Context Matters. Let us talk Outlander, shall we?

Are there differences between the reality of a fictional book world and the reality of a fictional television drama and the reality of reality?

There was much noise about “this isn’t the way that happened in the book”  and “how could her belt disappear” starting in episode 1 of OUTLANDER, but in truth, it is all made up. If you are able to buy the notion that Claire traveled through standing stones, back 202 years and immediately ran into her husband’s ancestor, who just happened to be in the same location at that moment, and who is the spitting image of him despite there being, what, 1/16 of the gene pool from Black Jack Randall, why can’t you accept a belt disappearing? (Continuity accidents on set, people. It’s a fictional belt, in any event.)

The costume designer has explained the how and why of Claire having more clothes than you think she should. Why do you deserve a reason, anyway? (Time. It helps to indicate passage of time. When you change Claire’s clothing you are inferring a different day. And the housekeeper, Mrs. Fitz, runs a tight ship and was able to find any number of outfits to borrow–six mix and match, “Granimal” type deals in Castle Leoch.)

But it wasn’t in the book, you continue to lament!

You love Frick and Frack Tweedle,  aka Angus and Rupert, and yet they are not anything like they are in the books, where they are scary, dour and large. They are comic relief  on the show, and yet, you have come to love The Tweedles.  You who know their fates are asking that those be changed, because we love them so much. Why can you accept the Tweedle’s place in the adaptation, embrace them (the typical TV trope of numskull neighbors), but you can’t handle that TV Jamie is  maybe a wee bit more romantic than book Jamie, who bought a ring instead of having one made, or is an inch shorter on screen than in real fictional life?

None of this actually happened!

It is ALL PRETEND. Some of it is book pretend and some of it is TV pretend, but none of it is documentary.  None of it is actual history. (Well, within reason. Some events did actually occur, although Jamie and Claire were probably not there. And, yes, as they do have a certain Forrest Gump way of being in the right place at the right time, they do run into actual historical people, albeit in a fictional way.)

The sole reason I can see that Jamie had a handmade ring on the TV show was because they needed to find something for the Tweedle’s to do that created a wonderful soft comic moment, that fell into the rhythm of the flashback storytelling of The Wedding.  It’s the symbolism of the the ring that is important, not it’s design, composition or origin. A ring made from the key to his home (?—Not verified, but strong indicators are that it’s a key to Lallybroch) indicates an acceptance and willingness to fully embrace Claire. She is part of WE now. And, we have to learn to TRUST RON. There will be pieces that move around (or get lost) for a better telling in episodic TV.

You are not going to go back and read the book and discover it’s now a key. The book you love isn’t changed. Can I insert here that that concept –of electronic books, especially history books, being changed to suit what the ruling class wants you to know is a continuing fantasy/horror/dystopian nightmare of mine?

How do we KNOW Frank didn’t do what he does on the show? Didn’t search, didn’t love so deeply, didn’t mourn? How do we know that Diana hasn’t told Ron what DID happen? Diana knows what happened/happens/will happen, even if we don’t.  There is so much that could happen off screen—

None of the costuming is accurate, historically, because even if the wool was spun by hand in a room lit by candles on a treadle spinner, the sheep the wool came from wasn’t even born in 1743, so it’s totally inaccurate. I am not interested in coming off like a sycophant, but really there are so few things that actually bother me about the show. I am looking at the big picture.

It IS a ripping good yarn, as show runner Ronald D. Moore points out, and it deviates almost immediately from formula because Diana Gabaldon WASN’T writing it for publication, but to learn how to write a novel. Or so we HAVE to believe, because Herself SAYS so, and were you there to disprove it? Ok, a bit of “aw shucks” about the retelling of such a happy accident; how much is what she wants the story to be?  Or better yet, why do we question it? It is the story of OUTLANDER’S birth. It was a practice novel, and, the hero and heroine marry early in the novel. Already not a romance by the numbers. And, 8000 or so pages in, they are still in love, and are grandparents. Much more than an epic love affair, OUTLANDER begins a multi-generational sweeping historical fiction series of novels.

In Diana’s ORIGINAL story, OUTLANDER, the first of 8 books, Frank is a cipher. By WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEARTS BLOOD, he is a very different man, and one who, in my humble opinion, is a more sympathetic character. Whether Diana had always intended for him to be more complex, or whether he showed up and wouldn’t leave, he is much more than one note.  He is actually a note on the show that a lot of folks don’t want to accept, because they are all about ALL Jamie/Claire, all the time. A lot of those readers are not particularly interested in the history, the tapestry she weaves, the other characters stories. How many times I have read people say, get on with it, stop writing about battles, about Willie, about Bree, about… well, about anything that isn’t 100% Jamie/Claire-centric. Those readers are totally missing what this is all about. I hope that viewers will embrace the fullness of the story.

