Diary of an RA Fan — Part 24 Good-Bye My Fancy — SPOILERS

See Diary Part 23 here, or to access all entries, hit “The Diary” tab above.

Spoilers for ‘The Impressionists’ and maybe a little for ‘Between the Sheets.’

[note: Regarding this diary, I sometimes get very kind notes from people wanting to comfort me. I really appreciate that. You will never know how much. But it has begged that I address the time line of these entries. Please know that these diary pieces are from two years ago or more. In fact, some entries are now almost three years ago. I thank all of you again who have expressed concern for me. I’m long since over the state of mind I was in then although in some respects I’m not over it. LOL!]

Entry — A few weeks later and still Fall, 2008:

Haven’t watched any Richard Armitage lately, and I’m glad I quit watching so many things repetitively. I think I finally snapped to when I got to the point I was watching but not really watching. My mind kept wandering to all sorts of crazy notions, but I was dutiful in slapping myself mentally for wasting time. It seems I’m always doing that. My daydreaming is almost a sickness. I wonder if I can ever outgrow it. When I was a kid, I was too naive to cover it up, and it was a constant source of teasing. Dad always liked to tell the story of me walking to school and the neighbors seeing me and chuckling at my strolling around looking at the bushes and the trees and singing to myself, and how they would holler at me to hurry up or I’d be late. I still love looking at things along the way. I’ve never been able to completely stop, but the specter of being late is always there. SO seems to be the only one who doesn’t think daydreaming is a problem. I just wish I had been smart enough to make a living at it, and it was always about a living dammit!

When I was 18 and wanted to major in music in college, I got a lecture about what I was really looking at — “Unless you get lucky, you’re going to play dives for years or you’re going to teach other people’s children to play.” Dad was a fantastic musician, and his years of playing gigs legitimized the truth of what he was saying. If he couldn’t succeed, then how the hell was I going to? Anyway, neither of those paths sounded appealing, and so I let myself be talked out of my first love.

Today, ‘The Impressionists’ came from Netflix. I forgot I had it in my queue, and I’m not sure when I’ll watch. It’s just going to make me remember again how I sold out. Maybe I’ll just send it back since two of the little SOs want me to get ‘Jane Eyre’ w/Toby Stephens no matter that they’ve seen it several times. According to them he’s so good that they’re now head over heels in love with Rochester. Of course that was true after they read the book! They even made a Facebook page about fictional characters ruining their love lives. LOL!

I look at them fangirling, and I’m so glad they are lighthearted enough to do it and laugh at themselves. I wish I had let myself revel in things like that as a girl. Eventually I fancied myself above it and was too busy making fun of it to ever enjoy it myself. I was a pompous ass and probably still am. Maybe I’ll keep the ‘The Impressionists’ discs.

A few days later:

The little SOs have had to content themselves with watching ‘The Impressionists,’ and although they’re still into Toby, they’re rapidly becoming big fans of Richard Armitage. They’re just not great fans of him in this particular series. But then they’re too young to really appreciate the nuances of his Monet, and how can they truly understand the conflict over Camille — his contrition to her and his honor to his father? They can’t. Not yet, and hopefully never.

And so much for being lighthearted about this. I was hanging on Richard Armitage’s every move. LOL! I cannot believe I was unaffected by how he looks when I first saw him. Must have been one of my most shallow moments. Granted, he is not the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, yet he is continually making me re-examine how I define handsome. No, actually, he’s beautiful in this. I have rarely thought a man was beautiful, but that’s the best description. He is definitely physically attractive, but it’s something inside coming out of this character, that longing for Camille and something more which permeates his eyes and moves to his shoulders and arms and onto his fingers, and returns to his shoulders, and settles there.

