As 2005 crept out of existence, I worked on my book, and some disturbing things happened that prevented the electricity in my room from working if I turned on my computer. I had just started a new therapy job in order to try and understand anything about humanity I might have been missing for my writing.
As it turned out this job taught me many things about my life that were ineffably wrong with it. And unfortunately, I couldn’t continue the work on my book. It had diabolically been taken from me. I tried to make due, but a sadness crept into my life and I discovered a type of depression I don’t see expressed very often: Anhedonia. Anhedonia encompasses a troubling problem that can express certain emotions but not actually feel them. So in order to make due I went the Roger and Naomi Collins route and drank… very heavily. It was the only way to cope. Black Velvet Whiskey bottles stayed in my closet and went into recycling at regular intervals, and what with the awful Jason McGuire style parent I was living with, sometimes this drinking was needed just to stay warm in the winter, as much of the heat was turned off for billing purposes.
I had to find a way out. Meanwhile I kept watching Dark Shadows, and couldn’t figure out why this Barnabas bastard was so loved. He was doing terrible things, but I maintained in my mind the coffee shop sequence between him and Maggie Evans that was one of the sweetest parts I’d ever witnessed. (And also mentioned in Kathryn Leigh Scott’s writings.) A nice quiet moment away from so much of the troubles.
“Why didn’t he just ask her?” I kept questioning. Why didn’t he explain what he was feeling? Why not just tell her, “Maybe, it’s you…”? And, as my logical mind kept reeling at me:
“BECAUSE IT’S A SOAP OPERA, YOU FOOL!”
And as my Anhedonia got worse and the drinking madness ensued, I eventually found my way into a better life, though it took over a year, and felt like five. I looked for housing on Craigslist, where I’d found my job, and discovered a place that no one likely would look for due to the expense. And I found it, and I live there now. It was different, it was what we needed. And though this Anhedonia has ruined my enjoyment of life I was hoping someday things would improve.
After the year had elapsed that my significant other wanted before we might marry, I took hold of this possible happiness and created the means to make it occur. Because of my Anhedonia, I barely enjoyed my wedding day at all. I can vicariously enjoy it through memory, now that I have the emotions back to achieve it. And…
We kept watching Dark Shadows…
I had switched to brandy as my means of support, since Dr. Watson always seemed to call for it on the 1980’s Thames version of “Sherlock Holmes”. As it turns out any alcohol made from a fruit has better effects on me than any made from a grain, so I’ve held on to that knowledge in this life. Eventually I learned to deviate from hard liquor, to Jaegermeister, then to port and finally to wine and cider. When we had enough friends we devised a party plan on a monthly basis called “Ghost Story Night” in which everyone invited would try and tell a ghost story as the lights were dim, candles burned, and we all chuckled riotously. Of course this didn’t last, but it was sometimes very beautiful while it did. Art Bell’s Halloween version of Coast To Coast, “Ghost To Ghost” made this much more interesting.
If anyone is wondering this was about the time I wrote “Bloody Mary’s Delight”.
And still… we kept watching Dark Shadows…
The “Ghost Story Night” fizzled as friends moved away and relationships soured, so our social life dwindled.
As we kept watching Dark Shadows, I kept taking notes in a possible effort solve all their problems and an old idea I had as a wee one came to me. What if, since all these story lines are lifted from old gothic stories, we could introduce new gothic characters into the mix, with all their lightheartedness? It would make sense, right? Especially since there were so many spooky shows in the 1960’s later on in the evening that had kind hearts and easier problems to solve.
I loved the film “Clue” dearly and wanted to see Wadsworth, the butler (not in the original board game) make a comeback and be a good guy, and I didn’t believe that whole “This is what REALLY happened” ending. In the theatrical release the different endings were viewed in different theaters, so only on the video release of “Clue” was Wadsworth placed as the “bad guy”.
No, I said, he’s not bad. All he said about blackmail and trying to help everyone was likely true. And “Clue” happened in 1954, so reaching him to 1968/1969 won’t be too much of a stretch. As the Clue script expresses, “He is a butler. He is dressed like a butler. He has the manner of a butler. Even when he opens the gates all alone he does so with the demeanour of a butler. His name is WADSWORTH.” Yes, this is the man for our ever stolid and woeful vampire.
By the end of 2011 I had the beginning of the series, but not sure where to put it. Still, I kept on writing. I added Slimer and the parapsychologists from Poltergeist, who I wanted to see again. I found fanfiction.net and finally figured out how to post things, but didn’t know much about the site or how to use it or what the etiquette issues might be, try as I might to find them. I worried that changing anything, including the summary would alter the date posting of when I started. So I left them alone.
