Hedgehogs, Outlander and me…

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This second installment of “Droughtlander” or as some of us long suffering fans call it “Withoutlander” has taught me a bit about how to deal with seriously delayed gratification.  I know that Spring 2016 is a long way off and I’m learning that it is okay to not check my Twitter and Facebook feeds everyday.  I know. It seems almost sacrilegious, but at this point in time, my fandom feels less like a religion and more like a hobby.  Which…would be the more normal level of involvement…I think.  I have discovered that if there is anything new happening folks will still be talking about it tomorrow so, I’m allowing myself to spend time on other pursuits like my family and job. I’m actually enjoying the world that isn’t delivered to me through some sort of hand-held device.  Contrary to my previous belief, there is a pretty good amount of things to do that don’t involve Outlander!  Who knew!

My family appears to be relieved that I have emerged from what they saw as walking zombie status.  I’m having conversations that don’t have the words; Sam, Cait, Jamie, Claire, Diana, Ron or Outlander.  However, when I WAS perusing Facebook yesterday, I saw a post that caused me to reflect on some of the permanent changes Outlander has brought to my life.  I have been known to say that Outlander has become my point of reference…all questions can be answered by an example from Outlander.  Thanks to DG there are some interesting metaphors and allusions to Outlander in my life.   I know that certain phrases, everyday objects, and animals have now become inexorably entwined with the story.  Here is the post that piqued my most recent reflection on Outlander’s influence in my life:

Well….I’m sure she received an adequate answer, I didn’t read the comments, but I answered this question in my own mind.  It was part of a scene Diana wrote of particularly playful sex between our beloved Jamie and Claire.  They were laughing in bed together and it signaled a change in their relationship. IMO, the intimacy was taken to a new level.  The scene was sexy and endearing.  It is one of my favorites and as a result, hedgehogs are now one of my favorite animals.  Before the wedding episode, I sent a litter of plushy hoglets out to fanmily across the country and Canada (hi @islandchickny ).  I was that sure the hedgehog line would make the cut in the Outlander on Starz writer’s room!  I got my quills in an uproar when I realized One Fine Day had become Both Sides Now!

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I got over their faux pas and the omission hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for these cute little animals or the naughty little allusion they are to Outlander.  I have a few hedgehogs around the house and the family has noticed. In fact, the Granddaughters have bought me a few for my collection!

Like my new key ring

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And my ALL TIME FAVORITE COFFEE MUG (I am the happiest coffee drinker you have ever seen)

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The granddaughters of course have never read Outlander or the scene where Jamie decides to be a beast so,…they think Grammy likes hedgehogs cuz she’s old and old people collect figurines and stuff. Awkward.

And it would appear I’m not the only one who feels this way!  Twitter feed and Facebook are full of hedgehog related posts. In fact, I will be making these cookies

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…and buying this t-shirt…

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I’m seriously considering starting a campaign to make the hedgehog the official mascot of the Outlander fandom. I even found a great human sized hedgehog costume SOME lucky fan could wear at book signings, premiers, one of Terry Dresbach’s parties, etc…

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#whatkindofbeastwouldyoulikemetobe #verycarefully

Hedgehogs aren’t the only things Oulander has imbued with special meaning.  Consider the lowly ear of corn.

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Seriously! I can just see myself eating some corn on the cob, thinking of Dougal and then giggle snorting kernels out my nose!

These certainly aren’t the only two examples of Outlander’s influence (fish on a hook will never be the same for me) and I could go on, but I’ll leave you with this last image

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P.S. When Roger is cast don’t be surprised when the word Vroom seems suddenly popular…just saying…

The Kingdom of Outlander…a cautionary tale

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Once upon a time, there was a kingdom that had a great treasure. It was a big book that the subjects never tired of reading. The book was beloved and its story celebrated.  The Kingdom’s subjects read the book and talked about the book and bonded together over the book.  It was a beautiful thing.

From the very beginning, the subjects said “It isn’t fair we keep this book all to ourselves! We are being selfish! Surely we can share the joy our book brings with others!”  So, the story was shared all over the world and the kingdom grew and the people bonded again over their love of the book.  The more the merrier was the cry!

There had always been a wish in the Kingdom to see the characters in the story come to life! “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could actually SEE our story not just imagine it?! ” they said.  But alas, the book was VERY big and no one could figure out how to show the story in a way that would make sense and yet, still bring the viewers the same joy it had for those who were readers!

