Margaret Josette Dupres, Chapters 1 – 5 (Valentine’s Day 2019)

MJD 1-5b

[Adult Content]

 

Listeners expecting to hear me swear will be disappointed. This entry is the long-awaited first podcast about the marriage novel, and exploring the chapters of it; one through five.

This audio session goes through, step-by step, discussing what occurs in each chapter, my personal struggles and triumphs through this journey as well as the wonderful discussion that arrived from wonderful friends and kind strangers who granted me a way to stop panicking from lack of talk and finally allowed me to begin sleeping again which had been a problem at the end of 2013 into the beginning of 2014.

Chapters discussed are as follows:

Chapter One – The Wedding Day

Chapter Two – The Wedding Night

Chapter Three – What We Whispered

Chapter Four – Josette Speaks

Chapter Five – Sharing The Past, The Present, And The Future


Background music (which I would love to know that you purchased) for this podcast is:

Stoa’s “Sakrileg” & “La Lune Blanche” + Aurora Sutra’s “Consecrated Lover”.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


podomatic link here

podbay link here

archive dot org link here

story link here

Also available on iTunes

Advertisements

Happy Birthday, Kathryn Leigh Scott

It’s Kathryn Leigh Scott’s birthday, and for that reason I decided to focus on what I admire in our beloved actress.

My initial thoughts brings me to the marvelous job she did on Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Who Watches The Watchers”, just to see her opposite Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, and even the Twin Peaks dude, in that episode is pretty spectacular, but she also played her role excellently. Her character, Nuria, was well fitted. Nuria being the matron of her tribe, the person looked up to for guidance. (I would move on to her characters on Dark Shadows, but I write and speak of them often in my own journey here .)

The main thing I keep thinking about is how impressed I’ve always been by her DS publications. With that there often feels like there is a sense of community and a gathering of the group who put together Dark Shadows. In those pages you find someone who likes to bring people together, showing that it’s a group effort rather than establishing any kind of singular limelight. My favourite parts are the behind-the-scene anecdotes that often represent the same atmosphere of friendship I also see in The Next Generation cast of Star Trek.

It’s obvious KLS has an admirable, fine appearance and keeps herself fit and healthy, but her charm to connect a sense of friendship in show business is second to none. I haven’t seen anyone else achieve that resonance of welcome and appreciation in entertainment. She emits a presence of splendour, talent and warm-hearted grace.

Of course reading her books years ago made me anticipate similar things in Dark Shadows fandom for which I was not prepared to find a great deal of the exact opposite, but on this day of days I am very grateful she was born and allowed us to marvel at how beautifully she managed the hardships of working on a daytime drama while still giving us so many characters to love.

When I perform her roles I find a tranquility and gentle cheer that is quite rewarding to capture. I have to follow Kathryn’s lead and it’s something I always look forward to, especially when a character she played is in a fun mood.

The selections in “Dark Shadows: Return To Collinwood” (2012) are a treat to read, with the fun they had reuniting on the movie set, the steps in time and memory taken, as well as the care and attention provided among old comrades. It is a wonderful look at deep bonds and loving friendships.

 

I salute her this day and pray that spirit lives and thrives with more understanding than these more recent troubling years have given.

Thank you, Kathryn Leigh Scott.

Happy Birthday.

Horror of Fang Rock: A Ramble (And More…)

 

Nothing like a light selection of Doctor Who on a rainy day. It’s funny because “horror” is in the title and I feel like I’m watching a fluffy set of episodes. There is a character, Reuben, that my sweetheart pointed out, “That guy reminds me of Badger,” meaning from The Wind In The Willows. I then realized the time period was Edwardian and not Victorian, which would fit with that aspect. The other thing I love about this story is the models: so cute! The tragedy of the boat hitting the rocks appears so toy-like to be adorable. As was the look of the meteor/rocket coming down that appeared to be a glowing purple cricket bat.