A little while later:

After everything I’ve seen of Richard Armitage’s acting, I can still be in this much awe of how he brings out depth of character? Will this ever get old? I hope it never does, and it has me continually wondering what he draws on to convey his expressions. “Quite a detailed actor” — yes, but what detail is in the mind’s eye? Or does he even do this consciously? Is this part of unfocusing the conscious? I don’t think he has a wife and kids or a pregnant girlfriend stashed somewhere, yet the purity of his movements is stunning. Whatever is happening in his head, I find myself replaying mere seconds of footage to dissect exactly what he does as Monet to convey these impressions and can’t escape recognition of SO in his demeanor.

There’s an earnestness and an innocence in Monet that makes me see SO, my young man who had everything to anticipate but pulling some baggage. How in hell does Richard Armitage capture that? (need to finish the Stanislavski book). I know he’s not innocent, or maybe he is. I don’t know. I’m so curious how he can play this character and the one in ‘Between the Sheets,’ who now that I think of it had a believable innocence as well despite the revelation of his heinous behavior. Or how he could play the stalwart but naive John Thornton and then the mercenary Guy of Gisborne, whose behavior also had a childlike expectation woven through it. Interesting. I keep writing down my impressions, but I can’t quite capture the essence of his performances. It’s like I’m in the dark trying to find a lamp but stumbling over something at my feet when I come close.

The only other actor to stir me to this degree is James Dean. I watched ‘East of Eden’ again the other day (after about a 25 year respite from it), and he nails Cal’s angst. He strays into melodrama some, but I figure it’s the era the movie was made. When I was twelve, this performance embodied the questioning and frustration I had long felt. I remember thinking I would eventually find the answer and some relief when I was grown. But I still question what drives people and what drives me, and I try to push it away and function normally, and “normal” dictates that I figure everything out in a moment. I know that’s not possible, but I keep trying to sum everything up, always trying to conclude, but I can never conclude. In hindsight it was alternately relieving and excruciating to watch Cal.

And now in watching Richard Armitage, that relief and agony is heightened again. Maybe much worse this time. It has created an almost painful longing to express what it is that dogs me all the time, and at one point in my life literally drove me insane. When I was watching him in this, I wanted to paint or play, and even toyed with the idea of writing a story, but writing has a vulnerability I can’t bear. I can’t write and exposing my clumsy attempts at it makes me shudder, and I haven’t painted anything in such a long time I’m not sure I can anymore. I’ve become too jaded to paint anything. But I can still play. I think. All I know is Armitage’s movements as Monet have a resonance that’s clear and sweet, and it reminds me of a finger slipping across a note, the feel of it coming off the note, and the tension and resolution and sometimes lack of resolution it expresses. And now I haven’t put my fingers on any notes for two years, and my frustration at not being able to express adequately how I feel has been locked up. I’ve wondered why I quit playing; I don’t remember any other time I didn’t play. I was playing before I could read. There are pictures of me trying to pick out pieces when I was barely able to sit on the piano bench. But I can’t bring myself to play. The thought of it leaves me…I’m not sure how it leaves me.

The next day:

I wish SO would watch this guy! He would agree with me about his abilities. SO is very attentive to detail when it concerns human beings. He still surprises me at times with what he perceives; I know he would appreciate Richard Armitage’s sensitivity and craftmanship. I would love to hear his thoughts! What a shame he hasn’t really watched anything. He was only half watching Vicar of Dibley, and Richard Armitage is mostly a foil in that. Then there was such a break between Vicar and George Gently that I don’t think SO realized it was the same guy, and Ricky Deeming also wasn’t a big part. Mostly I would love to talk to SO about what is happening to me and my urge to capture on paper the types of ethos and emotions I’m seeing Richard Armitage convey in his portrayals. Until now I’ve been content to swell up like a toad with what I perceive of people and things. I’m about ready to burst with what I want to express, and that’s much more interesting than writing all of this crap about my life.

Present day:

Getting ready to start Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet

And I have to mention this video:

This has become one of my favorites. I love the version of Ave Verum Corpus that bccmee used. She has a great sense about her music selections not to mention tight, well done videos, and this was her first one! I’ve been anxious to post this piece so I could highlight it.

