All the papers had to say was that Marilyn was found in the nude.

Some thoughts have gelled in my head over these past few days of such private tragedies of public people.
We ALL know the pain of loss. All of us. Some of us have had more charmed lives than others, but we all know loss.
And all of us know the particular pain of the loss of death by suicide. (if you think you don’t, look more closely. You do. I can rattle off the names of three people–without even thinking about it)
It’s different than death by cancer, or death by drowning or death by car accident or death by old age.. And while we rush to comfort the survivors of death by many means, we pick apart death by suicide in a different way. We do not mean to, of course.
YES. That person may be alive today if only ….
“They had so much to live for, they had success, they had money, they had fame…”
When you do this, this picking apart, this cataloging, this ticking off of whys, you are hurting the people they left behind in ways that can’t even be imagined. You are minimizing their lives in pursuit of analyzing their deaths.
In the same way that someone who loses someone by some chance accident will have to live with the idea that if only that Lego hadn’t been on that top step, you are consigning the family and friends of those closest to someone who died by suicide to never be able to find peace with the fact that truly, they could not have stopped it.
Sure, they may have delayed it. Who knows, they may already HAVE delayed it, once. Or four times. And certainly, if that person was able to get the medical care they deserved they may have gone into remission.
But just as an alcoholic is always an alcoholic, a cancer survivor is always in remission or not, someone who is suffering depression isn’t cured. They are managed– by medicine and therapy.
And every time someone in the public eye dies by suicide, and everyone bemoans the loss, EVERY SCAB IS PEELED OFF and the bleeding starts again and the healing takes three steps back for all those anonymous souls who are left behind.
We attempt to respect the privacy of death by other means, but for this, for this–we want the gory details…and all the papers had to say was that Marilyn was found in the nude.
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Seriously?

Do we REALLY need tell people to think about this logically? About half the country is R, about half is D; with a good chunk from either side claiming to be something closer to OTHER.

  • Are we TRULY shocked or upset or thinking there’s a nefarious plot because some CAREER agents of the Secret Service or of the FBI openly fall into ONE of those three categories?
  • Are we HONESTLY suggesting that all those people should have NO PERSONAL POLITICAL OPINIONS?
  • Are we saying that if they DIDN’T vote for the person who won they should then LOSE THEIR Job?
  • Are we saying no SS or FBI should be voting at all? That part of their employment is to be disenfranchised?

How exactly would that work? Grownups (theoretically) have the ability to work with others, even if they disagree, on a personal level, with almost EVERYTHING about their boss.

We 100% can NOT, I repeat CAN NOT pick on the “affair” aspect of these two FBI agents, as we as a country, have apparently decided that marital infidelity with a PORN STAR is acceptable behavior nowadays. (Mulligan?? Are you kidding me? He got his mulligan when he was married to Ivanka and cheated on her with Marla. )

And, god help those who have made it past age 20 without the amount of humor and sarcasm that might produce a “secret society” comment between friends. Insert rolling eyes, people. Seriously.

Spoiler alert:

I dislike my boss. I don’t think this person is capable of the job in front of them.  I gossip about my boss to other employees and to friends/ family, IRL or via text. I didn’t vote for this person to be my boss…I was there first. I would not have voted for this person had that been an option.

I still do MY job. And I can do MY job because it’s MY job. I have respect for MY behavior. I don’t respect my boss, because respect has to be earned, and my boss has yet to earn it, but that doesn’t stop me from following the directives I am given, as long as they are legal, ethical and moral.

If the FBI, the SS et al, can do that, then what the actual F?

Unless we ARE now a Banana Republic, or we DO have an Emperor…

Joy!

Say goodbye to 2017 (Good riddance?) Hello, 2018 (Here’s hoping!)

My word of the year is MINDFUL. (I thought it was going to be JOY.  Really, I thought I had this years word taken care of early.) That’s what I get for thinking I had control of this little yearly exercise; as you hear me whine every year, I don’t get to pick the word. It picks me.

MINDFUL? Certainly, it’s a word that requires a bit of thinking—I just got up for a sweater; it’s chilly here in the studio at the moment, and I know I had a sweater when I came home. And so, I looked in two spots in the house and then went and found a different one.  And I returned to sit down, and guess what I had thoughtlessly draped over the chair I was sitting on? THAT is not a mindful experience!

But, I wanted JOY!! That was the word. I knew it! I am in the middle of my first Festival of KonMari-ing my home, keeping only those things that spark JOY! Joy, as opposed to minimalism. I am somewhat wary, having read the books, to become so devoted so quickly that I toss out all my everything, simply because it doesn’t bring me JOY.

