Obsession update: End of summer 2010 edition

[This is a bit darker than I’ve been lately. I’m publishing it here because this blog is a document of this crazy experience and because I attempt to be honest. You, my cherished readers, have been encouraging and reassuring me all along and it must get tiring for you to write the same things repeatedly. So comment if you like, but please don’t feel the need to reassure here. I’m ok. Just putting this down to let go of it, so I can think again.]

Unlike RAFrenzy, I don’t have any records of my early experiences of Armitage in my diary; I didn’t anticipate this development would ever be all that important in my life, and at the point at which I realized what was happening I started blogging because I felt like I had to talk to someone about it. It seems appropriate at the moment to write a brief retrospective of the first moment in my pre-blogging experiences.

Ricky Deeming (Richard Armitage) under threat from Billy Lister’s father in George Gently. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

I was remembering, recently, that I saw Richard Armitage on screen for the first time about a year ago. I was introduced to North & South by a very close friend. We were looking for distraction from a bad situation. We both suspected that something bad was about to happen, but what actually happened in the end was much worse for her than she had anticipated. I knew exactly what was about to happen to me, although that didn’t make the waiting easier. (Sorry to be vague. Eventually I will say more about this, I’m sure.) While we were waiting on fate, we were looking to escape, and my friend suggested both N&S and the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice. She had seen them both several times before. I think because we had watched P&P the August before in a markedly similar situation, we decided for North & South, which I had not yet seen. She assured me that it was not only a great piece, but that among half a score of memorable performances in the work, the performance of the actor playing Mr. Thornton was electrifying. She was right on both counts. That this was not the decisive viewing for me — that came in January, 2010 — has mostly to do with the weird suspense of those weeks. Waiting for the hammer to fall while still getting up and going to work every day took all of my energy. (I know this sounds melodramatic, but it’s really no exaggeration. I was having problems getting myself to shower. Another friend was supplying us both with food. I was going to the movies every night, to a theatre that delivers food and booze to your seat, to keep my mind numb, and stumbling out at midnight and driving home and throwing myself into bed.)

I don’t think any of my reactions to the piece at that time were very novel; I was horrified by Thornton’s first appearance on screen and like viewers since 2004, gradually seduced by Mr. Armitage’s portrayal into falling in love with both him and Gaskell’s narrative. Of course I loved the tea scene, and of course my friend and I repeated the train scene at the end a few times before putting away the DVDs. (I have another colleague who estimates that she’s seen the train scene roughly five dozen times.) We talked about it for quite some time — perhaps an hour so after finishing watching it. We agreed that Armitage is beautiful. Interestingly, I think, we looked at the interview with Armitage himself and were both sort of turned off — I think because it somehow broke the spell created by his creation of Mr. Thornton, interfering with the magical world of the piece — and our reactions were a testament to the skill of his acting, as at the time, he apparently was a much better actor than an interviewee. We also discussed the potential for using the film in the classroom. My friend shows the scene where Margaret encounters the mill for the first time. Although I don’t care to show fictional dramatizations in classes because I prefer primary sources, I made a mental note that I needed to look at the novel, with which I was not familiar. I remember thinking it was odd that I didn’t know the novel, since I took a doctoral prelim field in modern European social history and had read dozens of continental novels from the mid- to late nineteenth century. But then dealing with life took over and I didn’t think about Mr. Armitage again until January. (I’ll also talk about that some more at some point — those viewings seem key to me because that was the point at which I stopped being able to look away from the screen anymore — and as you know, I eventually did end up using it in the classroom.)

Mr. Thornton immediately after Margaret has rejected his proposal of marriage, in North & South, episode 3. The raw power of Thornton’s emotions, the proud man’s proximity to tears here, has always taken my breath away. That such emotion is clear despite (or because of?) the strong discipline of Armitage’s expressional repertoire in this piece witnesses to his unique talent. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

So why am I writing about this now? It’s been a year with Mr. Armitage and eight months of especial intensity. I’m going to confess that since about mid-July I’ve been occupied with the problem mentioned above — my sheer physical inability to look away from the screen where Armitage is involved. At some point RAFrenzy reported that her first flare of Armitagemania had lasted 2-3 months. At the time, that was already longer than my first flare, which is still going on, and if that’s possible, intensifying. The long viewing sessions take time, and I can’t put Armitage on in the background while I’m doing something else; his performances demand my every attention. I’ve been a bit more successful with using his audiobooks in the background of other activities, and have had the opportunity for a few long drives with them, but they also take time.