Many years passed and the story remained on the pages of the book and in the readers’ imaginations. The Kingdom’s readers had almost given up hope when the author of the beloved book made a pronouncement! “The Story will be told!  We have found a magician who has had a vision and knows how to make our Big Book come to life right before our very eyes! ”  The subjects of the Kingdom rejoiced! The Kingdom was alive with news of the magician’s progress and finally the day came and the citizens’ dream of seeing their story come to life came true!  They saw their well-loved characters speaking and moving and it was a wonder!

But soon, as sometimes happens, the shiny newness of the dream began to fade. The miracle seemed less like magic and more like a trick that anyone could do!  The citizens began to grumble, “But, he left the best parts out!” and “That isn’t in the book” and “Our hero would never act that way”.

The magic version of the book had brought new members to the Kingdom, members who had never read the book, but they loved the story too! But soon, as sometimes happens, the people began to divide themselves into groups.  The citizens grumbled,”But we were here first!” and “They don’t know the story like we do!”  The grumbling got louder and soon there was discontent in the Kingdom.  And, even though there were citizens who loved both versions of the story, some people began to argue with each other and the new citizens were made to feel less than the old.

What the citizens didn’t understand was that the magic the magician wielded depended on the continued goodwill and desire of those who wished to see it.  When the interest faded, so would the magic. The squabbling and discontent and outright attacks on those who “weren’t real fans” of the book, took its toll on the magician and his magic. Soon, as sometimes happens, the people destroyed the very dream they had longed for because of their intolerance.

The moral of the story is this, “a book belongs to no one”. You can’t harness what it makes others think and feel. People bring their own stories with them when they read or see a tale and, as ALWAYS happens, no two people will ever hear or see or read the same way. Kindness, tolerance and respect generate a magic that helps keep dreams and goodwill alive.

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

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*Photo credit to Britta Fahl

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

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

The I can’t watch folk

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

The “creative” watchers

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

Those folks who are getting feelings and need someone to blame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outlander and all the wonderful and…odd…things it has inspired.

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This morning, I made my cuppa and then sat down to say good morning to all my Tweeps and Facebook friends. I was just strolling through pics of my friends’ kids doing wonderful kid things when suddenly I saw this

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and promptly spit my latest sip of coffee all over the dogs sitting on my lap who then promptly gave me a  “what the what the?” look. Having heard Diana talk about this very issue and the whole added “Devil’s Mark” thing, I, of course, screen shot the post and sent it off to Herself.

Now, my curiosity was piqued and I went looking for the best and most odd things this Outlander phenomenon has inspired.

Things I’d love to buy

If I had budgeted funds for Outlander fandom purchases besides books these things would be on my shopping list.

Beautiful jewlery like this:

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and…

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and clothing like this…

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and…

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and cute stuff like

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and…

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and…(anyone noticing a color scheme going on here?)

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Things I probably wouldn’t buy

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and…

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and…

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But these might be the things you’re looking for! There are 100s of pages on Etsy and Pinterest and  100s of items to choose from!

Funny stuff that only Outlander fans would understand

Everyday someone in the fandom posts something that makes me snort and giggle, They post memes, blogs, hastags, like:

#winnerwinnerhaggisdinner

or…

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and…

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and…

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and…

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and…

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and…

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Tutorials!!!!!

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and….

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and….

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and….

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and….

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and….

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Things that make me say ahhh and uhmmm

ahhh…

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uhmmm..

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ahhh…

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uhmmm…

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ahhh…

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uhmmm….

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ahhhhh.,,

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uhmmm…

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ahhh…

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another ahhhhh..

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Obviously,there isn’t enough room to post all the great stuff a love of Outlander has brought into the world. These are just a few that appealed to me. Love to see your picks!

P.S. I’ve been receiving some wonderful responses from folks who have reminded me that the most wonderful thing about Outlander fandom is that because Diana wrote a book they have made real friendships with people from all over the world!

Yep!