I am on a message board where others are on this journey, and I won’t lie, as many of their experiences I am envious of, there are just as many who I fear are going too gung-ho, too quickly and they may regret it.  I am aware that things are just that–THINGS. But, I have reservations when they get to the place that they are tossing memories like so much old garbage. The throwing out of letters, of PHOTOS or selling of heirlooms because they are essentially on a “Fad Diet “… What happens when they no longer are satisfied with nothing and want the old back? Yes, you can buy new everything except new memories and tangible reminders of such. (I digress…this is a word of the year post. But feel free to contact me to talk about KonMari I’ve added this hyper-link because she seems to be doing it right –this isn’t a one-weekend slog!)

But, as this word JOY has been with me while I am doing my modified exercises toward the goal not of nothing, but of only things that spark joy, the word MINDFUL popped up.  And wouldn’t leave.

And then I got this for Christmas.

MINDFUL.img_0429

I can’t throw away all my anything, because JOY to me comes from knowing I can go into a drawer and pull out that random something or other, rather than the stress and expense of having to stop by the store to buy a new one of something all the time. I find JOY not in having a butter knife that I can turn to when I have a screw that needs to be tightened, but a toolbox with a screwdriver. Yes, if I was in a pinch, a butter knife would do the trick. I don’t want to live my entire life in a pinch, however.

Mindful means that as I Kon Mari’ed all my shirts, I got rid of a lot of things that didn’t fit well, or that didn’t look good. I still have more than I NEED, of course I do. (What appealed to me at the beginning is that she doesn’t say you can only have 4 or 6 shirts, but to keep only the shirts that bring you joy, whatever the number)  I tossed, folded, organized and limited the space for the shirts. But, now, if I am MINDFUL of that drawer, and I am honest about what is in there, I am aware that I am wearing still only a fraction of what I kept. What I felt I needed.

So, MINDFUL. Doing one thing at a time, rather than multi-tasking?  Sure. That is a tough one. Trying to be present in the moment…. choosing that quilt pattern and settling down to watch it develop into a gift and thinking about how the person may react? I can do that. Not mindlessly cutting fabric because it’s there, but thinking through what I hope to accomplish, and being present for that time. Vacuuming. Hmmm….that’s a mindless activity! There’s 14-16 hours that I am awake…am I MINDFUL of the things that happen, the interactions I have, the responses I give or things that are said? We shall see!

I know you want to see them, so here are (links to all the other Words of the year with which I have indulged myself ….) Happy NEW YEAR!!!!

(Hey, BY THE WAY, THIS was my 1,000th post!!!!)

And this article, just found it works with the MINDFUL part of things… not so much to save or not spend, but to be aware ….

It’s ONLY been 364 days.

(My random political rant… still bubbling over with disbelief how is this happening…)

What did we do that we went from the educated oratory of JFK, to incoherent Tweets from the Accidental Resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? When did we decide the person in charge should be the one with the LEAST knowledge, and the LEAST interest in learning? Shouldn’t we want our leaders to be heads and shoulders above us in intellect, vision, empathy, and ideas?

The person who represents us across the globe…shouldn’t that person be able to think on their feet, extemporize on a wide variety of topics and provide backup for their statements? What caused us to end up with someone who believes that TV ratings outrank policy? Who GETS his facts from one news channel–one that isn’t known for it’s truth-telling.  As president, he has ACCESS to the greatest minds of the world, yet he chooses cable TV to inform him.  He believes the Constitution is a False Flag when it doesn’t benefit HIM  but needs to be followed without question when the words can be manipulated to SUIT him?

How many of the .015% of people in this country do YOU know who will benefit from the repeal of the “death tax?” How many will be harmed by Trumpcare?

eligiblevoterpie

There is small comfort in knowing that the MAJORITY of Americans saw through his smoke and mirrors and elected someone else. Hillary received more votes than any candidate EVER—(except for Obama). Trump got THREE MILLION LESS VOTES THAN HILLARY.  These are FACTS. Or worse, decided to sit this one out in a pique of moral superiority that couldn’t have them vote for the least worst.

Despite his obsession with the electoral map, it is obvious he doesn’t understand even THAT aspect...that while the maps look red, the POPULATED areas went blue..  He got more square miles, not more people. He “rules” on the assumption that people like him; in truth he is the naked emperor. MOST of America doesn’t have the wool pulled over their eyes.

It’s been a year. No, I am not over it.  

