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 sounded familiar… Hollywood and football

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As you probably already know, this week Terry Dresbach and her husband Ron Moore sat down for a live tweet with fans. They were ready to celebrate the monumental task of bringing Outlander to life and they wanted to share their joy in accomplishment with the fans.  Many fans were ready to share in their joy and accomplishment, but some…not so much. There were folks who evidently saw this as their opportunity to air grievances.  And,…they did. I didn’t know this was happening until hours afterward. A Twitter friend told me to go check it out. The complaining I saw there was at the least opportunistic (I’d never seen some of these folks tweet Terry before and I’ve been around awhile) and most certainly rude in tone.  I’m not sure how anyone male or female could be expecting their opinions to be taken seriously when couched in such a way.  It is tough to have respectful discourse when you are being attacked.

Terry has gone on record saying that she is fine and it is to be expected, but she hadn’t really seen this behavior in this particular fandom before. She said she was aware there was some grumbling about certain issues with the show and cast, but none of it had been expressed directly to her.

I’m told what started in the live tweet didn’t stop once the session ended. The door was cracked open and then flung wide by fans who seemingly smelled blood in the water. Terry got tweets all day, night and into the next day.

Upon reflection, I realized this felt familiar to me. I’d been there. My husband wasn’t a Hollywood writer/producer, but he was a football coach. Now, don’t laugh, but I saw some real similarities between these two professions and what it was like to be a spouse to a man in a profession like Ron’s!  Like I said, it felt familiar.

The time, dedication and sacrifice

First, let’s talk about what it takes to be a football coach. Hours and hours and hours. Time spent recruiting. Time spent meeting. Time spent planning. Time spent practicing. Time spent promoting.Time spent mentoring his staff.  Time spent with academic administrators who truly didn’t understand what it took to run a quality program and then trying to convince them to give you what you needed to do the job right. Time spent making sure everyone has what they need to do their jobs and nurturing the program, so that the folks you brought with you continue to have jobs and opportunities to better themselves. Time spent with the players ( I swear at times I thought he was a counselor not a coach).  Time spent directing what happened on the field on game day and then… doing it all over again the next day. And, somewhere in all this find time to have a wife and family.

It wasn’t easy and I got pretty creative at finding ways to make the most of the time we had together. Looking in at our chosen lifestyle, an outsider might have thought the sacrifice wasn’t worth it, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  It was the price I paid for loving a special man. He was good at what he did and was truly making a difference in some young men’s lives. He was a role model in a world that sorely needed them. I’ve always been so proud of his passion, compassion and integrity.  He always did what was best for his athletes even when it wasn’t the most popular or easy thing to do.  He truly cared about the young men in his programs. So, when his talent, dedication and sacrifice wasn’t acknowledged or recognized it hurt.

Everybody is a critic and the misconceptions

My husband didn’t have millions of people watching how he coached and ran his program (but Ron does), but what he did have were stadiums full of people, very vocal FANS. People who saw the team as THEIR team. (sounding familiar yet?)

Despite years as a coach’s wife, I would still find myself caught off guard at times. I would be baffled that people couldn’t see what my husband was about and how lucky they were to have him coaching their kids. They just didn’t get it!  It seems everyone had their own ideas of how things should be done and they were convinced my husband wasn’t doing things right. Everyone knew better and everyone THOUGHT they knew what was going on. Several stories come to mind that illustrate my point.

For instance, in a particularly close game we were on the goal line and it was fourth down.  We needed a touchdown, not a field goal, to put us in the position to win.  It was a now or never situation. My husband called a time-out and gathered the boys on the sideline. From the stands, we all could see him yelling, pointing, getting up in the kids’ faces. The crowd began to boo, yell names at my husband, threaten to “kick his ass”, etc…  The boys went back on the the field and scored the needed touchdown.  We won and all seemed to be forgiven. Later that night, I asked him what he was saying to the boys on that sideline. “I was telling them I believed in them and pointing out how hard they had worked and how much they deserved to win. I told them them to go out there and do what I knew they could do”, he explained.