“There is such a thing as justice, Claire”…and injustice…Outlander fandom

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I’m a slow burner. I don’t get angry very often.  I do not take offense easily and more often than not, I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Some folks have anger buttons that are easily pushed. Some people have buttons the size of basketballs! You know who they are. They go “off” so often that after a while they just become background noise, “Oh, so and so? What are they angry about this time? ” If I am angry, you can be assured it has taken a lot to get me here. My buttons may be small, but when they are pushed? Well, it isn’t pretty.

After the last day of reading fan reactions, media reports and speculations, I’m about to go off. So, instead, I’m going try to write it down before I get to the point of no return.

Anger Trigger #1
Middle-age housewives, soccer moms, creepy cougars, etc.

My God Staphhhh! Enough with the age thing. I’m soooo tired of hearing how Outlander must not be very good because the fans are middle-age housewives and soccer moms. Aside from the FACT that these books have been read by people of different age, race, culture, genders, and walks of life, why choose middle-age women as your barometer for unworthy reading or watching material?

A lot of Outlander fans have been reading these books for over 20 years. So, when they started reading that would have made them in their 20’s?  If you aren’t male this is evidently the only age group that can accurately determine literary and film worthiness.

I say bullshite.

I think Starz thinks so too because they are laughing all the way to the bank.

And the cougar thing?  I might be old, but I ain’t dead! I’m not under the delusion that Sam Heughan has been looking for me all his life and someday the stars will align.  The man is beautiful. Is it okay if I look? I wasn’t planning “to suddenly force myself” on him.  (and before you start, I’m not trying to look up his kilt. I know he is more than pretty. The man is a good actor and he seems like a nice person, but he also works very hard at looking good).

The thing that I find ironic? Middle-age comes for everyone. We’ll see how you feel then! Muhahaha! Justice!

Anger Trigger#2
Snarky 20 something’s who sit at the cool kids’ table

I have just about had it up to the eyeballs with snark. IMO what this whole attitude equates to is a chance for once popular high school girls to retain their self-perceived coolness.  They are grieved by the loss of their cafeteria table, the podium from which they can maliciously talk about others and make themselves feel good as a result.  Or, maybe they are the nerdy kid who never fit in, their brilliant minds hidden under a less than perfect body or hairstyle. They have finally gotten the chance to show how witty and clever they are!

Imagine how the “meaness” has gotten compounded by the anonymity of social media.  Even if you know the person’s name, they are still able to say things they would never say to your face (I can just hear the “oh yes I woulds”…Yeah…right). It is the high-tech equivalent of whispering behind your hand. The injustice I’m finding in this segment of the Outlander fan-dom is that some of these snark monsters seem to have been sanctioned by Starz.  They are getting all the benefits of VIP status while they continue to spew. And, no one confronts them because just like in high school they hunt in packs.

I’ve watched them stir shit for quite a while now. They latch on to certain people and egg them on.  They have even gone so far as to feed them rumors just to watch the flurry of insane activity.  I imagine they are getting quite a chuckle out of being mean to people they KNOW aren’t rational.  And then…oh joy of joys…they get to name-call…they label the whole fan-dom as crazy. They are the “professionals” and the only ones who know how being a fan is done.  You can never be as cool as they are.

Anger Trigger #3
Elitist book fans

I am baffled by the divisive attitudes in the ranks of the Outlander fan-dom.  There appears to be a need by some to separate themselves out as “true fans”.  They not only see a difference between the “book” fans and the “series” fans, but they see themselves as some how superior!  The “upper-crust” want to be believe that they were here first and have read the books and so, that makes them better fans.

I’m all for reading! Reading is good and from what I’ve seen a lot of series fans are being drawn to the books because they’ve seen the show.  I can remember when I first found the books and the excitement and wonder of getting lost in the world Diana had created!  I want that experience for everybody! I certainly don’t want to discourage people by constantly qualifying my statements with “I have been a fan for over 20 years” every time there is any kind of discussion about the books or show. Your time with the books makes you more familiar with the material, but does not necessarily make you more insightful.

Sometimes, I’m envious of the newbies.  They get to watch the series with fresh eyes.  They get to enjoy the show without preconceived ideas of what should happen.  They just watch and enjoy and maybe get inspired to read. Yeah, I am envious.  It usual takes me three viewings to let go of the book long enough to just enjoy the show for what it is.

Please stop. We knew the show was going to bring an influx of new people and not all would think like we think or fan like we “older” fans.  It’s okay.  There’s plenty of room and we all have something common.  We love Outlander.