13781934_10210590582744736_2260827268672719815_nI think that I have voted for the winning side about half the time since I started voting.  I would lament, read about the new guy, and move on.  Better luck next time. Never before did I truly feel we may not make it out of this alive, or whole, or as AMERICA. No, that is not overreaction. Have you been paying attention??

Even if you agree with all of his public policy, (and HOW can you?) how can you agree with his personal behavior,  his public presentation of the office?  Accepting his behavior as the price you need to pay for getting the things you hope he will get you? That is NOT GOVERNING. It is being complicit in the abdication of the office of president to a lunatic.

Show your work. Your responses to ANYTHING here cannot– I REPEAT CANNOT– be “Yes but–The Democrats, Hillary, Obama…” Two wrongs don’t make a right. You don’t let your son off the hook for staying out late and lying about where he was because he tells you that your daughter took $5 from your wallet last year when he gets caught.

–If one more person says to “stop dredging up history”… Should we STOP celebrating the Fourth of July then? That’s just “history”… or Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day? Only racial/ethnic minorities are told to forget the history of their oppression, and to move on….the victors may continue to celebrate apace.

–For ANY government official to declare that the price of protesting should be losing your job is 100% opposite of the intent of the First Amendment. Period. It is SETTLED LAW that you do not have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. If, as an employee of a company, you do something that is against your company‘s policies, yes,  you can be reprimanded in a variety of ways including lose your job. That is in the employee handbook. It is up to the managers, the unions, the CEO. For a government official, one who is NOT your employer  (indeed, YOU EMPLOY THEM) to say that you should lose your job because you speak out about injustice is wrong. For goodness sake, haven’t you ever heard of whistle-blower rules?

What of all the people on line, buying beer when the anthem starts. How about those people in the john? All those watching on television who get up and go feed the cat while the anthem plays instead of standing in front of the television with her hand over her heart? You want to FORCE allegiance? That is NOT the land of the FREE then, is it? Move to North Korea.

–If the alternative to the ACA is to allow 32 million people to not have health insurance then we stick with the ACA and fix it. “There but for the grace of God” and all that Christian stuff, remember that? All the carrying on about Christ, and Christian behaviors that ALL are expected to follow, and yet “Do Unto Others” doesn’t make it out the door of church on Sunday morning.

–How many of you have salaries OVER $200K?  Congrats to you. You will NEVER have to choose between the electric bill and the rent. Or the rent and a doctor visit for your kid’s ear infection. When we start getting to the billionaires—ANYONE who has to PAY in taxes more than most people will EVER EARN should sit down, shut up and thank their lucky stars. You actually can’t take it with you.

–How many of you are reading about the new tax proposal and ignoring the end date of the one little crumb left to the majority?

–How many of you plan on retiring before you get too old to enjoy retirement? How many of you have aging parents?  How many of you were planning on taking them in when they can’t still live on their own? Because once health care isn’t a right, and SS is decimated and Medicare is destroyed, and all the immigrant women who will work as home health aides have been deported, you will need to have the man-cave become the MIL suite, and one of you will need to stay home to tend the aging parent who can’t afford nursing home care; which in turn will cut your household income and the hope of retirement. Whoops.

—-> How many of you can’t see that once he finishes allowing this government to screw over the dark people, the funny-accented people, the people who were born in a country that scares him, that once all those people are done for/gone, that once they become irrelevant and unable to impact change or be the boogeyman any longer,  that then he and his goons will be coming after YOU??

We are standing and shouting, protesting against injustice, kneeling (oh, KNEELING! ) against the silence of justice mismanaged… whistle-blowing, loudly, to the universe, that we are AWARE of your maleficence and will not let it go by silently. This man will not let us simply move on. It is a dereliction of duty as an American to sit down and shut up this time.

Truth, justice and the American way —this administration has members who are picking fights with the Statue of Liberty and whether or not the correct and proper intent of the Statue of Liberty is to welcome immigrants.??? Think about that for a second; think back to your third grade civics when you learned about the Statue of Liberty (if you didn’t grow up in New York and see her every day.)  “Bring your tired your poor…” All the things that MAKE America the place people want to be, he and his band of thieves is trying to destroy.

–Be honest when you answer this question.  Why is it more important that Hillary say something about Weinstein when Donald Trump BEHAVES like Weinstein? Ask yourself why the media is more concerned with Hillary‘s reaction than with Donald’s behavior. That, right there, is white male privilege; that is misogyny.

It has been a year since the least issue-oriented presidential campaign ever.  HOW is it it wasn’t about issues? The same way that the actions of the Current Resident aren’t about issues… he is all about face time and ratings and manipulation.

In LITERALLY less than 365 days from being declared president, the office has turned into CHAOS, lies, and worse.

