The Thru The Stones Convention…part 2

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living in moments…

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My friend Jane Anne Davis had arrived from Atlanta hours before me and was on her lonesome.  I messaged her periodically to see how she was faring and to report my ETA. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year and a half and in the meantime, Jane had kicked not one, but two types of cancers’ ass! This was going to be our little celebratory break from real-life and we were anticipating lots of laughter and downright silliness! She was a little concerned because she had tried to make friendly overtures, but was feeling like a wallflower at a jr. high dance.  I arrived at the hotel and promptly went to our room. I couldn’t figure out why Jane wasn’t answering my insistent knocks and so, I called her.  We both figured out pretty quickly why I wasn’t standing in front of the door she had just opened and I was thankful no one was home in room 7002 and then drug my travel disheveled self down the hall to the elevators, across the lobby, past the gift shop, desk, casino, buffet, snack shop, and onto the elevator that would take me to room 702.  This time when I knocked Jane answered and I dragged my huge suitcase that had lost a leg somewhere in the airport into the room, I let go of the suitcase that promptly fell over cuz…missing leg and gave Jane a big hug!

“We are going to push each other to talk to everyone!”, I pronounced. “We are going to make sure we have fun!”

And we did!  When folks walked by us the next morning, we tried to guess who was there for the convention. We decided plaid was a fairly predictable clue and if you were wearing plaid/tartan sorry about your luck, but we were talking to you!  Some folks weren’t too hard to figure out. Their Outlander and Through the Stones matching T-shirts were dead giveaways. We met a lovely couple who had never read the books, but were here because of the TV series and had the costumes to prove it!

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We joked that her husband looked enough like Ron Moore to be his brother!  We then talked with a lovely lady who was a retired jr. high science teacher.  She was sporting a fun vest chock full of Outlander pins and patches.  She told us she loved Outlander’s historical aspects and that she spent a lot of her time volunteering.  She shared with us that her team (the Hoosier Honeypots) had a plan to win the trivia contest and therefore, dinner with Terry Dresbach!  She showed us a copy of a book of questions she had created and had been studying.  I think she said there were 800 questions! I’m not sure if her group won, but she looked like she was going to have a blast anyway!  They had a rooting section with signs!

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Eventually, we made our way to lunch where I happened upon folks I talk to very frequently on Twitter, but had never met! Sitting with Cyndi Hayes was Carole Braun and her friend Sandy Dawar and Jill Shirley.  I just kept looking at these folks I felt I knew!  It was a bit surreal. I told Jill she looked awfully familiar to me and I kept feeling like we had met before. We talked for a little bit about attending the event and I happened to mention going to NYC Tartan Week.  Suddenly, Jill jumped up and hugged me as she realized we had stood beside each other at the Tartan Week parade!  Small world isn’t it when you are an Outlander fan? I had a lovely time getting to know Jill and listening to her stories about meeting Ron Moore at the ball park in California!  Meeting likeminded folks and my Twitter friends were some of the great moments that TTS afforded me.

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ME AND JILL LAUGHING JUST BECAUSE

We walked over to the convention center to register and peruse the goods for sale at Beardsley’s Trading Post. I found a sweet pair of thistle earrings to match the necklace my husband bought me last year!  There was a great mixture of items including a place to swap books!

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TRIVA!

The next big event of the day was the Trivia contest!  Jane Anne and I had decided that we were just playing for kicks and giggles (even though I AM pretty bad-ass at trivia because I seem to know a lot of worthless and obscure shite) so, when I saw Mother Hildegarde’s Novices was looking for four members that just wanted to have fun we asked to join!  What a great bunch of ladies!  They evidently knew what was up because they came with decorations and gift bags and some food! Buton was laid in the center of our table on a swathe of plaid and our gift bags included a Starbucks card, chocolates and some homemade cherry bounce!  I think I’ve made some new Outlander friends in Terri Somgynari, Sandra Hicks and Carla Jasinski!

 

I was just biting into a piece of gifted shortbread when I heard my name being called.  It was fellow blogger Connie Verzak and I stood up and braced myself for the hug she had warned me I was going to get!  And, the answer to your question is yes, she is just as funny in person along with being warm, kind, and wicked smart.  This was one of my favorite moments!  Just sitting and laughing with Connie and her friends was one of the highlights of my weekend.  She is truly a unique person and I loved meeting her!

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CONNIE AND I

Mother Hildegarde’s Novices laughed our way through the first round of trivia and then we heard some clapping.  On stage stood Terry Dresbach wishing everyone a good time. I have to say meeting Terry was “THE” moment for me.  Like a lot of other fans, I’ve been interacting with Terry on Twitter for quite a while now. She is just who I thought she was kind, gracious, beautiful, funny, wise, and talented.  The woman has confidence and personality to spare! Terry went from table to table greeting everyone. I’m sure she could feel the love and wanted to make sure everyone knew it was reciprocated.

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JANE ANNE, TERRY AND ME

Trivia was fun and challenging! We headed back to our rooms at the end of the night feeling like we had been part of a moment of love for Diana Gabaldon’s story.  A lot of people knew a lot about those books.  Me thinks perhaps we have all read them a few times!

