The Gift, or No Banshee Yet

Man, can I just say I have been busting my ass? I’ve been so busy I could barely look up. This is a good thing for my family and for my hip pocket. But it’s not so good for this blog. Every time I get ready to post something, a major issue comes up that I simply can’t ignore. Case in point was yesterday when I was going to rev up the old blog again, and I got a call from someone who was frantic about their site being hacked and now they’ve been blacklisted by Google. Do you know what people sometimes sound like when they’ve been blacklisted by Google? It’s like a cross between nails down a chalkboard and the sound of a banshee. (edit: to be clear, I had never seen this site until someone called me to clean it up).

If you’re not sure what a banshee sounds like, well, this may give some idea (yes, YouTube has everything):

Okay, so I’m not entirely sure if that’s how the mythical banshee would sound, but I loved the facial expressions, and when I’m talking to someone on the phone who is scared to death they may never be found online again, I wonder if their faces don’t look something like that.

Google and websites and search engine results are not really what I want to talk about but rather how I’ve been going down memory lane with my Richard Armitage fascination and reading through Natalie’s blog and remembering how I was commenting and commenting and commenting there and egged on by others expressing themselves until I finally became so overcome with the need to express myself at a gush that I started my own blog.

This seems to be a common phenomenon in RA fandom. So many of us have the need to express ourselves — even some of you lurkers who send me email and swear to me you will never comment publicly. A few of you took the plunge and have commented on blog, but whatever the case, you just couldn’t keep from expressing how you feel. This is the chief gift Richard Armitage has given to so many of us. I hope he knows that — knows that it has manifested in more than some who have published books or blogs.

Richard,

Contrary to how it may appear to some, I have no clue if you have ever read one of my fake fan letters, but I still have so much fun writing them and just expressing something zany or sincere. It is a great release, and that’s coming from someone who has a reputation for being a straight shooter in face to face interactions. Doesn’t matter. There is so much to everyone that you can’t pour it all out in personal interactions. Sometimes you just have to write and write and write, and it seems the more that happens, well, the more it happens, and can I say thanks for priming the pump on that. Yeah, I’m saying thanks for being a catalyst for my unleashing of thoughts that needed to get out — even if no one ever reads them but me. It’s been a wonderful therapy, and no, I’m not sure where I’m going to end this paragraph. In fact, I used to worry about crap like that and wouldn’t write anything unless I was reasonably sure it would be perfect. To hell with that. I mean that literally. That kind of thinking is from the pit of hell and paralyzes too many of us. Plus, I’ve been rethinking what I deemed perfect. Probably a discussion for somewhere other than this blog. Then again, maybe not. Whatever I write, I just want to explore something that keeps moving around in my head and wants to get out.

Onto the second paragraph.

Now the third. I keep saying I’m going to let go of this place, but I’m so undecided. At some point I will let go, but it won’t be until I can develop a voice as myself and not this insane persona I’ve allowed to take over. Who knows when that will be. I surely don’t, and I’ve stopped listening to others about when it should be. I’m just going to keep going and believe it will become clear when it’s time to stop — at least in this place, because I’m never going to stop.

Did I mention how much I appreciate your effect in this not only by exercising your craft but also the people you’ve drawn who have also inspired me? Read the first paragraph again, and maybe I’ll say some more another time. Scratch that. I will say some more another time.

Signed,
One of your crazy fans, who has thoroughly enjoyed being insane and the good friends it’s brought me

P.S. Do yourself a favor and read Nat’s blog. Even if you’ve read it before, do it again. It’s that good.

.

Certainly self-expression has exploded in the last 15+ years with the advent of blogs, YouTube, social media in general and of course the ease of publishing books. If I think about all of that, I could grouse about the crap that’s out there. But there is something in me that is not opposed to all the crap if it’s honest. Let it come out. Let people express who they are — even if it’s not to my taste. I don’t want gatekeepers to the public dialogue. And yes, if I’m being utterly candid, it allows me to express myself as well without feeling I’ve got to walk on water before I do it.

