All the world’s a stage….our author becomes an actor!

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imageFor Outlander fans, this year has been wonderful.  I’ve told anyone who will listen ( my children actually time how long it takes me to mention Outlander) that this has been a singular experience.  I’ve had my favorite book turned into a TV series and I’ve had a chance to feel a part of things from casting to costumes.  Thanks to all involved who were so generous with their time; Ron, Terry, Maril, Matt, Sam, Caitronia, Starz, and many more.  It’s been a thrill to discuss the process with other fans and get glimpses from behind the scenes.  It’s been thrilling for me, but I can only imagine how thrilling it’s been for Diana.  Talk about falling down the rabbit hole! Despite her fame as an author and quite a few public appearances over the years, I’m pretty sure she has to be feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland.

First, I’m not sure she could have believed this was ever going to happen.  The rights to the story have been sold for many years. She’s never said exactly how many scripts she’s looked at over that time, but I get the feeling…a lot.  She told us that quite a few talented scriptwriters have ” had a go”  at adapting her book.  We’ve all heard how disastrous those attempts (anybody remember the turn white or burst into flame comments) were.  She had to be afraid someone would actually go ahead and film anyway.  I believe she said she couldn’t have stopped them because the rights were sold.  How scary!  Thank God no one ever did or I’m not sure Ron would have gotten his chance.  How do you pitch that one?

I wonder if she knew Ron had been trying and planning for three or more years, to get permission to pitch a TV series. When I heard it was being made into a series, I was so relieved.  How relieved was Herself when they came and pitched their ideas? I could only compare the feeling to sending your young adult child into the world and having them bring home a series of not so suitable prospective mates.  Finally, they bring “home” the right one to meet momma!

What a weekend that must have been! What was she thinking when she closed the door on that visit? I have this little mental picture of her being folded into Doug’s arms with a sigh of relief. And since then….they involved her!  I know she has said over and over that they are kind to listen to her and are under no obligation to take her advice, but they appear to be smart people who recognize a good thing when they see it!  Why would they not want to take advantage of such a valuable resource?  As Ron said in one of the trailers, ” the experience with Diana has been delightful”.

I know it’s silly. We are not best buds, but I feel protective of Diana.  Her books have become an important part of they my life and as a result, so has she. I get excited that she got a tour of the set, that they ask her advice, that she has relationships with the actors, and that she’s being filmed and interviewed everywhere!  I’m happy for her! I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  A reporter, who attended one of the San Diego events, wrote that she was surprised that even though the actors received warm welcomes from the fans the largest applause was reserved for the author.  I’m not surprised. I was proud of my fellow fans. Seeing our characters come to life is lovely and exciting, but we love Diana because she wrote _books_ that mean something to us.

Diana herself has expressed how odd and wonderful it is that one of the off shoots of her writing these books are the connections people have made with each other.  There are Facebook groups and Twitter groups that range from a shared  interest in knitting to sharing how Diana’s books have changed lives.  Some folks have even been inspired to write a blog (tee hee). She means a lot to a lot of people so, yeah, we are excited for our favorite author!

Tell me how thrilled we all were to see Diana’s moment in the sun on national morning TV and to see her resplendent and smiling on the red carpet!  So, this weekend we are sharing another “fallen down the rabbit hole experience” with Diana.  Herself is going to be an actress!  Millions of fans will be glued to their TVs hoping to catch a glimpse.  What a wonderful experience. We love you Diana and we are so excited for you and proud of your success.  Break a leg!

 

 

 

She feels a little like the Wife of Bath… the wedding night.

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imageIt’s coming. The night we’ve all been waiting for! The wedding. The wedding night. The deflowering of the virgin in the wedding bed!

Leave it to Diana Gabaldon to have the virgin in this situation be the man. Twenty-three year old James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser is a virgin.  This episode is just gonna be all kinds of delicious and I can’t hardly wait to get a taste.

I know this isn’t my typical blog article where I look into the deeper issues of why these books are great. But…guys…we are going to get to SEE Jamie and Claire make love!  I think this REQUIRES me take a departure from my norm.  There are a lot of things I enjoy about the books; the history, Scotland, Claire’s skill as a healer, and the conflicts Diana challenges her characters to overcome.  But…my Outlander loving brothers and sisters… Diana writes a pretty damn hot sex scene! And…we…get..to…see…one of the best…soon!

I’ve heard the critics talk about episode six being perfect from beginning to end and I’m hoping it’s the wedding and the much anticipated consummation.  I’m thinking that  I might be right because a critic said she was flabbergasted that two people “talking”  (wink wink) in a room could be this good!