SATURDAY

The next day started early, I think I was too excited to sleep for long! We headed out to get breakfast and then find our first workshop class.  We found a seat around the big fireplace in the north tower lobby and wondered how this was going to work.  A large group of us were here to “talk” about Outlander.  The lady who was leading the class was a neighbor of Debbie Ford’s. She said she was taking credit for introducing Debbie to the books and therefore planting the seed that lead to TTS!  I noticed that she had what appeared to be a list of discussion topics in her hand.  It was a fairly large list and I once again admired the attention to detail and thought that went into preparing for this conference.  I had to laugh because she only got to ask one maybe two questions because if you give an Outlander fan an inch to talk about Outlander we’ll take a mile!   It was fascinating learning about how folks found the books and what the story and series had contributed to their lives.  As per usual, we agreed on our love for the series, but EVERYONE had different ideas about how successfully those books had been transferred to the screen. I think we all agreed to disagree and despite our different opinions, I left feeling part of a very large, diverse group of folks who were passionate about this story!

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The next class for us was the improv group.  There were other classes available that included everything from whiskey tasting (at 8:30 in the morning) to sword fighting! I was starting to feel a bit nervous as it was getting closer to time for my very first press conference.  I asked Jane for a few minutes to gather my nerves and she went ahead.  I sat in the lobby going over my questions and testing my tape recorder.  I heard a group of people behind me discussing the show and books and looked over to see several men in ties talking to a lady who was gushing about how if they loved the show they needed to read the books!  I checked the name of the room I was supposed to be in for the press conference for about the fifth time and decided I was as prepared as I was ever going to be and headed in for the comedy show.  As I was speaking to Jane, the troupe came into the room.  It was the men in ties from the lobby who called themselves “Guys In Ties”.  They were great and made sure to let everyone know they had watched the show and were addicted.  They asked the audience for help with the improv topics and we are a sick bunch, LOL!  They seemed a bit taken back and I loved it!  This comedic moment was just what I needed.  After it was over, Jane headed for the Scottish themed lunch and I to the press conference.  If you missed it here is my blog on that conference (link).

Loved the quilt presented to Terry by the Bonnie Beasties fan club after the press conference.  Deann Roberts shared that they have previously created quilts for Sam Heughan and Cait Balfe and their group wanted to create one in appreciation of Ron and Terry.  Squares with Outlander themes and messages to Terry and Ron were sent from all over the world  and then stitched together and quilted.  I overheard one of their group members say they wanted to “cover them in kindness” and I thought that was so sweet.

Soon everyone filed into the ballroom and found a seat for Terry’s talk on Saturday afternoon. It was perfect. She just sat down and shared. In this moment, people felt like they had gotten to know her a bit better and found her be funny, genuine, and approachable.  She said she understood that the fans were coming from a place of love.  That all that she had seen was about love. And, I have to say, everyone I talked to loved her.  In fact, I asked some attendees to share their perceptions and I’d like to share a few of their responses!

Kristen Leigh Stiner:  I thought her talk was amazing!! The way she lit up speaking about her husband and children warmed my soul!! If I had a do-over I would want to thank her for being such a strong and powerful woman!! She is truly a champion for us all yet is so very humble!! I loved her before but now she is one of my favorite people!!

Terri Somgynari : I absolutely loved how she got all emotional and teary-eyed when she talked about Ron and her children!
It was the best part..knowing how much she loves them!

Gina Kutter: Terry allows us to see the real person and real life of our favorite costume designer! She draws us in to the Outlander family with her insights and tidbits! She embodies that Outlander truly is all about love!

Mary Alberg Faber: She is so funny and warm. The thing that struck me is how much she seemed to enjoy being there, and with us. Her attitute is inspiritional. Just watching the joy in her face when talking about Ron, the show, the stars, etc. gives me joy, in return. It was like talking to your best friend. (Oh yeah, she’s a fan – maybe a bit of a closet fan; not quite at the totally obsessed stage.)

Janice Schurr:  I, too, am not a “fangirl”. I don’t order t-hirts, or jewelry, or any of that stuff, although I’ve made donations to charities. I’ve never attended a fan gathering. But, this was more than that – it truly felt like a gathering of friends. Like a giant bookclub, where we all could express our opinions and share our love of the show and the guests. Plus, Debbie Belshause Ford and her crew made it seem personal – not just something put on by an organization or PR force, but something done by true fans. I think Terry’s chat fit the group so well. It was like sitting around your living room chatting with a friend, not a “canned speech”. And Grant, with his lovely sense of humor, was so personable and seemed to so like being there, despite his adventures in travel!

Thrynn Kirby: Was incredibly flattered to see her put as much energy and attention into sharing herself and our wonderful gathering as she does with everything . This was no fly by visit. This was one HUGE HUG from a fabulous lady. I am a fan ( read as one who loves) Ron is right. She does make the sun come out!

Tina Schröder Eakins:  I loved that Terry SAW us. Not just as a group of fans, but as individuals. I really felt she was there for a chat, sitting on a chair, rather than a speaker.

Tammy Petree Proux:  I was unsure what my opinion of her was before the convention. I just know that I loved the previous convention and the fun we had. I trusted in Debbie Belshause Ford to bring great people to everyone (along with great times). I was impressed with how normal, like all of us Terry seems to be. She was extremely approachable. I loved that she came and mingled with all of us during trivia competition; I know we were all caught by surprise. She has a normal relationship with her husband. I enjoyed her relating of stories of her family; the stories of Ron and his Disney love. There are so many things. I imagine she has some interesting views on politics, but it was good that it was left out of this arena. (Though I would have loved to discuss with her as I’m sure we’re on the same page lol.)