 

The setting of a lighthouse is rather romantic especially upon being aware that the real life of a lighthouse is incredibly strenuous. It’s similar to enjoying winter weather for the sake you have shelter.

 

Frankly I find the concern toward the legend of a sea creature more alluring than yet another Whovian space villain out to show their superiority. Seriously, The Leviathans on Dark Shadows are pretty much like a Whovian space-villain. There is no purpose other than some kind of bizarre dominance thing, which is likely why The Leviathans portion of Dark Shadows set their ratings to plummeting. Anyone who might have noticed the similarity at the time probably protested, “Egad! This is like a Doctor Who story, but it’s endless! There is no horizon in sight! If I wanted to watch Doctor Who I’d be watching Doctor Who!” And then they got up and turned it off like my husband did in attempting to watch later episodes of “Enterprise”.

Another fun element of this particular Doctor Who story is the focus on electricity versus old means to run and light things. The younger set is all for electricity and the older set is all for the tried and true methods they grew up with. This one is also great for Leela’s assessment of things. She learns new lessons from The Doctor and also gets snappish with the gentry bitching and complaining all the time, or going into hysterics. The slimy guy trying to bribe people with his last fifty pounds is pretty annoying! Vince is rather swell, he’s one of the keepers. The villain itself appears to be like a green hard sour or apple candy with a vague lacing of white cotton candy trailing it.

The Doctor, himself, seems to be pretty demanding, more to the gentry, of course. They appear to need it since they are at a loss to occupy themselves very well. Then the lady begins to weep over the coming of what her Astrologer informed her of, and Leela refers to that as, “Your shaman.” That’s a fun bit.

I’m almost disappointed I know what the heck is going on now. When we first watched this I was just so cosy with the setting and the way people spoke, my sweetheart had to update me on certain occurrences while I was putting together my embroidery stitch-work. Now that I consider the candy resembling villain, it is rather pointless, just going around offing humans for no particular reason. But it makes sense to the general feeling of this show, I guess. I suppose that would be the lesson in my own experience. Social media addicts often turn into villains on Doctor Who. Living life no longer matters, just the need to outdo all the other villains. In this case I particularly like sharing initials with the show itself.


 

And again, I am much calmer getting back to work, staying away from the social network saloon. I have to remind myself I have managed myself out of the madness on a fair level, which means I have a quality of life much different than millions of other people right now. The dependency issue requires carefully attended avoidance. That’s why going back to the television watching helps, especially now that I’m just leaving on some of the extra documentaries added to this DVD of Doctor Who. It’s basic linear, not a scattering of distractions out of place and sequence.

The stats are pretty humourous lately. Plenty of oddly familiar spots, as if people are checking to see if there is any more goodies with a vague sense of awareness that they are doing so… I believe if that sense of awareness increases there ought to be some digestion of the horrors bystanders can achieve.

Will there be any realization that, as much as we like to switch gears to the winning side, that choosing to defile the hazards of social media means to accept personal flaws? That seems to be the particular hardship most are struggling with. After rooting and defending it and having that on record, it’s difficult to feel trustworthy, upstanding and reliable to demean it while having so many years of stalwartly defending it in our wake.

Plenty of folks are still hooked, though! Some just a little, some totally dependent. It’s hardly that fun additive anymore in which you find an old buddy or cousin and exchange phone numbers that you actually use to talk to them. If that still happens at all I sure don’t hear about it.

And this is why when I write my letters I show my gratitude so often. Each and every one of them helped to pull me out of that addiction, an addiction that still lingers, but much less so. They showed me there was still a wonderful world of people that had no urging to request I join them on the “social” network. They have hobbies, crafts, favourite music, pets. They detail their times going out that they enjoy or the odd travels that have some misadventure here and there. Real life. Personal awareness. Admittedly a few pen friends went away from that hand-in-the-cookie-jar embarrassment after grabbing all my online goodies and never saying so…

But enough remained with good manners and little to no embarrassment to checking out a bit in the cookie-jar or sweets-tin I have out here in cyberspace. They could say so, some a bit sheepishly, but what’s wrong with sheepishness when one is aware of it?