I started this little essay of wandering thoughts about two weeks ago. How naive and silly the topics I started writing about appear. See them up there? Little snippets of thoughts about something so esoteric as the reason for Lady Liberty… Now, we have one conviction, two indictments and so so much more about to happen. 

There is only ONE other answer. The man is senile, mentally deficient or has dementia and his caregivers are committing elder-abuse on a grand scale so that they may steal power and money from him. This is my most generous read on what is happening, having spent my early 20’s care-giving for someone with dementia. The other choice is he and his are committing high crimes and misdemeanors against our country.

I want to link a dozen different articles–would you read them? Or do you believe HIM and HIS more than actual factual reality? I am not crazy or ranting. I am scared. If you are not scared, you are not paying attention.

I had no IDEA that the dismantling of a country was so easy to get to… but the way we are going, we might as well be singing “How to Get to Sesame Street” Because, people… the pot is on the stove, you were dropped in the cool water, and someone turned on the burner.

Instead, I will leave you with this article, and this plea. VOTE TUESDAY. The candidate need not be perfect–they are human.  But choose the saner one.

Ghosts in the Machine

Or, how to get from THIS—CaseyFamilyPhotos-1-7 to THIS.CaseyElaineGus

1. CaseyFamilyPhotos-2-3 2. CaseyFamilyPhotos-1-6 3. CaseyFamilyPhotos-5 

It all started innocently enough. (It always does, doesn’t it?) I decided to have a scanning session, something I have done countless times before. I was looking specifically for some photos to make a birthday album.

I came across this tiny (2”x3”) black and white photo, circa 1958. As far as I know, there are precious few “Family Portraits” of my grandparents and their children.  There is that one over-exposed, standing in the sunshine snapshot. And there is this. I am guessing an anniversary photo. Grandma Elaine is sitting in front of a bouquet, and Daddy Gus stands behind her. Their children are posed, above the mantle, frozen in time- 1952 or so, my father angelic in his first communion attire.

THIS is the only copy of the photo of which I am aware. So, I added it to my pile to be scanned, scanned them all and moved on. Last night I started to edit, retouch, crop etc. And I discovered a very, very odd situation.  I looked at Daddy Gus’s mouth. I thought it odd; I didn’t recall having my cursor on his mouth, or have any recollection or reason to have been playing with the mouth. But, I reset the image to it’s scanned state, expecting my inadvertent error to disappear. Wrong. The image SCANNED that way, it looks like it on the TIFF file. I can see every crack and speck of dust and fingerprints, and Grandma Elaine’s mouth is perfect, but Daddy Gus is smudged.

I checked the scan plate, set the photo on a different spot, and turned it on its side, figuring there was something on the glass. Nope. Same smudge. Someone suggested scanning upside down, but all that did was give him a crazy smirk.  So, I went old school and took a photo of the photo. Finally, success.

Those who knew my grandfather claimed that he was just having some fun with me. Smile with tongue out

CaseyFamilyPhotos-2-2CaseyFamilyPhotos-1-4

This is an interesting shot, taken by ? circa ? The first is the scan, the second is complete with inky finger and palm prints. A 2×2 square photo.

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.

Adaptations— A primer

ADAPT: to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation

: to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose

: to change (a movie, book, play, etc.) so that it can be presented in another form

So, this book I love is becoming a TV series tonight (not a movie, not a mini-series, but a full on, 16 episode first season series!) I have had the pleasure of reading the books for over a decade,  seeing the first episode during the last week, and conversing via social media for  the past year with author, costumer and actors…. and you know what?

THEY are right and you may be wrong.

Outlander, the first of at last count an eight big-book series, (with a number of smaller works that go along with them) written by Diana Gabaldon, premieres as a TV show on Starz tonight.  The things that are IMPORTANT will be there. Possibly in a different order. (Patience, young grasshopper!) I have faith in this, because Ron D. Moore tells us his job as show runner is to not mess up his wife Terry’s favorite book.

The things that CAN be done will be done, and things that are important will stay. And if they aren’t still there, well maybe we are the ones who have created something in our heads that isn’t there. Seriously.

   

10559752_10152584443924246_6176897968434202756_n<—-Important bit. Included. (The text actually is NOT from the first episode, but the LOOK, so he can tell Claire this much later in the books, had to be in the first episode. )

As Ansel Adams said, There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

I would think that this is at least as true in the written word. When those words are then translated by hundreds of hard working actors, directors, screenwriters, costumers and set designers, the number of voices and visions might possibly deafen.

