You may notice that things look a little different around here. I’ve not only changed the look of the blog, but the focus as well (or I guess I should say I finally have a focus?) I added the tag line ‘actors, fandom, and me’ because those are the things I like to write about the most.
When I started this blog, it was a place for me to write about things other than my celebrity crush on Richard Armitage (which I had a separate blog for). when that started to wane (and I finally accepted it), I still blogged sporadically but with no real direction. then I discovered Dan Stevens, and he quickly took over.
I haven’t been able to devote the time and energy towards blogging lately that I would have liked, due to unresolved (still!) stomach problems that have been wearing me down. I have an ulcer- I know it, the doctor knows it, but I have to jump through hoops just to be sure. ugh.
It’s a new year, hope is on the horizon, and so I think investing myself in this blog a bit more will help my peace of mind. all sounds good, right? the problem is, I need direction. random questionnaires are fun but I can’t do that forever. I could blog about Dan easily but I don’t want to blog only about him. I still intend to transfer my dream diary over here for creative writing purposes but that’s more of a side project. I need to focus, but on what?
I read several blog posts on how to find your niche and refocusing your blog, that were helpful. they basically all said the same thing: what are your hobbies? what are you passionate about? connect the posts you’ve had the most fun writing, with your blog’s traffic stats, to come up with possible subjects to focus on. take those suggestions and make a list of post topics for each one. if one list is longer than the others and was easier to make, then that’s your focus. needless to say, ‘actors/fandom’ won by a landslide.
I’m throwing ‘me’ in there as well, because I tend to ramble on about my thoughts & feelings. a lot.
So, there you have it. I’m trying to focus. I hope it works…
Kathleen Kelly: Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today, I saw one! It got on at 42nd and off at 59th, where, I assume, it was going to Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake, as almost all hats are.
Joe Fox: Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.
2.) The Bookstore, which is practically it’s own character
It reminds me of the small church library that I volunteered in, years ago. The library was basically geared towards children, not just religious themed books, but all the children’s books that happened to be popular at the time. The librarian really kept up on things, she ordered the newest books and we creatively put them on display throughout the small space. We had reading aloud hours and fun holiday themed events. I really enjoyed my time there. So when I see Kathleen Kelly with a princess hat on her head, enthusiastically reading a story to a group of children, it makes me nostalgic.
The love story of the film is cute. The face-to-face banter between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan is enjoyable, but it’s really the e-mail theme that grabs me. I’ve had many pen pals through the years, and so I cherish that kind of communication.
Kathleen Kelly: I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you.
Unfortunately I’ve either drifted away from my old letter writing pals, or they now prefer to communicate in three sentence conversations via social media instead. I miss the uninterrupted honesty that letter writing fosters.
Kathleen Kelly: Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.
This is probably why I’ve gravitated to the blogging platform. Here, I can send thoughts ‘out into the void’ and also have ample room to babble on to my heart’s content in the comment section.
Kathleen Kelly:The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.
And instead of pretty stationary or cutesy stickers and ink stamps, I can decorate with other fun things instead…
I’ve never made the connection between letter writing and blogging before. I like the thought of it though, it makes it seem more personal.
Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
I have officially been nominated for the Liebster Award by SueBC of the ‘I’m Feeling This’ blog. I say ‘officially’ because the questions I recently answered in relation to the Liebster Award were a general shout out from zees muse to anyone who wanted to answer them; this time, SueBC nominated me directly.
One of the stipulations of this blogging award is that you not only answer the questions presented to you, but you then come up with a set of questions for the 5 other blogs that you nominate. Problem is, the blogs I read have either already been nominated or they don’t like to participate in these question/answer type of challenges. I can NOT pass up the opportunity to answer a blogging questionnaire though, so I will forfeit the ‘award’ but answer the questions anyway!
The first few questions are duplicates from the set I answered for zees muse, but I will be giving different answers this time around. I very rarely have just one favorite anything, so it’s not like I’ll be wracking my brain to come up with more answers!