And then there’s the writing. It’s wonderful to be writing, but it’s a double-edged sword. Even as I wrote them, I was horrified in June and July by the number of words I generated regarding questions of identity, Armitage’s formal clothing and on the problems around Genevieve O’Reilly in Spooks 8. Every attempt to write about Mr. Armitage, even those intended as short one-offs, threatened to become a long writing session. As I write this, for example, I’ve already jotted down three things I’ve cut out of the piece because they deserve their own separate posts. I’ve got numerous things almost completed that I’m trying to get the guts to publish because they seem too personal. It was hard even just to write about his body, as I have been for about the last month, without being tempted to go into long expositions. Some mornings I woke up jonesing to write about him. The numbers of hits on the blog started growing; its ranking in google searches started rising. My qualms about how doing this affects me continued to be augmented to my qualms about how doing this affects him, a problem I documented in a lengthy, angsty post that chewed at my nerves as I wrote it. “This can’t be sane,” I thought, and about a month ago I decided I was going to stop blogging on Mr. Armitage’s birthday as his birthday present from me. I wrote quick endings to stuff that had been brewing for weeks, scrapped other ideas, and prepared a series of valedictory posts.

But I can’t stop. For better or for worse, this blog is what I’m getting out of bed to write at the moment. Yeah, the term is starting; yeah, I have a translation contract that I really need to fulfill on time for a bonus; yeah, I’ve got other writing to do, yeah, there are two graduate students who I’ve got to get through some significant stuff, and yeah, I’m at least notionally on the job market and maybe I am switching careers. Then there’s all the other stuff, like cleaning my apartment, feeding myself, dealing with my family, and so on. But somehow, I just don’t care. If that means this blog is my fatal addiction I am going to have to live with that, at least for now. If those other things are important enough, eventually work on them will swallow the writing here, and if that’s the case, I’m willing to have that happen. But I am not going to stop this arbitrarily. Not right now. It gives me an incomparable jolt of energy.

So this marks stuff I’ve been doing since around the middle of July, keeping in mind that a lot of travel has been happening–around Germany, back to the U.S., and then back to Texas. Roughly in reverse order.

  • This morning, purchased Malice Aforethought and Frozen, neither of which I’ve seen except in brief excerpts on youtube.
  • Last night, watched Cold Feet 5.1. Lee’s first appearance is obviously brief, but this was worth it for two reasons: finally, I understood what Lee says to Ramona in the second line of his response to her indignation that he thought she might be pregnant (“can’t tell for sure without an internal,” or something crudely flirtatious like that), and I get a better sense of what Lee means to Ramona, but second, learning something about the relationship between Jo and Pete helps me understand the significance of her one-night stand with Lee in the hotel. Context is everything. I also thought this was kind of a sweet piece.
  • I bought the Cold Feet S5 discs, and although I only watched one last night, I could see myself watching the earlier episodes of this series sometime. It’s kind of sweet and sad and naive all at the same time, and I can see why it would have been popular. It gave me another view of my beloved Hermione Norris. I mention this because it struck me repeatedly this summer that even when I am watching Armitage’s “bit parts,” at least with the stuff I’ve seen up until now, there’s practically nothing where I’ll fast forward just to see “his part.” When I watch Sparkhouse, for example, I watch a complete episode or the whole thing. The one exception I can think of with stuff I own is Marie Lloyd — I don’t find her story all that interesting, so when Armitage leaves the story I quit watching, but I think I’ve only seen that piece two or three times anyway. This adds an additional dimension to his work — it’s not just that his acting is relational, but that his parts, or the way he portrays them, primarily become intelligible or comprehensible in the context of the narrative flow of the pieces he’s in. Intriguing, assuming he’s choosing these roles, because it suggests something about his own dramatic preferences.
  • Day before yesterday I finally figured out how the links widget works and created a blogroll so I don’t lose track of my favorite Armitage writers. I included blogs that make regular mention of Mr. Armitage. If yours isn’t there, put the URL in the comments to this post, OK?
  • Once each Venetia and Sylvester while writing syllabuses. They’re both done now.
  • Upon my return to Texas, one complete Sparkhouse viewthrough.
  • Serious obsession the whole time with fanfics, and if I like a fanfic I can read it dozens of times before I stop. Some of this I’ve documented already, as with my reaction to The Tempest and pointing readers in the direction of khandy’s fics. Continuing to enjoy Truce, which is drawing to a close. Now sucked into Grant What I Wish and unable to stop re-reading The Countess. Also still rereading my favs from before, and enjoying Every Shadow Comes from Light, and The Sheriff’s Collector. I think I’m getting closer to being able to analyze my fascination with this genre, even when (or because) it includes sex scenes of various quality. One odd effect is that my fanfic reading actually ramps up my response to visual Armitage exposure. Not sure why that would be.
  • Listened to “Will You Tolerate This?” audiobook on trip back to Texas once. I am not going to have a lot to say about this, but I still have five more audiobooks to listen to.
  • Lords of the North: first disc four times while packing up my apartment in Germany; then each of first four discs twice on the road. I’m really affected by this performance. I am seriously mesmerized, more than by any of the other audiobooks so far, which is saying a lot, as Venetia just about caused me to faint while driving through the Ozarks back in May. Thought I fell pray to Damerel, but that’s nothing in comparison to my feelings about Uhtred.
  • Re-read Chris Ryan’s Strike Back while in airport lounge, as I had nothing else to hand. It’s still really awful. I still like things about it. It’s no worse than fanfic, right?
  • Read used copy of Heyer’s Venetia, finally — had been ordered as reading material for trip to Europe but was delivered late and awaited me at home when I got there.
  • Serious descent into fanvid euphoria after returning to the U.S. where I don’t constantly get the message that the video is unavailable in my area. Mostly, this involves watching something that RAFrenzy recommends and then surfing around afterwards.
  • Perusing the web for the different Armitage birthday posts. Also, besides Phylly3, there were four more Armitage birthday vids that I was aware of: by spikesbint, PhoenixLupin, ambgusmao1, and another one I’ve lost track of.
  • Also notified by RAFrenzy of the imminent closing of Yorkshire Wench‘s fanvids site, I downloaded a bunch of those videos so as to be able to at least look at them myself forever. Now that is a talented woman.
  • Probably another dozen watches of the Strike Back Viral Video, accompanied by sound made when pelvic floor drops out of my body.
  • Something like four watch-throughs of Strike Back complete
  • Spooks 8 off the web, complete twice
  • Spooks 7.1 and 7.2 on the computer. Wanted to write more for the Spooks 7 rewatch, but no time.
  • Two complete North & South viewthroughs.

