Rules of Engagement or Man, I Miss This Place

I certainly have great affection for Richard Armitage, which is still a bit weird to me. Not because it’s weird to have great fondness for someone well-known who you don’t know. I’ve had several celebrities whom I think of fondly. Jack Lemmon was the first one. He did so many wonderful pieces. I remember the first time I saw Some Like It Hot. I was smitten with Jack Lemmon. I think I was about 11 years old at the time. I was a fan for life. But I have to confess, I never stared dreamily at Jack Lemmon’s eyes. It wasn’t that kind of relationship. You know what I’m sayin’.

But back to Richard Armitage and this place which can still have me examining my navel. I used to wish that weren’t so, that I could just move on and not wonder how and why I’m even here. But I don’t do that any longer. I’m here (maybe not as much recently), and I’m fine with the continual examination of why I’m here. The day I stop asking myself what’s motivating me or what’s motivating others is the day I don’t want to be around. Motivation is huge to me. Yep, that’s right, I do wonder what drives people. It’s an obsession with me. I admit it! Why do people (including myself) do what they do? I have had that question in my mind since I was old enough to remember anything. My parents used to complain about my incessant questions about everything but most of all my wondering aloud continually at why someone did something or didn’t do something.

SO has said on more than one occasion that I question everything that moves, and if it doesn’t, I kick it until it does. He’s right. I know he’s right, but is that so wrong? SO’s answer was that I needed to be writing about it instead of talking about it. I resisted that because hey, I’m a math person. I’m a techie. I’m a bean counter type. We don’t write. That was the goofy thinking that infested my head. I was also raised by a writer. She won awards for it, and she didn’t think I could write (or so I thought), and therefore, I didn’t think I could write. I was encouraged to do math, because she wasn’t that great in math and was elated that I was.

But there’s something about being a writer that I’ve discovered. It took me a while to figure it out because I was so entrenched in my stupid slot of STEM person. And it’s this — if you’re a writer, you cannot help it. You are going to write. You are going to delve and ponder and discuss. You cannot help it. It’s who you are. You are driven to do this no matter that you adamantly refused to ever, ever, ever associate the word writer with yourself.

So where was Richard Armitage in all of that? He’s the catalyst, man. SO was a little concerned about my Richard Armitage obsession until he realized Richard Armitage was instrumental in getting me to write. And man, am I writing. I’ve been writing and writing and at some point I stopped calling it a memoir for my kids. Oh, I am still writing for that reason as well, but I’ve gone way beyond that. I now want to publish something dammit. We’ll see if I can pull it off, but that’s my goal. And it’s my goal because I am a storyteller. I’ve been doing that for years. When I worked for a large corporation and traveled around to speak to customers or employees, one of my greatest strengths was not just my technical knowledge, but that I could engage the audience with my storytelling. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how technical someone may be. If they can’t talk, they won’t be heard. Truth be told I used to want to think my success at that company was due to my great technical ability. That wasn’t the case. Oh, I do have good skills (not great but good). I’m also a realist and know it was my ability to communicate that allowed me to move up so quickly. That simple. I just got confused with all the technical stuff. But I’ve figured it out now. It was my engagement with the audience and my ability to convince someone to follow what I was saying that made me successful.

Maybe I can do that with fiction. No, scratch that. I plan to do that with fiction.

Bold words? Certainly, but then the timid are the ones who are not in the arena, and the arena (whatever it may be) is where you find the fun.

Should I write a letter to Richard? Nah, I’ll save it for another day. I’m crunched for time this morning.

How ’bout a picture:

Phew. A great screencap of Richard. I snagged this from Twitter, but it’s from Larygo.tumblr. Whoever that is, you, or whoever, did a great job enhancing it. Thank you!

Photo of Jack Lemmon from the movie “Some Like It Hot”, directed by Billy Wilder. Jack Lemmon as ‘Daphne’. Initial theatrical release March 29, 1959. Screen capture. © 1959 Ashton Productions. Credit: © 1959 Ashton Prod. / Flickr / Courtesy Pikturz. Image intended only for use to help promote the film, in an editorial, non-commercial context.

Dreams and the Passing of Time

I’m not quite as up on Google Alerts about Richard Armitage as I used to be, and really there’s no need since so many fan sites keep up. I appreciate that! Plus, it gives me time to do something I really love which is watching videos like this one below from my oldest kid.

She wrote this in a few minutes, taped it and sent it to me. And she’s got about 20 more, since she can’t seem to stop. This one is not perfect, but I love it. Not just because I think it’s a great song and has tons of potential but also for what it represents.

She is pursuing her dreams, which very definitely include a highly artistic facet — writing, photography and music, and who knows what else. It seems when someone is letting their artist flow, it just doesn’t stop. This interview with Viggo Mortensen speaks to the mentality and reminded me of how I really did think as a child — that there were no limits on what I could do or express.

But the kind of focus required for these endeavors has “real life” envious and continually trying to intrude. The ability to ignore real life then becomes paramount to the creative if they are ever to do anything significant. They must learn to hang onto the precious dreams of childhood.

SO and I did not have a great ability with this. We were forever trying to please our parents. Sadly, our parents and others preached such a conservative approach to life that it almost squelched the creative in us. It’s been a fight to keep it alive! Even my father who was fairly unorthodox and highly creative was very conservative when it came to my future. Don’t get a degree in music, don’t play in a band for a living, don’t go off to parts unknown to do photo essays, don’t, don’t, don’t, because (gasp!) you might experience some hard times. This was said incessantly. Guess what? I’ve experienced hard times anyway. Don’t we all?

