What Just Happened?

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Janine‘s account of Richard Armitage hitting her world:

Sometimes life hands you something you didn’t know you needed.

Or even were looking for.

Richard Armitage. It is a name that a year ago I would have said, “Who, the politician guy?” and Googled him to check. The actor’s name would have meant nothing. Now? I do not know enough words to express all that I feel for the actor guy. I still would need to Google the politician.

What I have been pondering and mulling this past year is simple — and complicated. Why Richard? Why me? What just happened?

Mid-March of 2012 found me with the Netflix DVD of ‘North and South.’ It had been in my queue for probably two years, but I never made a move to watch it. While the story sounded slightly depressing, it was there because it was Elizabeth Gaskell. A drought in British period dramas brought it to my house. I hate to say that my viewing of this was with “the family.” That is never a good idea with period pieces, which do not hold the attention of a large portion of the inmates.

But I remember the first moment I saw Richard on screen. And while I know this is not true, there was complete silence, at least in my head.

I don’t remember coherent thoughts. It was more a wordless recognition. Just … there.

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The voice hit me next. It was so much to process that it was only later when my head said, “Chocolate.” And for me, it wasn’t just any kind, but this particular mocha buttercream I make for the yule log each year: rich, a little sweet, smooth as silk.

Since the show was divided over two discs, I had to wait an entire week to get the second half.

I know.

By the time I got to the kiss to end all kisses in the history of romance, not to mention the future into all of eternity or any parallel universe, I was attempting to remain sensible. This was assisted by the presence of “the family.” After they toddled off to bed, I replayed that scene a shocking number of times.

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Somehow I was able to stop myself, only to go to the DVD extras to watch the man who played John Thornton masterfully and with such nuance.

Awkward. Uncomfortable. Stumbling over his words a bit. This was the man who just made John Thornton tear a hole in the space-time continuum?

I found him endearing. Sincere. Real. And when he started to discuss the responsibility of playing his character, he said a few fateful words that stopped me short. He talked about his character living for 150 years on the page.

Ah. Imagination. Richard Armitage had imagination.

I am not sure how the craziness played out over the next few weeks. It is a bit of a blur. I decided to watch his work chronologically if I could find it. That meant “Robin Hood” was up next (what? a bad boy? conflicted? smirking?). I found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content on the Internet: fan sites, blogs and everything in between. I darted about when I had time, hearing echoes of my own reactions wherever I went.

Did I say echoes? I meant the keening cry of a siren’s call. I was Odysseus floating on a sea called denial.

Around June I was starting to question my sanity. What was I doing? I felt an incredible need to watch this man work, crafting characters where Richard disappeared. He was a chameleon, shifting in and out of roles where he looked remarkably different from himself, and it wasn’t due to makeup or prosthetics.

Eclipsing that need, however, was a desire to understand his motivation. Almost daily I was looking up interviews, scattered at first, but then starting with the earliest and moving ahead, wanting to see how he grew and changed in those years between ‘North and South’ and now.

It was those interviews and commentaries — along with the letters to his fans — that brought me to the conclusion that this was a decent guy with a wicked sense of humor, a man who embodied a lot of my ideals. Much of the time, I felt as if he reflected me: staying in the background, giving praise but not comfortable getting it, working hard to do the job not just well but excellently, living honorably. The list only grew.

It all made me admire him more.

None of this happened in a vacuum. Life was swirling madly about just like always. Family was crazy, work actually went to an even crazier place in May, June and July, and I was working on my own web-based garden site that I launched in December 2011. There was a dog to keep entertained, a vegetable garden to tend, summer projects to start, friends to visit …. The list was always endless. The majority of my entertainment was watching shows with Richard in them.

In July I started to examine what I was doing. Why? That is forever the question I ask. Who, what, where, when and even the how are just facts. It’s the why that tells the story. Why Richard? Why me? Why all of this here and now and in such an intensity that, I now admit, frightened me?

I needed to write something. Anything. It took a form of a letter to Richard in my head. It morphed and changed. Edited, rewritten and edited again. Then Comic-Con happened. In nearly real time, I saw Richard giving interviews and being wholly charming. There was a twinkle in his eyes that his beard only emphasized. He was articulate and again earnest in his unmistakable love for what he was doing.

Warner Bros. Pictures And Legendary Pictures Preview - "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"  - Comic-Con International 2012

At that point, the urge to write was overwhelming. I write. It’s what I do. It’s the place where I can be honest to myself about everything. And why I was denying myself that was because it was important. I knew in my soul it was important. Either I couldn’t admit to the why or I didn’t know the answer myself yet.