Susan Hundt:  I really appreciated her candor and her insights on fandom, especially coming to the conclusion that it is all about love.

Helen Kratzer Lyness:  The instant connection we find with others at this event is amazing! Meet a stranger walking along with you in the hallway or in the elevator and they are immediate friends as you begin to talk about all the things you have in common. “Where are you from?” “Are you a book reader, or a show watcher?” When did YOU discover the books?” “Who turned you on to the books, or the show?” “Do you love Dougal or hate him?” What is your favorite part of Book One?” and so on . . . we have a new friend, connected in one moment, now friends forever! Thru the Stones does that for us!

I think that Terry has been adopted into the fandom.

SAT NIGHT WAS ALRIGHT!

Saturday night was the culminating event and we were treated to a Parisian dinner!

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photo credit Becky Wiley

Each item on the menu had a connection to the books.  I really liked the Chicken Dargentan that perhaps the Countess St. Germain liked!  People wandered the room in costumes from the various time periods in the books.  This was so great!  There was such a huge variety of costume choices!  Some folks were all out Parisian!

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Others chose Scotland and a salute to the Jacobites…

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Others were rocking 1700’s Scotland, the 1940’s, and 1968.  I was impressed and I think Terry was too!

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photo credits to Becky Wiley (aren’t they terrific!)

The creativity Terry’s designs inspired felt like a love letter to her art and talent!  It was hard to pick, but I have to say I had my favorites. Cyndi Hayes WWII nurse Claire walked around the banquet swilling champagne and making us all smile in delight!

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Carole Braun’s version of Frank was a hoot and I loved how he kept trying to keep “drinking” Claire in line.

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photo credits Becky Wiley

Yvonne Cloonan as Wee Roger with his biscuits in hand made us all clap in happy recognition.

There were a couple of renditions of the bar suit

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and I loved the “deed” lady and 1968 Claire in trench coat and head scarf!

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Missy Hermes as the deed of sasine lady and Julie Chenoweth Tierstriep as Claire

Terry shared on Twitter a delightful pair of sneakers done up by Karen Boilard as a homage to the red shoes and an 88 year old fan dressed as Claire who had captured her heart!

Every time you turned around, someone’s ingenuity and attention to detail caused you to drop your jaw, laugh and smile.  I’m so grateful for this bunch!  They really added to the spirit of the convention and the fun.

THIS MAN WAS SERIOUSLY ENTERTAINING

Grant O’Rourke was the keynote speaker and I have to say I haven’t been that entertained by a “speech” in a long time.   I can’t think of a moment that lagged.  I found myself mesmerized and leaning forward to hear what funny, self-deprecating, and delightful thing he would say next.  I think we were all moved by his definition of what it was like to be a Dad to his “wee man”.  “It’s like falling in love everyday”, he explained.  His description of his talking Star Trek with Ron Moore was priceless.  His failed joke had me laughing so hard I was crying.  The silence, he added, in response to his comment was so deafening that even crickets backed out of the room. I would chortle about this at random moments throughout the rest of my trip.

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photo credit Becky Wiley

There were some charming moments in the Q&A with Grant and Terry and the evening was rounded out with a meet and greet and dessert.

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photo credit Heather Frey

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

I had some difficulty getting home (many of us did).  It snowed!  I said goodbye to Jane and thanked her for a lovely weekend and headed for the airport at 8:30 am.

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At about one, I saw Jane again…at the airport where I got a very spicy Bloody Mary and we “punch drunk” tweeted other people who were “stuck in Iowa”.

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Even Grant got delayed and ended up going home with Debbie Ford.  I loved the idea of him spending time with a Midwest family and giggled at the image of him riding in a big four-wheel drive truck (they had to talk him out of climbing into the back!). After several cancelled flights and sitting on the tarmac until they cleaned up the birds Jane’s plane had hit, I finally made it home.  I pulled into my driveway in Ohio around 2:10 am tired, but full of the joy of living some great moments.

Thanks TTS.

P.S. Please, I’d love to hear about your favorite moments in the comments!

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“It’s all just moments. We’re all just living in moments…” a reflection on my press conference at Thru the Stones weekend

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TTS Press Conference Dec. 3, 2016

Debbie Ford, Grant O’Rourke, Terry Dresbach

Sitting by the fireplace at the Isle in Bettendorf, Iowa, I was discussing inspiration for this blog with my friend Jane.  I had been lucky enough to be asked to be part of a press conference at the Thru The Stones Fan event with Grant O’Rourke and Terry Dresbach.

“Grant had a very interesting response to my asking about the difficulty of filming out of sequence.” I said.

We were interrupted by folks on the look out for coffee before they caught a taxi to the airport.  We offered to watch their luggage while they snuck into the casino for the only coffee available at that early hour of the morning.  Settling back in my chair, I continued to explain what I had heard Grant say.

“He didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal.  He said you get a good sense of who your character is and how he serves the story and then act that moment.”

Jane nodded her head listening to me intently like she always does. It is one of the biggest reasons I love her.  She is genuinely interested in how and what I think.