Just this catalog explains why I have to keep writing. With each of these lines I thought of something I still have to say. We’ll see how it goes. One day at a time.

~ by Servetus on August 25, 2010.

77 Responses to “Obsession update: End of summer 2010 edition”

  1. It is simply amazing how Richard Armitage and his performances can take you through some of the darkest times. When I was watching my mother grower ever sicker and weaker in that Intensive Care Unit, and I felt so helpless and powerless and afraid of being an orphan, even at 48, I would find myself going back to my late father-in-law’s house late at night and taking out my laptop and watching a few RA vids, or looking at photos, or listening to one of my RH audio CDs. And I was transported for a little while out of the pain and bewilderment and weariness.

    I would imagine my mother strong and healthy again with her lovely twinkling blue eyes and that winsome smile and imagine her getting to meet Richard. She would take his big, beautiful hand and clasp it in her small, arthritic ones and say, “Why, what a handsome young fellow you are.” And then she would ask if she could give him a hug, because everyone at church always said she gave the best hugs. And he would smile that sweet smile of his and embrace her.

    That imagined meeting made me so happy somehow.
    Thank you for sharing this, Servetus, and for continuing to blog about Richard and other fascinating, thought-provoking subjects, and thank you for your shout-out for “Truce.” The troll’s been at me again over at IMDB, and I am frankly hurt and confused and bewildered at what I have done to draw such ire. Ah well, as my husband says, “This fic stuff is supposed to be fun for you, Ang, don’t get miserable over someone like that.”

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    • This is such a beautiful account, angieklong. It’s neat that the real Mr. Armitage is such that he can be accommodated into such thinking (hard to think of Mel Gibson in this scenario, for example!).

      I don’t understand intentional unkindness, so I prefer to think that people who are unkind just don’t really understand, that they have some sort of emotional disability. Apart from what your husband says I can only say “don’t feed the trolls.”

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      • Thanks, Servetus. No, I really can’t imagine that scenario with Mel or Tom Cruise (he’d want to jump on the couch and convert Mama to Scientology) or many other celebs . . . but I can with Richard, which speaks volumes for him.

        Of course, I am the person who dreamed of him barbecuing on my parents’ back porch talking and laughing and having a lovely time with them (and obliging me by wearing no shirt *blushes*)

        I have decided that there is something truly wrong, something damaged, perhaps, for a person to feel this almost pathological need to be so–angry and bitter. I don’t understand intentional unkindness either, and I despise bullying, probably due to having been bullied as a child. I do pity her even though she irks me greatly.

        I’m not going to bother to confront her, just try to be the better person and say, “There but for the grace of God go I.” It’s been a tough week, frankly–my knee is just not improving and I can’t get in to see the doctor; we’ve had deadlines on two special projects beyond regular deadlines and of course, I’ve been worried about Benny. So this all hit me at a particularly vulnerable time. Things will get better.

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        • Yeah, you gotta focus on you, and just be happy that you have lots of reasons to know that your fic writing is worthwhile despite one minor critical voice. If it helps you deal with your knee, your husband’s health, and work, it’s all good.

          Plus, I like reading it. FWIW.

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          • And I like that you like reading it; it means a lot to me. It’s my creative outlet and one that makes other people happy. I used to do a lot of drawing and singing but I’ve gotten away from that . . . so I guess I have to say I NEED my fan fic. I get kind of twitchy if I don’t have something on the burner.

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  2. Thanks for the ping-back and mention of The Sheriff’s Collector. I do enjoy reading you blog as it helps me identify key character components of the portrayal of Guy, indeed any of RA’a portrayals, as I try to flesh Guy out in my story.

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    • That’s a sweet thing to say, mesmered, thank you. Definitely looking forward to more tempestuous dangerous Guy in your story! One thing I like about your blog is the different facets of the characters you tease out and the way you explore them.

