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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Please Don't Bring Merlin Back

I'm growing very impatient with the Bring Merlin Back groupie thing. I joined to watch what's going on partly out of morbid curiosity, because I have a sociology degree heavily anchored with anthropology and psychology. I've never observed a live cult group before, although I've seen a few from a distance. And I have to say, this one comes as close as any to weird obsession. I have bets on that if someone instructs them to drink the koolaid, a few of them just might.

In the real world, one fan does not hold the power to make a staff of hundreds of people do his or her bidding. The group leader ~seems~ to understand that millions more dollars would have to be dredged up and a number of lives would have to screech to a halt and go in reverse to get back to an intersect point where they could pick up where they left off. But the group leader also seems to epic fail to see that playing fan politics like this looks like a mental affliction gone wildly awry. To expect the world to behave this way because a very few people (compared to the entire fandom or world audience) 'work hard' to make it happen isn't much different from a toddler throwing a tantrum or a teenager manipulating relationships or an adult refusing to deal with reality.

I'm not wanting to be mean. I love Merlin so much that I spent good money procuring all 5 seasons, plus a calendar and a t-shirt. There are other fans out there spending much more than I have, buying collectible toys and apparel and traveling to film sites and conventions. IF these kinds of things are what keeps a show from ending, then Merlin would never have ended. Its international success exceeded so many expectations, and most of us feel so lucky to have seen it or been a part of it. But c'mon. Investing one's emotional belief system into remolding a television show via a fan army of swooning believers isn't how the rest of us want it to go. I do NOT want Merlin back if it means a handful of fans become the boss of everyone who ever created Merlin, and I especially do NOT want those fans to be the boss of Bradley and Colin.

I love the way Merlin ended. I bawled my eyes out, yes. I've seen a lot of Arthurs and Merlins come and go, and this creation was such beautifully crafted story about such a deep friendship, and how that friendship survived through thick and thin and eventually led to the United Kingdoms. We watched a core belief system rebirth through the seasons and in the end came down to a serving girl on a throne because of the utter kindness of her king. THAT is what Albion is all about. Albion is a dream that we are ALL equal, that we ALL matter, and that we treat each other with respect and courtesy, not drawing lines at status. Because Arthur had such good friends, he was a good king.

I do not want obsessive fans to change that. Arthur dies in all the legends, and I think this version of his death is fantastically beautiful and symbolic. Everything in the last two episodes is very symbolic- Merlin stuck in the dark cave while the battle begins in the dark, brother and sister both dying by swords forged in the dragons' breath, an actual dragon being Arthur Pendragon's pall bearer, and much more. I wept not just for the death of Arthur, but for how absolutely beautifully done that entire last stand was executed in film, how wonderfully uplifting the entire series was, how much it has actually helped me in my personal life to believe in good things during rough times.

I thank Bradley and Colin very much for being Arthur and Merlin. But I never want to see them do those roles again any other way. I vehemently do NOT want obsessed fans to change what is in MY head by bullying the market with faked email accounts and spamming. I'm sorry those fans need that to hang onto, and I do understand that sometimes we really do need something concrete when our lives need meaning. I don't want to make anyone feel like I am making fun of them, because I'm not. I have observed and not said anything for a long time. But as an American who has watched this 'international' group execute 'actions' to bring Merlin back before some of us have seen season 5 aired in our country (or even season 3 in some countries), I think they do the rest of us fans the discourtesy of not caring what WE want.

I want Arthur to rest in peace for awhile now. I want to make up my own fantasies about him rising out of Avalon again to join Merlin. I want that sparkling effervescence of 'maybe'. I want to move on and become the sort of person who would also be noble and patient and true like the rest of the supporting characters in Merlin.

I have been part of a number of fandoms, and while I appreciate that fan support can sometimes bring a show back long enough to bring a little closure, I also understand that sometimes a show really is simply over, at least in the real world. In my mind I carry on to my own amusement, as is should be. Stories give us something to occupy our thoughts while we get through mundane or difficult stuff, and stories can even help us with problem solving our own relationships and decision making. To turn a story into a production on demand taints the joy of those creating the story to begin with (after all, it WAS someone else's idea), and neglects the feeling of pride in their accomplishment.

I would invite the fans who demand a different sort of closure to create and publish their own stories. Instead of just demanding that everyone else drop whatever they're doing to please them, grow up and put the work into it yourselves. Invest your own money, dedicate your own hours of labor, form your own teams and produce something wonderful for the rest of the world to read or watch. The whole Merlin and Arthur field is wide open, anyone can interpret it any way they want. But don't think you can dare to turn our Colin and Bradley into puppets that you pull the strings on. Not cool. They have so much potential to go on and do so much more, and I want to see them continue to excel in other work. Please accept that they are actors, not dolls, not the real characters, not enamored of themselves as the fans are. They are simply men who get paid to fill roles. And we love them, that's ok.