We have had to wait over 20 years for this to become a TV show. And we were then given only eight episodes of magic.  And some complain about that, too. Then some complain that we have to wait too long for part two.

So, one more itty bitty thing. We are Diana Gabaldon fans. 10698621_10205421072830219_4101314330111693137_nApril 4, 2015? Jamie can perch on a windowsill that long. We’ve got this.

#Droughtlander ends Saturday

(Spoilers from this point if you haven’t read the book-and my comments are from the books depiction, as I haven’t seen the episode yet)

And now, some will complain about something else entirely. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth and the carrying on of ‘The Reckoning,’ 1.9 begin.

As fiction, THIS IS the way things were, in THIS world, whether or not it’s historically accurate or not acceptable today. Jamie and the men were put into amazing bodily peril by Claire not truly understanding the danger she was walking into. A woman of the 20th century believes in a civility and world order that is vastly different than where she ended up. 

In order for his men to continue following Jamie, for him to be able to lead, he has to make SURE Claire understands, and he points out that her punishment is mild compared to what one of the men might receive. The punishment is measured, but not in anger or fury. It is to show that he is in charge, that he takes the protection of his people seriously, that there is justice and that there are consequences to actions. This is incredibly different from the modern husband smacking his wife around and bloodying her nose because she didn’t bring his beer fast enough or because dinner was not hot enough.

The larger point is—he sees Claire as an EIGHTEENTH CENTURY woman who is being willfully disobedient, who should know the consequences of her actions and yet still puts them all in danger, all for a nebulous bit of wandering around. He has no clue she was trying to go forward in time, to get back to Frank. For all we know, he could think she has turned on them and actually is a double agent.  Jamie has one piece of information withheld from him that would make it all different. If Jamie were aware that Claire was from a different time, she would explain her thoughts about strapping, and he would explain his reasoning to her. But because he has no reason to think she wasn’t from his time, he would think she would know, expect, assume the consequences of her actions.

He doesn’t know any better than to use corporal punishment, not because of a big moral failing on his part, but simply because that’s how it was then.  A wife was property. Legally, a husband could punish his wife for disobedience.  Or, a father could have his daughter beaten for disobedience. Just a few episodes (chapters) back, the community at large was willing to allow a teenaged girl to be beaten in front of them in the Great Hall for disobedience. (How many of us who know the future wish Jamie had just let Rupert have at Laoghaire?) And remember, too, that Colum Mackenzie was the law. There are no Edinburgh policemen to enforce law. Just the laird.

Also, keep in mind that Claire is an unreliable narrator; in the book, she often says one thing and then does the polar opposite. Who is Claire telling this story to, and what editing, embellishment, or changes does Claire make as she recounts what had occurred? (And the bigger unanswered question—WHEN is she telling this story??)

This is one episode—But this is the very, very beginning of an 8000 page love story. It’s brutal, it’s bloody, it’s real (fictional real).  Jamie becomes a man among men through his experiences. He learns from Claire. He becomes a better, more rounded, and definitely a more modern man, because of Claire.

Of course, your mileage may vary. If you have had intimate experience with abuse or with sexual assault, it may be a difficult thing to let go by. It isn’t glorifying these things, but it isn’t shying away from them, either. It can be jarring. It ISN’T real, though. Except in it’s own world, it is a work of fiction. 

There is this website called StoryWonk. The couple who run it are dedicated to the idea of “story.” They have done an episode by episode podcast, and at hiatus started a seminar for the book.Listen to Scott and the Sassenachs seminar for Outlander. It’s a 17 episode podcast that takes apart the story chapter by chapter, and gives great insight into the story—the structure of it; the good the bad, and ugly. It is like taking a college literature class devoted to one book.  It draws your eyes to the incredible story telling as well as the deeper meanings that can be found implied in the text. I’ve read the book more than a half dozen times, and yet this seminar has drawn my attention to any number of things in a new way. Fascinating stuff, by very interesting people.

*I welcome discussion about this topic. Because I know it is very, very subjective and delicate, I ask that you respond with the same civility that you would if we were standing face to face.

A Tale with Two Sides…

There is a saying–“There are two sides to every story.”  We tell people to wait to get all the information before forming an opinion.  I recall in high school reading  Dear Abby suggest you write a note, expressing all your frustrations with a person and then instead of stamping and mailing it, tear it up! (more satisfying than the delete button, to be sure.) And then there is the game of Telephone. The internet often reminds me of these things, chat rooms and forums in particular, (but news outlets are getting as sloppy as private people expressing opinions about the widget de jour.)


A few weeks ago, on one of the first truly beautiful afternoons of the spring, I decided to eat my lunch in my car.  Eventually, an older woman came to her car which was parked next to mine in the lot. And as she approached her car from behind, she started gesticulating and mumbling to herself. She saw me sitting in my car, windows down, food in hand and just had to point out to me how disrespectful people were nowadays, how this vehicle parked behind her was almost touching her car, tells how he had all that space behind him but he was practically touching her bumper.