“I told him I thought it would be difficult and that I had the idea it would be easier to build a character chronologically, but he made a very good point.  He said, “It’s all just moments. We’re all just living in moments anyway”.  I’m thinking that might be a good title for the article and a good metaphor for the weekend.”

We were interrupted again by a group of ladies we had met who needed hugs good bye before they left for each corner of the country they came from.  Lots of “so nice to meet you” and “follow me on Twitter” and “what a great time” were heard.  I gave a final hug to one of my readers I was privileged to meet and as she moved away she looked around and said “so many great moments”.   Well, that was just too much of a coincidence and it cemented my focus for this reflection.  This weekend was full of moments both great and small to be treasured and remembered.

First, let me thank the folks that worked so hard to give Outlander fans a great experience.  Thank you very much to Debbie Ford, Gin Wray, and Sandy Belshause, their families and friends like the neighbor who convinced Deb to read Outlander and the gentleman who was the voice of the convention.

Back in July, I received an invitation from Debbie to be part of a press conference at the convention.  Of course, I jumped at the chance to interview Terry Dresbach,  Outlander on Starz’, costume designer.  Like many of you, I have been interacting with Terry on Twitter and learning a lot about the business of costume designing and film making in general. I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her and Iowa isn’t all that far from Ohio and so, I started making plans to attend.

Previously, I had plans to attend a talk given by the show’s writers in LA that totally fell through and so, I was very cautious about telling anyone this was happening until it actually did!  I got confirmation just a couple of days before the convention that Grant would be at the press conference.  I happened to be at my granddaughters’ basketball game when I opened the email and I thought out loud, “I’ve prepared some things to ask Terry, but I have no idea what to ask an actor! ”  My fourteen year-old granddaughter was sitting beside me with her boyfriend. “I’ve no idea,”she said.  However, her boyfriend seemed to have a clue, “Ask him what his favorite color is.  You can learn a lot about someone by asking them their favorite color.”  I thanked him with a straight face, but  thinking about it on the way home, I broke into a smile and thought that he might actually have come up with a great ice-breaker!  I thought I would tell Grant the story and then ask him what his favorite color was with the added warning to be careful with his choice because I would be psychoanalyzing his response later!

I never got the chance to ask the question or break the ice because I didn’t need to! Grant and Terry hadn’t seen each other in awhile and they just started talking to each other and reminiscing about life on the Outlander set and about one of Terry’s parties. It was a blast to watch them interact.  They were definitely at ease in each other’s prescence and there was a lot of teasing, smiles and laughter.  It was obvious that they both felt good about the working relationship between all those involved in the production. Grant shared that he had been convinced that he was going to lose his job and that he didn’t relax until two weeks had passed and he was filming the stable scene with Cait because Steven Walters, Angus, had told him that after two weeks it was too expensive for them to replace him! LOL!  They both shared bits and pieces of life behind the scenes that made what we see as a glamorous job a bit less so.  There appears to be a lot of standing around in the cold and mud and rain waiting.  Terry shared that Cecil B DeMille said ,”the most fascinating day on set is your first and the most boring is your second”.

Terry said that on Outlander everything has its own rewards and challenges.  And, in response to my question she added that filming out of sequence is the norm and that she thought it would be easier to film chronologically, so that, for instance, you wouldn’t have to film a Boston May in a Scotland November!  But, that it doesn’t happen that way. This led her to tell a funny story about her not realizing things were filmed out of sequence on her first job as a costume designer.  She said she loaded up a car with costumes and took them to the set and then didn’t bring them back the next day because she thought they were done!  They both discussed the importance of costumes in creating a character. She designs the costumes with the character and their place in the story in mind and shares the “why” of her costume choices with the actors.  She then went on to share how she loves it when the actors start to make the costumes their own.  Grant shared that he was very big on being able to dress himself.  It sounds as if their were discussions about whether or not Rupert would have worn this or styled his hair thus, etc.  and some changes were made.  He said he had started to make the costume his own by always carrying his tam in the same place inside his plaid whether he would be wearing it in the scene or not because Rupert would have always carried it.  There were a few more laughs over the fact that he said he hated to wear that bonnet. “NO!  Not the bonnet!  I don’t want to wear the bonnet”, he jokingly whined.  Terry talked about how Stephen Walters wrapped his plaid around a special rock he had been given which is an old Highlander way of holding the plaid in place called a pauper’s brooch.  The two shared a story about the time Stephen lost his rock and everyone was scouring the set for it!   “Looking for a particular pebble amongst other pebbles”, Terry laughed.

I learned that Grant thought the best episode in season 2 was Prestonpans and he was grateful to hear that we were moved by his performance.  In fact, he said he used to listen to pod casts, but stopped when he was listening to one on Prestonpans and they never mentioned Rupert!  (I made a mental note to check my blog on Prestonpans)  I learned that this was his first time in America which really shocked Terry and I overheard him ask Debbie how much time he had after the press conference because he really wanted to get some ribs.  She assured him that they knew a guy who would take care of that!  He is so quick and seems a very down to Earth guy with his priorities in place ( hope the wee man enjoys his cup).  Terry was funny, charming, and generous with her answers.