I predict, quick somebody write down the date and time, that this episode will turn some naysayers in to little versions of Meg Ryan in the infamous Harry Met Sally restaurant scene. Outlander? Yes, yes, yes! If Starz does it right and they haven’t let me down yet, this episode will help folks understand why we love Jamie and Claire. Think of all the sweet and tender moments.  Think of all the heart-warming humor. And, think of Claire taking Jamie in hand, literally.

Claire gets to initiate Jamie into the joys of sex.  I love Claire’s reflection that she felt a little like the Wife of Bath.  She’s the experienced one and it’s a hell of a twist.  A woman is the one guiding and educating. And, according to Claire her new husband is a fast learner.  Jamie’s innocence is charming and people are just going to fall in love.

Ok…and this might be the best part, this is just the beginning. Another prediction! Waterweed and hedgehogs are going to become very popular!  The gals at That’s Normal blog are already open for getting busy business with waterweed related items in their online shop.  I’m also predicting a baby boom in about 9 months from episode six….just sayin.  The names Claire and Jamie might be making a resurgence in popularity.

And finally….Herself, “…Man you have one fine ass” . Enough said.

 

P.S.  Sooooo…..if you are going to write a blog about a wedding episode, you might want to check and see if there is a schedule already posted that says the wedding is episode 7 not 6…..just sayin.  Geesh. Face palm. Color me embarrassed. Oh well…I’ll wait another week…😜

The feeling is mutual….the rare love between Jamie and Claire.

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imageAs a lot of you already know, I had rough week. I’ve been in the hospital with a bilateral pulmonary embolism.  I’m on the mend and told I’m pretty lucky to be here. I am feeling pretty lucky, but I’ve also been here five days and I’m feeling pretty bored too. I’ve got a lot of time and that leads me to think and …that leads me to write.

Yesterday, it was announced that Outlander had received the go ahead for a second season. This was very exciting news and it started me thinking about what the viewers were going to see next season.  I thought of Claire’s decision and where that will lead them. I thought of the adventure and heart-break they will be facing. But, mostly… I thought of them, Jamie and Claire. I thought of their relationship and the depth of their love for one another.  I know I bristle at the idea that the series is a romance, but the truth of the matter is that the story is anchored by the love between these two people.

At Comic-Con this year, Diana was asked if Jamie and Claire’s relationship reflected her own parents’ relationship ( I’m thinking this sounds like a story I would like to read).  She responded that everything a writer experiences is some how reflected in their work. She shared that her parents were her first example of a passionate committed relationship and that she was lucky enough to find one of her own.  She then went on to remind me of one of the main reasons I love these books.  I love these books because they are about people who stay in love.

To me there is a difference between falling in love and being in love. In my opinion, so much of what we see, hear and read today is about the falling part. The media is currently all a buzz about the show’s “slow burn” build up to Jamie and Claire’s falling in love.  Falling in love is exhilarating! The emotions that are stirred leave us feeling special and as if we have found the meaning of life! Overall, a great experience.  But, as we all know, this feeling must mature and ripen if it is to last. Being “in love” is that more permanent state of being.  Jamie and Claire falling in love is exhilarating, but the maturing of their love is intoxicating and inspiring. Believe me folks the best is yet to come.  Their love spans impossibilities, heart-break, centuries and even time. Their love and attraction for one another is passionate, committed and mutual. Their lives are never easy, but their love never fails. This mutual love is rare and few of us are ever lucky enough to find it.

Once again, I am in awe of Diana Gabaldon’s innate ability to craft a story.  She juxtaposes the love between Claire and Frank and Claire and Jamie.  Brilliantly, this comparison doesn’t point out the flaws in Claire and Frank’s relationship. No, Diana is much more subtle than that, she shows us a loving relationship. Claire loves Frank. Frank loves Claire. What her juxtaposition does show us is the difference between great and something more.

I’ve been reading and watching some of the interviews of the cast.  Several of the questions being posed are about Jamie and Claire’s relationship.  I’m thinking the actors get it and that makes me so happy.  I’ve heard them say things like;”I think they recognize a kindred soul”.  This is what I think about when I think of Jamie and Claire.  Maybe more than kindred souls, I think of the idea of soul-mates. I hesitate to use those two words because I fear they have become cliche.  But, I do believe they are connected on the level of the soul.  One is not complete, not whole, not themselves without the other.

I’m not sure I could pin-point a particular scene or line of dialogue to prove my point. I’m not sure I have my own words to express the rarity and difference in their love, but I recognize it when I see it and Diana lets me feel it.  I think that the books and the relationship is all the more fascinating because of this intangibility.  For Jamie, and Claire for that matter, the difference is often found in the intimacy of each other’s arms. Early in their relationship Jamie recognizes there is something different when he asks;

“….What I mean to ask is, is this…usual? What it is between us when I touch you, when you…lie with me? Is it always so between a man and woman?”