And now that I’m going down this road, let me also say that a few years ago someone wrote something that was not to my liking, and I said as much. Many times I’ve regretted my statements. Not because I don’t stand by most of what I said. I still feel the way I did in most respects; however, I don’t think my saying it was well done. None of that is to say that someone should not express a dissenting opinion. They certainly can, and for most of my life, I’ve not had a problem doing that when I felt it was warranted. In fact, I’ve been expressing my cussed opinion verbally since I was a little kid old enough to talk — saying very forthrightly what I think to my family and friends and sometimes strangers. But I like to think in my “old age” that I’ve learned that my opinion does not always need to be heard. That I’ve learned discretion. Yet that particular day was not my most discreet. If I could take it back, I would, because I have no need to set myself up as the arbiter of acceptable behavior. Again I say all of this not because I’ve changed my mind on much of what I said, but because it served no good purpose to say it.

But all of that aside, I’m glad I’ve written in this blog even when I’ve written something I wish I hadn’t, or my writing was just crap. It’s been a worthwhile pursuit. It’s changed me for the better, and you can’t know that unless you knew me beforehand which none of you did. You’ll just have to take my word for all of this.

In honor of those who grapple with expressing themselves, one of my favorite Richard Armitage characters:

johnstandring

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageCentral

note: I’m really trying to control the need to get on my soapbox about security on a site. Oh well, I guess if people keep having a cavalier attitude about their websites, I’ll keep making money. So on second thought, no complaints here. :D

Relax, the Poll Will Be Up Through Friday

DR4The poll I put up to find out about interest in a Richard Armitage online fan event had gotten a healthy response by Saturday night when it closed. The next day I received notes from people who wanted to participate. I told them to go ahead. Then on Monday and today there were more.

I’ve had a hard time turning those people away because I think the more the merrier, and since we’re not in a race to solve world hunger or cure cancer, there was no need to break it off in people who may not have known about the poll in time or who forgot it. I suspect most of you are going to be participating in your spare time, so don’t sweat that you didn’t make the poll. I just extended it. Plus, almost all of the answers regarding when to hold the event do not include February, and I doubt we’re going to get a rash of people wanting that month at this point which means there are a few more days to find out what others think.

But when next Saturday comes, it will be done; otherwise, this thing could go on and on and on. And I know some of you organizers are anxious to get started. Note to you coming up shortly with a heads up on what I’m seeing so far in the answers to the poll.

POLL

For those just stumbling on this, you can find more information here and here.

What the hell happened to January?

Is it just me, or was January about two days long? I have been a bit busy. How about you? Yeah, I hear you.

But before this month ends, just a reminder to those of you who are interested in FanstRAvaganza, a Richard Armitage blogging event, or a Richard Armitage Web Event, or Richard Armitage week on the web, or whatever we end up calling this thing, there is one more day to give me some input via this survey. Thank you if you have already shared your thoughts.

To those who are still thinking about it, I know you’re busy. We all are! But you know you want to take a quick break and do something fun.

Wheeeeee

And that’s what an “event” would be, or at least rewarding in some way. Maybe you are overflowing with thoughts and need to express them through writing, or drawing or music, etc., or maybe you just want to get something off your chest. Whatever the case may be, I hope you join the rest of us who want to celebrate or bask, or however some describe it, and you can start by giving some input about how the event would work best for you.

And to those who sent me your replies via a Twitter DM, Facebook message or email, I hope you will also participate in the survey as it will make it much easier to fold all of the answers together. Yes, I’m lazy, but then I can only do twelve things at once. :D

I’ll have the results of the survey on Monday and will send a note to those who expressed interest in organizing. Yes, I was going to do that earlier, but I’m glad I waited as a couple of others have volunteered, and that just means I will send the note once.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to the survey.

Loose Ends

There are so many stops and starts on this site. I would apologize, but well, this is something I do in my spare time. ROFLOL!! SO is looking at me from across the room and obviously wondering what I find so funny. He doesn’t realize I burst out laughing at the notion of spare time. I don’t think I’ve had any spare time since about 1986. Yet somehow I’ve managed to make the time for this place, and it’s never enough. But I press on.

The first thing that has been bugging me for most of the duration of this blog is all the streams of thoughts I’ve started but then something came along to divert me, and I ended up somewhere else. No, I’m not going to come with posts on all of the seemingly dead end thoughts I’ve had. I’ll spare you that. And sometimes I was only musing aloud, and the subject matter is not important any longer. But there are some thoughts I need to let flow a little more in order to feel I’ve done what I set out to do when I started this place. One is obviously my diary. Another one is maybe my experience at Comic-Con 2012. I’m still pondering that one because if I really tell what happened, I’ll probably burn a bridge, and I hate doing that. But we’ll see. There are also interviews I have that need to be published, because I believe you will enjoy learning about those people as much as I did. And then there are other thoughts such as my take on Heinz Kruger (I never did say what I really thought of him, and as time has gone on, I find the need to talk about him has increased.), or my many thoughts on objectification (no snark; okay, maybe a little) and I have no idea how many other thoughts I started to pursue.

