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Aug. 15th, 2014 @ 08:04 am Some things from the last week
I realized that I wasn't posting much here at all any more, but it wasn't that I had stopped using social media. I had just been very fannish over at Tumblr. Yes, I have a tumblr, and most of the time it's nice. sometimes I am reminded how I am definitely not a teen or college student. There is nothing wrong with being either, but I am happy in my mid-life in a way that I wasn't then.

So here are some non-fandom thoughts for this LJ. I will include birds, musical instruments, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (not directly fannish, I swear!) and some thoughts on the suicide of Robin Williams. Nothing grotesque in the last, but I had some insight, a lightbulb that finally went off.

I should probably make a cut here. Yeah...

Last Saturday, I had a prayer meeting at my house. I am a Christian, and I hope that people see one who means what she says instead of so many who say one thing and do something else. At said prayer meeting, I had my birds off in my bedroom for their own safety and my musical instruments in their room because that's where they belong.

Two of the families have teen and tween boys. There were four of them there. I got asked if they could play my instruments. I agreed as long as they were respectful of the instruments, which the boys were for the most part. At a different time, one of the older boys had gone in to my room followed by the younger three and was playing ukulele by my birds.

I'm not an idiot, but I had an idiot break at that point. I'm writing this to remind myself of some certain truths. One is that my instruments are for musicians. I'm not there to give these boys toys, and nothing good was going to come of it. Two, I should have immediately gotten them away from the birds. It wasn't that they were taunting them, but it was stressful for them. So from now on I should adopt a no instruments/no birds policy for guests as a general rule.

Now on to Diana Gabaldon...

I came across an article yesterday, I think, that had some pictures from the Outlander TV show. In it, Gabaldon admits that her first reaction to the actor who plays Jamie is that he was "grotesque." (That's what put the word in my brain.) I find that very rude! Even if it was an admission to get to the eventual point that she thinks he's awesome now, the man is by no means grotesque, and more than that, he's a human being. Yes, he acts for a living and does the type of work where he is judged, but be kind!

The other thing I have with Gabaldon is that a few years ago she went off on fan fiction and those who write it. It was quite the stink back in the day. Knowing what she feels about fan fiction, I wonder how she can justify to herself that it's okay to adapt the series for TV. She is, after all, leaving her work open for someone else's interpretation.

And now Robin Williams and suicide

Let me start this by pointing out that I can at times, however often, be a very hard person. I know this about myself. Sometimes I find it worth fixing, and sometimes I don't. I am also one who finds trigger warnings in fandom to be totally ridiculous because I don't want to hand hold someone who should be a competent and capable adult. (Yes, I see the qualifiers in that sentence.)

In any case, like many people I was really surprised to find the news of Robin's death. I had been home sick Monday afternoon, and I saw a post the the Genie on Tumblr when I pulled my head out of the blankets. I later read a few very good articles on depression and comedians, particularly one at Cracked.com. I know that a laughing face often hides a dark inside. That's just how it works.

One of the things I idly wonder when a celebrity dies is whether or not that person would be surprised by the attention that happens after death. Yes, it's a stupid mental exercise, but it happens. So with Robin, I wondered if he would have been touched knowing that he had meant so much to so many people. I realized... and here's my big revelation of the week and the reason I am ultimately making this post... that he wouldn't have believed it.

One of the points made int he Cracked article is that often a comedian makes the jokester persona to connect with others and as a way to cover up the dark "truth" about how s/he feels about the self. That person often has a self-view as a failure or fraud. That finally got through to my understanding because I realized to someone like Robin the rest of us never knew the real Robin anyway. The rest of us grieve for the mask, not the real, broken person who wears it.

This, of course, may be obvious to those who struggle with depression. I have had one person in my life give me some education on that. I'm sorry she had to do it, but that's a separate topic. One thing she did teach me is that we should not say we understand "exactly" what someone else feels or is going through. It is often better to admit we don't, but the willingness to be empathetic counts for a great deal.

Okay. That's it for now.
About this Entry
Neil Finn
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Date:August 16th, 2014 12:21 am (UTC)
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I haven't seen the Outlander pilot yet nor have I ever read the novel series, but I did see the Outlander panel at San Diego Comic Con this year. My friend, who is a fan studies scholar, and I had an intense discussion about Diana Gabaldon because, though I haven't read her books, I am aware of her stance against fanfiction. So I decided to blog about it and the importance of fanfiction and fandom in my life. Would be happy to send you a link if you are interested.

I am sad about Robin Williams as well. The Fisher King is one of my favorite movies!
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Date:August 16th, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
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Yes, I would love to read that blog. Thank you!
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Date:August 20th, 2014 01:56 am (UTC)
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Yes, empathy definitely matters.