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

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Creative deprivation vs instant gratification…Outlander and Social Media

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It’ s been a unsual week in Outlander world. Within the space of a few hours, I saw the fandom reach new heights of the sublime (wonderful efforts for charity) and the ridiculous (groping). And…a costume debacle…again… Be patient with me while you read this because I promise that I do have a point, but it might take a minute to get there.

Some very excited fans in Prague shared their photos of Outlander being filmed in their part of the world.  It became impossible not to open my Twitter and Facebook feeds and not see Sam, Caitriona, and Duncan in costume.

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If I could have avoided it, I would have. Short of not turning on my devices, I really don’t think I could have avoided seeing them. The pics were everywhere.

As I’ve written before, this whole experience of getting to know more about how TV series are written, directed, filmed and how sets and costumes are designed has been very enlightening.  I truly had no idea how much effort and artistry goes into a production.  These people ARE artists.  They create with the idea that what they each contribute is telling us a story.  Their efforts are part of the whole and bigger picture. So, when images are posted out of the context of that bigger whole it is frustrating and disappointing for the artists that worked so hard.  I get it.

This certainly wasn’t the first time that pictures have been posted “leaking” sets and costumes. And, to tell the truth, I have sort of separated these “offenses” into different categories that can be defined by motivation.  I am much more willing to forgive excited fans that love Outlander and are just sharing that day they got to see the stars than those who are standing far off with high-powered lenses and the idea that there is money to be made from their pictures. I get the fans’ excitement and don’t believe there was any malicious intent.  I wish they hadn’t shared, but I don’t believe they were trying to ruin anything.  They were just excited. I get it.

Terry Dresbach, the costume designer for the series, has tried to explain why these leaks are disappointing to her.  Several times.  Her last effort was a blog post that told her side of this issue and offered great insight for those who cared to understand. https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/23309844/806011889

I believe this article will probably be her last attempt to explain because she is waving the white flag.  Social media is a stormy ocean and she is just one person trying to hold back the tide. She cried “Uncle” (and actually defined “Uncle” for those folks who might be unfamiliar with this American colloquialism which I found pretty amusing and made me determined to look up the origins of the words’ use). She is tired of fighting. I get it.

What I don’t get is the reaction to her attempts to explain why these premature peeks are disappointing. So many truly didn’t understand or WANT to understand. I started seeing some posts that suggested that somehow the fans were owed these peeks. In fact, the sense of entitlement I was reading was staggering. The fans weren’t being courted enough! It is their money and subscriptions that make this all possible! People got angry and mean. “Oh! No! I saw a costume everything is ruined!”  “Be careful.  Someone might tattle to Terry about you and she’ll send her minions”  Snarky and mean-spirited and… entitled.

At first, I didn’t think I would write about this because like Terry, I’ve come to realize the world has changed.  Social media is a powerful force and the battle cannot be won.

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But,…(you knew there was a but didn’t you and I did warn you this might take a minute) bits and pieces of conversations over SM the past week were still floating around in my head last night and my mind was busy making connections and meaning.  Terry posted an article about the current popularity of mindfulness as a tool in business.  I re-tweeted a quote from Diana Gabaldon about art.  And…the Wizard of OZ… These seemingly loosely connected topics ganged together in my thoughts and formed an idea…a theory.

I believe that our exposure to the high-speed of information and connecting to “social” media has indeed changed the world and us.  My husband and I have this argument all the time.  He tends to demonize technology while I tend to see it in a more favorable light.  I could make a pretty long list of the benefits and enrichment the use of technology has brought into my life.  Today, however, I find myself more on the “technology is the devil” side of things.  I think our use of technology has created a culture of expectation for instant gratification and a sense of entitlement.  The glut of information available to us at the touch of a button has now become part of the fabric of our lives.  I read research that found if we have to wait more than 10 seconds for something to load we give up…10 seconds. We are over stimulated and need more…more quickly and we EXPECT to have our desires satisfied…now. This morning I find myself longing for the good old days when we had to…wait for it…wait. <g>

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“All good things come to those who wait”

When I read people proclaiming their right to see costumes before the show aired because “Droughtlander” was soooo long and fans were sure to lose interest if they weren’t fed images, I thought of museums.  More specifically, my granddaughters and museums.  My daughter decided that the best way to have healthy and happy children was to encourage them to limit their access to TV and technology. I liked to call my daughter’s decision “creative deprivation”.  The girls went outside and  played with toys that required their imagination (including the prop/costume box at Grammy’s house! They created and performed some wonderful plays and puppet shows)   As a result, they were not overstimulated and it was a real joy to take them places like museums.