1.) What is the best movie you have seen in the past year?
Does this question mean ‘best new release’ or just any movie that I’ve seen for the first time recently? If it’s the latter, then that would definitely be ‘The Guest’, which I wrote a little about here. If it’s ‘best newer release’, then my answer is: Doctor Strange. I really enjoy the Marvel movies but for some reason I had low expectations for this one. Benedict Cumberbatch proved me so wrong, I am very happy to say! I loved his look, I loved his accent, I loved the way I started out scoffing at the character’s selfish arrogance but grew to feel so warmly towards him by the end. I thought Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen were excellent as well.
2.) What is the most memorable live theatre and/or concert experience you’ve had in the past year?
My daughter’s Spring Concert for Middle School Choir. I was really impressed with the selections, particularly Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’ and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
3.) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Truthfully, I’ve not read anything in the past year that could qualify. I did stumble across a Twilight fanfic that I really enjoyed though, and ended up reading more than once. It was called ‘Because of a Boy’. The story centered around a single mother of a child with Asperger’s, who meets and falls in love with a man whose father has Asperger’s as well. It made me cry several times throughout the story, not in sadness, but more for the way the families acknowledged and adapted to their circumstances so willingly. Edward understood the little boy in a way that most others could not because he had grown up with a father who was so similar. Edward not only loved his father but he genuinely liked being around him, and so he always made time for him. On the flip side, Bella was able to understand Edward’s father in a way that he never experienced as a young boy, because his parents were not as understanding and accepting as she was. One of my favorite aspects of the story was the way that Edward’s father called him several times a day to inform him of random facts. Because of this, Edward was able to bond with Bella’s son in the same way, the two often trying to stump each other. The story really touched me because of my struggles with anxiety as a child, and just imagining how much easier things could have been if I didn’t feel like I had to hide it all of the time. That, and the fact that the phrase ‘did you know’ is one that my husband and children are quite familiar with…speaking of, did you know that ‘Google’ is a misspelling of the term ‘googol’, which is the number 10 raised to the 100th power? Dan Stevens taught methat.
4.) What is your favorite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?
My son completed his Eagle Scout rank for Boy Scouts. This photo was taken at the ceremony, of him awarding me my ‘Mother’s Pin’. It’s funny to me because I had just fumbled with the pin I placed on his uniform; I couldn’t figure out how it worked (you had to push, then pull). So when it was his turn, he didn’t know how it worked either and I had to show him.
5.) What is your favorite photo ever of your favorite actor/actress?
I’m supposed to pick just one photo? Ha! That’s not happening. I’ll narrow it down to 3 instead:
and anytime he makes the ‘confused’ face, because I love the raised eyebrow.
6.) What songs are at the top of your playlist right now?
Two different songs by Sara Bareilles. ‘The Light‘ because I think it’s a beautiful song, both musically and lyrically.
You are the air in my breath, filling up my love soaked lungs
Such a beautiful mess, intertwined and overrun
Nothing better than this, knowing that the storm can come
You feel just like the sun
Just like the sun
and ‘I Choose You’because I find the beat uplifting and the lyrics optimistic.
7.) What is the most recent TV show that you binge-watched?
The Fall: season 3. And it was so good! I was nervous, with it being the last season and the assumption that Paul Spector would probably die. It was a lot more exciting than I anticipated, and Jamie Dornan delivered with some incredible eye acting! It feels wrong to say I ‘enjoyed’ the ending but I liked the way it turned out, and I really can’t imagine an alternate ending that would stay true to the story. All in all, this last batch of episodes was one of those rare times for me when the anticipation payed off.
8.) What time of day do you usually write and/or blog and why?
I do the writing part in the morning, because it’s quiet and I have time to myself without anything distracting me. Sometimes I post directly afterwards, while other times I’ll wait and just plug in the pics and post it in the evening before I sign off for the night (so that I can’t change my mind!)
9.) Does your avatar have special significance and if so, what is that significance?
