asks me if I could not make everything into one of my “social justice” issues. No, actually, I can’t. I will always struggle against the tide that says we all need to be managed and formed to a polished symmetry that never colors outside the lines. Whose voices and very existence, should be managed and tailored to fit into an expectation. Group think…

Well that ain’t gonna happen. I am going to continue to be me. I’m going to throw elbows at anything or anyone that tries to control me as an artist. I am not going to hire anyone to manage me or my voice. I am going to fight hard against anything like that, big or small. And I am going to play Prince as loud as I can while doing it.    http://www.terrydresbach.com/when-doves-cry/

I was very moved by her self-examination.  This world can put so many pressures on us to conform.  Sometimes, conformity is the right thing to do, but sometimes it isn’t.  It isn’t the right thing to do when you find yourself acting in ways that are untrue to your own ethics and beliefs.  It isn’t the right thing to do when you feel compelled to dim your light, so that others won’t be seen as lacking brilliance.  Attempts to hide your true self never end well.  I’m convinced that many of the world’s angry and depressed people are those who have for whatever reason not allowed themselves to be themselves.  People always come out sideways when they feel suppressed and managed.  Like Terry, I believe the only way to live authentically is to make conscious choices that are true to who you are and not what others expect you to be.

OUTLANDER

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So, ….that was a long way to get here.  The fact that I CAN apply lessons about life to this story makes me happy.  I am proud that there is a TV show on the air that isn’t afraid to show characters who grapple with moral and ethical choices, characters who struggle to do the right thing and still be true to themselves.

I will defend the writers and producers’ choice to let us see Claire and Jamie struggle to find their way back to themselves and each other to anyone who feels that this weakens their character.  The characters, the story, and therefore, the show are the better for it.  I have said it before and will say it again, it is a mistaken belief that because Jamie is strong and brave he would suddenly be able to pull himself up by the bootstraps and snap out of what he experienced.  In the book, what Claire did in the abbey was a desperate attempt at what we would now call aversion therapy.  She exposed him to what he feared and allowed him to fight back like he couldn’t before.  That would have been very difficult to reproduce in a visual format.  In fact, it took me several readings to truly understand what she did. Like most victims of such violence, TV Jamie has to figure out how to live without such a dramatic intervention and as a result, the Jamie we see on the show is… an iceberg.

 

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Dressed in sumptuous silk, smiling, going about his work, plotting  to stop the Jacobite rebellion is the top 1/4 of Jamie.  It is the part the world sees. The part we don’t see is powerfully large.  That Jamie we knew was destroyed “he broke me, I knew it, we both did”.   It is no wonder that he isn’t the Jamie we all know him to be. He is a shadow of the man he was.

Claire struggles to help him.  She tiptoes on egg shells.  Anyone who has lived with a spouse with PTSD could confirm that their loved one is altered and that they struggle to have any intimacy/closeness.  Jamie’s identity has been shaken to the core. He cannot get “him” out of his mind. Add to this struggle playing a role, being deceptive; something that goes against everything Jamie believes himself to be and you have a formula for an explosive situation.  Jamie is coming out sideways, “When do I get to feel good, when do I get to have meaning in my day?”  It isn’t that he doesn’t want Claire to be happy.  He does, but he isn’t himself.

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I love how they chose to juxtaposition Claire’s struggles with her own identify and secrets with Jamie’s.  She isn’t herself either. It is so complicated.  They are both living a lie and trying to find themselves again.  No one is going to be happy until they can.

I loved the filmed metaphor of Jamie walking down the hall and Claire following him. Every time she gets a glimpse of Jamie (and we do too, glimpses of the old Jamie) he walks behind a wall. Yet, she still follows and keeps trying.  I predict the pay-off for our patience and Claire’s will be some of the most moving television ever filmed.  It is going to get worse before it gets better, but when it gets better we will have a couple whose journey will form a bond unbreakable …even by time.

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What Ron D. Moore taught me about fandom

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This week has been an interesting one in the Outlander fandom.  There has been much ado about the show and its adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s books and characters.  The conversations about this topic have been, at times, heated and definitely filled with passion.  I saw several folks try to help people put it all in perspective by creating memes and posting quotes to remind us all there truly are things happening in the world to get heated and passionate about. But, the debate continued and continues.