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  3. servetus, this blog is a journey that I feel I’ve made with you to a certain extent as I “awakened” to Richard in North and South at Christmas and discovered your blog after the New Year. However, I realise that I am a dabbler in Armitagemania compared to you. There’s so much I don’t own or even contemplate owning, due to time constrictions in RL and hubby’s stubborn reluctance to allow me to indulge this passion publicly! 🙂

    I normally never watch things more than once or twice at a pinch, so multiple viewings of North and South have exploded this record. Recently, as RL clutches me ever more firmly to her breast, I notice that I don’t choose to spend time on fan vids and very little time on other blogs or fanfic, except of course for Angie’s! So Richard -time is seriously decreasing in real terms, but I still feel as emotionally involved as before.

    I read Chris Ryan before watching SB, but you can’t seriously compare him to fan fic. I’d say that every fan fic I’ve read is better thought-out and executed than his book. I don’t even much like the John Porter he gave us.

    The best part of your post was your declaration that you’re not giving up your blog, but will continue to engage with us, your faithful posters. Hurrah! More cerebral challenges, Thighology, Pwoarosophy, sartorial analysis and Latin terms for parts of the body to come in the field of Armitage studies! :):) I’ve greatly appreciated the ride so far! Thanks muchly!

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    • Yeah, sounds like we are on a similar timetable. Can’t believe your hubby doesn’t want you to “indulge this passion publicly” — grin. I guess somebody has to be sensible. That is the advantage and disadvantage of being single, I suppose.

      Time constraints will get us all. Ironically I will have a lot more free time than usual this year, though I am not supposed to be spending it on blogging. As a teacher yourself you know how the best resolutions fall beneath the need to get stuff done on behalf of students. I always look forward to reading your perceptive comments, so I am glad you are sticking with me.

      Maybe fanfic is the hook I need to write about Chris Ryan. I completely agree that the majority of fanfic is better than that book. It’s a good thing I didn’t read that novel until after seeing the TV series, because it seriously would have put me off it.

      Definitely more thighology, and we’ve got to get a course together on pharyngeal prominence 101. You’re the John Porter Chair — you can’t let me down! 🙂

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      • Chris Ryan is certainly not an author I would have read if not for the RA connection . . . of course, I had never read a Georgette Heyer book before RA, and now I am well into “The Convenient Marriage” . . . and have “Venetia” as well.
        The Power of Richard Armitage.

        I also very much appreciate Millyme’s thoughtful and perceptive comments here on the blog and in my fan fic writing. It is nice to get some detailed feedback and helpful suggestions (along with my continued tutorial in Britspeak). I am sure she will make an excellent John Porter Chair, too. *grin*

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        • Another very important reason for the continuation of Servetus’ blog. It serves as a lovely vehicle for the meeting of kindred spirits from around the world. It was here that I was first made aware of Angie’s fanfic and was instantly hooked. Thanks for your appreciation!

          Georgette Heyer was a rite of passage for studious teenage girls looking for relaxing reading when I was growing up in England. It was considered a better class of read than Barbara Cartland or, of course, Mills and Boon. Being a bookworm, I devoured the whole series, but can no longer remember any of them. The RA-readings are a delicious trip down memory lane!

          Rest assured, I take my responsibilities as the John Porter chair very seriously. I will uphold high standards where Pwoarosophy and Thighology and the corpus Armitagi are concerned. I leave it to other professors to handle sartorial analysis (can’t sew for toffee).

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          • I read a lot of Gothic romance before I ever made it into my teens; keep in mind I had two older sisters and felt the need to imitate them, so what they read, I read.

            Our parents provided us with plenty of books and didn’t really monitor what we read; guess it is a good thing the girls didn’t read anything too naughty or a certain 10-year-old I know might have gotten quite an eye-opening education at an early age. *wink*

            I loved Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart in particular, also Phyllis Whitney. Finally read so many I got heartily sick of them, but I have gone back and re-read a few every so often. Mr. A would have made the perfect brooding, saturnine gothic hero the heroine finds dangerous but is still drawn to like a moth to a flame . . . Jane Eyre is one of my early reads I have a particular affection for. I was ten the first time I read it. Ah, books! Can’t get enough of ’em!

            I am glad you discovered my fic and began to comment, too, MillyMe, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship . . . and thanks to OML for encouraging me to check out this blog. It’s been a real find and I, too, enjoy meeting like-minded ladies from around the globe.

            That’s been one of the nicest things about being part of the RA fandom. Yeah, there are a few trolls, but most of us are bee-yootiful, classy, interesting females blessed with Good Taste Genes.

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            • I’ve read many of these authors, too — hadn’t thought about Phyllis Whitney in years but she was a staple of my summer reading as a preadolescent and adolescent girl.

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              • Whitney also wrote some children’s mysteries earlier in her career-we had one called “Mystery of the Gulls” about a girl named Taffy and a hotel on Mackinack Island in Michigan . . . one of my sisters’ book club books we read over and over again . . .

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  4. I saw him first as Guy of Gisborne and despised him until about 2nd season.

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    • Guy was the character that introduced me to Richard as well . . . the first season I thought he was a right smarmy bastard, albeit a very good-looking one. And then something began to happen during season 2. The henchman became increasingly human and I realized this actor was doing something pretty special with this role. And I wanted to know more about him . . .