I’m not big on buying things for the grandkids (like I could really pick out anything they would like anyway) however, I will spend my time and money giving them experiences. One particular trip to the German Separatists village in Zoar, Ohio stands out in my mind. Zoar was one of the most successful communes in the country.  By pulling their efforts and sharing their possessions they were able to survive and thrive pre and post Civil War. Most of the village is still intact and can be toured. I took my three under 10 year-old grandchildren to the old general store at Zoar where we bought our tickets, received a paper with a scavenger hunt for specific historic items, and joined four adults for a guided tour. The children’s genuine interest was obvious and I remember how proud I was when the adults in our party commented on how refreshing it was to see such well-behaved children who were asking questions and excited to be learning. We ended our tour by going to the village bakery and eating cookies made from a 200-year-old recipe. I found myself convinced that my granddaughters could appreciate this experience because they had space around their moments of stimulation. A simple cookie or vanilla ice cream cone was enough to make them happy.  They didn’t need or expect more.

I found some research to back my theory that “creative deprivation” is a good thing and that we may be losing the ability to wait.

In the article, Instant Gratification and Its Dark Side By Ronald Alsop, the author points out that our online activity may be robbing us of the benefits of waiting.

The need for round-the-clock connection not only makes people more impatient, it also robs them of time for quiet reflection or deeper, more critical thinking. They tend to want constant stimulation, have less impulse control and get distracted more easily. Diagnoses of attention deficit disorder for children and teenagers have soared; even older adults are increasingly getting prescriptions for ADD medications. Some teachers report that they rarely assign complete books any longer, but choose short stories or excerpts instead because of shorter attention spans. http://www.bucknell.edu/communications/bucknell-magazine/instant-gratification-and-its-dark-side.html

In an article from the Boston Globe entitled, Instant Gratification is Making Us Perpetually Impatient by Christopher Muther, the author quotes research that supports the idea that we are missing out because we need more and we need it now.

…Researchers found the rapid pace of technology can lead to more nimble thinking, but that “trends are leading to a future in which most people are shallow consumers of information.”

“A lot of things that are really valuable take time,” Worthy said. “But immediate gratification is the default response. It’s difficult to overcome those urges and be patient and wait for things to come over time.”

https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2013/02/01/the-growing-culture-impatience-where-instant-gratification-makes-crave-more-instant-gratification/q8tWDNGeJB2mm45fQxtTQP/story.html

Professor of English Harold Schweizer wrote a book titled On Waiting. Schweizer writes that waiting gives people time for thinking, inspiration and regeneration.

a poem, painting or difficult concept “attains value because we have waited for it, waited on it.” But without the investment of time, he says, “objects and experiences tend to remain without value.”

When we have to wait for things they tend to have more value.  Like….oh, I don’t know…waiting for costumes to be revealed when a show airs…

I can hear you all saying what does this have to do with the Wizard of Oz? Wait for it…<g>… Terry made a reference to the movie in an attempt to explain why waiting to see costumes, sets, etc. was a good thing.  She was quick to say she certainly wasn’t comparing Outlander to Oz, but I got what she WAS saying. Maybe it’s because I’m old enough to remember seeing it on a color TV for the first time. It was an experience that took my breath away, the colors, the costumes, the world, and the…story. I believe that experience was all the better for NOT seeing images in advance.  It was worth the wait. She wants us to have the same experience when we see Jamie and Claire in Paris.  Upon reflection, I know because I have seen the costume pics, I will never know what it would be like to have seen them for the first time in the context of the story as a whole. However, my past experience with Outlander on Starz’ ability to tell a story well makes me hopeful.  I truly believe that I will still be so immersed in the story they are telling that even if I do recognize a costume, it will merely be a blip on my conscience radar. We’ll see…

Okay…I think I’ve made my point.  The world has changed, we can’t stop it, sometimes good things come from technology, but sometimes not so much, I wish I hadn’t seen those images and Outlander is worth the wait!

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 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.

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!