I’ve tried to live by a few rules when dealing with other fans and they have worked pretty well so far.

  1. Agree to disagree
  2. Be kind when you can
  3. Don’t get in a piss fight with a skunk

I can feel my blood pressure dropping. Whew!

OUTLANDER…a serendipitous collection of people

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I know I’m not the only one out there that feels somewhat protective and possessive of the phenomenon that is Outlander. This love of the book and show,”It’s a bit personal” to quote one of our favorite characters.  I’m not exactly sure how it got this personal, but there you go. I love Outlander!

As many of you know, (of course you know, you are Outlander fans) last night was the premier of season 1b of Outlander in NYC. They called it a Tartan Affair.  For weeks, fans from all over have talked of nothing but their planned trips to celebrate the end of Droughtlander, especially those who won tickets. (someone had a guaranteed spot waiting in a mailbox they couldn’t open and didn’t find out until it was too late, yep me and yes, I went into a huge spiral of self-pity)  Like many of those folks who won tickets, it would have taken me a lot of juggling and maybe even mountain moving to make the dream of attending that event happen. So, when I got on-line last night to live vicariously through those lucky enough to attend, I was alarmed to see that there were fans with reserved seating tickets left standing outside the theater in the cold and left to wonder what the hell had happened.  The screening was about to start and they were still outside. My first reaction was shock and then pity. I would have been crying had I been there.  It would have felt like the worst April fools joke ever perpetrated.

And then…I was witness to some action that has come to define this whole Outlander experience for me. People from across the country and the world for that matter, took it upon themselves to try to rectify the situation for their fellow fans.  It happened like this:

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And then…

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And as a result….

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I am sure there are still people upset, but from what I saw this morning in pictures and videos a lot of folks were happy, over the moon happy.

BTW, one of the Twitter Angels from last night was Ron Moore’s wife Terry Dresbach, Outlander costume designer extraordinaire.

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A video of Ron introducing the cast last night surfaced this morning and to me epitomized the reason why I feel the way I do about the show.

It’s the people.

The fans. The actors. The writers. The crews. The execs. The producer. The author of the book. A serendipitous collection of people.

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My response:

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What could have come off as a lame bunch of excuses for what had happened instead became another reason to be proud. People were cheering and Ron’s character was showing for all the fandom to see.

This has been a singular experience for me. My favorite book series is being made into a TV series and I have gotten to be there from the beginning. From the beginning, we have had unprecedented access to the people creating our “dream come true” of seeing our favorite story and characters come to life. They interact with us lowly fans. LOL!  Just kidding! I know they don’t think we are “lowly” and that is my point. I can’t help but feel that if we didn’t have this particular collection of people we wouldn’t have had the same experience. Because of this unprecedented interaction with the author, the folks creating the show and the fans, my life has been enriched.

I have made real-life friends with the fans I have met on Twitter! In fact, we just finalized plans to meet up together in Nashville! We’ve been talking to each other for over a year and feel it’s about time we met! #cgng

I have engaged in wonderful discussions about the book and show that have challenged my thinking. Outlander fans are smart. If you want to get into a philosophical or intellectual discussion with them you better be prepared! I might not always agree with everyone, but I always walk away from these discussions with new perspective.

I have, thanks to the Outlander phenomenon, discovered I love to write.  I’m a writer. Who knew? Certainly not me.  For that discovery, I will be eternally grateful.

I know there are a few folks flirting with the crazy side of being a fan and other’s who find it fun to be snarky about folks obsessed with the series (IMO snarky seems to be just another word for mean girl/boy), but overall, I find myself PROUD to be a part of this whole thing.

A serendipitous collection of people who love Outlander.

Something I learned along the way …..Outlander, social media and me.

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Note: I wrote this awhile ago as a therapeutic tool and I did not intend to publish, but since then I’ve seen more and more incidents of personal attacks.  This was my effort to put things in perspective.  

Just spoke with a fellow Outlander fan who got personally attacked on Twitter.  The attacker tried to cover their tracks by deleting, but too late the damage was already done.  (And they forgot that people get email notifications) Been there recently too.  Drama and insecurity seem to be on the rise in our fandom. I guess some people just can’t get enough attention or handle if someone else does. I just don’t understand why people need to be so hard on each other.  Let me preface this by saying I’m not a saint, but I’m devastated if I think I’ve hurt someone however unintentional. To deliberately lie about someone? Unimaginable.