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  5. Oh and I am glad you will still blog. Have fun in Texas….love Texas!

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    • I have a refrigerator magnet: “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could.” I’ve spent about a quarter of my life here, and I like it most of the time, even though there are things that enrage me (which is true of almost everywhere).

      There’s only one place where I’ve *lived* (i.e., moved there with furniture, unpacked, engaged in work or professional activity of some sort) that I really struggled with: New Brunswick, NJ. I apologize to all New Jerseyans who may be reading. I really did not like it there.

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      • I’ve been to Texas several times to visit Spouse’s family. He has two older brothers and their wives who live in San Antonio and the Fort Worth areas. I always enjoy the visits, except for the fact there is something to which I am highly allergic that blooms in June . . . and drives my poor tear ducts crazy! I love the Tex-Mex cuisine.

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        • I’ve been really lucky not to have been afflicted by allergies while living here. They say if you don’t have allergies when you move here you will within five years. That hasn’t (knock on wood) happened for me. But most people I know are regular consumers of anti-allergy medications.

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          • This is not the best place for people with allergies, either. We have so much stuff that blooms and really, a year-round growing season, that there is a lot of sneezing going on around our office at any given time, I have noticed. I actually take fexofenadine (Allegra) 365 days out of the year nowadays, which helps.

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  6. Hello! I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading your blog – I noticed you had a link to mine in my blog stats (thank you for that!) and I’m always happy to meet a fellow fan of RA’s fabulousness. 🙂

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  7. It’s Autumn. Autumn is a state of mind. Obviously, even in the Deep South, or SW. Not necessarily a depressive state of mind, but a bit more introspective than in other seasons.

    Here, it’s the thought of snow and ice, the heavy clothing, the careful sliding of the car from the narrow, icy driveway, and much physical exercise, clearing the detested white stuff from paths and steps. A pioneer, I’m not. Following the protracted heat wave, this year, however, I’m actually looking forward to germ-killing temperatures of November through March! And when the day is overcast, and cabin fever setting in, well – there’s Harry Kennedy!

    A year at library school, servetus, and whole new horizons to explore. Librarianship isn’t people-averse, quite the re-verse.

    My e-mail is not working, a source of great frustration. Have to go work out to use the c-phone, for a lovely hour on the ISP help-line to Mumbai… (or call my son – cop-out!)

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    • That’s very well said. In TX we sort of forget about fall because there is no real season change until fall is almost over, but you’re absolutely right about the introspection. What happens when an introspective person gets even more introspective?

      I have to say, as much as I love TX, that I miss the snow intensely. Not the driving, not the clearing away of it, but the landscape, and the feeling that the earth is sleeping, soaking up water and minerals, getting ready for the spring.

      My one reservation about becoming a librarian at this point is the lack of vacation. The main thing that ties me to the possibility of continuing as a professor or perhaps as a school teacher would be the long summers. You’re not off because you’re always working, but you schedule your own time. Then I wonder how to trade that off with the possibility of working *just* eight to five, and not sixteen to eighteen hours a day, as one does during term.

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      • I grew up in south Alabama and came back here to live about 15 years ago; I could count on one hand the number of times growing up I had seen measurable snow (and one of those events was in Tennessee). Then I married and moved to western South Dakota, where it snowed at least once every September and you could get a blizzard in May. Needless to say, it was an adjustment.

        However, setting aside slippery roads and sidewalks, the need to shovel snow and scrape layers of ice from my windshield, for the most part, I really did enjoy that winter weather experienced during our 12 years in various parts of the Midwest.

        The peacefulness of snow falling, fingers of moonlight making it sparkle like diamonds; the pristine beauty of the winter landscape, almost like a dream world. I remember in our apartment on the edge of a forest preserve in eastern Nebraska, standing on the balcony and watching two fawns performing an exquisite dance as the snow fell one night . . . it’s one of those images burned onto my brain.

        Benny and I often talk about missing having four distinct seasons. We seem to have about 15 minutes of spring and fall and the rest is hot, sticky summer and cold, clammy winter.

        One of the things I really miss about teaching versus my current work is the vacation time. Of course, I didn’t work just 8 until 3; I was there after school for a couple of hours, then more work at night and on the weekends. Teacher’s work is never done . . . I work some weird hours nowadays, but at least it’s a fairly flexible schedule, and I have been known to write articles as well as fan fic in the wee hours of the morning. As long as you have a laptop and wi-fi, you can write pretty much anywhere.

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  8. I actually have bought the edition of Strike Back with Richard and Orla Brady on the cover. Haven’t read it yet though – and I was actually thinking about first sending it to Richard to sign…maybe.

    I do enjoy your blog and I hope that you continue it for a while yet but that is me being selfish and wanting the fun to continue and if you need to stop then please do so. I can’t imagine having the time to indulge as much as you do, in either watching/listening or thinking/writing.

    Take care!