I also love this music because it’s a wonderful Welsh baritone. The Welsh are my weakness. I am a quarter Welsh, and when I visited Wales, the sense of kinship was overwhelming. More about that later. For now, the version of Ave Verum Corpus that I normally listen to is on this album, but the Ave is not my favorite piece in that collection. So glad bccmee introduced me to this new version.

I really need to start that music blog. Maybe I’ll work it in during my spare time. LOL!

See Diary Part 25 here.

Screencap and screenclips courtesy of my stash.


  1. When I was a girl and read the comic strips in the newspaper, I would cover up the last panel so I wouldn’t be “spoiled” accidentally! Wow, I read every word of your diary entry and it wasn’t till the last moment that I saw you had mentioned my first fanvid. As I was reading your entry, I was reliving my initial reactions to The Impressionists and Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Claude Monet. You have such a way with words. I tend to let feelings and experiences just wash over me while you capture and embrace them lovingly. I am impressed with your take on The Impressionists.

  2. What Armitage did in The Impressionists was particularly impressive given the structure of the script. They were flying over events of not only Monet’s, but four other painters’ lives, at a breakneck pace with little to no time to build an emotional arcs for the audience. You’re slammed through what amounts to a jumbled collection of highlight reels.

    Yet Armitage does it. He actually manages to pull the audience into Monet’s emotional space so that you actually feel with the character. It’s remarkable.

    I’m sorry that you had to give up music. It’s painful to read of people who have talked out of their loves like that. I hope that came to a better place that where you were when you wrote this.

  3. This is lovely, Frenz. For someone who think they can’t write, I think you expressed yourself very well!

    There is something about Richard that strikes a creative spark in so many of us. I have an art background and a lifelong love of music, and to me, Richard really captures the spirit of the artist within with his performance. How I would love to see him play his cello or hear him sing more than a snippet! (I dream of singing with him).

    It makes me ashamed that I have neglected my artistic skills for so long when I see the phenomenal things RA does with his “limited” talents.

    But then again, I have channeled much of my creative energies into my fiction, and Richard is directly responsible for me getting into writing fiction, which has been such a wonderful way to hone my writing skills in a different way than my RL newspaper work.

    As to his innocent quality–it is there to some degree, I think, in every performance. Is that an essential part of the man, I do wonder . . . I still find something almost–otherworldly about him at times.

    Bccmee, you make wonderful vids for RA’s characters. Keep up the good work!

  4. The Impressionists seemed less about the artists, than about Impressionism. Within all the beautiy of the cinematography, it is wonderful indeed that Mr. A actually created a character who softly reverberates. It is an organic performance, blending, but not withdrawing into the painterly sensuousness of the production.

  5. Please please start that music blog!

  6. This is a lovely post. Thank you for writing it. This movie hits me in my solar plexus it has this dreamy, bitter sweet, heart breaking quality to it. It takes me somewhere emotionally and you hit on that “feeling.” Hey, Toby’s Rochester was pretty darn fab. I had to watch it all in one sitting.

  7. Thank you all for the kind thoughts. I wrestled with publishing this entry and the two preceding it, but those coming will not make sense without them. Thanks for reading.

  8. @Fitzg,

    You beautifully captured the essence of Mr. A’s performance in this production in your comment. You’re right, it was more about the movement than the individual artists, but Richard as Monet leaves an indelible print on one’s mind and imagination. I loved Monet’s work before this; I loved it more after seeing this. Would I have liked the real Monet as a person that much? Probably not; but I certainly treasure the version presented to us by L’Armitage. He was absolutely luminous and beautiful as Monet.


    I thought Toby was a great Rochester. I have that version on DVD and after re-reading Jane Eyre recently, I watched it and enjoyed it immensely. I knew, of course, he and Jane would have a happy ending, but I still found myself so eager for them to come together as soul mates . . .


