Ten Years of Organised (well, sort of) Fangirling

The 26th of April 2012 was an ordinary Thursday. I was studying for my finals in May, but my mind was elsewhere. I had only recently discovered a tall, dark, handsome British actor, and somehow, things had come to a breaking point. I had already delved into much of his work, but there was so much more to discover. And most of all, I needed a platform to vent gush over this new crush because I just couldn’t keep it to myself any longer.

My tumblr blog was born

After a few reblogs on tumblr, I quickly connected to the fan community over there. And inspired by their creativity, I also started creating edits and posts. Friendships were established, some of which exist until today *waves at Abby and Violet*, other early friendships fizzled out when the fans in question stopped blogging or switched interests. New friendships developed over the years *hello mezzmerizedbyrichard, nfcomics, riepu10 and many others*.

The Guy who was responsible for my coming out as a fangirl

My creative contributions were initially confined to tumblr, but even during the first year I was looking outside the microblogging platform, devouring fan fiction on AO3, Fanfiction.net, Wattpad, Dreamerfiction and Fedoralady’s Livejournal page and commenting on the (large variety of) basically pure Armitage blogs on WordPress such as me+richard, The Armitage Effect, RA Frenzy, I want to be a pin-up, Confessions of a Watcher, The Squeee, zRYSIOwana, Zaniam, Mulubinba, Funky Blue Dandelion, CDoart etc. Those were heady days, even though we were operating in the vacuum: Richard had been incommunicado on the Hobbit sets for two years. But we were living for the impending release of TH, the premieres and press that would accompany it, and the brave, new world that would come after. And we had no problem filling the waiting time with discussions of his previous work, any news that filtered from the set, early press, and happy speculations of our own.

I set up this blog in November 2012 for the sole purpose of being able to guest-blog on me+richard. My plan had always been to keep it anonymous by limiting my own fangirling activities to tumblr. But over time my home on WordPress grew bigger and bigger, and eventually took over as my main blogging platform. (It probably was a natural progression because I had been a serial blogger even prior to starting tumblr – with several individual blogs covering everything from crafting, photography and expat life to travelling. I even conducted my mandatory “visual diary” as part of my photography degree as a blog. Way back in 2009 that was actually a “first” for my lecturers in college! They loved the idea – and I got top marks for it.)

RA with a camera – where my two passions collide 🔥

Interestingly, blogs are now on the way out, it seems. Armitagebesotted shared a New York Times article with me yesterday, about the demise of a popular blog. Engagement on blogs is dropping, and most internet users nowadays prefer accessing information and commenting on Social Media rather than conventional blogs. It’s a trend I have noticed, too. While guylty.net continues to receive likes, comments and views, the short, sharp engagement happens on other platforms (Twitter, FB, IG). That is a general trend, and not limited to the small world of Armitage blogs. But even while conventional blogging was already in decline, new blogs sprang up in our community that have become absolute mainstays in my daily reading – among them Armitage-centric blogs such as Armitage Agonistes, Ancient Armitage, NowhereinparticularRA or Crystalchandlyre (now all defunct) and My Dearest Louise and Opera is Magic – as well as blogs by Armitage fans who also generally record their lives and times: Minor Herba, Book Esther, Nellindreams, Teapowered Crafting, I’m Feeling This, Zeesmuse, Nokisuu, and more that may not be on my reading list. My intention with *this* blog is to keep bucking the trend. As long as there is engagement, I will continue creating content. This is, after all, my creative outlet that fulfills more than just the need to crush on Armitage. I enjoy the creativity of blogging, the inspiration it provides for my crafting, and the opportunity to communicate with others.

Let’s have a cup of Armitage and chat…

As for the fangirling – well, that looks to stay, too. What else would I write about in my fan blog 😉? And how else would I have a happy reason and a handy occasion to communicate with you, esteemed readers and valued friends? Thank you for being part of my journey as a fan. I doubt I would still be an active fan if it wasn’t for you. It’s the friendships that have developed, the continuous meeting of new people, the fun of discussing our shared interests (even beyond RA), the challenges, prompts and inspirations provided by you, that keep me interested.