The second thing I want to address is the fact I have a couple of big boxes full of Richard Armitage memorabilia or paraphernalia (depending on how you look at it *snort*), and I have never intended to keep all of it. Some of it was given to me to give away, and for that I am immensely grateful. The rest of it I purchased with the plan to give most of it away. Some of these items I have already given away. Somein “giveaways” and some when I felt like it. Please note none of the items in those two boxes are keepsakes sent to me by fellow fans. Those items I consider precious and will keep because they represent friendships.

But I find it strange I have those two boxes. Collecting is not usually my thing. Oh, I can be a pack rat with things like paperwork ’cause I might need it later. But collecting items for the sake of just having them has always seemed like too much work. Yeah, I’m lazy. Sue me. Of course if you looked around my house, you would think I collected books. I do love reading. SO does as well, and we encouraged it in our children. Consequently, we have bookshelves in every room of the house. Some rooms have several shelves, and there is an entire room with nothing but floor to ceiling shelves crammed with books. But the only reason those were collected is because they have had some usefulness and not for the sake of just possessing them. (And now with Kindle, I don’t have to devote so much space in my house to them; don’t ask about my Kindle collection. Oy).

None of this is to say I’m knocking the idea of being a collector. I have friends who are collectors of various and sundry items, and I’ve enjoyed their collections by enjoying what they have collected, by enjoying how they bask in their treasures, or by being fascinated at their efforts. But then I can go home, and I don’t have to dust anything or worry that those collected items will be damaged or stolen or misplaced. Yet I find myself with those two large boxes full of stuff about Richard or tangentially related to him, and sometimes I ask myself, “How did I end up with all of this?” The answer is always immediate. Oh yeah, I am having fun, and some others are having fun along with me.

As much as fun seems to have morphed into a four-letter word for some in the fandom, that is essentially the reason I’m here. It may sound shallow, but then define fun. Yep, maybe it’s not what you think I’m thinking. Oh sure I like to snark, but if that’s all I ever did, your eyes would glaze over,and maybe they have at times. Mine have. But then I regroup and come back to the blogging adventure where I can usually find something interesting and enlightening, and sometimes it makes it into a blog piece, but most times it doesn’t. Damn time constraints!

But I wouldn’t change a thing. The meandering around and trying things and having flops or hitting walls, and then stepping back and rethinking something and seeing it differently and all the time writing, writing, writing (whether any of you ever see it or not), has been one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I cannot recommend it enough. To those of you who wonder if you should blog, let me say that again. I cannot recommend it enough. It is manna for the brain whether this place looks like a pile of fluff. It’s feeding something in my mind by facilitating writing and research and ideas and ideas and ideas and did I mention fun? well, I’m saying it again ’cause the fount will not stop. Thank you, Richard Armitage! And more important, thank God. I’m serious as a heart attack. I do thank God and for Richard Armitage as well. :)

And all of that brings me back to thoughts of the itinerant kind, I’ve let Ken Stott languish by himself long enough. I need to come with the blog pieces on his er, compatriots.

Okay, a picture, and honestly, the only reason I’m putting this here is so I have something that will post to Pinterest other than that picture in my banner. As much as I like it, the picture doesn’t begin to hint at what this piece is about. Or maybe it does?

I think I just talked myself out of a picture for this piece.

Some Qs & As about the Richard Armitage Blogging Event

Richard-Armitage-with the KeyThis is just a first pass at answers to some of the questions about a blogging event (go here for more information). I’m sure there will be more questions as we go. Also, I am basing these answers on what has happened in the past and feel any committee formed will embrace these answers as well.

Do I have to be a Richard Armitage Blogger to participate? No, you do not. The more the merrier!

If I post for the event, do I have to participate every day of the event? Absolutely not. Do as much as you want.

Do I have to run a blog to participate? It’s not necessary. Many bloggers who participate will be willing to host guest bloggers for a post or more than one. It’s up to the bloggers, but I would be surprised if a guest blogger could not find a place to publish.