Eleven days later, after a long day taking care of my grandmother who had cataract surgery early that morning, I wrote. Longhand. And wrote and wrote. Several hours later I had a letter to Richard. I tucked it away and actually believed that had done it, that I would wake up the next morning and be able to let this go.

No.

It only intensified.

More tomorrow.

Screencaps courtesy of RichardArmitageNet

The Zeitgeist of Richard Armitage Universe

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We are not all the same and of course how Richard Armitage has affected each of us is not going to always be similar. So this series of posts “Why Richard?” is not designed to speak to every reaction but to perhaps capture some of the spirit of the RA Universe.

Some have been able to easily sum up the effect of the experience. They just nail it for themselves without seeming to meander around in their heads in an attempt to cover every little aspect. That’s not to say one way is better than another. I like meandering, and I’m going to keep at it. But I do marvel that it took another fan just a few months or less to conclude what took me from the beginning of 2008 and through most of 2009 to even come close to verbalizing (more on this later).

Remarks from the aptly named Armitage Besotted:


It’s been five months and counting since I first stumbled upon “North & South” and began my personal Armitage mania. (Definition of mania, per freedictionary.com: An excessively intense enthusiasm, interest, or desire; a craze.)

Why Richard?

Because in North & South he makes manifest the hopelessly romantic (by today’s cynical standards) notion that someone could notice you, “discover” you, choose you and decide to love you just for who you are, without you “going after him” at all. You just go about your business, and a gorgeous hunk finds you. In an age of “hooking up” and trying to divine if someone’s interested or “just not that into you,” who could resist this delicious fantasy?

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So it’s projection. Total projection.

And yet….

I find myself changing my behavior, thinking, “I could be a little more open, and maybe new, good things will come to me.” Or, “Instead of reading my book, I could strike up a conversation with the person next to me on the train about their book.” Or “Yessiree, I COULD post my thoughts on a blog, and see what kind of creative, funny new people I meet.”

Something that touches you enough to change your thoughts and behavior is called…art. And the person who creates art is…an artist. He’s an Artist, people. And he’s changing our lives.

I just love this write-up. It was like a breath of fresh air when I read it!

More coming up on people changing their thoughts and behaviors.

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet

Why Richard?

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A couple of months ago I passed the five year milestone as a Richard Armitage fan, and I’m satisfied as to why Richard became such an obsession for me. I’m sharing the discovery in my diary entries, which I started because this is a common question among people who aren’t fanatics one moment and a little while later, they are.

This week during FanstRAvaganza, I’m exploring the subject a little more and talking to new and not so new fans about it, and hopefully catching up with where they are in their lives. So hang on while I get my act together, and I’ll be back to share with you.

For now the screencap of one of the scenes that got me started:

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Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet

Something Political

It’s never been my intent to get political on this blog, but I have to say something about politics. I feel myself on the verge of exploding if I don’t. So, here it is. There actually does come a time when I do not want to give my opinion. Hard to believe but it’s true. Or let me put it this way. Do you know what misery it is to live in a swing state? Pollsters drive you crazy! My phone’s ringer has to be turned off during the election season; otherwise, we would hear it going about every 15-20 minutes from early in the morning until late at night, and it happened again a few minutes ago when we were fool enough to turn on the ringer this evening. Sheesh! It was almost 10pm here. Give it a rest, people!

And if it’s not a pollster calling, it’s the candidate or their spouses with a nice canned message. Did I ever say I liked computers? These particular computers can go to hell.

Then there’s our front door, which is assaulted with all manner of door hangers, and I should probably be more kind about those since they’re much better than the strangers who ring our bell.

How much longer until November 6th?

Certainly enough time to watch North and South again.

Oh yeah, put a clipboard in his hand! I’d answer the door to that pollster. :D

There’s a Line

I was just on Twitter and saw this:

and I wanted to shout: yes! but there’s a line. :D

For those who are new to Richard Armitage, I’m going to be disappointed if you don’t have a crush because it means something is wrong with you!

If you don’t know where to go to find more about him, there is some info here.

Pressing Matters

This is an acknowledgment of a fellow blogger and future Richard Armitage fan, who woke up on Tuesday and found her blog had been “Freshly Pressed.” When I saw her post today, I was not the least surprised she was selected, and I know if you visit her blog, you will agree. So Congratulations, S.L. Hoffman, aka Eagle Eyed Editor! I look forward to more.

A picture to encourage her to watch ‘North and South’:

Shameless, I know, but she can thank me later.

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.