Here’s to the future!

61 thoughts on “Ten Years of Organised (well, sort of) Fangirling

  1. Thanks, Sonja! It’s hard to believe a decade has gone by. I have to wait until July to reach said milestone. I too am glad we are still friends (Hi, Abby!). The RArmy was so much smaller then and, yes, we waited for the Premiere of the 1st Hobbit film with great anticipation. I don’t regret taking the plunge. It made my life better.

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    • It doesn’t feel that long, does it? We were lucky to jump into it when we did – being welcomed into the tumblr RArmy without much ado. It really set the tone. And I agree with you – it made my life better, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I could never have imagined how enriched my life would be by being part of this fandom, I will always treasure the friendships I’ve made and the fun we’ve had along the way.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Me too Mezz!! My life was changed for the better when I “met” Richard almost 18 years ago through N&S. I’d lost my husband in 2002 and becoming part of the fandom seemed to bring me to life again. We seemed like “family” somehow not just a random group of “well-wishers” I’ll always be grateful for all of you back then.

          Liked by 1 person

          • [Sorry for late reply] I can sympathise with your experience, Teuchter. It wasn’t my husband, but when I lost my dad in 2014 (ok, already 2 years into my fandom journey), I really felt so much love and care from my fellow fans. That is also one of the reasons why I could never just throw in the towel and leave this fandom.

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  2. Congratulations on such a monumental milestone. What a legacy.
    Your blog was the first place in the fandom where I felt like part of the team and it was wonderful. I like the immediacy and ease of Twitter, but it’s also fleeting. We’ve had some great discussions here in the comments. Maybe the musk of megalomania “over there” will bring us back over here more?
    Thank you for the shoutout. I feel like a very bad blogger with how inconsistent I am. I admire your creativity and your discipline in giving us so much great content all the time.
    Big hugs to you and to another ten years of fun!! 🥂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree – Twitter is short and immediate, and that makes it easy to communicate, to react without much commitment, and to make new acquaintances. But yeah, not a discussion forum. “Musk of Megalomania” indeed. I do wonder whether his hostile take-over will have repercussions. I heard that the Dublin-based Twitter staff were planning to resign if he succeeded with his take-over plans. Easier said than done.
      No such thing as bad blogger! I still refuse to tie myself down to a regular blogging schedule, either (apart from the regular Saturday round-up). The content comes when the content comes, and that is fine.

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  3. Happy Tumblrversary! My ten years over there is in September, but I had been lurking then commenting on the blogs since the previous year – very happy memories of those that you have listed! It reached the point where the blogs weren’t enough for me to indulge my crush on RA, I was desperate for my own outlet. A WordPress blog seemed like too much hard work, Tumblr was ideal – browsing through and reblogging pictures and gifs and soaking up all the gorgeousness without too much effort hehe. Then learning how to make gifs became a compulsion!
    I had to smile at Astrovian’s comment about it being bittersweet when RA is in the middle of filming and we don’t hear from him – I was remembering those years when the Hobbit was in production (the Armitage Drought) and how we kept ourselves entertained!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I think we all started as lurkers, and eventually the crush was so bad, it needed to be released in some shape or form! I chose tumblr for similar reasons (conventional blogs too much work), but also for its anonymity. I thought I could reinvent myself there. But I am too honest for that 😂
      Oh the big drought!!! It really was a source of inspiration, if you think about it. We filled it with our own stuff.