I rarely cross post my stuff, but this one is going on multiple blogs I have strewn across the ethernet. Those of you wonderful lurkers who stalk all my stuff, sorry for the redundancy, but this feels important. Thank you for your time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ode to Joy


I have lupus. It affects my brain. I've covered the loss of ability and severe depression I've been dealing with for years in previous posts, so I'm not going to repeat any of that.

This post is about looking forward. How can a person see a future with their brain falling out? I have been 'brain training' for several years getting ready, because it's not something I'll be able to control later with will power or a simple decision to behave a certain way or have a particular attitude. I've already had a taste of the mentally crippled lifestyle I'm headed for, and I know it could happen again at any time without warning, and I have no promise I'll pull out of it next time like I did this time.

 

In the confusion of forgetfulness and mood swings, there has to be a behavior foundation, a rock to stand on, a familiarity to flee to for comfort. I've known people who have gone through strokes, injuries, and illnesses that have affected their personalities, and the people who care for them. I know it's hard.

The hardest part is trying to keep the feeling of some kind of control as it's slipping away, or trying to get it back after it's simply just gone. That leads to no amount of frustration, anger, sadness. I don't want to be angry and sad. It seems to me that the best way to go forward is by learning to let go of everything now while I can, so that I don't try so hard to hang on and make myself, and whoever takes care of me, miserable.

 

Scott is my best friend. He sucks at romance, and he's not the wordy comforting type, but he's got an instinct for making me laugh like no other. Over the years I've developed a complete trust in him even when he does everything wrong and backwards. All I have to do is sit back and let him be the person he is. I don't have to watch what he's doing in case he's wrong because I ~know~ he's wrong. Our lives are very cartoony sometimes, and it's something I've learned to appreciate.

Because of this trust, I have experimented with allowing things to get ridiculously silly and just laugh with him at everything. I discovered a joy that you don't get with monitoring the moments for stuff going wrong. I'm not saying let the house burn down, but it's got to be ok for someone to burn the toast or even plow through a garage door (that happened at a neighbor's house) if we don't want to become bitter people as we age. It's ok for real life to be a silly sitcom or live out your own cartoon network.

 

Every day I practice allowing spontaneity to happen. I'm not a spontaneous sort of person, so this, I think, is key to my 'foundation' attitude when I start losing brain control again. Some days I forget things, important things, and aside from forgetting to write thoughts down as they happen into a list or something because I know I'm going to forget within minutes or even seconds, I just let it go. Even with my brain working pretty good this year, I missed my own daughter's 30th birthday, a milestone, especially as she's my only biological child AND she's pregnant. She told me several times she would be 30 weeks along on her 30th birthday. I knew it was coming, even bought her a card. A week after her birthday passed, I remembered. And a week after that I finally mailed her birthday card. I could have kicked myself and felt bad and either made a big deal of it or moped around the house about the epic fail, or I could make a funny story of forgetting my daughter's birthday and share it with people. Which I did. Mostly people are too busy with their own stuff to understand the portent of my funny story, that as young as I am, I am already suffering some memory deficit. But that's ok. It'll be one of a succession of funny stories.

I remember my grandmother and great-aunts telling funny stories about their marriages and families when I was a little girl. I was too young and inexperienced back then to understand they were dealing with emotionally difficult situations. I look back now and appreciate that my memories of my relatives talking together are full of laughter and silliness. It would have been such a drag to hear them all whining and moaning about how their lives suck, which seems to be the way people carry on nowadays. I don't want to be remembered like that, and it's not easy training myself to be a fun person to be around. I have Asperger's, I'm a natural born griper. Or rather, I'm a natural born pointer outer of incongruity, as it were.

 

The world doesn't have to be logical and make sense all the time. I married into the most illogical family I've ever met, and they seem to be surviving, albeit with mountains of inherent self destructive traits, but still carrying on the family genome into the future. Humanity has survived like this for tens of millennia. Just because I was born with a Vulcan brain doesn't mean I can't learn to enjoy the moments, right? And that's what I want to do, enjoy all the moments I have left. I don't want to be left alone with my crabby self in a room because no one can stand me, or because I'm difficult to interact with. Goodness knows I don't mind being left alone for long stretches, thanks to the Asperger's, but that's an aloneness I choose, not one that I get stuck with because I suck.

The little things are important. A color I like. Something good to eat. Watching someone else giggle or absorb themselves in something they love. If I lose my ability to understand the moment, at the very least I still want to be capable of enjoying it, and I think training my brain to let go of trying to interpret something intelligently to myself all the time is the first step. I'm a natural problem solver when my brain is working, and I'm very good at interpreting thoughts into words. But I've been in the place where strings of words don't make sense, where I can't follow a simple story on tv, where books turn into a gobbledygook of lost symbology. In those times, I can either wallow in despair and grief, or notice something is pretty or funny. My brain training requires that I spend time every day noticing simple things without thinking about them, and emotionally reacting with enjoyment. I feel (I hope) that laying this foundation as a learned reflex will help me and others around me cope better when the next lupus flareup affects my brain.