Other than sports, (Go Buckeyes), this is my first real experience with fandom and it has been a curious journey. The degree to which I have become involved surprises me and drives my family crazy There has been more than one argument with my spouse over the amount of time I spend on social media fanning.  I’m not the only one who is surprised by their involvement.  Just yesterday, I saw at least three Facebook posts where women were telling the story of their obsession with Outlander.  They were all professing to be sane people who suddenly saw themselves acting like, as they put it, “teenage fangurls”. I think they were all looking for validation that this was normal behavior and that they weren’t completely looney tunes. Let me point out asking other people in the fandom in an online fan group might not get you the most objective response! And as time goes on, this phenomenon I find myself involved in gets curiouser and curiouser.

Last night, Terry Dresbach, Outlander costume designer and wife to Outlander Executive Producer Ronald D Moore, posted a travelogue Ron had shared with her.  He is currently on a cruise ship decompressing.  Terry has often said that she is constantly learning from Ron and that he is a student of human nature.  I have heard her say that Ron has always told her that fans, even the angry ones, are coming from a place of love.  I heard what she was saying and we discussed it, but per usual, it took something more to deepen my understanding.  This time it was Ron’s travelogue.  He recounted his reading of an old fanzine created by Star Trek fans.  I loved the way he described the fragileness of the pages typed on an antiquated typewriter and yellowed with age.  He felt like he was handling a precious papyrus.  He was moved by the art created with different levels of skill, but not with less love.  To me, his time spent with that fan-made magazine was reaffirming that what he did for a living mattered.   He remembered himself as a fan and how he felt.  He realized he had a lot in common with those folks who felt the need to create because of their fascination with a TV series.  I realized I was one of those people too and it made me smile.

 

 

Photo credit to @thenewredplaid and Alex Oliver

 

The Greeks and Outlander

Of all the connections I could have made to what Ron said and my experience with Outlander fandom, I thought about the Greeks.  I thought of Greek theater to be specific.  Over the years, I have taught high school students about the beginnings of theater which in actuality is the beginning of modern TV.  My students read the story of Oedipus Rex.  They always seem to be amazed to find themselves engaged in a story written so long ago.  In fact, in an effort to have them truly understand how long ago this was written we do a little math problem in English class. I have them figure out how many great-greats they would have to put in front of Sophocles name if he was their great grandfather.  If I remember correctly, it would be somewhere in the vicinity of 149.  The story really is interesting and I find I am able to challenge my students to think about such heady themes as fate and the irony of life.

Part of preparing them to read includes discussing the purpose of play festivals and how they were performed.  If you were an ancient Greek you would have filed into the amphitheater found a stone seat and waited to see several versions of the same story.  My students are always surprised to learn that everybody watching already knew the story.  They were watching to see who told it the best.  It would be like us all going to watch six versions of Little Red Riding Hood. The source material was being presented to the audience by different “executive producers” if you will.  Can you see where I’m going with this?  As fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series, we already know the story, but here we sit in our home amphitheaters with much comfier seats, waiting to see how Ron D. “Sophocles” Moore tells the story. I’m pretty sure our discussions about his adaptation sound much like the discussions the Greeks had about the adaptations they witnessed, minus the togas.  Did he get the characters right?  Did he retain the most important elements for plot?  What themes could we detect and did they ring true?  Was the dialogue believable and what about the acting?  I’m sure their conversations about Oedipus the King were just as lively and as passionate as our Outlander discussions and just like Trekkies,… coming from a place of love.

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So, today I find myself feeling some love for Ron D. Moore and his desire to tell the story of Jamie and Claire.  This Saturday I’ll tune in and watch to see how he tells my favorite story and then watch the fans’ reactions with new eyes.  Some fans will be inspired to discuss on Tumblr, create memes and artwork, and I…I’ll write a fan’s blog.

Here’s the link to Terry’s blog post http://www.terrydresbach.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Cruise-Journal-Day-8-2.pdf

What I heard Diana Gabaldon say… Outlander’s EW cover.

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Wow. Just wow. That cover stirred up some controversy.  Even Diana encouraged fans to discuss. She left two images on her Facebook page, one a cover she wrote for her books and the EW cover.  She then left instructions for folks to leave comments and promised she would be back later to tell us all what she thought.  Mixed in with the belittlement, name-calling, and worship there were some opinions expressed and viewpoints shared that were worthy of consideration.  But, what, we all wanted to know,  would  Diana have to say?  So, the fandom waited to hear what the author thought of the cover marketing the show and ultimately her story.

