WHY DIANA GABALDON MIGHT BE THE COOLEST WOMAN ON THE PLANET

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imageBy Beth Wesson

What you’re about to read is my very first blog article.  When a particularly bad winter gave me lots of unexpected time, my nieces encouraged me to start a blog for writing practice.  I had no idea how to start, but they encouraged me to write about my interests.  My then current and so far enduring interest is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  So, I wrote about meeting her.  Unbeknownst to me, the little devils sent this to Diana and …she responded.  The rest as they say is history.  Because Diana wrote a book, I found out I’m a writer and I will be forever grateful. 

I recently read a love letter to the Outlander series and it got me to thinking. I love the series. In fact, they have ruined me. I read other things, I just don’t enjoy them as much as Outlander. I’m still surprised at the depth of emotion these characters and their stories wring out of me. My husband often catches me laughing out loud at a Jamie or Claireism. I love the series, but I gotta admit that I’m just as fascinated with the author. This being a fan thing is a new experience for me. I’m really not sure how to act without coming off as well…creepy. It’s a concern, but here I go anyway. I found myself curious about the creator of what have become my favorite books…..I started reading about Herself. I found Compuserve and her sites on Facebook,etc. The woman is just as fascinating as her books! At least, I think so. So, here is my list compiling reasons why Diana Gabaldon might be the coolest woman on the planet:
1. She’s been married for a long time to the same man. And, as far as I can see, she is still in love with him. To me this says a lot about her character.
2. She has passion. She seems to have the ability to chase after those things she wants and get them. She knew she was meant to be an author, so she became one. How much do I respect the fact that she did this without ever being concerned about being published? A lot!
3. She’s really smart; PhDs, college professor, researcher, knows her way around a sentence.
4. She can laugh at herself. In fact, she often cracks herself up. I witnessed this at a book signing to which she wore a clown nose.
5. She writes really hot sex scenes. Really hot sex scenes with characters in their 50’s in a committed relationship.
6. Her writing process. I find her approach fascinating. I’m not sure it could be taught, but wow I wish I could learn to handle ideas and words with her backward forward sideways methods.
7. Despite having fans and being called Herself, she shares her pictures and family/daily life. I’ve seen her hikes in the desert, her office in various states of being, her dogs ( I have a pug and two mini doxies) and her family. Remember the Christmas people played with their remote control life-like shark balloons? Diana shared a picture of the shark moving through her house. I’ve seen her with her very tall children and I’ll never forget how touched I was by her recipe for enchiladas and the reflection about her father. She seems genuine and I don’t believe fame will change her. I think she just adapts to all that it brings, good and bad.
8. She is very patient with her “fans”, but even she has limits. She writes some of the best comeuppances I’ve ever read. When she tells you, you’ve been told!
9. Those flowy caftans, kimonos, shawls and capes she wears. Personally, having watched her speak, I think there is probably a very practical reason for wearing them. However, they lend her some dramatic flair that fits the writer/professor/artist image. My husband had a theater teacher that came to class every day with his giant French poodle while wearing his full length red cape. Memorable.
10. She shared Outlander with the world.
Now, as my grand kids would tell you, I couldn’t be cool if I was sitting on an iceberg, but I think I can recognize someone who is cool. I wrote this in appreciation of the only “famous” person I have ever cared enough to meet. I’d love the chance to talk with her and tell her how delighted I was to find Tuscora Indians, Quakers and Moravians in her books. I grew up in a town called Tuscarawas in Tuscarawas county, attended events in the local Moravian churches and shopped in New Philadelphia the home of the Fighting Quakers (how is that for an oxymoron). I’d like to ask her if she knows about Zoar or the Indian massacre in Gnadenhutten and Schoenbrunn. But, when I had the chance to say something, anything, all I managed was, “it is so nice to meet you”. And even though it was obvious I was a star-struck, book-signing virgin, she smiled and said thank you and wrote me my very first autograph.
Stay cool Diana.