Not having a horse in this race, I took another bite of my sandwich, smiled, nodded my head and went on reading my book. She put her bags in her car, locked up and headed off to another store.

A few minutes later, a gentleman wearing a clerical collar unlocked the door of the SUV that was apparently overstepping its bounds and he backed out and left.

Far too quickly my lunch was over, and I got out of my car and headed back to work.

As I passed this ladies car, it turned out that HER bumper was over the center line more than 15 inches.  When she had pulled into the spot and through it, it seems she didn’t use her space appropriately, and so the vehicle coming in behind her had no choice but to get close to her bumper in order to fit into the space.


Make the moral of this story what you will.

Words. It’s all about the Words.

Words. Language. Semantics. I am not always the most eloquent (the post previous to this being a prime example…my husband’s blog regarding the new year was far more all-encompassing and descriptive…)

…but I LIKE words. I like to read them–far more than one book a week– I like to write them–(last year, my second 178,000 word (fan-)fictional story, someday, the great American novel…. :})

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.  ~Mark Twain

And I understand the power of words. One of the most important skills in my job is being able to choose words appropriately, to convey a variety of (mostly positive) feelings and descriptors.  Think of how many online “wars” could be avoided would that the words ‘spoken’ were chosen with more care? (Not to mention how many real wars, how many families ripped apart)….

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or evil.”
Siddhartha Gotoma or Buddha (563-483 B.C.)

I have chosen a WORD for the past few New Years Day. (Insight, Inclusive, Deliberate are past words.)

Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.(unknown…)

Announcing this year’s word: BALANCE.

Today, on my quilting list, everyone (well, almost) is choosing a word! And oh, what wonderful words, what personal words!

I hope to see that we all focus on the best our words can bring us!

(edited for clarity) AND, I just received another word! I am joining a quilt challenge, where we create an art quilt every two months, utilizing that word….January/February is PUZZLE…


It’s a WRAP. Cut….

…fade into black (a starry night)….

Happy New Year!

2009. –Time really does go faster when you are having fun! And yet, some things seem a lifetime ago!

Over all, the year was a good one for me. I hope it was for you, too!

I actually accomplished some of my—well, I wouldn’t call them exactly resolutions—but some of the goals I had set for myself.

I have started to become a bit more serious about the photography; got my website up and running. (

I actually started, finished and entered a quilt into a challenge! (didn’t make it, but I entered!!)

I finished writing my fan fiction story, started in 2007; 178,000-ish words later, The Big Chill got its Happily Ever After.

We traveled, and I met new cousins and caught up with old friends…

(You will note the eat less chocolate/exercise more types of ‘resolutions’ are not featured here, nor will they be in the future, lol!!)

This new year, I would like to get back to writing, I would like to FINISH some of the over 35 quilt projects I have started, I would like to concentrate more on genealogy, and cataloging/scanning family photos. As well as take more photos, sell more photos, and organize the house, the studio specifically, and probably do some more cooking, and spend more time with friends and family and and and and….

None are really resolutions, because they only seem to put undue pressure on you, and untold, unnecessary guilt, when you are unable to hold to it…

And that seems a pretty negative way to start a new decade!

Balance. My word of the year…..

I hope that 2010 brings you only the best of everything!!!

(and I am headed to bed…work awaits at 7:30 am….)

INFO dumping…

I have about a half dozen thoughts, that could be posted tonight, but I don’t know if I’m really in the mood to flesh any one of them out at the moment, so I think just a random sampling of what’s rolling around in my head would be enough (or possibly WAY too much for some)

So, without further ado and with absolutely no order to the listing….







Last week Timmy and I went to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and I had a blast taking some lovely floral shots. That you can’t see. Because of(let me see) # 6. The computer. Right, recall that computer I got from Joe for my birthday? It’s great. Wonderful (no, Really Joe, i MEAN IT, Thanks!!!) However, it and I have had a difference of opinion on where I store software, whether I wanted all 110,000 messages sent to my new OUTLOOK, etc.

But now, basically, I am good to go. Except for the monitor which is small (I didn’t think it was, I thought it the size of a house, but the SCREEN part of the monitor is SMALL!!!) and the fact that my Photoshop Elements claims a file is missing and won’t upload. So, I just ordered myself Elements 6.0 and when it arrives, I will be able to share images (I mean, I COULD…but I shot in RAW, and they are HUGE…..)

Ok, that was the flowers, part one. Part two is that I planted seeds on Saturday last, and so of course the deluge came. I am relatively certain that most of my seeds were washed away, and I will see them in the gully (sorry Timmy) or in some unsuspecting neighbors yard. I am talking something like 4 inches of rain on Sunday, ok?? A little tiny seed probably didn’t have a chance. 