To these pen friends, they show me the epilogue of “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells. In all this mess of hunter and prey in life, even among humans upon each other, there is still something else:

“And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers—shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle—to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.”

The Promise of What Praise Can Do “Margaret Josette Dupres (A Novel)” [Note 11]

Yes, again I’d prefer this not say “Praise” anymore but maybe “discussion”, which isn’t as fantastic. I am getting into bad moods when things are much better than they have been in years, with a myriad of accomplishments in work productivity, friendship, helping others, creation and cleaning. But it only takes a few minutes of exposure to something bad to mess things up. So I am back to focusing on this.

 
Mind you, I still get head-scratching hits for the unhappy author’s note which I am waiting to rescind when enough for the later chapters is discussed again. When that happens I can replace the chapter and potentially share more of the darn thing rather than just tell friends over the telephone about what’s being created!

 
I’m starting to realize one reason why I didn’t continue to this chapter years ago for these notes. This chapter really didn’t get a whole lot of discussion. I think it made people feel too weird or something. I mean it’s Sam Evan/Andre duPres in first person which is likely to throw people for a loop who are used to Barnabas or Maggie narrating the chapters, with that one in particular via Wadsworth or the third person omniscient one with Tony and Carolyn.

 
When I realized how badly another return for Sarah would be desired, I started getting strong influences from Sam’s character, things he wanted to say and express. I wasn’t sure I could just be him in first person, but then I picked up an old non-fiction book I favoured and realized it was similar to how Sam tended to sound. Someone also pointed out that it sounded like Andre too, so that was in all of our favours!

 

Chapter 22: A Candle For Sarah

 

413 josettes been sad for such a long time

One of the things that I found very appropriate was taking verbatim lines from Dark Shadows episodes and blending them into the novel. The quotations for this chapter were from Episode 413, written by Gordon Russell, repeating the discussion Sarah and Naomi had about Barnabas supposedly leaving for England and a candle Sarah had made, with the help of Riggs, for Josette. The idea Riggs relayed to Sarah entailed a candle at a window bringing someone home. I asked for help to find the episode (thank you!) and then watched and wrote down the dialogue as precise as I could. (It took a bit of rewinding and listening repeatedly to get it correct, as it always does.)

 
After the quotations Sam begins his narrative. (Slight additives on “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” style of things are appropriate because in my work Sam is friends with Captain Gregg.) The long chapter begins with detailing Sam doing some artwork with the ghost of Sarah as well as spending time with her, helping her to create a new candle from wax, old crayons and a beer can. I, myself, have mainly done the same with soda cans, but I would envision Pop being the kind with more taste for beer than soda anyway, so a can as such might have been more readily available. It’s not the safest way to make a candle, but it was handy to my own experience.

 
For the sake of things not going on for as long as it takes wax to harden, the chapter proceeds with Sarah sitting outside with Sam who is putting a bit whiskey in his evening coffee. Sarah previously expressed she wanted a candle for herself to give Josette a second time, a token for Sarah, herself, to return one day. As they sit outside Sarah asks Mr. Evans what it is to be reincarnated, just to make sure she has the idea well enough in her mind. Sam gives her a fair idea then waxes poetic about the stars being our guides which Sarah doesn’t specifically understand, but feels she knows enough.

 
Later they take the candle and drive to The Old House. Sam explains it as, “…driving through the town of Collinsport to get to The Old House, where my daughter now lived with her excessively romantic husband…” This has got to be one my favourite lines. Pop just says it like it is, and to me it’s almost poking a little fun at Barnabas. It’s not a stand-alone segment since the rest of the sentence goes into why the drive itself wasn’t exactly a wise choice, but I still highlight that sentence fragment as being a hilariously fun one. (Thanks, Pop.)