There weren’t any great revelations about season 3 shared, as expected and as it should be.  However, what was very obviously revealed was the care, dedication and love that each puts into their craft.  My overall impression of my time spent with them was that they were two people who work hard at their jobs and try to do the best they can just like the rest of us.  Terry strives to do her best job as a designer and Grant wants to serve the story with his acting.  The fact that we all find it so fascinating and that the show is so popular is just a bonus.  I’m convinced they would be giving the same effort, care and concern to whatever project they were involved in. They seem to have a sense that what they do will be farther reaching than they can imagine and are humbled to be part of something bigger than themselves.  They know that they are here because Diana Gabaldon wrote these wonderful books and they want to serve the story and the fans well and with love.

As moments go, I was grateful to be living this one.  We are very lucky fans.

Stay tuned part 2 coming soon!

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

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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”.

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

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

 

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…

 

“Find your way back to us” …a reflection on the Outlander fandom today

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I’m hoping the dust has settled enough for me to write this.  Be patient please it is longer than I normally write and I need you to read to the end! It has been an -interesting -year in the fandom to say the least.  Those folks who have been around since the beginning will testify that things have changed. I’m not sure if this is a natural progression in all fandom, growing pains if you will, or something unique to this fandom. This is my first.  I started the blog about two and a half years ago and in that time I’ve had a lot of contact with fans and had time to observe changes…

IN THE BEGINNING

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I tiptoed into the fandom.  It started with being fascinated by the books and wanting to know more about the author.  I discovered Herself’s Facebook page and CompuServe.  I was at the time, but didn’t know it, a lurker.  I watched and read others interactions, but didn’t feel confident enough to wade in myself.  One day, news came that the books were finally being made into film and my interest was piqued.  I found myself showing up on social media at least once a day to see what was happening.  Eventually, our “cast watch” paid off with the news that the last person we expected to be cast was cast first.  Sam Heughan was to play Jamie.  To say his reception was lukewarm might be an understatement.  Now that I’m reflecting, I realize this was probably my first exposure to the negative side of our fandom.  Sam just didn’t fit the image of Jamie folks had in their heads and he didn’t fit Diana’s description in “the Book”. I just genuflected. Fidelity to the “book” is a major issue in the fandom.  Despite Diana’s assurances that she had her doubts until she saw the audition tape and explaining what it is that actors do…the debate and complaints continued.  At first, the passion was amusing to me. I found myself more times than not reading these raging debates about hair color and height while chuckling and eye-rolling.  It just couldn’t be taken seriously and I assumed most people could see it for what it was…silly, but harmless.

I would love to say things stayed that way, silly and harmless, but they didn’t.  Oh, for awhile things were great!  I ventured on to Twitter because I heard Sam tweeted and I wanted to say congratulations.  No, I still haven’t heard from him…grumble…grumble. But, in his defense I haven’t tweeted him very often and he has just a few fans now. I also began interacting with other fans.  Some folks were playing around with writing Outlander Haiku. I was amused and took a risk of posting one!

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Low and behold, people responded and I began to tweet back.  It was fun!  I was talking to people from all over the world! People were nice, polite, and funny!  We all marveled at how we had come together over a book and the phrase “because she wrote a book” was born.

Then, I had my next run in with the negative side of the fandom.  I’m not sure why it surprised me, people online are likely to be pretty much the same as people offline, but I was taken aback and saddened.  You see, I have an alarming lack of a suspicious nature.  I want to believe that everyone is genuine and has good intentions and I tend to overlook what most people would see as red flags.  I was warned.  My husband who is a good bit more cynical than myself was a bit worried about my interactions with people I only knew online, “People can pretend to be whomever they want to be on there.  You have no idea who you are talking to.”  He was right.  I struck up a friendship with someone I thought I had a lot in common with and ignored what were certainly red flags.  This person was not who she presented herself to be.  I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I have my suspicions that it had to do with jealousy.  I found myself ostracized for something I did not do and would never do.  I was hurt and angry for awhile, but remembered the advice I gave my daughter when she came home devastated by a rumor.

“Consider the source”, I told her.  “How important is this person’s opinion really?  Just because someone says something it doesn’t mean you have to take it in and give it power.  The people who know you best won’t believe it and they are the folks that matter. The best revenge is living well (or in my case writing well). You know who you are.  Find those people who know who you are too and keep being yourself.”  Pretty good advice and so, I decided to follow it and I wish others would too.  Not everyone you meet in the fandom is who they present themselves to be (hence multiple handles and sock accounts) it’s okay to be cautious and please understand not everyone plays by the same rules.

JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING

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I’ve done a lot of different things in my life.  My husband was a college football coach and we moved quite a bit.  Every time we moved I got a chance to reinvent myself and try on something new. My Gemini side liked it!  One of the things I had a chance to become was a mental health/drug and alcohol counselor.  I know this seems strange given my lack of a suspicious nature, but I think that same nature made me more empathetic.  I remember several of my clients because of their struggles with addiction and disease, but I also remember how much they taught me about what is important in life.  One client in particular helped me be a better mother.  Despite her own struggles, she was a good parent and I believe her daughter would most probably survive being the child of an addict because of life lessons taught by her mother.  It’s a paradox, I know, but life is rarely simple and easy to understand and addiction doesn’t care who you are or how you were raised.  One of funniest and most moving things my client ever told me was how she responded to her daughter when she came home from school upset by a bully who had called her names.

“Jimmy said I was a poop head!” her daughter tearfully exclaimed.