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    • It’s a combination of training and circumstance. What I do on the blog is only a sort of mirror of what I do IRL. I’m trained to do this and I’ve been doing it for a long time. My job consists of reading, research, writing, and teaching with a little administration and advising in there, and I’ve been doing those things for the last twenty-three years in various capacities as a student, grad student, researcher and professor. So I have lots of short cuts. I can also read (in English anyway) at something like four to five times the rate that the average college graduate reads.

      I also — and this is really important — have almost zero personal obligations on a day to day basis. No partner, no kids. Most of my friends work in the same building so we conduct our social lives around the work day. One of the killers of this job was that I gradually lost every hobby I had that could not be integrated into work somehow. So I think part of the energy I have for this is years and years of hobby/free time energy finally rearing its ugly head.

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  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwzOauCsISw&sns=em here is that other bday vid.
    @Ang I’ve tried to look for those trolls unsuccessfully. You can’t please everyone might actually get more fans peaked by curiousity. Just remember Oscar Wilde “whats worse than being talked about,…” From what I gathered about another discussion there is the valid points that fans of fanfic writers usually always respond positively rather than critically constructively. Which has made me ponder the decorum.
    The good bit is that I stumbled upon other fanfiction, yet another Ricky Deeming story <3! I declared this my summer of fanfiction but foresee this to last a lot longer. Although my opinion of the novel-length one is quiet the opposite, I had difficulty believing G's POV.
    @Servetus I hope you still manage to sleep at night. I'm stumped where you find the time to work full-time, watch and still keep up with all your reading!
    I had seen Guy in RH1 which threw me off as Robin being such a classic hero I didn't feel comfortable liking the supposedly bad guy. Not being a bad guy girl. So completely forgot about him. I wasn't as Internet savy so forgot to find out when RH2 came on.
    Last summer in Belgium my sister pulled at her collection of perioddramas and had mentioned I should watch this before I left. I was impressed and put it on my list to see it again. It wasn't until the fall I remembered to check my library for it. And yes in that interview he appears 10years younger in his demeanor, that necklace always gets me! I don't know too many man that wear jewelry.
    Thank you for your wonderful thoughtful blog. Those RHS3 audiobooks are better that RHS1 but of course now you are under the ban of Uthred! I got the e-book on my iPod for when I do want to take in the information. His voice, the emo in it often takes my mind to other places…it makes me also realize he must have had instruction on how to pronounce those names and places!
    And btw I am counting on you to let us know which scenes are worthwhile to watch in slow-mo' 🙂 You are doing VERY important research in my book.
    Thanks for the other fic mentions and looking forward to your analysis.

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    • @iz4blue,

      I confess I don’t remark on people’s fan fics if I think they are really awful with no redeeming qualities–because if I do find them so bad I quickly stop reading. I have to confess really poor grammatical/spelling skills bother me; but you have to understand, as part of my job I proof stories every day, day in and day out, looking for those sorts of errors, so I want to read something as error-free as possible if I can.

      I’ve tried to offer people helpful, constructive criticism at times and welcome it for my own work. and EVERYBODY can use a good editor, such as I have with MillyMe.

      But what kk does is far from constructive criticism. It is full of malice and spitefulness.

      What bothers me is the fact she doesn’t just savage my work, which, granted is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s perfectly fine with me, as I don’t set out to please everyone, but to write what I choose to write, what I enjoy writing. Apparently, judging from the readers I now have worldwide, there is a readership for my stuff.
      And I do take issue with saying I am unimaginative and my fiction is poorly written. Who died and made her queen of all fan fic??

      It’s the very personal feeling about her attacks, however, that confuses and irritates me the most. Calling me the” biggest, saddest fool” around. I have never said or done anything to this woman;

      I admit I only made it through one page of one of her fan fics and it just didn’t grab my interest, and so I stopped there. I don’t have the time to waste on stuff that doesn’t engage me or the desire to read it.

      But I certainly didn’t leap on the web and start bashing her. My sense is she absolutely despises me . . . why?? I don’t make a dime from what I do in the realm of fan fic. It’s not as if I am earning buckets of money writing “inferior” stuff. I just think she is one miserable, poisonous person. So on my private site I have started a thread imagining ways to kill her off. I find it very cathartic LOL

      Like

    • Pls keep updating me on fic, you are a major source for me!

      Like

  10. @Sev — pls tell me this is work related and not that you were waiting to hear if you have cancer or something equally dreadful.

    @Angie — pay attention to the people who nurish and support you, and leave the rest alone. i am sorry to hear that that happened to you. that really sucks. if you can, stop giving your energy over to this negativity and to this person and focus the the people who appreciate and enjoy your work. otherwise it will eat a hole right through you.

    Like

    • yes, a recurring work related problem that peaked last fall. It was one of a series of problems that finally almost incapacitated me, and a lot of the subtext of this blog relates to them. That’s even more vague, I realize, but I intend to continue to write and things will become clearer.

      Like

    • @Rob,

      Thanks, sweetheart. A lot of the problem for me right now is physical exhaustion. When I am this tired and “beat down” and in a major flare-up of FMS, things that ordinarily wouldn’t trouble me much get to me far more easily. Her latest tirade against me (why does she even bother to keep reading my stuff if she hates it so much?) was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. I am sure when I am a bit more rested and refreshed, I will be in a much better frame of mind.

