“Fan”dom is not Enough

When I came out in RAworld two years ago, my blogs were only ever meant to be about the object of my desire dreams. Well, and possibly about my own interest, photography. Being an experienced multiple and serial blogger at  that stage, I had sworn to myself that *this time* I would remain anonymous and keep the blog strictly á point. Nothing about myself, my age, my situation in life, my work, my family. That plan didn’t last very long. I blame you! Yes, all of you, my dear friends and readers, who very quickly made my RAblogging a personal experience rather than an anonymous outlet for my fangirling activities. Gradually many virtual friendships developed – from initial cross-commenting on tumblr and on the blogs I was reading, on to behind-the-scenes e-mailing. Many of you I now know by your real names thanks to your parcels and communications for my pocket shrine project. Our dear Mr A continues to be at the centre of my fangirling activities – but he has got strong competition in the shape of the fandom.

fangirlingA community is described and called by its defining characteristics. We are a “fandom” – by virtue of our shared occupation as fans of Mr A. The word “fan” is controversial in our circle – constant critical (self)analysis and unfavourable outside judgment (of which we have just had another example in the shape of the recent ST article) make it hard for anyone to feel comfortable with the adage. Even our admired Mr A is uncomfortable with the notion of having “fans”. He has coined the moniker “well-wisher”. That title certainly sounds dignified and respectable, but a little bit too lame tame for *my* taste.  But I have learnt during my most recent experience while being a member of this community that it is extremely fitting. Your good wishes have occupied, consoled, comforted and accompanied me during these personally painful and tough last two and a half weeks. You have proven without any doubt that you are more than “fans”, who are simply thrown together by the shared admiration for Mr A. You are an extraordinarily compassionate, warm, considerate, generous and kind group of people. You have become – literally – well-wishers for me. Not in the sense of “fan”, I hasten to point out. I do know my place 😉  But as people who have been wishing me well. You have been true friends, and I feel myself part of a frienddom, not a fandom, because for me the defining characteristic of our community has become the way you conduct yourselves in relation to other community members, not just your interest in Mr A.

Beside the publicly visible number of comments on my WP and tumblr blogs I have received many, many private messages on tumblr and Dreamerfiction, and many, many e-mails. You have written and reblogged blog-posts for me, and you have responded to the suggestion of donating in honour of my dad’s passing. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have been completely overwhelmed by the latter initiative – which was unexpected and beyond anything I have ever experienced. Every word I have received – publicly and privately – has crossed the threshold from virtual to real life because they have touched me. And I thank you for that. You have done more for me than you will ever know!

I long to be home – in my own surroundings, with my books, my music, my shrining utensils. I also long to enjoy the exciting time that the fandom frienddom is experiencing at the moment, with daily updates on Mr A’s latest stage-door-outfit, the mastery of his acting, and the state of his chest hair ;-). So far I have only cursorily followed any of it – I could not devote my full attention to it, and as we all know, Mr A demands and absorbs his well-wishers’ attention completely, so I didn’t want to botch it 😉 But I have something to look forward to: catching up on all the articles, reviews, photos, and stage-door reports.

In the next few days I will return to work, to my blogs, and I also hope to gradually catch up on all the messages I have been sent, personally and one-by-one. That is the least I can do besides asking the universe to repay your amazing care for me in kind, preferably many times. I still believe in the universe, even though it has taken away my dad way before his time. And I stand by my pronouncement from early January 2014: This year is going to be brilliant. Ok, I’d prefer to delete June 25th 2014 from the calendar for the rest of time, but every other day has proven that 2014 is a fantastic year. Because of you. Thank you!

69 thoughts on ““Fan”dom is not Enough

  1. Ah, hope you’re beginning to come out the other side of this awful time. Safe journey back home. And don’t start doing anything again until you’re good and ready, and really want to. Hugs. Xxx

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  2. I’ve been thinking about you. I wondered if you had returned home yet.

    I truly believe that you reap what you sow. You have been such a positive force that it is no surprise that you are receiving so much kindness in return. Hugs!

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    • Not back yet, but it’s not quite as bad as I have made it sound. At least Germany has proper summer weather 😉
      Thank you for those lovely words that make me blush!

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  3. What a lovely message for all of us. I am happy that you receive so many messages from your “fans”. In what I am concern I feel a little bit bad because I would have liked to say you more things that what I actually did but unfortunately my vocabulary in English is so poor. Everything I wanted to say to you came to me in French and I was unable to translate it but be sure I often think of you. Very often. I wish you all the best for your future. Take it easy and slowly as it’s difficult to come back to life after such a bad event. Ciao da Katia.

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    • Katia, do not feel bad about anything, please. Even just a single line message was more than enough for me. Knowing that you and others thought of me really lifted the sadness from my heart! ❤

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  4. I never would have believed that I could feel such a strong connection between women (I’m guessing most of us are female) around the world whom I will never meet. I’ll be thinking of you as you start this new chapter in your life. May you find start to find peace in the days to come.