Claire, as baffled as he is, admits that what they have seems different.

They seem to wholly own one another.  They later recognize that it is a bit frightening to know that any one person could hold this much power over you.  “It seems I cannot master you without losing myself”.  Before you start thinking that this sounds a bit unhealthy, let me reassure you that they never lose their own identity in this relationship.  In fact, there is a mutual admiration club going on there. I don’t think they _ever_ fail to appreciate who they are separately and the books are full of examples of them supporting and encouraging each other’s interests and endeavors. They are always foremost concerned for the other’s happiness and well-being.  Do they argue? Yes. Do they drive each other crazy, at times? Yes.  Are they fulfilled by their relationship…yes.

I don’t want to spoil things for those new to the books and TV series, so I won’t spoil it by telling details about Jamie and Claire’s future. What I will say is that I’m hoping the show will get a chance to show how truly remarkable and rare is the love between these two people.

 

 

 

DHs, BFs and Outlander on Starz…..are critics counting these guys?

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imageAs I’m sure you all know, there is a lot of discussion out there on all things Outlander! In fact, several Twitter folk say they’ve never seen a TV series receive this much attention. I don’t know. I guess I never cared enough about another TV series to notice! But, Outlander? Yep, I care. And because I care, I’ve been watching all the media hi jinx.  It makes me chuckle.

One of the biggest issues being debated is whether Outlander will appeal to people who have not read the books.  Critics don’t seem concerned about the show attracting women who haven’t read Ms. Gabaldon’s novel. But men? They aren’t sure they’ll tune in. However, I think there is a male population the critics have failed to take into account…DHs and BFs.  For those who need a Twitter translation, dear husbands and boyfriends.

Almost every article written about Outlander’s rapidly approaching premier mentions the fan base.  They call us fervid, devoted, loyal, passionate, committed, and “Rabid” grrrrrr!  (Excuse me gotta wipe the foam off my mouth)  Along with these colorful and mostly positive adjectives, they always mention our size.  There are a lot of us.  And that’s my point. There are a lot of us that have DHs and BFs that are ….wait for it….men!  And guess where a lot of those men will be on August 9th? On the couch beside their significant others having a dram and watching Outlander.

I know these women.  They make things happen.  From the day they announced that our beloved book was being made into a TV series, I have been engaged with them on social media.  It’s been a wonderful experience.  They are witty, wise, creative, clever, caring and kind. (And some are a bit naughty #cgng) They come from a huge range of occupations and educational backgrounds; doctors, lawyers, authors (hello Jodi Picoult), homemakers, business women, etc……. But, the one thing they all have in common is their love of the Outlander series of books and it follows, Outlander on Starz.  They are passionate people so, it once again follows that they would share their love.  We talk about Outlander. We recruit.  Our husbands and boyfriends WILL be watching.

Please don’t think these men are being forced through some sort female machinations to watch a show they do not want to watch.  This isn’t the case at all.  Now, I’ll admit there will be men watching because they want to please their wives and girlfriends, but a lot of them are genuinely interested.  After-all, some of these men have been hearing about Outlander for over twenty years.  That is certainly enough time to extoll the virtues of Frank, Jamie and Claire’s story.

But, what about those guys who are watching to please? Well, because Starz decided to let fans watch the first episode early, I’m in the unique position of knowing how those men reacted to episode 101.  They liked it. Take a gander at the reports on Twitter and Facebook.  They are full of stories of men, DHs, BFs and brothers, fathers, uncles, co-workers, who not only enjoyed the show, but are anxious to watch it again.

Currently, there is a population of male fans who call themselves Outmanders.  I think their ranks are about to grow!

 

 

 

UK TV NEEDS Outlander….why haven’t they got it!

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image I just got done doing my bit to help Outlander fans in the UK.  Gotta admit it was fun! Love being creative and seeing creativity. @lunaticaardvark you my dear are a riot! I’m still chuckling!  Aside from the fun though, I am feeling so sad for these folks.  Many have been on this, at least year long, journey with the rest of Outlander’s worldwide fandom. I feel like I know many of them.  We talk about our lives and share our excitement over the books being made into TV.  Many have been waiting over twenty years to see their favorite books come to life.  I just don’t get what’s holding things up!?