      Like

      • Hope the you knees are better and your husband Staph infection is over.

        Hey as the saying says (in spanish) ‘A palabras necias, oidos sordos’, not sure how is it in english, it’s soemthing like ‘to hurtful/offending words, deaf ears’. Just don’t pay her any attention. Of ocurse, not everyone will like your fics or your writing but there are ways to put it or if you can’t just don’t read it. Another saying says ‘If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anyhting at all’, sometimes is good to follow that.

        I remember you said Truce is a couple or more of chapters to be finished, a shame!, on the other hand, which character will be next? Guy needs more attention *wink*

        OML 🙂

        Like

        • Thanks, @OML. Sorry to say the damaged knee is only getting worse but I can finally get in to see the doctor Monday and hopefully be referred to the orthopedic surgeon. Benny does seem to be getting better although bless him, he is still scratching. He winds up his dose of antibiotics today, so fingers crossed that this won’t come back.

          Yeah, just trying to put the negative out of my mind and focus on the positive. The latter saying you mentioned is something my mama taught us growing up, and it’s the way I’ve tried to live my life. Speak well, or don’t speak at all.

          Truce is scheduled to end in 20 chapters and I am on 17 right now. Oh, Guy . . . you know, he does get a bit jealous and stroppy if I leave him unattended for too long. 18th century highwayman Guy is next on the plate . . . won’t he cut a dashing figure?

          Like

      • @angie — i hope you are able to get the rest you need. sounds like you have had a lot going on.

        Like

        • I was a lump when I got home last night, @Rob. My knee is a sad case at the moment, sorry to say. I keep telling myself, “If I can just make it through such and such . . .” Cringing at the thought of the stairs at the country club, which I will have to tackle for a United Daughters of the Confederacy meeting I am covering later this morning. I did sleep pretty well once I drifted off last night . . . just didn’t want to get up this morning! It’s been a busy work week, definitely. Hurry up, Saturday . . . thanks for asking.

          Like

  11. After your litany above, I’m wondering if you’re reading Stanislavski yet? LOL!!

    Are we just two messed up chicks? I do wonder that sometimes, but I think I figured out what my fascination is, and it’s all good. LOL!

    Like

  12. Maybe Mr. Armitage was the catalyst, but I think this blog of yours, at this point is bigger than Mr. Armitage. You now have fans of your own, who anxiously await your postings and don’t seem to really care if the post is Armitage focused or not. And often times the coversations, veer off into many different directions. @Sev you have a book in you, you just haven’t come to terms with it yet. Okay RL waiting for me, I have to make like a Cinderella and get pretty for hubs office party.

    Like

    • The blog is always interesting even when not directly about Mr. A.
      I have the sort of mind that is running in different directions anyhow, so it suits me fine.

      @rob, hope you had fun at the office party.

      Like

      • I’m sure you were beautiful. Thank you both.

        Like

        • UR welcome. I had the chance to debut my new hot pink heels, so that was fun. If you saw the way I dress most days, it truly was a cinderella moment.

          Like

          • Ooh, hot pink high heels! We all need our Cinderella moments from time to time . . . alas, heels are not my friend at the moment. I look at some of the cute shoes the other gals at work wear with a little sigh of envy. My New Balances just don’t have the same panache but are kinder to my knees.

            Like

          • Wow, I am getting an interesting picture of you, @Rob!

            Like

          • How wonderful to wear hot pink heels. I would bet you were smashing. 🙂

            Like

            • Those hot pink shoes just make me so happy. Shoes are my thing. I love them. I have animal prints, canary yellow peep toe pumps, etc. Since I work from home and have a toddler, most days it is tees, shorts, and flip flops. So getting dressed up and being around adults was a treat. I just wore a simple navy blue wrap dress and my hot pink heels. Tamed my hair with the straight iron, and there you go I was tranformed.

              Like

              • Sounds like a great combination. I don’t really wear heels much anymore either. I’m 5’8″ in stocking feet anyway, and don’t need the extra height in most situations. (Though that’s still six inches shorter than Mr. Armitage. Well, if I ever get to meet him I will wear heels.) Most days I wear what my students expect to see female professors wearing — conservative dress or skirt and blouse and sandals.

                Like

                • Five feet and a half inch, I need every inch of those heels to put me @ eye level so I can have a proper conversation at a cocktail party without straining my neck.

                  If I ever get to meet him, I’ll get a pair of stilts. 🙂

                  Like

  13. BTW you totally won me over with your posts about his clothing! I loved every word of it. I do hope his stylist reads that post. Althou he showed up to the BAFTAs pretty well turned out. Didn’t he? Maybe it all boils down to $, once you make a certain amount it guarantees that you’ll look good, althou as you pointed out tailoring is key.

    Like

    • That was exactly what I was thinking too! That post and the ones about analysis of performance because of the constructive value for his career. Although I’m guessing the humorous ones like the limericks or other such posts would tickle their fancy. At least we can hope.