I’d rather get hurt.

Yep…but here’s the rub…getting hurt doesn’t feel very good.  I always look back after having gotten whacked in the face and realize I should have seen it coming.  There are always red flags with disingenuous people.  But, more times than not, I appear to be color blind in the olde flag waving department. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around why people play head games.  I guess I’m just not sure what the pay-off is? If you have to manipulate, lie or be someone you’re not to get friends, attention, fame, etc., what is it you think you have achieved?  What is it that people tell themselves to rationalize and make things okay?  Obtaining desires at the cost of mistreating or using others makes no sense to me. Whatever you’ve gained …it isn’t real or at the very least doesn’t last.

Without a base of genuine, whatever house you’ve built yourself will crumble.  I’ve witnessed people frantically scrambling to patch up the holes and ragged edges in said house.  Seems like an awful lot of effort for…nothing. I’ve heard it said and I believe that people are quick to see their own faults in others.  Maybe the opposite is also true and maybe that’s why I never see it coming. I wouldn’t do it, so, I think others wouldn’t.  As a result, maybe I’m not so quick to recognize a false friend. Maybe I’m the poster child for naïveté.  Maybe…I’m okay with that.

Having admitted to having a shocking lack of a suspicious nature, let me also admit to learning to be, if not suspicious, at least more cautious in this world of online social interaction. My DH insists that I have no idea who I’m talking to, “people can pretend to be whomever they want to be on there”.  After being on the receiving end of a pretender’s maliciousness, I’ll have to admit he has a point.  But, I also know that I’ve “met” some remarkable people with shared interests and individual talents.  I wouldn’t have wanted to miss knowing them by being afraid of getting hurt.  So, I guess I’m back to my main point….I’d rather get hurt.  But, I’ve grown to believe that it’s okay to be cautious and guard your heart a bit.

And to my friend who felt attacked…When my students are faced with people who choose to lie, gossip or attack, I always tell them to consider the source, ask yourself how much their opinion really matters and then continue to be yourself.  The best revenge is living well or in my case …writing well.

Rainbow poop, Poutlanders , Sheeplanders and Outlander on Starz

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I woke this morning to a post from Diana.  I’m always interested in what she has to say. After all, she wrote my favorite book series and I admire her writing.  And….bonus…she’s usually pretty funny.  Here’s what I heard her say today:

Writers have time and space to do what they wish.  TV writers and producers do not.

What works on the page does not necessarily work on the screen.

Some scenes in a book, although great to read, may not be needed to advance a story.

Sometimes additions for a visual medium may enhance a story.  We can see things from different points of view.

I think that about sums it up.  Now…here is what people heard ( according to the comments)

 ” I think the haters have been schooled “

” …no matter what “they” say ”

” …put everyone in their places ”

” Saddened you must make justification ”

” haters and nitpickers ”

” now everyone just leave her alone ”

” if you don’t like it don’t watch and shut-up ”

Of course these are just a few of the lovely tolerant responses. (yes, I’m being sarcastic)

I’m not blaming DG.  She has every right to share her perspective and opinions.  And, I love that she does. I believe her motivation was to speak reason.  What I’m not sure she fully appreciates is the power her words wield in the fan-dom. When she speaks it becomes gospel. It is as if word has come down from on high. Despite what she intended, it’s obvious that her words will be used as a justification to destroy free-thinking.  The response to her post leads me to believe that her words are being interpreted as a “set down”.  I’m seeing a shift from, “isn’t it wonderful how we are able to share our ideas” to “It’s us against them”.

You’ve all heard the term “Poutlander”.  Definition: Poutlander; noun, a fan of the Outlander series of books who is still complaining about who was cast for the TV series a year after production has commenced and still doesn’t think Claire’s rump is round enough or Jamie’s hair is red.

How about this term you may not have heard, “Sheeplander”?   Defintion: Sheeplander; noun, a fan of the Outlander series of books who refuses to accept that the Outlander TV series may not be perfect and feels the need to start every sentence with ” The show is different from the book”.  It is rumored that they may believe that Diana and Ron actually poop rainbows. All those who dare vocalize a concern are deemed disloyal haters or nitpickers who need to die! (ok, maybe not die, but they sure want them to shut up).