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      • This year was my 11 year blogiversary but I forgot about it until about ten days later and then stewed too long. The longest fans will have been around eighteen years this fall, but I guess we can stop feeling like the younger generation now.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We’ll always be the “second generation” 😁, and maybe the whole blogging game is our USP? I will always look up to them, not least because they discovered “his greatness” (…) so much earlier than us. What did they understand that I didn’t? 😬Belated 11-year-blogiversary congrats to you. Never too late for a party 😉

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          • I had to look up “USP.” Hard to say — my feelings about blogging have changed over the years but I never saw it primarily in sales terms. (Maybe that’s why Servetus’ social media existence is almost non-existent nowadays. My prediction is that Elon Musk will tank Twitter, which will move ever further into the realm of 4chan, and I will still be blogging while the Library of Congress publicly admits buyers’ remorse over a decaying digital product that they have no idea how to maintain, catalog or make accessible to users.) I wanted people to be able to find the blog if they were looking for my sort of content but I wasn’t ever that interested in the rest of it. This is also part of why I’m not all that bothered about the supposed demise of blogs. It’s not hot anymore, but neither is radio. There’s still plenty of it.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Unique Selling Point wasn’t quite accurate – as we never sold anything. I guess I meant something like “Unterscheidungsmerkmal” – what’s that in English?
              Completely agree with you on Musk and Twitter. I already feel put off and unwilling to use a platform that Musk is providing.
              For me, the blog will be fun as long as I am not a lonely echo chamber. As in: I want to engage with others, with the help of the content that I put out there. If there will come a time when there is no (meaningful) engagement anymore, well, then there’ll be no point in keeping the blog going. That’s what I am thinking now.

              Liked by 1 person

              • distinguishing feature?

                I wrestle with the engagement question still. No engagement is better than bad engagement. Good engagement is priceless. I think I’m just in a vastly different place now (probably due to longevity) than most of the newly engaged fans who encounter me. Which is fine. But it changes the interaction a lot.

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                • Yes to both of that. (Good) Engagement injects liveliness into a blog – bad engagement can kill it. You’ve had experience with both, so I understand your reservations.
                  The difference between newly engaged fans and experienced fans is definitely something that can lead to frustration. I’ve been a newbie, once upon a time, so I understand their needs, but after being a fan for a long time, I don’t share *all* those needs anymore.

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on pamelakeenanblog and commented:
    Sonja please stay blogging. I’m a late to fan girling only have discovered Richard a few years back and I’m discovering friendships and RA information.. I had to look for fan sites benares my friends got fed up of me gushing about how wonderful Richard is so it’s been great to share the love. I’ve made some wonderful new friends some I’ve even met up with. A group of us met at Pizza Express near The Harold Pinter Theatre to see our man perform Astrov. There i had my first personal encounter with Richard at the Stage Door. What a kind gentleman he is. With his help I have a selfie of us. Keep blogging this fan lives what you do and the auctions are a must x thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  5. aww, seeing all the old familiar names linked in this post made me tear up! for as much as I always seemed to be fighting against ‘the establishment’ of fandom community, I miss it dearly. I’m glad you’re still here to keep me connected ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • There really is an element of sentimentality in this for me, too. I miss some of those bloggers so much… I am very proud, actually, that we have kept in touch, even when our fan paths diverged a little. It just goes to show that fandom is more than mere gushing! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats in continuing to blog, sorry I’ve been quiet …various reasons. Whilst yours wasn’t the first blog that I came across to discover more on RA , yours was the one on which I felt camaraderie. Your easy style of writing is very welcoming to the outsider and I appreciate how you helped me to meet some nice people.
    I hope you keep it up , it seems RA is more in demand these days so hopefully no more waits of 2 years ( not sure i could have coped with that with the Hobbit?)