“Well, are you?” said her mother.

She told me her daughter looked shocked and puzzled.

“Go look in the mirror”, she suggested. “Is your head made of poop?”

Her daughter took a serious look into the mirror and responded, “No.”

“Then I guess you aren’t a poop head”, my client confirmed.

People say mean things, but that doesn’t make them true. When someone in the fandom calls you a name take a serious look in the mirror.  If you aren’t a poop head let it go and if you are? Acceptance is the first step to recovery.  You give it power when you take in the meanness and give it free rent in your head. Believe me when I say your being upset isn’t bothering the name caller at all.  They are most probably on their merry way spreading more shite…the poop heads.

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I used to believe that it was wrong to tell folks that complained about the show or fandom to stop watching or to get out.  I believed that they had every right to talk about what they liked and didn’t like and feel how they wanted to feel .  But, I think I might be changing my mind.  I get comments on the blog sometimes that give me pause to reconsider my stance on issues including this one. I hear from folks who find themselves so caught up in this fandom and show that it is affecting their well-being.

…there are certain iconic moments and iconic lines that readers have spent years investing themselves in that are ignored or given to the wrong characters, and we’re supposed to be grateful when it happens.

Too many iconic moments were “adapted” into oblivion or – an even worse sin – they were kept, but handed over to other characters. Hearing Claire deliver some of the lines that I have waited years to hear from Jamie’s lips was worse than omission-through-adaptation. At times, it felt like a betrayal of the book fandom, as though the book fandom got it all wrong and RDM was going to show us what we *should* have wanted instead (like shoving Frank down our throats when we’ve been waiting 20 years to see Jamie, and so on, and so on). The Harry Potter films were proper adaptations; if RDM and co. had “adapted” those series, he would have given Harry’s lines away to Snape and Ron, and Hermione would have defeated Voldemort herself, because letting Harry be Harry would have been ‘too predictable’ for book fans and women must be ‘liberated’…

I’m tired of feeling like a “Disgruntled” (as my once-favorite author labeled me on her very own Twitter feed… ) How silly of me to love something for over 10 years and be disappointed when it isn’t delivered, eh? I have been told so many times this season to love it or leave it that I have made the decision to leave it – all of it. It was fun while it lasted, but I give up, I’m shelving the books and leaving Outlander groups and blogs because I’m tired of being vilified for wanting more of what the books were actually about (hint: they are not about Frank; Jamie and Claire are partners and equals and Jamie doesn’t have to be emasculated for his wife to be strong; the love story is a character unto itself, not a side-plot to the Jacobite cause). I’m tired of walking around in an awful mood because of silly TV show and because internet strangers have made me feel bad about feeling bad.

Beth Wesson, your research is thorough and your blog well-written, and I am sad to disagree with such great efforts and writing. Good luck with S3, I’m sad I won’t be with you.

 

I replied.

I’m really sad that you feel this way, but I support your need for self care. If you find your self walking around upset and vilified it truly isn’t worth it. Thank you for reading.

If being in this fandom is causing you to feel angry and bad about yourself and affects your real-life … get out.  It truly isn’t worth it.

IF YOU LIE DOWN WITH DOGS YOU CAN GET FLEAS

A friend and I were discussing all the drama in the fandom.  She had gotten caught up in all the shipper/anti wars.  She wasn’t participating, but found herself fascinated.  It was like a car wreck that she couldn’t look away from. She found it was interesting to see how people interacted and thought…from a scientific psychological standpoint..ahem.

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She urged me to go to Tumblr and check it out.  She was right.  The rationalization and need to be right I saw was fascinating and …staggering.  I found myself reading what can only be termed as manifestos!  People were invested in this drama and it was getting uglier by the minute. It made me want to jump in and fix things and yet, I felt hopeless because I knew that there was nothing I could say or do that would make a difference or not make things worse! I found it was very easy to get caught up in the drama and I soon began to feel uncomfortable.

I will say that I think who you hang out with in this fandom might have a lot to do with how you feel about the fandom. What you spend your time on and who you spend it with matters. I found myself becoming anxious and upset when I read all the complaining and truly awful things said about other fans, the cast, crew, writers, producers, and Starz.   Then I realized that I needed to take my own advice and ask myself how much these people’s opinions mattered and how much power was I going to give them?  I took a look and realized that most were people I didn’t interact with and in the scheme of the millions of people who watch the show they were vocal, but certainly not a majority.

Spending time reading their stuff made me feel bad about myself and the fandom and so, I stopped going to certain blogs and pages and reading certain people’s tweets. Distancing myself was a positive choice. I felt much better and my friend and I, who had also decided to stop going to certain blogs, laughingly  wondered if something is said, but we didn’t read it did it actually happen?  Truly, in some instances, what you don’t know cant’t hurt you.

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I know there is a popular idea that turning a blind eye to this stuff is wrong.  On some level,  I agree. There are times to stand up, but I also think that there are folks out there who crave the attention and drama and when we respond we feed the behavior. We have all been witness to bullies bullying in the name of stopping bullies.  I truly have yet to see any attempts, no matter how well intention-ed, to discuss and build bridges between fans that have actually worked. I applaud and admire the peacemakers’ courage and hearts. But, I’ve come to understand that there are more factions in this fandom than you can shake a stick at! Try to build a bridge with one group and you’ll just piss off another.  I don’t think it is a battle that can be won.