I wouldn’t feel good about being lumped into either one of these groups.

I’m sure Ms. Gabaldon was trying to help the situation.  I believe that she was trying to clarify and explain what happens in an adaptation.  I’m sure she is baffled by what she perceives as a stubborn refusal by some to let go of small details and changes.  But…no good deed/idea goes unpunished.  Diana’s choosing to make her “opinion” of the TV series know is tantamount to Declaration of Independence saying all men are created equal.  How do you argue with what the author thinks?!  “Well, Diana says….”  will become the battle cry of all those who want to put dissenters in “their place”.  Discourse about the show will be reduced to re-caps with cute quips, pictures of the actors’ various facial expressions and pictures of Sam’s butt. ( not that I don’t enjoy laughing or looking)   And of course….praise for the genius of all involved.

I discussed my fear that an intelligent discussion of the shows’ merits and failings was being threatened. A friend and fellow fan, who happens to be very asute at cutting through bullshite and seeing situations clearly, told me it was going to get more and more difficult to say you didn’t like something about the show.  Clearly more cynical than myself, she believes that there is too much on the line for anyone in the fan-dom to express disatisfaction without impunity. She believes that unless you are getting paid to be a critic anyone who doesn’t “love” every thing and everyone involved will be ostrasized.  I don’t want to believe that is true.  I kinda of hoped that the fact people cared enough to discuss the show was reason enough to believe the show was worth watching.  “You know…Outlander…that show everyone is talking about.”  But, instead this atmosphere of intolerance of others ideas and feelings is starting to remind me of something…blind loyalty…mindless fanaticism…..hmmmmm.  Anybody remember some really movies about a teenage girl and her vampire boyfriend?  Shiver  

So…here’s my early Christmas list.  Tolerance. Manners. Open-minds.

And a pile of rainbow poop cuz I’d really like to see some.
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Watching Outlander….my way.

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imageSo….the smallest blog post I’ve ever written about the Outlander book and tv series has resulted in a lot of discussion and …some shite.  I feel kinda bad about that, but evidently there were a lot of people in the fandom who were feeling the same as me…they were just afraid to say so.

And rightfully so. There seems to be a double standard.  It is okay to discuss the books, pull them a part and speculate, but not the show. Anyone who didn’t actually like something about an episode is risking being villified if they dare express their dissatisfaction.

At the risk of sounding hypocritical, I need to clarify. I have little patience for those folks who are still stuck on Jamie’s hair color, Claire’s height, etc…I will not tolerate personal attacks on the cast, producers, writers, etc..  What I’m talking about is conversations that people would naturally have over a beloved book turned into a movie/tvshow: character depiction, plot development, dialogue.  I believe these are reasonable and expected topics for discussion.

Once again putting myself at risk, I believe that anyone in disagreement or dissatisfied with a part of the series is being labeled as disloyal or …Gasp…ungrateful. I’m extremely grateful! I love the show, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to like everything. And it also doesn’t mean I’m going to keep quiet or not watch as some folks have suggested.  One of the things I find most ironic and kinda of funny about this whole thing is what usually happens when I dare to speak “blasphemy”. What usually happens is that I get a lot of respectful responses that challenge my thinking and as a result, I often gain some new perspective! I can assure you that doesn’t happen when people tell me to quit being negative. And, if you have read my blog before you know I’ve written way more blogs praising the show than criticizing it!

So….this leads me to my inspiration for writing today.  I’ve noticed a peculiar pattern in people’s responses.  People keep pointing out that the books and the show are entirely separate. In fact, they say they are separate entities!  They then go on to prove their point about character or plot development by “QUOTING THE BOOK”.  You can’t have it both ways people! If it is, in fact, a show based on a book then it is natural to make comparisons.  I believe the unrealistic expectation here is the belief that the show IS the book or ….should be.