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    • I had a similar experience to yours, Rachel – with meeting new people through someone else’s blog. I am still friends with one of the three people who were the first RL contacts I made in the fandom. That RL contact really made all the difference, I think – meeting people for real rather than relying exclusively on blogs and Social Media.
      Ha, those 2 years passed quicker than you think. We simply created our own fun. In a way it was easier then than it is now. With Richard not present on any Social Media platform, there was no expectation that he would communicate. We accepted that there was silence – and filled it with our own stuff. It also helped that we knew something epic was waiting at the end of the drought…

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  7. Congratulations on your blogging longevity. I don’t know how you do it. Upbeat, interesting and most importantly, funny. I came into your realm when you were analyzing photos on Serv’s wonderful blog. Waving at you, Babe. Loved the ficklets you used to write, Guilty. They were a blast. I hope RA appreciates your talent. Love, Kathy

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    • That’s a long time of following here, Kathy. Thank you for *your* longevity in reading! I think the secret to my blogging is probably in my reluctance to ever get into regular posting times or to try and become a news blog. I’m somewhat selfish in that I only blog what interests me, and a lot of that is my self-produced crap… eh… crafts 😂.
      Oh those ficlets… I haven’t engaged in fiction writing for ages. Maybe I need to take a look at the recent pictures and see whether they get the juices flowing.

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  8. Oh, Sonja, that post was SO sweet!!! I am blessed by being a part of it. Keep blogging!!! I felt so welcomed the first time I send you a message and you answered me immediately. Your enthusiasm and pure soul are very important to me. I love RA and here I can be myself. I found people sharing the same passion, filled with kindness. I hope and wish to communicate with you and the rset of the RAarmy for stil many many many years. And… “On April 26, 2941, Gandalf and the Dwarves arrived at Bag End”. I truely thank you for everything!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you, Poppy. I am glad you feel welcome on this page and like to participate in the comment section. Lots of lovely people in this fandom, and meeting them is a large part of what makes fangirling such a (guilty) pleasure for me.
      And oh my goodness – the 26th of April is significant in TH??? I had no idea. Well, maybe then this blogging malarkey was all meant to be…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. WOW 10 years, congratulations 🙂 I’ve truly enjoyed being part of this community since last year and I love your blogs and various initiatives. I find Richard’s fandom much more relaxed and friendly than many others. I would LOVE meeting some of you in person some day, and I’m sure it will happen. Personally I have never been able to stick with one fandom for more than so much, my record being 5 years and three months with Hawaii Five 0 and Alex O’Loughling but I still LOVE all the actors and singers I have “fallen” for over the years (and Ive been a Backstreet Boys fan since 1997 even though my being active in their fandom is up and down). I hope to stick with Richard for a very long time, he gives us plenty to fangirl about with his dedication to his work. Generally my “fading away” from a fandom happens gradually and for no particular reason (apart from finding someone new and exciting). I always say the only guy I’m faithful to is my hubby 😉 But anyhow, currently I’m in a deep phase of Richard Armitage appreciation and I truly enjoy sharing it with you and the fandom

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you, re. “fading away”. It’s happened to me, too, with two prior crushes (Colin Firth and Keanu Reeves), and my half-time was 2 years. I can’t exactly say what is different with this fandom. The actor? Possibly. My fellow fans? Yes. But also myself. I think I joined the fandom at a stage in my life where I was a bit more “steady” and less likely to give up quickly. And now it’s been going on so long, I might as well continue *haha*.
      But seriously, I am happy to read that you enjoy being part of this fandom – may it long continue! Fingers crossed that Richard gives us more stuff to talk about, soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. 🙂 Merci pour tout : divertissements, conseils, aide … surtout la découverte de l’Irlande.
    Le 8 mais 2013 était ma date mais je doute de fêter un quelconque anniversaire, l’année prochaine.