In any event, it was all part of my annual effort to prove I AM NOT A PESSIMIST!!! I insist on planting, I am sure success will be mine, this time. I forget, except intellectually, what it feels like in the summer, at 103 in the front southern facing yard. I forget that the weeds are barely capable of surviving the voles/moles that are tunnelling through our entire front yard. ( I know there is a difference between the two creatures, but if I google them I will have to look at some icky creature. Its ok, thanks)

I determined after 4 years ( I AM teachable) not to spend too much money on plants, because it seems they just cant make it. I bought seeds. Except for two plants. One of which was stolen. Yep, yanked up right out of the garden a gaping hole left. It was either a vole/mole or a squirrel because they left the name tag.

 Speaking of squirrels. I am thinking of opening a spa for them, right here in my back yard. Location, location, location!  I watched a squirrel yesterday collecting seeds from the scene of the crime the day before, when he or his cohorts were caught hanging by their rear legs, and swinging their bodies up at an unnatural angle in order to stick their head into the bird feeder. The cheap bird feeder I bought when I decided we would see how the birds liked our yard, which they have promptly broken by all their acrobatics.  Well, the jury is out on the birds, but the squirrels are guilty!!! 

After said squirrel gorged himself on stolen seed, he pranced into my screened in gazebo, stood on the adirondak chair and stopped for a drink of water that had pooled on the side table. Then he proceeded to climb up onto the corner shelves of the gazebo, and stretch out for a nap under the shade of the roof.

 Ok, so WRITING. I finally have completed an outline for The Big Chill,  my fan fic in progress for over a year. It’s down to 6 songs. I know (kind of) whats going to happen in each of them!! hooray!! ( wow, I finished a thought in 3 sentences!!)

Onto quilting. Ah, quilting. My other love. I have started three (shush, you DID NOT hear that) projects. And have made headway on a fourth. I am working currently on a Wild Goose Chase made entirely of batiks and black. I have one-third of the blocks finished.

I started (although I swore I would wait)  on my Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler quilt. Two blocks so far. But there are 140. So I have some time yet to go. Eithne and Robin think they will join me on this journey.

And of course I FINALLY started on the challenge quilt Eithne proposed. I have 1 of four named blocks completed. Waiting on receipt of the other 5 block names.

And then there is the TQP challenge, 2008. Which as a challenge goes is easy. Using your initials, choose three colors and make a quilt. Wonderful. Easy-peasy. Except I designed the quilt. And then messed up the measurements and cut and stitched 24 nine patch blocks too small.  No, not really too small, just too small for me to do do the alternating block as a paper pieced block. I am ready to shoot myself after the first 2/3 of one block!!! So I re-drafted the pattern to enlarge that block to 10 inches from 6 so that I would still have hair left when I was finished.  I do have to master Paper Piecing if I expect to get through Sylvia. But — easy steps.

Joy?– Or control? What causes, in this day and age, with all of the incredibly serious, earth changing events currently at play,…. what causes someone to lose their minds over the minutiae of life? Is it because they truly DON’T have any worries?? They know of no-one suffering a great illness, or worrying whether their job is secure, or has family in Iraq, or, or, or…..

Today, a customer called me. (I custom frame art) She had brought her art BACK to me to re-paper, because the BACK of the frame was wavy, bubbly, whatever. I agreed it didn’t look awesome as far as that all went, and  was flummoxed by the adhesive not sticking. I re-did them myself this time, so I KNOW what they looked like. Mind you, the frame was great, the stitching, etc, not a single complaint on any of the 5 pieces. But she swore the ‘only’ thing she could see whenever she walked by them was the gap between the paper and the frame. (I know, WHERE are they hanging anyway?? AT what angle is she viewing them?)

Her husband picked them up the other day. We looked them over and found them acceptable. Today she got home from her vacation and called me, yelling at me, wanting to know what I could do to fix them, what kind of a guarantee did we have, what kind of materials am I using? You get the picture, right? Remember, from the front they are PERFECT. It’s not as if scraps of backing paper are sticking randomly out. It is the back. The side that faces the WALL. 

So, the question I leave you with…. is this person truly that Anal? Does she really think this is an IMPORTANT issue?  Or is her world spinning so fast off of its axis that THIS is the only thing she thinks is within her control?

Anniversary… SIX, yep count’em, SIX years ago Sunday  we got married. And we agree we are so well suited. Indeed I went out yesterday and bought Timmy a gift. You see he has recently taken up Golf.

And today, I watched as he emptied out his trunk when he got home. Yep, I stood there and watched him pull out of his trunk a golf bag. And not ANY OLD golf bag, but indeed the exact one whose twin is currently hiding in the guest room, now apparently awaiting return…

Yep, we belong together!