 
What comes later… gosh, this is a complicated chapter… is their arrival and Sarah explaining why she’s offering a candle to Maggie (Josette) due to having given her one previously for the sake Barnabas might come home. In a moment alone with Maggie, Sam explains that this was only the final time they were seeing Sarah as a ghost. Maggie picks up on the understanding Sarah Collins will come back in the flesh, but completely uncertain who the lucky mother will be. Oops…

 
“Margaret Josette Dupres,” Sam gives her a grin, “why does it have to be somebody else?”

 
Of course, Maggie is flabbergasted, anticipating something sudden and also wondering if her and Barnabas are even capable of having children in their less-earthly state of being. She has every right to wonder, but Sam laughs at her concern that she might suddenly give birth the next day or some such silly idea. She and Barnabas would know and be ready when the time was right.

 
The farewell takes place in Josette’s bedroom, with the obviously sad Barnabas rather unsure of why these events are happening, and what Sarah even means by returning a different way. Admittedly the farewell is a tearful one, even beautiful in its ghostly allure.
However, Barnabas’ lack of understanding got on Sam’s nerves, and a little bit on mine, truth be told!

 

It wraps up splendidly with Sam thinking aloud things to Barnabas on the other side of the door as he leaves. Then Wadsworth steps from the shadows to assure Sam that he is very correct indeed. I love this just because from Episode One in The Pit, Wadsworth pretty much knows what requires attention for Barnabas Collins’ love life, so at this juncture of a possible child. Wadsworth is also just as aware as Sam is where Barnabas is not.

 
Helena came through first, as she often does:

 
Helena Clara Bouchet chapter 22 . May 22, 2014

This chapter was so touching, Daryl 🙂 And I love arts and crafts, too! Maybe one day, I’ll make a candle like that (only mine will be yellow or pink). Looking forward to Sarah’s big return!

Oh good! Even some love for the candle. I can’t remember if I explained to her the technique I once used. I’m sure there are much better ones.

katieyoung1960 chapter 22 . May 25, 2014

I love this chapter. A voice for little Sarah, and a hope for her return. That would be a very happy occasion!

Nice and simple. I think back then folks were far more aware of the leaps that were being taken so that almost everyone of a good nature could heal together, including a lost loved one.

Cynthia Curran chapter 22 . Jun 3, 2014

That’s cool, Barnabas always seem more like her father anyways and maybe she being conceived an interesting way will make the story interesting.

Aye! It was interesting to say the least! But that’s another chapter. I love the pointer of Barnabas seemingly more like a father than brother to her anyway. (She’d need an alternate father when we think over Joshua in his earlier days.)

Of course these wonderful comments still left me in want for the details that might have been noticed otherwise. Osheen picked up the chapter upon my request:

Osheen Nevoy chapter 22 . Dec 16, 2014
So here I am consulting my notes from last night. I really like Sam/Andre’s comment about there being “no shame in the common.” That worked and totally made sense. It does a perfect job of linking plain, common-and-garden Sam Evans with the reality that Andre lived – the brother of a countess, very wealthy, seemingly of the aristocratic stratum of society, but still a very blunt, to-the-point, down-to-earth sort of man. (As we see from his awesomely blunt snide comments to Joshua and Rev. Trask in the show!)

Throughout the chapter I could completely hear the voices of the actors saying the lines that the characters are speaking here. From that I know that the depiction of their “voices” in the word choices and speech-patterns is precisely spot-on

The candle-making from melted crayons brought back a lot of happy childhood memories for me. Did you make candles from crayons in your childhood as well? I remember that very vividly, and reading about it summoned up a lot of those feelings of warmth and contentment that good childhood memories bring. The kind of warmth and contentment that you also conjure up in the scene of Sam and Sarah outside experiencing the night while waiting for the candle to cool. My childhood candles, of course, were made in frozen orange juice containers or that sort of thing, not in beer cans! But naturally, the beer can version is fitting for Sam! And of course Sarah picking purple – is that for some other, additional meaning, or is it a nod to the well-known affinity of little girls for purple?