With our children, SO and I have tried to take a better approach, tried to inspire yet prepare them for what they were getting into without demoralizing them. Don’t be stupid and still pursue your dreams is what we’ve said. Certainly, that’s hard, but anything worth doing…

This was also talked about, and thankfully, they seem to have taken it to heart. Two have ended up in New York to pursue their passions and one is on the west coast doing the same.

And who knows what’s going to happen. At worst, they will always know they tried.

© 2014

In the meantime, this child keeps writing as well as bartending in the city with her sister (they are middle and far right) and going to school (the “don’t be stupid” part):


What does all of this have to do with Richard Armitage? I’m getting to it. It’s been slow, and I’ve dithered around for a couple of years about my diary in the process, because it’s been hard to figure out what I should publish and what I shouldn’t. But I’m determined to finish. I’ve also talked to a lot of people (including all of the people mentioned in the diary), and almost all have said go for it. Even before I started, I had permission from those put in the most unflattering light, but I have still struggled with publishing. I’m very loyal to my family and never want to cause them harm. But I think I’ve come to understand that what I reveal is not harmful but a common reality and perhaps how it resolved in my life will help someone else.

Barney Stubble

Perhaps I’ve threatened to quit blogging one too many times. Let me assure those who sent me notes. I’m not quitting. I’ve just been busy and had toons on my mind lately. Blame it on the notion of Comic-Con which has me boning up on all things that make fanboys lose sleep. Of course after yesterday, I may blog about Richard Armitage for another five years. No, even I couldn’t talk about him that much.

Then I see something like this:

and chuckle at the thoughts which fly through my head. There wasn’t an urge to number the stubble but rather name the ones under his chin who have lived with him and seen all manner of things. Oh my Barney has gotten an eyeful, and what oh what has Barney endured? There’s a story. :D

Some of you are thinking, “Barney is not an elegant enough name for Richard’s stubble,” and maybe you’re right, but such is the pitfall of having Comic-Con as a filter for the next few weeks and for which RA is responsible.

And with all this talk of defection in recent weeks, I have a confession. I have become a Tolkien fan, which was not in my plans. Quite awhile back I started reading The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings for the second time. My first reading was at the ages of 14 and 15 and read in part because my guy friends were all reading them, and I wanted to know what was so intriguing. Their discussions also made it obvious my education was not as well-rounded as it should have been. So mostly my curiosity and pride were at work as the impetus, and any satisfaction was clinical. This time around I was just reading for enjoyment, for the wonder of it. And obviously I did enjoy them, but in the middle of all that reading, I began partaking of Tolkien’s essays and letters and fell in love with him.

Yeah, there he is. Can you see my grin?

In particular the ability and encouragement to fantasize in a way that’s edifying makes him irresistible. And that is the point isn’t it? To be edified. That may sound odd coming from the author of a blog like this one (or maybe not), but there has been something edifying about the process here. Oh, sometimes it gets boring. Yes, there it is. Sometimes I get bored with all of this. How many times can you look at the same photo of someone?

But what I’ve been trying to say in my diary entries is how I’ve become utterly obsessed with what words can do and how I came to give myself permission to explore that. As a reader, I’ve always adored others’ abilities to handle words, but I never thought to articulate the wild thoughts in my head. I was a geek and a musician who loved to spend countless hours solving a problem or playing with notes. Playing with the phrasing in a musical piece. But to do something similar with words? No, I could never do that. It was left for the few who mysteriously had some sort of gift. My imagination would have to remain locked up and privy only to me. I was good in math and had better pursue it or something related to it since I didn’t have the “gift.”

If I get the courage worked up enough, I’ll continue the entries. Mostly, I have to forget that you’re all here. It’s only when I post as musing to myself that I can really proceed. Thankfully, I realized before I started this blog that it doesn’t matter if what I say here is perfectly lucid or smacks of great ability. It’s something and better than nothing, and most important that I’ve let myself go to a much freer place. Tolkien is a balm in this respect. I plan to take out his words and review them when I’m feeling the infection of performance mentality, and I love this quote no matter how incessantly it’s been used nor how hackneyed it’s become to some of you. It aptly sums up my presence here:

“…Not all those who wander are lost…” — PPS in a letter from Gandalf to Frodo, Fellowship of the Ring

Thank God for post scripts.

About now you might be thinking, “This blog is your wild thoughts?” No, but it has helped to keep me thinking what happens when you communicate with others in written form. My wandering here has helped me get through writing a book, and if someone had told me a few years ago that I would write a book other than a technical how-to, I would have laughed hysterically. And now I’m halfway through a novel.

But all of this is a preface to a question, really.

Can I have two infatuations? :D

Wait. Wait.

A crisis of conscience is crashing over my head. Have I really been in this Richard Armitage frenzy for over four years and blogging about it for over two?! What?!!

It’s the zombie apocalypse. This is how it looks. Just sayin’. In case you wondered. So don’t be frightened. It’s good for now, but sometimes dinner burns. And it beats the hell out of chewing off someone’s face (nope, not even going to put up a link. vomit). No wonder I’ve immersed myself in this!! Okay, I think I’m all better.

Now go buy some gold for the coming economic disaster. Not gold certificates but the real stuff. And then come back and watch ‘North and South with a bunch of us.

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com

edit: for those who found some of my comments cryptic, just know that zombie apocalypse, which was already a big meme, is now being applied to the incidents involving a drug referred to as “bath salts.” Supposedly the drug turns people into cannibals. There are now at least two recorded and verified instances of this in the U.S. Sickening and definitely makes me want to immerse myself in something that feels good. I actually had a nightmare about this. Mostly thinking of my girls who live in NYC and hoping they look out for themselves and for friends (some of them RA fans) who live in Florida.