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    • It’s amazing, isn’t it? I hope that everyone feels proud and touched by the outpouring of love from the community that has come my way. I think it is directed at everyone, not just me! With all the wonderful messages to back me up I am quite confident that I can take the next steps and move on. ❤

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  5. So good to hear from you! But as everyone else has said, you take all the time you need, not just for family matters but to also catch up on all of Mr A’s reviews/news (and chest hair!). As always, your positive attitude and humor are so wonderful to see. Big hugs, M. 🙂

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  6. when I’m missing you, I eat Peanut Butter M&Ms; I’ve been finding myself eating them more and more. take care of you and yours so that you can come back to us soon…and then I can go on a diet 😀

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    • Oh Kel, you made me laugh out loud here ( a good thing!). And here is a little evil laugh *hehehe* – I have pulled another over to the dark side… I acutually like the idea that I am forever associated with Peanutbutter M&Ms in your mind. They are savoury and sweet, crispy on the outside and soft inside. Kind of fits :-)! Thanks ❤

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  7. I’m glad you could feel our support in an awfully difficult time. Hope things slowly get back to normal, although it will be a different normal. And, you know, you were just being loved back. 😉

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  8. Late as always, but sending you lots of love & support. It’s a hell of a knock you’ve taken (I know whereof I speak) and I’m glad you’ve got such a great posse ready to wrap you up in comforting hugs.Take care! 🙂

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    • It’s never too late to write such a lovely comment, MaryJane! So thank you for that – and since you are part of that “posse”, the love is going back to you, too!

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  9. Glad to hear you will be back with us soon. You deserve as much solace from our community as virtual friendship can offer. It is only a small help considering what you had offered us during the last months in terms of creativity, happy posts and kind and generous support as well as good vibes over all. As much as I am a fan of Mr. A (and a well-wisher of course) I have to admit that I am indeed a fan of yours too. I have an impeccable taste when it comes to fangirling. I only cheer for the very best. 🙂 All the best and take your time. We are and we will be here.

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    • Stawp, i.f, stawwwwp :-D. I don’t have fans!!! I have friends 🙂 In that sense I consider myself much luckier than Mr A because I can communicate openly with all of you – or ask for and receive your attention in order to console myself. (But I must admit that I laughed out loud at your assertion that you have great taste in the objects of your fangirling :-)) I think I have great taste in my friends 😀

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  10. So glad you are doing well. We miss you and your insightful and funny contributions. Colors are just a little bit duller without you around. And I find myself looking at all the Crucible photos thinking, what would Guylty say about this one? Or what kind of a fic would come out of this one? And I am a fan of yours. Can’t help it. Will try not to gush about it.

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    • Where’s the blush smiley? 😉 There is something very gratifying in believing myself missed by others, and in hearing that I am thought of in connection of certain news and images. But, oh, my head is already too inflated, so I better burst that bubble and come back down to earth 😉 I will admit, though, that a message like yours, Kathy, very much fuels my desire to return to my regular fangirling business of shrining, *ooof*ing and crosscommenting. And all things considered, that is actually a good sign. Thanks and ❤

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      • You are so insightful and especially with this particular post. It has been another 24 hour+ work day, why? Why would anyone work 24 hours and more at work? Once again (sorry whine zone) I am doing work someone else was paid to do, but did not. Of course they will get paid for standing around like wet-brains and I will get the benefit of doing their work. Not that I am bitter or anything. I hope to spend a partial day to myself before getting back to work and do what I have left undone. Why dump all my cry-baby troubles on you here? Because I was just thinking that sleep deprivation (to quote a dear girlfriend) makes everything hilarious and it seems like I’ve been given a lot to smile about here. I also wanted to check your blog as a way to break the workaholic bender I’ve been on and before I got here, I remembered sending an email to Kathy Jones telling her I should be back in touch about ComicCon (in San Diego) in a few weeks yesterday. Ha ha That was not yesterday, that was Monday? God, now I cannot remember! Of course, that was before I lost myself at work, but the long way around this particular bush is this, I wouldn’t even have Kathy Jones checking in with me and offering to volunteer her help (along with possibly others she is conning, yes, pun intended, to also help me at CCI in a few weeks) if it were not for you! So while this long run-on sentence/paragraph (thought-spew?) may remind you of Earnest Hemingway’s style of endless writing to make a small point, (albeit not as well written) I am grateful for your friendship and your thoughtfulness. I think of you often and wonder if there are any bright spots in your days sometimes. Even though I am working a lot right now, I do like the work I do, even if I am a grumpy-Guy (yes, intended) when I don’t get any down time to relax, do my nails or check in with people I like. Oh, I almost forgot, I too am a fan of your art girl. Sorry, you can be like RA and not “see it” when a reporter refers to his “handsome” appearance all you want when it comes to us being fans of your art, but it does not make it any less true. I was sucked into being a fan of yours through RA and wonder how it came to be that I have developed real affection for you when it all started out over a handsome dude? My apologies if this sounds like a drunken rant, it isn’t alcohol, it is me tired, but happy to be reading your blog so refusing to get in bed just yet. Thank you for your wonderful RAPS and photos and fun loving words. Your friend, Mimi