Great little down-to-earth, matter-of-fact Sam details that appear throughout, like him managing not to slice himself on the beer can. I very much like the description of the sort of dream state that ghosts tend to think in and relate to reality through. Other great details throughout – the old cloths that Sam should have thrown away long ago.

I adore the description of the “golden, silvery silences.” Seems to be an oxymoron, since how can a silence have colors, and yet it’s right, totally right. I guess silences do have colors, and so does sound. The “vast stretch of the universe” portion of the conversation with Sam and Sarah fit perfectly with those high-flown turns of phrase and imagination that Sam reveals in the show – of course in the show, usually those are on darker topics, such as his repeated freakings-out about the Collinses and their haunted house on the hill during the first 200 or so episodes of the show.

I wasn’t particularly happy with Sam for drunk-driving – I would have hoped he would avoid that, given the experience witnessing the result of Roger, Burke & Laura’s drunk-driving accident! I guess he had Sarah along to help make sure he didn’t kill anybody, and he DID admit that it wasn’t a great idea, but still, I wish he hadn’t done it and had walked up to the Old House with Sarah, instead. Though Sam is not a character who is consistently known for making good choices, so I guess him choosing to drive at this point is consistent with his character. I just wish he hadn’t chosen that!

I love Maggie’s humor that you portray here – again, it is just exactly right for Maggie was we know her on the show, particularly in the early days, before things get so f-ed up for her. And I guess that’s why it fits so perfectly here, since in this reality, things are not f-ed up for her anymore. The description of her “chortling” is the example that I have written down for this – just great, and again, absolutely right.

Another fabulous, funny down-to-earth Sam detail – the brush filaments in the scenery. Loved it! Also loved Sarah’s “I thought so, but it’s impolite to boast, you know” – and loved Sam’s reply to that.

Now, the bit about the broo-ha with the unfortunate Jeremiah Collins – that led me to wonder. Have you, or do you plan to if you haven’t yet, had a sequence which includes healing for Jeremiah and reconciliation between him and Barnabas? If you have, and I haven’t found it, I’m sorry I haven’t, and please tell me where it is! If you haven’t, maybe that would be something that would work for you to explore at some point. He definitely is someone who needs healing and reconciliation, considering all the crap he was put through (and the rather messed up Ghost of Jeremiah stuff in the show), and presumably Barnabas also needs the reconciliation with him, since having a dear friend who then becomes, at least seemingly, your enemy, and then killing said friend/enemy, has got to put some pretty deep wounds in a person’s psyche. I guess maybe I’m rather protective of Jeremiah, since he’s become such a major character in my DS tale. Anyway – if that kind of sequence does exist in your work, I want to know where it is so I can listen to or read it. If it doesn’t, maybe it’s something for you to contemplate for the future.

And my final note is about Barnabas kissing Sarah’s hand, and telling her that teaching them to grow has made her the finest of ladies in the world. Loved it. Perfect.

It completely works. It IS these characters, it is what they would say, and it is a beautiful depiction of love and hope and the little fragments of reality that weave together to create human happiness.

 


I do believe I remember a possible use of orange juice cans instead of soda cans and I’m glad she mentioned that one. I’m honoured that I was able to get the voices down so well. But it is the exposure of the right materials, the original show being the big one. I believe Sarah’s pick of purple was a combination of liking purple but also to give it a regal touch, as one might recall purple was used for royalty because it was such a pain to create that colour of dye. (I even remember a tale of snails being used to make the dye. Not sure if that’s true!) Even the details in the night sky and colours of sound.