Yes. The ‘DS’ image is a prop (a ring) from the television show Lost, which is my all time favorite show. ‘DS’ also happens to be the initials of my last name (I have one of those capital-lowercase-capital surnames).
10.) In your real life, how open are you about the fact that you have a blog?
In discussions that relate to fandom, blogging or the internet, I might mention that I blog in order to help illustrate a point, but I don’t elaborate about the blog itself/what I blog about unless I’m asked about it further (which I’m usually not). It’s not so much that I’m hiding it (though I don’t exactly want to shout it from the rooftops either) but just that I don’t normally share information about myself that isn’t relevant to the conversation at hand.
11.) What are the boundaries for you in terms of how much of your real life you share on your blog?
I have shared personal stories on this blog in the past, in answer to writing prompts but I don’t refer to the people in my stories by their names, just their relationship to me; it seems like the polite thing to do. I’m pretty open about who I am in real life, I don’t blog under an alter ego because I really have no reason to. I might say some embarrassing things sometimes in relation to fangirling but generally I’m rather mild. I have thought about how therapeutic it could be to blog about more personal things, get the negativity off of my chest and out of my system, but I wouldn’t want to hurt the people I talked about. Plus, I’m afraid if I started, it would become a habit of complaining. I’ve burned my fair share of bridges on Facebook, I’ll stick to blogging about actors/movies and retweeting on Twitter instead, it’s safer!
[The ‘Yours in Armitage’ series is a collection of posts documenting my changing perceptions about my celebrity crush on Richard Armitage, using excerpts from past correspondence to help me come to terms with the uncertainties.]
July 22, 2013- I try to keep a level head and ground myself in reality as much as I can. certain things get under my skin still and will rile me up, but I calm down a lot quicker than I used to; Richard calms me. it may be him, it may be the encouraging atmosphere of this fandom, or it may just be my experience/age. I think it’s a combination of all three, but I’ll credit Richard!
When I first started blogging about Richard Armitage in May of 2013, fangirling about him did calm me. I felt as if I’d finally found my place, on blog and in the RA fandom at large. as with the beginning stages of any celebrity crush, my world revolved around him: hunting down and watching all of his work and public appearances, familiarizing myself with his personality and background, and exploring the fandom that had built up around him. the blog gave me a place to play, while the fandom gave me a voice. I stumbled into drama at the beginning but it eventually evened out, and ‘fandom’ became an integral part of my everyday routine. It did calm me, the routine and the serene nature of the man himself. but things change, whether we give them permission to or not.
Things changed for me in regards to Richard Armitage, and I wasn’t ready for them to; my opinions, my perceptions, my routine. I tried to hang on with an iron tight grip, which only made things harder in the end. eventually I had to stop bloggingabout Richard Armitage and pull back from the fandom (after many half-hearted attempts). When I finally did, I felt it was the right decision. I felt good about it, didn’t regret it (still don’t) but it left many unanswered questions for me: why did it change for me? when did it start changing? how did it change?
After I closed the blog, I focused on another celebrity crush and put Richard and everything that went with him on the shelf for awhile. I took him back off that shelf recently and am ready to try and figure out the answers to those questions; hence, this series of posts. the fan blog was about celebrating and highlighting favorites in a playful manner, these posts are going to be more introspective. It will be all about my feelings: what I felt about Richard at certain times, how I regarded him, and then the progression of how that changed. I’ll be doing this by taking past things that I have said about him in conversation, and using those excerpts as thoughts to ponder.
I’m still a fan of Richard Armitage, I still enjoy his work and personality, but what/how I enjoy has changed. I need to pinpoint that in order to find a new routine in regards to him, a new kind of calm. it’s about to get personal; I’m both excited and nervous to see what I find.
I’ve been doing a “Blog Introspection Challenge” on my Richard Armitage themed blog that I’ve found extremely helpful for putting some things into perspective in that area of my life. I thought I’d attempt it here as well, in a much more limited capacity–answering the questions all in one post instead of individually. I don’t have nearly as many posts on this blog to draw experience from but it should be interesting to revisit things, nonetheless.