So, what’s to do?  I’m sorry to say, but I think our only option is to block, mute, ignore, skim on by, report it if it is truly heinous, and find your own tribe.  If bitching about the adaptation is your thing then go for it!  Find your own group of like-minded folks and bitch away, but if you don’t like being told what to think, what makes you think you have the right to tell someone else what to think? We don’t have to make the choice to get involved or put in our two cents. Some of the most effective ways I’ve seen folks deal with this stuff is to agree to disagree and …let it go!  It’s a big fandom and there is room to let folks just be themselves whether we like it or not.

I’ll admit that I still get mad at folks.  Just yesterday, I saw some fans discussing the fandom on Twitter. They are the “this fandom drives me crazy” and “I hate this fandom” folks who believe they are the only sane fans out there. The drift of the conversation was that they couldn’t believe that some of these fans were grown women because they acted like teenagers and they were tired of making excuses for them.  They knew fans had waited a long time to see the “books” on the screen, but the show isn’t perfect and neither are the books.  They then proceeded to explain why they didn’t like the show…because it wasn’t like the “books”.  It’s hypocrisy like this that makes me the most angry.  It is much easier for me to forgive a fan who gets carried away in passion than those who like to pretend they are above it all while they fawn on the stars and expound on their on cleverness and insight.  There is more than one way to be a fan.

Every-time I get angry at some hypocrisy or deliberate attempts to bait cast and creators, I try to remember that there is a multitude of fans who just want to enjoy the show and some for whom it has meant…something more important…and I often hear from them…

Stories make us feel and think. Stories have power. Stories move us, shape us, and do the same to the world.” What a powerful statement….and for me so true!!! This has been an extremely emotional morning for me, after watching the finale early Saturday morning alone, I came to the realization just how important DG’s books and finding this show has been for me. When I discovered the Outlander series I was in a very difficult place emotionally. I first heard about Outlander through a Starz commercial prior to the first season and had every intention of watching. But, as the saying goes, make plans and God laughs….In 2014 my husband was diagnosed with kidney failure, which launched a year long search for a kidney donor and his name being placed on a donor list. After a year, my son, who is not my husbands biological son, made a decision without discussion, to donate his kidney to my husband. He saved my husband’s life. It was a courageous and unselfish thing to do, and for me overwhelming, since both of my men would be on the operating table together, and would suffer the same risks. While this was a very successful transplant, it was nonetheless extremely traumatic for me. In order to be a care-giver and advocate, initially to both and eventually to only my husband, meant that my life had to be placed on hold. I built a wall that protected me emotionally… that wall went up….and never came down…. until…. I read Outlander & watched the show. I wonder if Diana Gabaldon knew when she wrote the Outlander series that she would have the power to change a persons life…but her story had power, and the actors who portrayed those characters and the writers who gave them a voice only enhanced that power. I found her spiritual references, poems, and the love she created between her characters absolutely moving, life-changing and refreshing. Which is why some of us wanted so badly for the adaptation to follow the books, absolutely. But, because RonDMoore had the courage and power to adapt for TV many scenes from the book, one in particular for me, the violation of Fergus, I was forever changed. He gave me power and courage to write on this blog, my experience as a victim. Thank you Beth for providing the safe place to have these discussions! And lets not forget DG’s historical references, which also lead me to trace two of my family lines..Cameron and Fraser….right to Scotland on the battlefields…incredible! I know there are many people who have had their life enhanced or changed by reading the books and viewing the show; just read all the various tweets & this blog. People sometimes laugh at us when we talk Outlander and about the greatness of this show; my husband is one of them, but he doesn’t realize that it saved me emotionally, brought me back to him, and really left an impression on my life. I hope the actors, Diana, Ron, Terry, and all the writers realize how many people have been touched by their creativity….it is absolutely incredible how a series of fictional books and a television show could have that much power, for so many people! It is also a reminder that true love conquers all things, and that love & communication are so important in a relationship. Thank you to all the Outlander cast & crew and especially to DG for writing such wonderful books that have touched me in so many ways. Finally, thank you Beth for utilizing your God given talent to touch us with your insight. You are the best at being able to put into words that prompt us to think and respond……. I am forever grateful……

GETTING OFF MY SOAPBOX

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Being a part of this fandom has brought a lot of wonderful things into my life including real-life friends! #cgng #bawdybabes  This fandom used to be a fun place.  And, I think it still can be. Mining is wrong.  Name calling is wrong. Vilifying people for not agreeing with you is wrong.  I once wrote a whole researched piece on this topic and realized I’d just be preaching to the choir and so, I put it in the trash.  Those who are perpetrators of the drama in this fandom won’t see themselves as such and so, weren’t likely to change their behavior just because I wrote about it.  But, there are a lot of folks out there who get caught up in the drama like my friend and I did and it’s you I’m speaking to.  Be slow to anger and find joy in this fandom again.  It’s there.  There are a lot of wonderful, interesting, talented, and generous people from all over the world in this fandom, “Find your way back to us”.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

A new Year, a New Enterprise…celebrating Outlander fans

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You probably already know this, but there are a lot of interesting and talented folks out there in the Outlander fandom!  I was discussing this with some friends and we decided it would be great if the blog could feature some of those very same folks!  So, in the spirit of the New Year and resolutions, we decided the first featured fan would be our favorite “Sparkle Girl”  Alisa Hinton!