 

Now let me relieve the idea Sam was actually drunk-driving. Definitely tipsy. I guess he could have been more intoxicated if I didn’t care, but I tried to word it where he said, “I wasn’t very sober when we left.” So there was enough sobriety, and he points out being aware of it. So it’s surely not really a case of, “As I stumbled my drunken ass into the truck.” But I can see where a quicker read might give that impression. Another reason to make a third-draft of this novel: I can meander a bit more instead trying to gesticulate a zillion descriptions into one sentence as Vladimir Nabokov tends to do. (Yes, he is an influence: All of his books, not just that one!)

 

For all the wondering over Jeremiah? I have apprised Osheen of the plans, all of which are for redemption and easily showing Jeremiah Collins (reincarnated as Burke Devlin in The Pit) to be a good guy after all is said and done. So grateful the farewell details were to her liking as well as Maggie being very much herself.

 

A newer reader to this novel left these lovely words:

D.S.Romance Fan chapter 22 . Dec 11, 2017

Aww the thoughts of Sam .. He is ready to be a Grand father… It’s time. Beautifully written. Sarah has always been a bright magical child. Lighting candles is such a great peace offering.

 

And I dig that because she made the fine observation of Sam becoming a grandfather someday in this scenario. I’ve been a bit worried readers didn’t understand what was being explained in this chapter. If Maggie is to give birth someday to Sarah as a reincarnation, Sam would undoubtedly be a grandfather then, and would no longer be able to call Sarah by the previous title of “daughter-in-law” as he did at the Evans Cottage. This works due to Barnabas being his son-in-law, therefore the sister of his son-in-law could theoretically receive a similar title. But Sarah as a granddaughter will be easily to say and to write down, not to mention far more precious still.

 
For this chapter being so filled with details and discussion, I must allow one log entry. The others will be more difficult because they aren’t so much chapters but basic summaries. So I might make the next note about those or skip ahead to chapter 25, etc.

 

Well, I hope this shows that I’m feeling a bit better from my tragic thoughts and social media temptations. The phrases of “never cured” and “one day at a time” springs to mind. Plus I do want to focus on this novel much more again so that we can continue that as we continue in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows audio series.

 

angel
As much as a struggle it can be to make sure Sarah Collins is as convincing as I can present her, she remains to me an honour and joy to be present in my endeavour. Joy seemed to leave our friends on Dark Shadows when Sarah did. Her return in The Pit and later this novel brings joy back to them over and over again. ❤

Steady On

Hi folks!

If you have managed to find this web-log due to leftover links from several years ago, I’d like to update you that much in these troubling tempers of mine (and hopefully many other peoples’ tempers) have settled down!

It is true that there is plenty of baggage galore from these gadget designs making us all crazy at each other, but solutions are at hand.

One thing I would especially like to encourage is that you request information from other humans in the form of polite dialogue and conversation. This is extremely important and was granted to us by our elders who invented children’s shows on PBS like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers Neighbourhood. (It is no surprise Mister Rogers postage stamps sold-out so quickly!) These things helped us to get in touch with our emotional states, which is a big, important thing considering the emotional creatures we humans happen to be.

Now, I encourage you to politely request information from me, if you can. Of course, I will do my best not to be alarmed by hostile remarks given for reasons that are not apparent to me, in the hopes I might manage to get something a little more in sound reasoning and structure as we move along.

Then again, I’m not sure how many people are even in touch enough to have any anger. A lot of times folks are just coming to this web-log to drool over photographs of “hot” actors, and don’t really care about anything I have to say or the purpose  that any photo was posted at all. I believe this is possibly why some of my haters might be getting quite disappointed. I perceive there is a realization slowly happening, with some of them, that their own hater-audiences don’t actually understand what they are saying either. Those audience members are just like-clicking happy colours on their screens. (It’s a bit of a let down, isn’t it?)

Now, if you would like to peruse the web-log entries here a bit more, you will find several fun podcasts and, most recently, my New Years show that includes a workshop with myself, Osheen Nevoy and our loving husbands, too.