    Thank YOU for posting this. Obviously a wise decision. (:

  9. @kaprekar,

    I agree about the limitations of the script, and I thought about throwing in what the little SOs had to say about it. One in particular did a complete analysis of the script and its weaknesses. But the piece was so long already that I canned that part. Maybe one of these days I’ll publish some of her writing. Since she’s a major RA fan, I might let her do that — if I ever let her read this blog. LOL!

    @angie, thanks. I’m enjoying it, and I promise not all of the entries are full of omphaloskepsis. ;-)


    So well put — as usual.

    @rob, Ohmygosh, so many scenes in that series hit me so hard. One in particular is when he comes back to Camille, which is why I put it up! LOL! I had a flashback of SO when I was pregnant with our first child. Such a sweet time!


    I’ll do it when I get a spare few minutes! :D


    I am really complimented that you read the piece!! ;-)

  10. @Frenz, I join in the gratitude for posting this, a slightly underrated work of Mr. Armitage. And the cinematographer. And the director. And the composer. There is lyricism which captures that era and the aspirations and ideals of that group of artists, and in which Mr. Armitage immersed and submerged himself within the pure beauty of it.

    I probably would (actually not) put up Blake prints on my walls,Sorry, Lucas. Or late period Goya (I’m so bouerguoise) , But Monet’s Rouen Cathedral, Gare St. Lazare, poppie fields YES!

  11. Here, here, Fitzg!

    I will join you as distressingly middle-class and say I would be delighted to hang some of Monsieur Monet’s works on my walls. There is a photo we took of some poppies blooming at beautiful Bellingrath Gardens down in Mobile a few years ago, and Benny did a bit of Photoship wizardy and turned it into a “Monet.” I love it.

    Impressionism has always been one of my favorite schools of art. Which reminds me I really should give my sister Sara a copy of “The Impressionists,” since she is quite artsy-fartsy, too. I know she would find Richard as luminous in the role as I do.

    Frenz, Sara also has a wonderful musical gift. She started taking piano lessons at age six and continued for nine years. I used to loved to listen to her play and had special requests which she would always perform for her baby sister.

    She also has long, slender, tapered fingers–true pianist’s hands, unlike my short, stubby fingers or Mr. A’s lovely, lovely hands.

    Sadly, flare-ups of her toxoplasmosis further scarred her eyes and she could no longer read the music, so she gave it up. But when we were together before Christmas, we sang up a storm! Music is such an important part of our lives.

  12. Oh, I hate that she had to stop playing, but I’m so glad she can sing. Singing is so therapeutic!

    You definitely have to get her that DVD. Would love to see Benny’s photo. I love Photoshop! I just hesitate to really get into it because I know I’ll get addicted. LOL! Same reason I stay away from the fan videos. :D

  13. I agree, singing is therapeutic, cathartic and a great way to bring people together (thinking of the show “The Choir” on BBCA) . I remember the joy of singing carols in French with my students and taking them to visit elementary classrooms to sing for them. Music is a great, great gift. Can’t imagine life without it, frankly.

    That’s what made my heart hurt when poor Lucas said he stopped hearing the music. ):

    I have chronic pharyngitis and there are times when I can barely speak, yet I can often manage to sing. I am sure it is something to do with the way I use my vocal cords, but it always seems like a bit of a miracle.

    I will put the DVD on my list of future presents for my sis.

    I need to find where that photo is stored. It was taken several computers ago. LOL
    Photoshop is cool, but yes, I have avoided getting involved with it because I figure I already invest too much time in writing fanfic and visiting blogs and websites–what would I be up to in the middle of the night if I got into photo manips and vidding?? (And how would I make it through my workday?)

  14. The hand on the swollen pregnant belly…so so so sweet. I could almost, but not quite, had another baby for that gesture alone.

