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.

Trying to Keep Up

I haven’t lost complete track of Richard Armitage but darn near. As some of you know, I started a business, and it’s taken almost everything out of me. It is working, but it’s like being pregnant, giving birth and then dealing with an infant. All things that take the stuffing out of someone in her childbearing years let alone someone like me who is long past that. Yep, that’s my concession that I’m not a spring chick.

The rest of my story is that I have one child I’m still homeschooling, take care of two houses (one’s mine, the other one’s a church house), and I got something dropped in my lap a few months ago which has me driving 1,500 miles a month. Unreal. I don’t even know how I’m doing all of this, but the good news is that it’s paying all of those horrendous medical bills. I do not want to go into my old age owing six figures, and thankfully, I won’t!

And thank God! my youngest child, who is in high school, is independent or there would be real trouble. She directs her days more or less. I oversee the subject matter she studies and do lecture on some subjects, but other than that, the child tells me what’s happening. Most of that is her reading constantly — about four books a week and titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird or Ethan Frome or A Member of the Wedding, and some popular fiction thrown in like Looking for Alaska, which she hated. She said, “I don’t get why everyone [read that as her peers] thinks John Green’s writing is so great. This is my third book by him, and the first two I kept thinking that maybe the next book would wow me. That hasn’t happened. Honestly, Mom, To Kill a Mockingbird is soooooo much better than anything John Green has written it’s not funny.” I replied, “You know what’s happened don’t you?” She looked at me, and I continued, “You’ve been spoiled by good writing.” From there we went onto a very productive discussion of what we both like to see in writing.

So where am I going with this? Lately, discussing writing has stirred up such a longing to write again. Not that the desire ever went away, but it’s more intense these days because time’s winged chariot is kicking my ass, and I want to say something before I’m completely crushed. When I feel this way, I become wistful about this place, because writing this blog freed me up to write other things which I needed to get out or self combust. And I still have so much I want to say. Not sure how I’m going to pull it off, but I need to finish something here.

Other than that, picture me something like this (below) as I go about my day. I’m almost constantly with people. I love people, think they’re fascinating, and I never want to be completely cut off from them. Yeah, you can feel that “but” coming. I’ve got to get in a dark room and coalesce my thoughts instead of forever reacting to others — or feeling like I am.

SunkenTreasure-6-8Nov15

Candid photo snagged from RichardArmitageNet.com

The Gift, or No Banshee Yet

Man, can I just say I have been busting my backside? 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

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.

Why Shit Doesn’t Just Happen

Reblogged from Write on the River

There’s an author and blogger I follow who got my attention this morning. I’ve now pre-ordered his book.

Why Shit Doesn’t Just Happen
September 2
By Bob Mayer

shitdoesntjusthappen1Why the book and title? I had to get your attention, just like engineers, soldiers, pilots, astronauts, passengers, policemen, firemen, etc. need to get someone’s attention just before a catastrophe occurs in order to either prevent the event or save lives. And engineers, systems analysts, workers, and managers have to get the attention of others in order to point out cascade events that, if unchecked, will lead to a catastrophe.

Consider the meaning of the phrase shit happens. Saying “shit happens” indicates events are random, have no meaning and there is no accountability or responsibility. It indicates such events could just as easily happen again and there’s nothing we can do about them.

Read the rest here

A segue for those who only come here to read about Richard Armitage. Today, our guy is “In Conversation” at the Old Vic, and it’s going to be interesting to see what he makes happen.

Hopefully we will hear something soon.

So yeah, an interesting mix of subjects.

edit: I wish I had turned off pinging. Oh well, Bob Mayer can think I’m a nut all he wants. I did buy the book. :D

You should write about The Crucible. EVERYONE should write about it.

Reblogged from MeandRichard

I couldn’t agree more — even if you don’t publish it for the world.

You should write about The Crucible. EVERYONE should write about it.

The reason that I have been trying to link every longer fan reaction to the play that I have found on a blog or site — and I look for new ones every day — is that I’m trying to create a broad record of the reactions to the play by non-professionals. No one should take my decision to write about the play myself as a signal that I think others should not write about it. I will continue to search for other reactions and link them here in order to do what I can to assure that more people see them. Everyone will have a different one — because really, everyone is seeing a slightly different play — and we should rejoice in that, in finding as many as possible.

If you do want to publish something and you don’t have a platform, I hope you know that there are plenty of blogs (including this one) that would be happy to do it for you.

A little inspiration:

John Proctor

edit:

If you want to start a blog and need help, I’ll help you, and no, it does not need to be a Richard Armitage blog unless that’s what you want.

Sorting Out This Place

SH3_093For a long time I’ve been unhappy with the navigation on my site and in particular the method for finding old posts. A few weeks ago I got so frustrated I decided to do something about it. I thought about moving the site to another host where I could do what I wanted with it and put all sorts of nifty functions into it. But I honestly don’t have time to do that, so I decided to build an archive instead. It’s under the prosaic name of ‘Archive’ on the main menu.

I only have 2010 posts so far because I’m still wondering if I even like this system. Not sure yet if each month should have its own page or if all the posts for a particular year (divided by month) should be on one page. Maybe you’ll try it out and let me know what you think. If so, then I’ll adjust accordingly and add the other years. I will also be adding tag and category pages at some point, but I may wait until I move to a self-hosted site before I do it.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what’s there and don’t judge me too harshly for some of my posts. I was a budding writer, and in many, many respects, I still am. I like to think I’ve improved, but I don’t deceive myself that what I’ve done here is anything for posterity. What I do know is I’m glad I did it. It has helped me find a voice of sorts, and frankly, I laughed and cried and smiled as I went through some of these old posts and seldom had a regret as I read even when the writing was awkward. I know it was part of the process, and I’m entirely okay with that.

Given all of this, I hope you will let me know if you have issues finding something, or there is a bad link.

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com