A VERY VEGGIE MY PEAK CHALLENGE

January is here and it came in with a bang!  Happy New Year all! A new year brings new opportunities and so, now we ask ourselves, what to do, what to do?

I decided to start January off by going vegetarian for a month. I knew I couldn’t go vegan or gluten free.  I am not an all or nothing person. In fact, I am quite the opposite, but I figured you can do anything for a month right? And you know what? So far so good!  I am also very lucky that I do not have to have a restricted diet for health reasons.  I am doing it to challenge myself and adapt a healthier way of life.

Last week, PBS aired a special called In Defense of Food.   It’s based on a fabulous book written by Michael Pollen. I read this book back in 2008 and it changed the way I view food and buy it.  Lots of great information ranging from how our foods are processed, to how our chickens are raised and the conditions in which they and other livestock live.  What I learned was truly appalling and I swore I would never buy Tyson, Purdue or anything Smithfield again… and I haven’t.  The book also made me aware of  ingredient lists and added vitamins and nutrients that should not be added to our foods.  For example, pasta should say 100% Durum Wheat, not enriched Wheat pasta with Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin and Ferrous Sulfate.  These are all additives that with a healthy diet we don’t need. I also started making my own breads and stayed away from anything with soybean oil, and contacted local organic farms in my area that have free range beef, eggs and poultry.  I would suggest watching In Defense of Food on Netflix if you have the chance, along with Food , Inc. and Ted Talk’s with Jamie Oliver, who has been battling the war on sugar.

Tuesday the 5th  MyPeakChallenge is launching it’s 2016 challenge!

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http://mypeakchallenge.co.uk/about/

We are all excited to see what other participants’ challenges will be and what MPC has in store for us. Our bodies and minds will adapt to new exercises, diets and more importantly a healthier way of life. I always find it so inspiring and motivating when you have others that you can participate with and  share stories.  So far, MPC has done an amazing job of tweeting and retweeting people’s goals, recipes, and words of encouragement.  I thought long and hard about what my challenge would be and my girlfriends and I have decided to go hiking in Asheville, NC. One of the trails we will hike will be a total of 13 miles of steep terrain with picturesque views.

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My girlfriend Michelle who has been training with me for years, and who is also deathly afraid of heights, started hyperventilating as I was telling her what I would like for us to do!  Of course she is on board and I promised her I would bring a flask of whisky for the climb, lol!  Whisky makes everything good! But, joking aside,  I know she will be fine and will face her fear of heights!   That’s the great part about MPC! The challenge can be anything you want it to be! Everyone is different, we all have different levels of fitness. You don’t have to run a marathon, or climb 13 miles.   And, how nice is it to know that you are not alone and that their are other’s starting from a level of fitness that you are starting from!

And, those of you that follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook know that I absolutely love to cook.  alisa1203, @hintonalisa , Try it Before You buy It Girls So, I have included a few of my vegetarian recipes for you to make at home. Hmmm, maybe I should add a few cooking classes to the challenge too! That’s definitely something I have always wanted to do.  In the meantime, enjoy….

Sweet Potato Cakes with Cilantro Lime Guacamole

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3 large sweet potatoes grated

1 small onion grated

¼ C Chopped Cilantro

2 TBSP Cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 egg

¾ flour ( you can substitute with rice flour or matza meal)

Olive oil for frying

 

Cilantro Lime Guacamole

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½ C fresh chopped cilantro

3 tbsp Lime juice

1 Avocado mashed

1 tsp sour cream

 

 

Black Bean and Garbanzo Salad

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1 Can Organic Garbanzo Beans

1 Can Organic Black Beans

½ Red Onion Chopped

½ C Fresh Chopped Parsley

½ Chopped Green Olives

¼ C olive oil

1 lemon squeezed

Salt to taste

 

Avocado Hummus

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1 Avocado

½ C Chopped Fresh Cilantro

salt to taste

½ tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp lime juice

1 can garbanzo beans

Mix together in a blender, nutri bullet or food processor and serve with pita chips or veggies

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I woke up one day and decided to make a change. I ran my first 5K back in 2000 when my Mom was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Maybe that was the turning point for me? Seeing someone so healthy diagnosed with cancer scared me. I wanted to help the cause, and join the fight. I remember running my first mile and being elated.  That one mile inspired me to run more and do more. By the age of 26 I had joined the Master’s Swim class at the YMCA, and swam along side Olympic trial athletes. It was so hard to keep up, but I knew practice would make perfect so I stuck with it and eventually entered myself into a Sprint Triathlon. From there I decided to enter and compete in a Half Iron-man. The swimming portion was a breeze and from there I competed in other open water swims, other triathlons, and runs. Eventually, I became a personal trainer, opened a company called WeTRIsports and trained and educated many people in the Wake Forest/Raleigh area to swim, run marathons and cycle.  It is such a wonderful feeling to see someone who may be scared to put their face in the water complete a triathlon, or not be the last person getting out of the pool. When you spend months with someone you get to know them on another level, you get to know what motivates them and what their goals and aspirations are. I feel very privileged to have made such wonderful relationships and friendships over the years. My passion is helping others….I now realize that.