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  11. CongRAtulations on your tin (think RAPS!) anniversary 😁
    I’m betting I am the newest RA fan following you, Sonja, and as such I have conflicting feelings about my place in this universe. I discovered RA during lockdown and quickly devoured his screen work. Having no friends who cared to share my passion, I turned to FB and was disappointed, not of the fangirls’ genuine love for all things Armitage, but of a perceived (on my part) dearth of true interaction and discussion. I scoured the Internet, watched all the video interviews, drank in all the information I could. Still, I felt like I was being told about RA, rather than experiencing him from the inside.
    Then I found your blog. You changed my view of the fandom. You “got” me. You didn’t talk over my head. Your warm and accepting tone made me feel a part of something, even as I still doubt what I bring to the table. After all, if this is meant to be a shared experience, I should be passing on my knowledge and passion to others who find themselves in the same place I was a year ago — desperate for information and unsure where to access it. Thus far my diffidence has prevented me from stepping out of my comfort zone as “observer” and taking a more active role in spreading the RA love. Maybe tomorrow.
    Carry on with your blogging, Sonja. You never know whose life you might be helping to change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • [Sorry for late reply] Thank you for the kind words, Lou. And please listen to me: There is a place for everyone in fandom. This is not about who has the oldest rights or who has the best ideas. You don’t have to have a unique approach or brandnew idea in order to be an active participant in fandom. For me, fandom is meant to be a happy place where I can communicate with like-minded people. Doesn’t mean we necessarily have to agree about every detail of Mr Armitage’s work or behaviour, but just means we have a place to share thoughts. (And as you can see from my blog, even the most trivial of thoughts count 😂.) I don’t believe that there is an obligation to be an “active promoter” of RA. He has got professionals for that! There are plenty of observers in this fandom, and that is perfectly valid. We bloggers need you! Because we want you to read and comment. Or just read. Active participation is not mandatory. But if you feel like diving deeper, you are always welcome 🤗

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Wanted to add the oldest ode I could dig out of obscurity (where it belongs). It is a tribute to both you and Serb who have produced literary gems for so long. This ode was inspired by a leggy photo.

    Ode to Long Legs

    His beautiful legs,
    Not too thick or too thin,
    Can inspire the ladies,
    To sigh or to grin.
    In all kinds of weather,
    We might prefer leather.
    But really,
    It’s hard to beat skin.

    Kathy Jones on Serv blog Aug 2013

    Liked by 3 people

    • August 2013???? Oh my, I had forgotten how long you have been entertaining us with your clever odes. Love them all. (And maybe it is time to do an ode post again, saving the recent ones from obscurity and spreading the fun!)

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  13. Congratulations, Sonja. Thank you so much! ❤️ Your blog is like a fandom diary and has great film and photo analyzes, and funny stories. Also without your blog, I wouldn’t have found our fandom group and I would only end up reading Richard’s tweets. Reading books is also becoming less and less popular, so we will not be influenced by this trend.
    And thanks for telling your fangirling story. This Armitage House really exist 😊. I‘m sorry the congratulatory card did not arrived (evidently it is stuck with all my Easter cards in a mailbox for almost a month now). Well, it will probably arrive at the 15th anniversary.
    I hope you will bloging many more years. 😘

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    • [Sorry for late reply] Oh yes, Armitage House really exists 😁.
      And I am embarrassed that I did not let you know until now that I had received your card – already last week. It was such a lovely surprise, and I am astounded that you knew my anniversary was coming up at all 😉
      Hope you continue to have fun here and on all other blogs with our shared OOA 😉

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  14. Congratulations Sonja! Even though I may not always comment I’m always delighted to see a message appear in my inbox! Hard to believe ten years have passed. may you continue to cheer us for many more years!

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    • Thank you, Teuchter. I appreciate every reader, no matter whether they comment or not. After all, this is a happy hobby for all of us, and there is never an expectation from my side, that everyone has to comment. Having said that, I love your comments, so if you feel like it, hit the keyboard 😉

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  15. Great post, thanks for indulging us, G. My 10 year anniversary (of my first viewing of North & South–my “gateway drug,” as Abby taught me) is this November. It was followed by months of frantic “catching up” reading stuff online (and not turning off my computer at night, in case I might mess it up and miss something.) Then I started trading messages with a few people on line. Then some looooong phone calls. Then one woman persuaded me to meet a bunch of fans in real life for an event in my city (New York), which was…THE BEST ADVICE EVER, BECAUSE I AM STILL DOING IT, AND IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE (for the better). So anyone who is ever headed to NYC, tell G (or anyone who you know knows me), and she will hook us up.