I often laugh that I would have loved to give some of these vocal FANS a taste of their own medicine!  There was one particularly vocal gentleman who stands out in my mind.  He was a local dairy farmer by profession.  I had created this little dream scenario where I would show up at his barn with a bullhorn, pull up a stool, and critique his milking. “You call that milking!? My 85 year-old grandmother could milk better than that!”  ” Can’t you see that the stream keeps hitting the pail in the same place?  My God! Tweak the teet on the left.”  etc.  I would then write about it in the paper the next day!  The headline would read FARMER BROWN CAN’T MILK! COMMUNITY WILL HAVE TO EAT THEIR CEREAL WITH WATER!  The article of course would contain unflattering pictures of him with his head near the cow’s butt and be full of comments taken out of context!

For the most part, I dealt with what I saw as unfair attacks on my husband with the grace he expected. In fact, I can really only remember saying something to  a fan one time and even then I thought I handled it pretty well.  Directly after a game, I had a parent come up to me and say she had a terrible time trying to enjoy the game because of a fan sitting beside her that just couldn’t keep from bad mouthing everyone! and she said she thought he might actually work for the college. She pointed him out in the stands and sure enough, it was one of the professors. Tamping down my need to rip him a new one, I climbed the stairs to confront him. “Hi!”, I said in the cheeriest voice I could manage.  ” I just had a parent tell me that a fan had ruined the game for them because that were talking so badly about the players and coaches. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be you!”  “I paid my five bucks” was his eloquent reply.  Over the years, I learned that this behavior was indeed to be expected.

My husband has retired from coaching, but the memories linger and I feel for Terry and the price she is paying for loving a special man.  She’s a hell of a lot tougher than I was and I applaud her efforts to continue to interact with and fully engage the fans. I don’t want to lecture, but just gently remind folks that these are real people with real feelings and just because you paid your “five bucks” it doesn’t mean you can’t be kind or respectful when you disagree.

The price

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

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

Beth

 

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!

The reviewers….Tom and Lorenzo on Outlander

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Recently, I read a review by the couple at Tom and Lorenzo.com. According to their About page, they have been writing reviews about TV and movies for ten years and according to those who know ( I didn’t until just a couple of weeks ago) they are a tough crowd. Their review about Outlander on Starz is one among many available to read. One of many. Last year, we were begging people to write about Outlander. This year, I can’t keep up!

I read their first review at http://tomandlorenzo.com/2015/03/how-outlander-finally-won-us-over/ and found it to be one of the most insightful and honest reviews I had read. Now please understand, I am particularly fond of the books by Diana Gabaldon and therefore, pretty invested in the success of the series. It doesn’t make me the most objective of readers, however, I’ve read enough ( there is an understatement) reviews to know when someone is piggybacking off of the latest gossip about the show or relying on the latest pop culture cliche’ to meet a deadline or sound particularly “critic-like”. I came to their article with some Outlander review reading under my belt and I found their writings to be refreshing.

First, they haven’t read the books and I don’t have to listen to the comparisons and lamenting about the adaptation from a book reader’s perspective. I KNOW it is hard to let go of the book. In fact, it takes me at least three viewings to let go long enough to just… watch. So, I love the novelty of “seeing” the show for the first time through their eyes.

Secondly, it is in the voice of someone who is actually watching and reacting to the show. I have to admit I’m a bit tired of the play by play funny quip types of reviews that are more about how clever the author can sound than actually saying anything of worth about the show. Some folks are very funny, but …I want something more. Now, that doesn’t mean that Tom and Lorenzo aren’t funny! They can be, but it isn’t the focus. I find myself leaning in to see how they reacted to this part of the show or that. I want to know what they observed, what they are wondering about and read their predictions for what will happen next.