Then the Dark Shadows movie came out, and as much as I knew it was happening and was excited at what we might see, after the fact I viewed much hostility from both pro and con fans. Many complained about all the fish-out-of-water scenarios and I thought to myself, “WHAT? I could have taken MORE of those!” It always irritated me how quickly Barnabas adapted to 1967 from the vantage point of 1795. There OUGHT to have been more.
But what I really hated, in the original program was. however many times Josette fell off of Widows Hill, Barnabas would pull back with this “Oh dear” stupidity. “You’re a VAMPIRE, you jack-ass, and you love her! JUMP!” I’d scream.
And in the film… what happened? Did he jump? YES! He jumped… TWICE!
Something in this fandom was finally changing. Though online you could hardly guess. The hostility in this First World problem sought brutality with any disagreement. So? I signed into the forum on the website: “Willie Loomis Saves Collinsport” and at LAST I got some decent people to discuss it with who knew their onions.
They discussed it civilly and knowledgeably. But then, of course, online changes made my discussion in this forum impossible so I couldn’t re-join for their help. “I suppose I’m on my own now,” I reasoned.
I kept taking notes while watching and worked on my series. I’d written 3 episodes and then watched another spooky show with a very sweet heart and understood who I could use to alter the death of Sam Evans and why. (The Ghost & Mrs. Muir.)
In 2013 the story grew, and grew with an ignited passion. Everything WAS changing along the story-line. It was what I’d meant to do. Still, I got no reviews but I was more worried about making those changes. However, my social world kept dwindling to a bare fizzle and the balance in my life began sucking this project into the only purpose I had left. My pen pal encouraged me to stay strong. I got one reviewer and I went from writing an episode a month to writing four in the month of October.
Then I got the hang of the traffic graph and did a double take… Wait… THIS many people have been reading my story for months and MONTHS? And they didn’t speak UP? Umm… something is REALLY wrong here. So I began looking over what other people were doing. There was dialogue in the reviews, but for some reason not with my story, which I can’t boast but simply observe is DAMN funny and GOOD work. What the hell was going on with these people? And I knew it couldn’t be some Ugly American problem as it was across the globe, too. What the hell? They could have been helping me feed this thing? But what the heck? They didn’t share their laughter as I saw in so many other humourous stories on that site? What’s with THIS B.S.?
Soon enough I worked out the Willie Loomis issue in episode 13 I’d been waiting on because I was discovering that He and I, along with many other characters, shared too much in common. In my lack of sleep, the Muse gave me the solution that Willie and Wadsworth knew each other already, considering Willie’s empty past. At five in the morning this Muse forced me from trying to sleep more and made me write their first scene together. Along with a lot of other problems I was solving, I was very pleased with how it turned out.
Then I got to episode 14, thinking, okay, I’ve worked out that Willie problem, I’ve tried very hard to get his character down. I’ve even filled in the plot-hole about the bullet wounds no one else has done that I saw. And the cane scene about it was scary to come to terms with and write. Now? I have to hear SOMETHING from these takers.
No… I didn’t.
I waited a week. Nothing. I waited longer. Still nothing.
No… I thought, passionately… I love Willie Loomis now… I’ve made him at least understand what was happening in Collinsport. I struggled with him so hard, and all you empty dots on the traffic graph want is to see him crazy, and hurt and injured and suffering… No… I said to myself. I don’t understand what’s going on in the world now. I went to the market and saw so many people zombie-like buying their groceries in an uncaring, busy way.
What can I do to keep this man I fell in love with? What can I do to keep my dates and stats at fanfiction.net? The proof I’d been there and tried so hard to make all these people better? So I replaced my story with chunks of it and explained why I was doing it. Ever since that time there was no response, except from Helena Clara Bouchet who does way too much reviewing and helps almost everyone and has enough on her own plate to even bother with that. No, this is not fair.
It IS better than what I saw happen there between 2004-2007, but still it’s not right. As my pen pals have said, no, this IS wrong.
So, I did the deed, turned on the song I gave Willie Loomis at the end of my 14th episode (“Sunshine Superman” by Donovan) and was liberated. And that morning… in all my visualizing skill… that man… and I… danced! ^_^
And, though you may have seen this episode elsewhere, I shall share it on this blog for the first time, now that the story of my love-affair beginning with Willie Loomis has been told.
Welcome back, Willie. Hope I did you some justice. ❤