Please remember that it is a nice extra to have the internet to look up information, but some of that information will undoubtedly be very false. This is caused by heightened stress, human fatigue, and human emotions, too. It’s a very wise detail to remember, if you can. I have even noticed Snopes dot com doing far more work than they ever did before in debunking things thanks to the wonders of social networks and their addictive elements.

Please enjoy your morning/day/afternoon/evening/night/wee hours, enjoy your entertainment, and try not to hurt yourselves or each other. I’d also like to add that you might enjoy giving your eyes a treat of relaxation and try reading something made of paper.

 

Daryl

Workshop With Osheen Nevoy (+ New Years2018/2019 Update)

20182019newyears1e

 

Beginning with a basic explanation to this podcast series, then how garnering discussion for this series improved and how unfortunate societal changes created further problems.

 

In the workshop we explore how Randall & Hopkirk could work in “The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows” and a load of banter about most of the shows already involved. (Thank you, Osheen!)

 

Considerations of (The Real) Richard III in tandem to how Barnabas Collins’ character has been portrayed in fanwork. Concern over future generations. A big insight in the learning process via media entertainment; the example used is “Animal Crackers” with The Marx Brothers. Recognition of mistakes in a recorded world.

 

What is happiness? If you want better in life you have to figure out what “better” is. The “guilt” issue explained . Meanwhile, I’d rather you enjoy the show and tell me what you enjoy and why you do.


Background music in this podcast represented in the two following URLs:

playlist of songs

Podcast of the mix here


 

podomatic link here

podbay link here

archive dot org link here

Also available on iTunes

Happy Christmas (at least somewhat)

On this Christmas I received a gift. A fanwork of the Dark Shadows movie that I enjoyed. I also bestowed a gift; my delight in commentary. These are things many more of us once knew how to do, but I have been living in a tragic world in which much in the way of free thought and free will, the things that made us much different from other animals, the training to be something more, has been extracted from a large portion of the population.

 

I also managed to watch the new “Solo” film with my husband. He enjoyed how I found the brother of the director. Of course, as I learned from my Mum, anytime Ron Howard directs he will find a small part for his brother in it somewhere. But more so, I managed to keep track of the story and be pleased with the “Easter eggs”. Growing up with the old Star Wars trilogy presented me with the keen insight of what to look for and anticipate. Life experience gave me this treasure of ability, another thing more people used to have and were able to discuss.

 

Moreover it reminded me of Empires and Rebellions in general. Us rooting for the kind-hearted aspects in life and striving to achieve great accomplishments.

 

I am shaken that this uplifting sense in the human spirit has been traded in for the baser attractions, at least from where I am and have been on this journey. I see the numbers for downloads and reads still, and I do not assume enjoyment or understanding is being had. Instead I envision the probability of many listeners terrified of their own guilt, speechless for the sake that they got used to the short-cuts they were handed and relinquished their decision making skills. Or lack of understanding what’s being said, just making up other things to believe. (The latter happened before but it’s worse now.)

 

We had our social lives transferred into programs that, did not begin but, eventually became casino versions of communication. Our shared moments with loved ones deposited into a slot machine. Dazzling, attractive, and all meaning siphoned out of what we would call our souls, our minds, our preferred tastes and paths.

 

Upon recognizing this, how can one not be shaken to one’s core? Ah, yes. The pretending it’s “all okay”. Sure, life goes on. Let’s pretend that nothing changed, that people didn’t have fun engaging in dialogue much more often than they do today. I even notice the way the haters share my spots of recorded temper and I find those actions to be reflexive and automatic. The world of open-communication is now a new way to gossip and misunderstand, always presuming that everything online is gospel truth. Don’t ask the source. Ask a third party instead. You’ll get a more exciting answer that way.