I’m sure there are all sorts of reasonable perfectly acceptable reasons for why “the” deal hasn’t happened.  I’m just not feeling very reasonable about those reasons at the moment.  It never occurred to me to even imagine the UK would not get to see a show filmed in the UK with main characters played by actors from the UK.  Because not showing a wildly anticipated show that features the beauty of the Scotland would just be…dumb. To quote Ms. @lunaticaardvark in one of her posts for #UKTVneedsOutlander:

“Because you like to MAKE money and we like to SPEND it!”

Really, isn’t that the bottom line for BUSINESSES?  Ok …enough of my rant.  How about a sincere wish that some how what fans did today gets the attention of someone with the power to make a difference. My own enjoyment of the TV series is tainted by the knowledge that faithful fans are being ignored and may not get to watch.  Please, know the rest of us Outlanders care and will do what we can.  THE UK NEEDS OUTLANDER! Please give it to them!

Color Bird By Beth Wesson

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No wonder you stand with chin tucked and chest puffed

I would too if I were you!

So many of your kind are drab brown or blue

Not you!

God chose you to rainbow hue

No wonder you stand with chin tucked and chest puffed

I would too if I were you

A poetry prompt from

www. Catherinemjohnson@ wordpress.com

And let the critiquing begin….a review of Outlander reviews.

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imageThe first episode of Outlander on Starz has been made available to the public and a great many in the press have seen at least six episodes. Being very interested in the success of the show, I have been watching for the inevitable reviews.  They’re out there.  And I’ve read as many as I could find. To my credit, I’ve only responded to a few. IKR! This is amazing restraint on my part!  While reading I started to notice some patterns to the critiques.  The raised concerns and observations seemed to be getting repeated by various authors.  So, I’m going to place the reviewers into camps:

Camp Bodice Ripper:

You belong in this camp if you are of the opinion that this show is nothing more than romance pandering.  To be a successful camper at Camp Bodice Ripper, it appears you must be somewhat dismissive of women, especially of those in “middle-age”. You must be able to write a review that uses a plethora of pop-culture cliches and catch-phrases. It appears these campers drink a lot of “male viewers determine film worthiness” flavored Kool-aid.

Camp Structrual Issues:

Earning an extra hot dog around the campfire in Camp Structural Issues requires the camper to be able to look at the show in light of other shows.  These folks believe themselves to be experts at recognizing the elements that make for a successful T.V. Series.  Some of the most discussed elements in Outlander were its pacing, voice-over, characters and filming. I give this camp some credit for having differing opinions on the effectiveness of these elements. There actually appears to be two companies of thought in this camp. Company one believes the slower pacing bodes well for character development and a “slow burn” for the main characters’ love story. They believe it makes it sexier and the end result is worth the wait. Company two believes the pacing is too slow and laden with too many voice overs. They are concerned that perhaps Ron Moore is being too faithful to the book.   They believe the plot is lumbering and risks boring the viewer as a result.  However, both companies seem to agree that episode six was wonderful and that they hold out hope that things just might get better.  Both companies in this camp praised the music and the beauty of the film.

Camp Will It Appeal to Men:

These campers seem to be concerned that the series will fail unless Starz finds a way to make this story appeal to men.  These campers seem to be astonished that Ron Moore, given his successful track record on other television projects, is at the helm of this show.  They just don’t seem to get why this appealed to him and seem genuinely worried for him.  They can’t seem to get past the romance element either, despite Ron’s assurances that it’s a “ripping good yarn”. In my opinion, these campers don’t even seem to consider that the show might succeed without male viewership.

Camp Strong Woman Protagonist:

These campers are singing around the campfire holding hands and generally feeling pretty good about Outlander.  They are excited to see women portrayed in a positive realistic manner.  For once, they repeatedly wrote, we get to see  (I’m paraphrasing many authors) a “self-actualized woman who expects to be treated by her perceived worth”.  They feel the world is more than ready for a strong female protagonist.

Camp What’s Not to Like:

I’m thinking of joining this camp. They seem to be my kind of people! These campers are not pulling things apart nor do they seem to have any kind of political agenda.  They just point out that here is a lot to like in this series; adventure, the beauty of Scotland, great chemistry, historical interest, and a story that leaves you wanting to know what happens next.

I know I didn’t quote any specific authors in my review (frankly, there were just too many) nor did I address every issue reviewed. This was just my general impression after having read dozens of critiques.  For the most part, I believe Outlander was positively received.  I agree that it is about time for a strong female protagonist of redeeming moral character.  I loved the love story at the center of the books and early indications are that it plays well on the screen.  The music, scenery and costumes were breathtaking. That ritual in the standing stones made me gasp.  And…most importantly….when the hour was over, I wasn’t ready for it to end.  Only time will tell, but this fan gives it two thumbs up!