Having read and watched Diana’s responses to previous fan issues, I  made some pretty accurate educated guesses.  Diana is direct.  She was.  Diana explains her views clearly. She did.  She is very pragmatic.  She was.  Here is what I heard Diana say:

  • the romance element is the easiest to sell and promote
  • there isn’t one image that could ever define Outlander
  • one magazine cover isn’t going to define the series
  • the magazine is trying to catch their perceived audience’s attention
  • the cover isn’t scandalous

After reading, I tweeted those points.  Her response sounded like what it was, an answer from someone who, as she put it, has “been in the trenches for over 25 years”.  She has seen her genre bending books and story marketed as a lot of different things,

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She seemed pretty accepting of the whole thing as a reality, but I’ll admit I had a tough time squaring that acceptance with this video of her reaction to Barnes and Noble marketing her books as Romances https://youtu.be/72lRj-ewq6s  (5 min mark it gets good). Overall, I agreed with what she had to say, however, there are a couple of things I’d like to revisit.

She didn’t exactly say she was happy with the cover headlines with the picture.

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This was one of the main points I was trying to make in my article.  It wasn’t the picture I had an issue with, but rather the way it was coupled with those headlines. In fact, I found someone I would have liked to have written those headlines!  Here is a great article written by Brooke Corso that beautifully explores the meaning behind that photo for fans of the series and books http://popwrapped.com/necessary-outlander-cover/  .  Couple the picture with some of her words and I’m buying the whole thing!

 

The Kilt Drops

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She insinuates and rightly so, that it seems fairly hypocritical to take umbrage with this picture’s marketing if no one had an issue with the “kilt drops” campaign.  The fandom’s presence on social media was fairly new when Starz rolled out the kilted street performers and covered buildings with this marketing ploy.  However, there was a group of us who did say a word about it, in fact, we said lots of words about it.  In fact, I mentioned this campaign in a recent article http://wp.me/p4mtBT-1af .  That Diana didn’t see our protests isn’t surprising , but some of us _did_ speak up!

Several hundred times this week, I’ve been told that sex sells and it would be naïve to think otherwise cuz its been used to sell things for eons.  I’ve come to the conclusion I could not work in advertising. I understand it is their job to understand the psychology of what sells, including sex, but I’m pretty sure my conscience would bother me if I had to write a campaign suggesting a person could get laid if they only bought the right car!  <g>   I consider myself to be a fairly pragmatic person like DG, but I’ll admit that I do object to this type of marketing on a theoretical basis. I know Diana says that the term bodice-ripper= historical romance to virtually all marketing people and that nothing negative is intended.  I’m not so sure.  I believe there is a negative connotation associated with the term bodice-ripper.  I believe it is often used to demean women,  I THINK the use of this term is meant to suggest that the books or TV series’ value should be questioned because women, especially “middle-age women” are fans. I find it very disturbing that in addition to disparaging middle-age, it seems being a woman disqualifies us as purveyors of what is worthy. Those cover headlines….were marketed to a perceived audience alright…women who would be dismayed that Jamie was going to wear pants.  As I said in my previous article on this topic, I realize this is just one magazine cover, but I sure hope this isn’t a trend.

Not comfortable being the poster child for the stuff in that article

So, I check on the blog stats at least once a week.  I like seeing where I’m being read and how people found the blog.  This morning I was amused to see that someone had put in the search box “”if  @SamHeughan is a blonde who gets to dye his hair” and got my blog!  I also noticed a few clicks to another blog.  Curious, I clicked and was taken to Outlander Cast.  I saw in the introduction of their latest article this statement “Whatever you want to say about the cover, whether it’s good like us, or critical like other well known Outlander Blogs, you have to admit that the picture is freakin’ sexy as hell.”  The link takes you to my article!  First, I guess I should be flattered to be identified as other well known Blogs, but the link ONLY takes you to me!  And, eventually the article degenerates into the same name-calling, belittling seen all over the fandom.  Basically, anyone who doesn’t like everything about that cover must have issues with sex.  So, as a sexually active woman in a 40 plus year marriage who said repeatedly that I had no issues with the picture and in fact, found it striking, I am bit confused.  If they are trying to say not everyone thought the same then okay, but if not….then I do have issues  and they aren’t with sex!

