Armitagemania one-year anniversary (onset)

[Comments again closed because this is a placeholder for an upcoming post on what happened. Thinking back, I realize now that it’s no coincidence that the crisis moments of Armitagemania coincided with the crisis moments of academia that recur every year. They had to happen at these points because they had to get my attention and there was no better way than to stop me in my tracks — and the only way to do that any more is to stop me from working or functioning.]

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) rubs his forehead after signing to acknowledge Margaret’s assumption of ownership of the Marlborough Mill facility in North & South, episode 4. My cap.

Exposure. Trigger / infection.

One solar year ago today, late at night, when all the world I could see from parents’ living room window was blanketed in snow, and the view betrayed only darkness in every direction, there was nowhere to go anymore. After one of the most epic fights of my life, in a moment of frustration and sheer despair, I scrounged the clamshell out of my backpack and rather abruptly thrust disc 1 of North & South into the DVD player there. The result, a shock: non moriar, sed vivam. That realization stunned for awhile, and then its implications began to hurt, but the message was so seductive that I could not resist it. And that (for me second) viewing led to an uninterrupted string of twenty-one days when I watched at least part of the work, and often the whole series, every night: in that same living room; in frozen motel rooms with the wind blowing as I wound my way back south, several days later; on my computer screen, snugged up in bed my apartment, in the silence, once I made it back home. The first flare (the period during which it was emotionally necessary for me to watch North & South or at least a half hour of it every day) lasted months, sufficient that it bled into other Armitage productions, so that even on days when I wasn’t watching North & South, I was watching something else.

As of today, with the exception of religious holidays and some sabbaths and long journeys, it’s been a year since I went more than a single day without watching Richard Armitage.

Lucas North / John Bateman (Richard Armitage) encounters his former lover, Maya (Laila Rouass), for the first time in fifteen years in Spooks 9.2. My cap.

Maybe one reason I keep watching Spooks 9 is my awareness of how deeply a person can bury herself in her perceived obligations, how fully one can become trapped in a life that’s not her own, whether one assumes it voluntarily or out of fear of who one really is, what one’s really done, the errors one’s really made. Maybe, like John, I’m just looking at a picture I’ve fallen in love with, a deceptive image of myself that I will never realize. Maybe the errors I’ve made are so severe that I can’t erase them, that they are the only things that make me make sense. And potentially, all of this will go horribly wrong — already has gone wrong.

But I am done apologizing. This IS a creative obsession. When this is all over, I AM going to know WHY. I am going to know why watching Armitage in particular had such a sudden, visceral, persistent effect on me. I am going to know why I gave up on myself so completely, and I am going to know why his performances forced me to remember that I am — sometimes painfully, sometimes joyfully — alive.

~ by Servetus on January 7, 2011.

8 Responses to “Armitagemania one-year anniversary (onset)”

  1. […] January 7, 2010 to January 28, I was watching North & South in every free second I had, first in my […]


  2. […] still am not ready to write about this event, but I was thinking today about what happened afterwards — the stuff that cemented […]


  3. […] isn’t the initial piece of the whole story, which I’ve been trying in vain to write about for a long time, now, or […]


  4. […] yorzeit of my doctoral adviser (who was a UCC Congregationalist, admittedly), and the upcoming decisive anniversaries for Armitagemania, I feel relieved that I’m on the upswing overall, but still, I’m tireder than I was in […]


  5. […] friend. I so agree. I was also saved by North & South. I guess, whatever happens, this is a friend I get to keep. This may be my first, or at least one of […]


  6. […] Probably because I don’t like remembering this day all that much. Fills in this placeholder. […]


  7. […] In other words: this post solely concerns me, the kinds of aesthetic judgments I am normally inclined to make, how my vicarious experience of Armitage’s beauty affected me under particular circumstances, and the intersection of all of this with the apparent coincidence that he was playing Mr. Thornton when I saw North & South the second time. […]


  8. […] January 7, 2010 to January 28, I was watching North & South in every free second I had, first in my […]


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