If I don’t know any bloggers personally and want to write a guest piece, what do I do? Contact a blogger you like; I would be shocked if they don’t listen to you. If you’re still not sure, let me know, and I’ll bet I can put you in touch with someone who would be happy to host a piece.

Do I have to participate on certain social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook if I post a piece for the event? It’s completely optional to participate on those sites, but you’re missing out on some fun. :D

Can I contribute artwork or video instead of writing? Yes! a picture is worth a thousand words.

If you have any further questions, post a comment here or send me an email.

Further Thoughts on a Richard Armitage Blogging Event in 2015

No more than 30 minutes after I published my last post on this subject I had over a dozen communications from people who are interested in this event. Wow. That’s a good sign.

With those communications have come questions and comments. Mostly people are wanting to know how it was done in the past and how it should go in the future. I can speak to the past as much as I remember, but all I can say about the future are just my opinions.

How this went in the past is there was one person who coordinated, but a committee (don’t let your eyes glaze over when I say that) came up with a theme and a framework for how the event would proceed in a given year. This seemed to work well. What was really helpful was various people brought various skill sets to the event and everyone working together was the key to success. The coordinator of the event kept track of that, so there was not duplication of effort or no efforts in a given area. All of that sounds like work, but I think it really is up to the committee to decide how elaborate or how free form an event can be and thereby how much coordination is needed.

Now my two cents.

As I said in the last post on this subject, I would love to see the spirit of community manifesting in this event. For me, this is the biggest consideration in being involved. In order to see that happening, it’s imperative that the many facets of the fandom be included. This was the aspiration in the past, and today, seems to be more warranted than ever. In order to achieve it, this means bloggers and guest bloggers who cover subjects from vanilla to blue should be part of the event. The truth is we have a diverse fan community. Why hide that? I say let the truth will out that we’re not all in lock step on who we are and what we like. This should not be a problem to embrace unless one group wants to eclipse the others. Surely we can rise above that kind of behavior.

One consideration with respect to making it an open community is possibly having a policy statement. I’m thinking something along the lines of “the community is open but discourages the promotion of self-harm.” A committee could come up with something much more thought out than this, but I hope any statement would remain broad enough to be inclusive and restrictive enough to head off some potentially explosive situations. Another consideration is providing a courtesy to readers possibly in the form of tagging posts so the reader knows if he/she is about to click on something he/she would rather not. There are ways to handle this so it’s clear, and a committee could easily hash this out as well.

But the first order of business is to merely find out how much interest there is, what time of year is best for most, and perhaps getting an idea of how long to run the event. Most important: when pondering these items and envisioning the event as you would like to see it, please remember we do not have to do this as it’s been done in the past. It can be changed, but if you want to keep it the same, that’s fine too. There is no law that says it has to be done this way or that. It’s really up to all of you to figure out how you want it.

In that interest, I have a poll here.

EDIT: Some Qs&As are here.

So is FanstRAvaganza Still Alive?

FanstRAvaganzaFor four years the Richard Armitage blogosphere held an event in March called FanstRAvaganza, and many of us had a really great time participating. But last year there was no FanstRAvaganza. Hopefully that was just a respite and the blogosphere can and will do something in future. And perhaps it doesn’t have to be in March or be called FanstRAvaganza but can be another blogging event. It would just be great to do something as a community if possible. I hope the spirit of community that was originally in the FanstRA event doesn’t pass away completely and someone can breathe some life into it in the near future.

In the meantime, there is a Facebook page, a Twitter id and a website called FanstRAvaganza if someone is inclined to take it on. That will mean the parties who set up those three accounts will have to be approached, Luckily, I set up two of them, and I’m really easy to deal with because I don’t want to control anything other than to see us come together as community in a way that would be fun and appealing to a large cross-section of fans.

The only advice I would give in order to effect this is that there probably should be a group to run things instead of one person running all of it. It’s a drain on a single individual. It’s also difficult for the vision of one person to facilitate community since we have such a multifaceted fandom. I could be wrong about this and there’s a dynamo out there who’s all seeing and all knowing, but I doubt it. LOL! It’s also been my experience that someone who does have a knack for managing people and events will welcome a group’s input to the process.

Whatever happens, I would love to see us all come together.

edit: I’m getting all sorts of comments and questions, and it’s good stuff. I’m in the process of writing a post to cover what’s being said. I will also put the link here when I’m done.

second edit: follow-on post is here.

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