    By the way, I have identified the locations of those two plaid shirt photos, which may have been done the same day as the white turtle neck sweater shot where RA is standing in the 1950s era telephone booths on the ground floor of the New York Public Library. The plaid shirt shots were done in the same building, in an easy to access, main hallway (second floor, east side, for anyone who knows the building) that has an exterior window with a bench at its north end. In the blue book shot, he’s sitting on the east side of the bench, note that the exterior sunlight is on the right side of his face. In the other shot, he’s standing on the west side of the same window, and either leaning over the bench to lean against the window, or perhaps standing on the bench. Note that the exterior sunlight is on the left side of his face. Anyone want to meet me there and be “the model” for a re-creation? https://guylty.net/2022/02/14/happy-v-day/ https://guylty.net/2021/12/29/ooof-fair-and-square/

    Liked by 1 person

    • [Sorry for late reply!] There are so many of us who started that year… I remember that feeling of having to catch up. And the delight of knowing that you had a whole old series to catch up with, like three seasons of Spooks or 3 double episodes of Strike Back, all ready for the drool 😂. I think I remember the RL event you went to… and made sure that RA knew his fans were there and would like to see him 😉. Having met you in NY in 2016 was really great. Your hospitality has set the bar very high ❤️
      And thank you for the fan sleuthing. I should really rescue this information from the comment section and post it on blog in a separate post.

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  16. It is hard to believe it has been ten years. I think that it has been 10 years since I really took interest in Richard and started looking for more info. The list of blogs was like a list of places that i also checked out also. Congrats and to many more.

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    • Thank you Katie – and well, congrats to your own 10 years of fangirling ;-). It felt daunting, to delurk, but in retrospect it was one of the best decisions ever, right?

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  17. 10 years? Wow, time really flies!
    Congratulations and here’s to many more years of blogging!!!

    Reading all these ‘old’ names made me totally nostalgic, thanks for including mine and the link love of course ❤

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    • Time passes so quickly, indeed. It doesn’t feel like 10 years to me, and somehow I don’t even necessarily feel like an “old girl” (in fandom terms). I will always look up to the legacy fans and to anyone who had superior taste to me – as in “discovering RA much earlier than me”…

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Congratulations Guylty! 10 years! Your anniversary is represented by tin then (sort of) which is appropriate with your wonderful RAPS! Here’s to many more years of your companionship, fun and shared RA drooling!

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  19. Congratulations on 10th anniversary, Sonja! It seems only yesterday I started following you, but in fact 7 are now behind me. Wishing you will stay around for at least 10 more, so we can enjoy your posts and RAPS!
    *kiss*

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  20. Congratulations from me too. Ten years and so many happy times, many of them facilitated by you. Your blog has been the perfect place to gather and see what’s going on. Such a lovely bunch congregate here, I feel I know so many of you though it’s only through the medium of a page on the internet.

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    • Thank you Jenny. I feel
      The same about the people who choose to participate here. It’s a nice and friendly bunch, and my life is richer because of them!

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  21. Wow, 10 years! Happy anniverversary, Guylty! I was initially a message board lurker (mostly C19) when I first became an RA fan and then a while later I came across yours, Servetus’ and Herba’s blogs and some of the old ones you mentioned. You were all so inspiring (and still are!) and so I finally dared to dip my toe into blogging myself (thanks for the link-love). Your crafting and auctions also make me feel like you’re the glue of sorts, keeping this part of the fandom engaged and together. I always love reading here. 🙂 So, here’s to many, many more years of you blogging!

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    • I think we all inspire each other in turn. I admire all of you who blig frequently and give much more insight into their private lives than I do 😉. That said, I am glad you switched to the blogworld and participate here and on your own blog!

      Liked by 1 person

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