Blog Introspection Challenge
1.) What made you start blogging?
I had started blogging in the Richard Armitage fandom to share my experiences and thoughts in relation to his acting career. One day it was suggested to me that having multiple platforms to share my varied interests might be beneficial. so I started this blog to cover the non-Richard Armitage related things that were swirling around in my head. it was slow going at first because I didn’t really have a direction–I still don’t–but it’s comforting to know that it’s here when I need to work through something or highlight things that I enjoy.
2.) The significance of your blogs name
“getting caught up in the mechanism” comes from an Alison Krauss/Elvis Costello song, The Scarlet Tide. the phrase can be found in the second verse: man goes beyond his own decision, gets caught up in the mechanism. I often feel like I get overly caught up in the workings of my brain, not being able to get certain things out of my head. hopefully writing about them in this blog would ease that out of control feeling.
3.) What’s your (usual) blogging process?
something can be weighing on my mind or I just want to share my love for something. I let it run around in my head for a few days or a few weeks and then one day I just sit down and write it out, usually in one draft–going back through to correct spelling errors and better format the paragraphs, etc.
4.) What’s your favorite post?
Three Recent Dreams of Jamie Dornan. the post was fun to write because I was sharing something that I enjoy about myself (the way my subconscious makes up stories while I’m sleeping) while also including funny Jamie Dornan themed reaction gifs/captions. I have such a fun time doing that type of thing on my Richard Armitage blog but rarely have occasion to use the Jamie Dornan pics and gifs that I’ve collected in the same way.
5.) Which post got the most views?
When I choose to interpret this question as the most views in one day, the answer is Learning About What I Need. This post consisted of snippets from e-mail conversations that I had with a friend who was battling depression. I wanted to show him that I knew what he was feeling because I have gone through it too. It seemed to help him, so I wanted to share my struggles in the hopes that maybe it could help someone else as well.
I Pledge Myself to Thee…sort of. This was written in regards to my struggles with the Outlander television series, as a long-time fan of the books. the conversation in the comments not only centered around the Outlander book vs. the filmed version but also book adaptations in general.
8.) Which post was the most difficult to write?
Silence. it was a personal reflection on a confusing time in the lives of my brother and I, hardships that he went through and how I chose to deal with them, and how that negatively impacted our relationship for a time. it was hard to admit that I might not have dealt with things in a good way, without getting defensive about my reasons why. I found it therapeutic to write it down.
9.) Which post do you regret writing?
I wouldn’t say I regret writing the post necessarily (since it was my very first one!) but more that it’s just kind of pointless. the post, I’ve Been Staring at This Unopened Book for a Weekwas just me thinking out loud as I tried to make a decision about whether or not to read a specific book.
10.) What do you find the most difficult/challenging about blogging?
subject matter. not only coming up with things to write about, but choosing from all the different ideas that I do have. I end up jotting down notes and ideas but then never quite getting around to it, or not “feeling” it when I do decide to sit down and write something.
11.) Your favorite aspect of blogging
when I see the finished product and know that it came from me. I did that?
12.) How- if at all- has blogging changed your life?
it’s gotten me writing again. not that I’m writing novels or anything but I’ve always been able to express myself better through writing. I enjoy the many creative aspects of writing and it helped me stand out when I was growing up. I’d forgotten the boost in confidence it could bring me.
13.) What have you learned from blogging?
that I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings.
14.) Your plans for your blogging future
no plans, not really. just to keep writing it down. and on those days when I have an itch to write but I don’t know what to write about, to just highlight the things that I’m interested in.
15.) Any blogging role models?
I first decided to try blogging because of fellow blogger MorrighansMuse. she was part of the Richard Armitage fandom at the time and she made blogging seem interesting and fun to me. she’s since revamped the blog that used to house her Richard Armitage posts and focuses instead on various other interests. she also has a writing blog which is where I first became acquainted with the concept of writing prompts. I tried a few on this blog and would like to try more.