We have been lead to believe that the producers and writers  are fans of the book and that they want to do the book honor. They have assured us that despite making changes to our beloved story for the needs of visual media, they fully intend to tell the story of our Claire and her Jamie. They will have to sometimes change timelines, plot elements, scenes and dialogue, but have promised to bring everything back around to get the story where it needs to go. Admittedly some of us are a little worried about that.  Diana has tried to allay some of our fears by reminding us these are very talented people at the helm. She admonished us to not “catastroph-ize”  the future of the show based on what we’ve seen. She doesn’t see any basis/proof for not believing the story will be told in a way that will satisfy. With all due respect to Herself…I might feel more confident if I’d had access to the scripts and film!  But, she said it, so I’ll believe it and bide my time.  Which I think she finds pretty amusing.  She noted we’re complaining, but we can’t wait for April 4th <g> !  I remember Ron telling a similar little story about his fans writing to tell him that they hated an episode and hated it every time they watched it….again.  Funny lot us fans.

I’ve admitted several times that it is difficult for me to just let go and watch the film for its own self…an adaptation.  Herself said if you can’t you’ll ruin the experience for yourself.  She is probably right because I find myself jealous of newbies and people who have never read the books.  While strolling through Compuserve today (I said strolling not trolling) , I happened upon a similar conversation between the “I love everythings” and the “gotta few worries”.   One particular response caught my eye.  The writer had come to the conclusion that she was never going to be happy with the show.  She just couldn’t be because she had too many expectations that were never going to be met.  So…she let it go. She no longer scans the internet for news or counts the days till the next episode. In fact, I’m pretty sure she said she stopped watching.  She made a point to say she would probably finish watching out of curiosity, but probably wait until the season was over so she could watch it all at once. Because…it wasn’t her book it was just another tv show.  For her they ARE two separate entities. For the rest of us, I would guess we are somewhere in between. We are watching because of the book and our chance to see our favorite characters and story come to life.

Maybe the show isn’t turning out exactly as I hoped sometimes because Diana isn’t telling the story.  Ron, the experienced visual story teller, is telling the story.  My Claire and Jamie and Black Jack and Frank are walking around in the flesh!  We’ve waited forever for this!  So, if you all don’t mind, I’ll keep watching and maybe I’ll express some disappointment from time to time.  And, if Ron and crew pull this off, I’ll write the biggest apology note I can muster for ever doubting their genius!   Will it all work out? “It would be pretty to think so”.

Finding myself in awe of Outlander fans tonight! You guys rock!

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imageSometimes when I write a blog, I spend a lot of time in reflection and research. Sometimes I don’t. This past week I wrote my first impressions and feelings about episode 5.  I had issues with what I perceived as a failure to develop Jamie’s character as a strong young man.  What resulted was a lot of discussion! I had the chance to interact with fans that felt as I did and those that DIDN’T. This could have been a mess of strong opinions that hurt feelings and caused divisions. It wasn’t. In fact, I’m still shaking my head in delighted disbelief at the respectful discourse.

April Steele, an admin at Caitriotnation, posted a very level headed plea to their members encouraging them to be respectful of others’ view points. She acknowledged that fans can be a bit zealot, but that doesn’t have to be reflected in a lack of respect to those who disagree with your point. I was glad to hear someone espousing the need to just chillax a bit! I hope Caitriots will be as kind to each other as my readers have been. I know there has been some nastiness out there, but if you want to read some great respectful discussion check out the responses to “what is going on here…where is Jamie?” on my site. I found Outlander fans to be intelligent, articulate….and polite!

imageSpeaking of April Steele and the Caitriots, did you see what they did this week? _Amazing_  Sept. 11th was the anniversary of Caitronia Balfe being cast as Claire. To celebrate, the Caitriots got together and brainstormed a most excellent present to send Cait.  They decided to create a tartan shawl/scarve in her honor. Susan Targrove, a fan and weaver, offered her expertise to the group.  After reading an April written article  about this process, I am even more impressed with this gift. The planning, time and effort that went into this project was staggering. You can feel the love that went into the tartan that was designed and weaved specifically for Cait with ties to her home and heritage. They made a gift for her with substance and significance. They included a beautiful Sassenach pin designed by another fan, Janet Casdawn, and a book full of photos of the premier created by another fan.

I saw a post on the fan page today from someone who grew-up in the “show biz”  industry. She wanted to let the Caitriots know that she had never seen a fan group make an effort like this to show their appreciation. She said she was proud to belong to such a group!

And, Cait? All indications are that she was surprised and moved by the token of the Caitriots’ esteem and their assurance that she was worth the wait.  Overall, been a good week in the fandom.  I’m so proud of all of you and proud to be called an Outlander fan!