 

Meanwhile I still see good numbers for Melissa’s interview podcast. They may not look the same in your iTunes browser, but I see other platforms. There are people listening to that one that don’t bother with the radio drama. I’m proud of her for saying things that I could never say, to get a view of what someone new has to endure for the sake of a television show. Also her good manners in approaching entertainers and how best to behave.

 

People who knew me during my panicked days are inquisitive. I’m just sitting calmly, perhaps working on a letter or a new embroidery design and listening to others. Not everyone is surprised by this, but several are looking twice. They knew the me that was stressed to my limit and beyond, the person that should have been treated better, but allowed to be abused via bystanders or others taught to be hateful and nasty. I knew I needed to find the right people, and I am finding them, as are they in want of their own people, having experienced similar friendship loss.

 

One very good friend now I met amidst the madness. She knew fandoms got rude and untrained people in the online world took hostile liberties to gain a sense of authority over others.

 

I looked at what she presented and observed, “Something bad happened.”

 

She heard my tale and troubles and assented in echo, “Something bad happened.”

 

To her and I, stories and games are for the journey, not for the winning or losing. For the experience of travel, adventure sometimes, but exploration, learning, and sharing time with others of like-mind.

 

Other new friends have no fear for good reasons, either from being so creative themselves, or true-life problems that make entertainment welcome and relieving. They know and appreciate that others are working hard to give them a sense of escape. Jealousy isn’t a viral disease that plagues them. A little envy for an article of clothing, perhaps, or a set of art supplies they’d like. Nothing vicious, just a funny quirk that passes as quickly as a ripple on the water.

 

The shaky moments still come, like today. I have to constantly remind myself of who is still with me. A big pile usually awaits me by mail, either type of mail. It’s true some pals make light of the change in others I find shocking, but there are friends who know and have seen what I have seen. We comfort each other with the anecdotes and what to make of them. How to move forward, new favourite songs, old favourite songs, tales of our lives and what tiny components don’t change. (Ron Howard hiring his brother for a bit part in his movies, for example.)

 

I can feel the tension, though. Having so many fear you isn’t a pleasant experience. Then having to watch that fear turn into a stunned silence of utter embarrassment, not just towards me but finding in themselves a state of being in which their sense of choice and free will, as well-grounded and well-behaved individuals, was perceived as still existing in a time where they were pulled into something that tricked them, along with whatever loved ones or shared people they had.

 

It’s happened in subtler ways before. If you don’t buy someone a gift you will be seen as low-down. If you don’t take pictures of quality moments it will appear as if you don’t care. Companies advertise to this ideology and take advantage of it to sell those products that prove you really do care.

 

A pal reminded me of a South Park episode, “You Have 0 Friends”. Many of us knew the truth of the insanity going on via social networks, the insecurities arising from those with, usually hidden, low self-esteem. The problem with the example of that story is that it was aired in 2010. That was almost a decade ago. We should have held on to that great lesson, but we didn’t. The problem just increased.

 

Believe it or not, there are many who just won’t touch the stuff. They live their lives outside of those things. And I think that’s often how I am being viewed. Once a month is enough for me. Stretching out on the furniture and feeling that balance of freedom is a joy. Being able to watch more Dark Shadows and heckling playfully with my sweetheart adds to the joy. The way things were, and can still be again.

 

I’m working on a portion of Osheen’s interview I hadn’t released. It’s more of a workshop segment but worth a podcast. Then there is Pit episodes 20 and 21 to construct. Meanwhile I get to the chapters of friends as we’ve exchanged our work together. A thing I always wanted since I was a teenager, but never really had until decades later. Odd to find them through fanfiction, but it makes sense. Shared interests are there. Any old fiction wouldn’t do, we had to have something else to bond with. Old TV shows? Movies? Love of similar characters? Sure. That will do nicely.

 

Happy Christmas to my friends, new and old. Keep in touch, pen pals.

I think of all of you very often, and do my best to catch up.

Steady as She goes.