Each of us brings to any work of art, indeed, to any aspect of life, the sum total of all of our experiences. Either in the creating of said work, or in the consuming of it. That we have all had different life experiences doesn’t seem odd, and accordingly, our reading of words on a page must be influenced by different things. 

That doesn’t mean that any interpretation on screen is WRONG. It just may be different than what YOU brought to the reading of it and what you took from it.

After a year of having the supreme honor of hovering about the edges of this creative endeavor—following Twitter and Facebook conversations with writers and costumers and actors alike, I have to say that I think they’ve got it in hand. Trust them.

In the 8,000+ pages where he lives, the character Jamie has commented a number of times on his wife Claire’s substantial bottom.  That doesn’t actually mean that Claire’s rear aspect is overly large; indeed it could be read, as I did, as simple pillow-talk and playful behavior between Jamie and Claire. It also has absolutely no importance to the plot. For example, said plump ass never gets stuck in a doorway, blocking access for some thief in the night, which then causes a different outcome. If the big booty in question was required for the story, I’d be sorry to see them not get it right. (If you read the actual physical description of Claire, she is supposed to be about 130 lbs., and shorter than the actress portraying her. Diana Gabaldon put the height issue to bed quickly by suggesting that the only option was to find a less perfect actress or cut Cait’s feet off…)  Perhaps Jamie is simply a fan of Sir Mix-a-Lot?

As it is, I have to say that the ass, as shown, is a lovely round thing and how dare we as viewers denigrate an actor who is willing to bare all for the story? (Odd, isn’t it, to be admiring my ‘friend’ Cait’s backside, huh? I can’t imagine how I will be feeling when I get to see my other ‘friend’ Sam’s ass;– we have been assured he has a fine one, by the author Herself!)

Similarly, Claire’s eye color, a great device in storytelling, didn’t actually accomplish anything other than being a way of description. At no point does the heroine get caught because someone noticed her odd eye color and realized she was skulking about where she didn’t belong, thereby changing the story. Diana writes long books. Gorgeous, evocative description is obviously a part. And the camera is now going to create for us proof of how wonderfully deep and complex Claire may be, Caitrona Balfe’s eye color and butt size be damned.outlander-sam-heughan-caitriona-balfe-tobias-menzies However, Claire-hair WILL stay, and I think that a fine thing and a character of it’s own.

 

8,000 pages, give or take depending on your reading device, and the story isn’t finished. We, the long-time readers, can not continue to nit-pick every utterance or camera angle or choice made while ADAPTING the written word for the visual medium of TV. We are talking about taking one type of art and turning it into another type of art.10382772_10203709921660693_259376560995244149_n

There have to be changes. The medium requires it—We have to be adaptable as well.

It is entirely possible some scene that to you is incredibly important, because of what you brought to the reading of it, may be cut. It is going to happen. What we have to be thankful for is that the over all shape of the story stays. That the intent and love of the story remains intact. We can hope that many more people fall in love with these characters and that that the entire cast and crew remains committed to making a quality product.

We need to adapt because there are 25 million readers who have 25 million life stories, 25 million visions of Jamie, or of the size of Lallybroch or the size of Murtagh in relation to Dougal, or who think Tobias Menzies doesn’t have Frank’s smile.

That for all these years, YOU have considered Jamie Fraser to be the size of Hercules with a Ronald Mc Donald wig on his head in no way makes the color red they came up with for his hair incorrect. If his hair isn’t long enough for your vision, then adjust your vision. This is the character, Jamie Fraser, played by the actor, Sam Heughan.

Filming is almost finished for the first season, so stop complaining, will you? Jamie will be imbued with Sam as much as Sam will be imbued with Jamie.  (By the numbers, Sam is an inch shorter and a few pounds shy of the actual book description, your fantasy man notwithstanding.)

But we’ve already had that Conversation , haven’t we?      Ad infinitum.

There have been some absolutely wonderful reviews of Outlander so far….  Here is Rotten Tomatoes, which catalogs reviews.

Yes, books are different than TV and movies, and usually, the book is better.  And that will probably be the case, overall, here. But I am watching this as a companion to the books, not as a replacement. I can keep in my book world the images I have created and STILL enjoy the visual ADAPTATION immensely.

PS. Yes, young Roger IS in the manse. We just don’t SEE him in the first episode. Did you SEE how big that house is? He’s a tiny boy asleep on a chair, for goodness sake!  Dinna fash, aye?

COMMENTS welcome!!!!

pps, and I am editing as I re-read…..sorry about spelling errors! Dang Auto-correct strikes again!

Interesting reading about the costuming.

A nice review, episode 106, about Adaptation.