Third, they are men. I’m fascinated by the male reaction to this show. I know why it appeals to me as a woman, but I’ve always thought guys would like it too. So far, they do and I love hearing why. And, they are gay. Another perspective! I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth when I read them! They weren’t sure how they felt after Episode 9 hinted that Black Jack Randall might not be totally hetero. The ‘evil gay’ guy wasn’t sitting too well. I want to tell them that isn’t who BJR is and that one of the most beloved characters in the book series is an honorable gay man, but also don’t want to spoil their reactions to what is actually on the screen.

They were the first people I’d read who understood that Claire’s modern sensibilities were going to get her into trouble. In fact, they understood that it would be poor story telling if they didn’t. How easy would it be for any of us to blend-in in a situation like this? In their last installment, they lamented that Claire was just going about her business willy-nilly without a care for how she might be changing history or putting herself in danger. Yep. In the books, Claire’s passionate nature and need to help others constantly got her in trouble. You love her for it and yet, you want to shake her! They totally got that. They totally got that and a lot more.

I cant’t wait to read what they think next.

“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.

When you are a mother to a woman everyday is “Woman’s Day”

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ea5036cf997e4289135a3b267473a316 I watched my eldest granddaughter play a high school basketball district tournament game over the weekend. They lost.  After the game, parents and grandparents dutifully waited outside the locker room to show our support.  After what seemed like forever, the girls began to tearfully trickle out and flow into the arms of their loved ones. I anxiously waited to see how my girl was faring.  With a tear-stained face she searched the crowd and found me.  Our eyes locked and she climbed the bleachers into my outstretched arms. She came to me first and I think I know why.

There are very few people in my life that I can say loved me unconditionally. Actually, there is only one. My grandmother. Her face lit up every time she saw me and I somehow knew that she was excited to see me for only one reason…because it was me.  She loved me just because I existed and I was hers. It is my hope that my granddaughters believe the same of me.  The hug I gave my granddaughter was without murmured words of sympathy, encouragement or advice. I just hugged her for as long as I sensed she needed and kissed her neck. As I watched her move on, I suddenly realized my role in the family dynamic had changed. I was the bedrock this family of women was built on.  I was the solid and safe place my granddaughters could reach when they needed to be loved unconditionally. I was my grandmother.

I am the mother of one woman and grandmother to six who are rapidly joining the ranks of womanhood.  I’m okay with the role to which I now find myself relegated. The job is a lot easier than the one my daughter has. Raising women is hard work. They are exposed to so many negative messages. I’ve raised the one I was directly responsible for and I did the best I could with the knowledge I had.  I made a conscious effort to make sure my girl knew her worth apart from a man. I was not raised with this expectation.  It was a different time and my mother raised me the best she could with the knowledge she had. Like my mother before me, I didn’t get it all right, but I didn’t get it all wrong either. I know this because I’m seeing my daughter build on my foundation and pick up the ball where I dropped it.  My progeny are reaping the benefits of the women who have gone before them and tried to do better.

My eldest granddaughter just turned sixteen.  When I look at her I see the fruition of the efforts of the generations of women who have gone before. And, not just in my own family.  She is the product of women who had the courage to break out of gender based roles and women who believed being a strong woman didn’t mean having to act like a man. She is smart, tough, kind, compassionate, competitive, and beautiful. I’m not sure she even knows that there are such things as gender bias or glass ceilings.  She just decides what it is she wants and works hard to get there.  I’m pretty sure when she does find a door that is closed to her for reasons related to her gender, she’ll say, “this is bullshit” and knock harder.  In fact, I’m pretty sure she’ll have the courage to knock the door down! The image from the top of the page is something I found on her Pinterest page.  There are many with similar sentiment.

So, I’m raising the metaphorical glass of wine to toast the women in my life past and present.  And, to my daughter, you are doing great at a tough job. To my granddaughters, I’m proud of the women you’re becoming and if you need a hug…your grandma is here…waiting with open arms.   10989146_818646421505854_5383532363011842312_n

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.

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!