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    • Thank you Marie – the more I write here, even just replying to your lovely comment, the stronger I feel that I have really missed my “frienddom”. xx

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    • Thank you Dede. I’ll be staying put in Germany for a few more weeks, but I’ll resume my fangirling duty. Judging by the number of spontaneous thoughts that have already gathered in my head in relation to some of the pictures I have seen from TC and interviews, I am ready and ripe 🙂

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  11. Forget all that gentle advice about taking your time. We miss you. We neeeeeed you. Stoke up on M&Ms, pick a Crucible photo, and start writing!
    You probably need a break from the family dynamics, which, amazingly, don’t change even when someone dies, right? I know this from experience. After a week or two, the best therapy is to get back to your own life.
    There are some fabulous new photos out there. Visit your reliable RA oasis by disappearing into your own head for a few hours….

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    • 😀 You are too right, Besotted, on many counts. I am glad to be needed here, because I need to escape a bit from my family duties, too. Whether it is therapy or not – life goes on, anyway. Reading and writing, commenting and replying always give me pleasure, and I probably need this now more than ever.
      I have seen some of the photos. Dang! And so many to choose from *arrrrrrrrrgh*. Good thing that I did indeed bring my notebook with me…

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    • LOL. You are not far off, Serv. I have bought bits and pieces for shrining, found a cigarillo tin in a drawer, located a pliers among my dad’s tools and have collected some stuff that I want to put to use in a RAPS. But I am missing too many other things from my stash at home. So I’ll take this as a creative holiday and concentrate on planning the next RAPS rather than making them…

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  12. You are in my thoughts and prayers at this hard time in your life. I have a time been saying that a big part of the fandom in the friends we make and we owe it to Richard for bringing us together because of a love of his work.

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    • You are absolutely right, Katie – even if the fandom has become more important to me over time, I’ll never forget that RA was the reason I met so many lovely people. Definitely owe him for that. And gladly so. Thank you, Katie!

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  13. Thank you for this post, Guylty. I love RA, but it’s really the relationships I have been building within the “friend”dom that makes blogging about RA so much better and worth it. I’m happy that many admirers seem to share that view as well. I’m so glad to hear that you are doing better 🙂 I know this sounds selfish, but I miss you quite a bit and hope to see more of you soon 🙂 *hugs*

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    • There is nothing selfish about being nice to someone else. It’s probably more selfish of *me* to accept that compliment :-). There, we are even now! Thank you, D – I can’t wait to send you your RAPS. It was finished before I left so unexpectedly, and now it is languishing in Ireland and I won’t be able to send it for another three weeks. So sorry!

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  14. What a lovely post Guylty. I totally agree, the “fan”dom has certainly become a “friend”dom for me too, thanks to our lovely man. I’m afraid I used to be one of those people who didn’t believe that online friendships could develop like RL ones, but that was before I became totally immersed in Armitageworld. As my elderly mother has said to me, it’s no different to the penfriends we used to have in the old days, it’s just that the communication is a whole lot quicker and easier! 🙂

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  15. Menno, da schaue ich jeden Tag, ob du wieder loslegst und bin dann im entscheidenden Moment nicht up-to-Date, 🙂 Also, dann jetzt: ist DAS schön, dass du wieder bei uns bist *virtuell knutsch* (diese Knutscher sind übrigens streng limitiert!) und *freu*. Dann komm erstmal langsam wieder in Schwung und lass dich von dem Crucible-Taumel nicht ZU wahnsinnig machen (was rede ich, bin selber ja kurz vorm Infarkt, ob der Bilder-Flut *stöhn*). LG C

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  16. Guylty, having lost my father 12 years ago, I found that after the initial shock and intense mourning, the grieving still remains. And I think this is normal. I believe there is no right way to grieve; it ebbs and flows. I’m so glad that this fandom, we RA well-wishers have given you so much support and joy back. I discovered RA one year ago but it was only in March this year that I became a fan and started lurking on the various blogs, tumblr sites, and FB pages, amazed by the talent, intelligence, and self-awareness of many RA fans. The Hamlet A Novel audio and The Crucible are the first RA projects I’ve shared with the fandom and it’s been a thrilling experience everyday. Every swoon, squee, hug, slight touch, eye-contact, I’m there too. 2014 is a breakout year for many of us.

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    • Sorry, yes, so I have heard. I was making changes and there was a blip. I hear there are issues with commenting now, but I am working on that. WP sometimes goes mysterious ways…

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