      Like

    • He did look quite smashing at the BAFTAs. So often he has looked great in spite of, not due to, his clothing choices, bless his heart. Proper tailoring and money to pay for it have to help. However, I am still bewildered by the number of well-paid celebs who got out looking like they stumbled into a dark closet and just grabbed whatever was at hand before going out the door . . . at least here in the US.

      Like

    • Yeah — somebody obviously took him in hand before the BAFTAs. It was a relief. And hugely gratifying. Thanks for the compliment.

      Like

      • I thought he truly looked ever inch the glamorous film star at the BAFTAs . . . positively Cary Grant-ish!

        He may have been a late bloomer, but boy, has he ever bloomed . . .

        Like

  14. It’s so reassuring to read of other people who seem to love him as much as I do, you start to think you’re going crazy when you can’t get enough of him. He has such a fantastic range of facial expressions, he is SO underrated and I swear he is addictive. Together with what appears to be a perfect personality, surely he was made in Heaven and can’t be real? Oh, and angieklong – remember, only your family and friends matter, to hell with everyone else.

    Like

    • @geminileo,
      He is absolutely addictive and I feel about him like I have about no other actor. Amazingly gifted, loads of charisma, sweet personality, gentlemanly nature, smart and insightful and oh yes, stunningly handsome–if he didn’t exist, someone surely would have dreamed him up. And thanks ( ;

      Like

    • Yeah, it is really, really strange. I appreciate your sympathies, Geminileo!

      Like

  15. He really does clean up rather well. Definitely NOT a penguin in well-fitted tux. But I have a fondness for Lucas jeans and t-shirty tops. Almost for H. Kennedy fuzzy sweaters. Almost.

    While he might still see himself as gangly, all that music/dance/theatre training has resulted in a GENTLEMAN with a strong presence and bearing. Certainly, reminiscent of earlier generations of actors.

    The dressing Mr. Armitage posting was especially captivating. All the detail of tailoring and fitting. It was terrific! Particularly to one who has never had a rewarding relationship with a sewing machine – somehow the thread manages to tangle.

    Like

    • I love Lucas jeans, too, and the fitted tops that show off those broad shoulders, sculpted arms and altogether handsome physique. The dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up to reveal those manly forearms and elegant wrists are quite lovely, too.

      Don’t you think that those earlier self-images we have often stick with us even after we’ve moved on in life? So even though Richard is today very handsome and carries himself so beautifully, moving with a dancer’s elegance and grace,somewhere deep inside there is still that awkward teen, all gangly arms and legs and a nose that grew ahead of the rest of his face? There is something quite endearing to me about that possibility.

      Probably in part because my husband used to be a very skinny, tall, awkward lad who grew up to be a fine-looking man.

      My mother was a fantastic seamstress–me, not at all.

      Like

      • He says he has grown into his face now but the change came really only in his thirties, at that point I would guess our self-image is pretty fixed. On the biography page on RAonline are pics from old theatre programmes (I realise that the pics are probably not the best) and looking at them one sees that he’s not just fishing for compliments when he says he still can’t believe that people think him sexy.

        http://www.richardarmitageonline.com/richard-armitage-biography.html

        Then I came across screencaps from what is probably the oldest video interview from 2003 on RAcentral and he was a nice looking guy but no-one would have called him stunningly handsome.

        http://www.richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/v/Main+Gallery/Frozen/FROZEN+INTERVIEW/

        Like

        • Exactly so. I remember looking at those older photos before. Definitely a late bloomer, our Richard. If you’ve seen yourself as one way for years, even when that changes, as has happened with Richard as he has gotten older and grown into the very handsome and downright alluring man he is today–well, it could be a bit bewildering. I don’t think he is fishing for compliments, either.

          Like

        • I think he’s really sexy in those photos, BUT I am a huge fan of odd noses and of brown hair and of the goofy, innocent look. I agree that he gained a lot more gravitas later on.

          Like

          • I love slightly quirky looks and interesting faces (although in journalism “interesting” is the term it’s suggested you use in place of “ugly,” and that is a word I would never use to describe Mr. A) and I can see the underlying beauty, still waiting to fully manifest itself, in those earlier photos. He looks like someone I would like to know. There is something in those eyes and those smiles . . .

            That being said, I would hazard saying he wasn’t what a lot of people would consider conventionally handsome in his younger days; not a “pretty boy.”

            And I wonder if his unique looks were one of the stumbling blocks of his earlier career–casting directors didn’t quite know what to make of him?

            Today he’s definitely got the gravitas and few can deny he’s a gorgeous man. It’s wonderful to study the evolution of the “goofy, innocent” younger fellow to the suave and elegant man at midlife. And it is a very good face, is it not?

            When the boyishly handsome and pretty boy faces have long ceased to hold our attention, Mr. A will still be one to watch.

            Like

  16. @fitz — lucas jeans. That image alone has put a big smile on my face. 🙂

    Like

  17. […] accents of great Britain — this feature is important. As I noted, I finally heard understood what Lee said to Ramona in their first scene together in Cold Feet 5. I haven’t watched the last two hours of Strike […]

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