Lumping and labeling

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I’ve said before and I’ll say it again.  You don’t have to agree with anybody, but why lump and label anyone who doesn’t agree with your viewpoint?  It was obvious that Diana didn’t agree with some fans take on the issue.  However, she never once insulted anyone or called them names.  She did tell folks they needed to get out more and it sounds like pretty good advice to me! I think I’ll take that advice and ask my sexy husband to take me on a date tonight and maybe later we’ll do a little Jamie and Claire role-play.  I’m sure I have a little linen and plaid somewhere, ….

 

P.S. These are the last comments on this issue!  I promised I would address DG’s comments. Next post will be waaayyyy up beat!

 

 

Happiness is…Outlander getting accolades

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There are a lot of things that make me happy like drinking a great cup of coffee by a fireplace reading a good book while snuggled in a fuzzy blanket. Or listening to children giggling or watching puppies frolic. Good Stuff.  You know what else is good? Learning that Outlander had been nominated for 3 Golden Globe awards.

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The results started rolling in this morning and so did the tweets.  In very little time, my notifications were lighting up with good news. Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, and the show its self were at the top of the list.  I kept asking if I had missed Sam Heughan’s nomination because I was THAT sure his brave and moving performance would be recognized.

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When I realized it was true…no nom for Sam, I experienced some very conflicting emotions.  I was thrilled for the others maybe even surprised.  Not because their performances weren’t brilliant, they were, but because I was worried we wouldn’t be noticed at all.  I’m pretty cynical about these awards things and I had been told repeatedly that we would be lucky to get one nod with all the great TV out there right now.  So, there I was feeling elated for Cait and Tobias one second and absolutely gutted for Sam the next.

Because my feelings ARE so strong, it hasn’t escaped me I might be giving validity to my families insistence that I have become obsessed.   For whatever its worth, I’m willing to admit maybe they are right because this feels personal.  I’m sure that part of the reason it feels personal is because I’ve been around the fandom since Diana Gabaldon announced the show was a go and a lot has happened in that amount of time.  We fans awaited casting news like the birth of a precious child. And, our first picture of Cait and Sam as Jamie and Claire?  Surreal.  There they were in the flesh and we all couldn’t quite believe it.

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Our fan experience was intensified by the willingness of the cast and crew, writers, producers and directors to talk with us and share behind the scenes tidbits and looks into what they do.  Matt B. Roberts “POD”,  Maril’s “heard on set” and Terry’s “tidbits” all helped us feel apart of what was happening. We knew they were all fans of the book and I felt reassured by Ron’s insistence that he wouldn’t mess up his wife’s favoriite! cf1346fb82adfc1f9e51059a52af3988

It was a singular experience and this inclusion has contributed to my feeling personal about these awards.  This is MY show about MY book.   We fought the critique that the show would only interest bored housewives and that men wouldn’t watch.  Our battle cry was, “Just wait you’ll see, this story is so much more!”  While we waited for the premier, I  remember anxiously hoping that they would do my very favorite book justice.  It could have gone so wrong.  It was such a wonderful story and I wanted the world to see it and fall in love with it too.

Diana Gabaldon’s books have become my favorite because of the wonderful stories she tells of a passionately committed couple and their adventures through life. I’ve always felt there were truths about what it means to be human spoken between those pages. Diana spoke to the irony and wonder that is life. So, I hoped that Ron Moore’s “adaptation” would be able to capture what I loved about this story; it has, but what I didn’t expect to see was Ron’s story of what it means to be human.  The visual story-teller told Diana’s story and somehow made it…more.  I am seeing Diana’s truths about life AND Ron’s as well. Two creative people’s ideas came together and the melding of their genius has created a new and inspiringly delightful visual version of my favorite story. Each new episode was like unwrapping a beautiful gift filled with amazing costumes, sets, acting, directing and writing.  It is a quality production that wasn’t afraid to be different or take on difficult material. Truly, I couldn’t be prouder if I had actually had anything to do with it myself <g>.

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I was reminded today that the show received a nomination for best drama and that means that everyone who had a part in creating the show is nominated.  That did make me smile.  So, congratulations to everyone!  Happiness is knowing people you’ve come to respect are getting recognized for all of their hard work and I’ll be celebrating by watching Claire get lost through the stones tonight while I snuggle in a blanket and drink some good coffee.