  15. Toby Stephens as Rochester pretty much nailed the book’s Rochester in my view. He gives him a lot more nuance than many other actors, who tend to get a bit hung up on a certain trait. He’s, in a way, a bit like RA in that he lets the character have a whole run of emotions. And before I start harping on too much about darling Mr. Rochester … okay I’m that easily distracted that I’ve totally forgotten what I meant to say. Oh, I know, it was to say that I’ve started watching The Impressionists and oh my gosh, it’s wonderful. Makes me want to take out a paintbrush and canvas and paint! Which is a good idea anyway – no point in having all the gear and not using it! :)

  16. Traxy, get back to that painting PDQ! And Angie, keep exercising the vocal cords. I also sang (in choirs) when young. Just a run-of-the-mill light mezzo. Cords rusty now, but I trot them out for practice. (You do not want to hear me exercising them on The Minstrel Boy – better left to the Clancy Brothers). I generally revert to drawing and watercolouring now. And cartooning coustum/collage calendars for family incorporating their interests, photos,our senses of humour, life events, literary icons etc.

    Wherever we choose to continue our “artistic” expression, it is vital to the sense of wonder in the world, and the continuing voyage of discovery. (re: voyages of discovery, we did have a beagly-hound. :) And I don’t want to go to space, because I haven’t been to India, Africa or Russia yet. And there isn’t time for Life on Mars…

  17. Traxy,

    I agree with your assessment of Toby’s Rochester. I think, of all the versions I have seen of Jane Eyre over the years, he just might be my favorite Edward. And such a contrast with the petulance and self-absorption of the preening Prince John in RH! And yes, get thee forth and paint!


    Your calendars sound like a wonderful, very individual gift to craft for families. A British friend and fellow RA fan makes her own RA calendar each year, and her nieces and nephews crafted RA gifts for her for Christmas (he’s the gift that keeps on giving).

    You are so right. Whether we write, sing, play music, act, craft, paint, draw, sculpt, dance or otherwise, we need to DO it. I wouldn’t mind going into space, actually (I want to experience zero gravity. Of course, I could do that on the Vomit Comet LOL), but I haven’t been to Australia, NZ (which I wanted to visit even before The Hobbit came along, thank you very much), or back to Paris and London with just my husband instead of a bunch of high school kids . . .

  18. Angie, YES! Paris and London .Liived several times there, Went to school, worked, at different times, Brief visit to Paris on Normadny visit – need more time there to explore the footsteps of Impressionism and the baron’s Paris, and what remains of the mediaeval city around Notre Dame. Don’t know either city as well as I wish.

    As for space, I’m a Capricorrn, with no belietf in astrology, but the goat feet are firmly rooted on earth. And I have a fear of heights and have experienced vertigo. Have overcome fear of flying, just because you can’t get there from here otherwise,(just not good enough for swimming across the Atlantic) and I do rather want to ge there. But there is just so much I haven’t seen yet here, India, and Russia and Africa, Space will have to wait :)

  19. Can’t believe I’m only reading this carefully now.

  20. […] certainly *also* about sexual attraction — I am starting to think that its central feature is the facilitation of expression. Armitagemania helps people find a voice — whether an artistic one, a verbal one, a visual […]

  21. […] Diary Part 24 here, or to access all entries, hit “The Diary” tab […]

  22. […] TOP POSTS Addict ListIt's PersonalDiary of an RA Fan — Part 23 Fading From View — SPOILERSDiary of an RA Fan — Part 26 This is StupidRichard Armitage LaughsDiary of an RA Fan — Part 17 — Spear Carrying, An EducationDiary of an RA Fan — Part 25 It's Between the EarsAbout RAFrenzyWhat Would You Do If You Were Checked Out by Richard Armitage?Who is Richard Armitage?The King May Have Been DethronedDiary of an RA Fan — Part 24 Good-Bye My Fancy — SPOILERS […]

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.