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Archive for March, 2011


Several things are going on here or not.  Mr. Muse and I got into a big roll; well, I fussed and he ignored me.  Things have been a bit stressed lately and he’s refusing to be helpful.  He’s a git, I tell you.  But a good-looking git.  Sigh.  

Then I’m gearing up for company to arrive by plane and car (sadly no train) for my birthday this week.  Okay, it’s April 1st, so get the jokes out of your system.  It will be no joke when my IT pal arrives to migrate this blog to my server which I haven’t touched since the turn of the last century.  I expect madcap hilarity to ensue.  So don’t be surprised if this site goes down; it will be temporary.  Hopefully.

In the interim, two topics landed in my lap courtesy of Twitter that I will work on while my IT does her magic.  One concerns a writer meltdown that’s gone viral today.  Mr. RA himself unwittingly presented the second topic.  Oh, that one should be fun. 

So watch this space and keep your fingers crossed during the migration.

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Surreal Saturday


I’ve been in bed, in my best writer swoon, trying to shake some malaise that’s been clinging for the past week.  The downtime has given me a chance to read the fanfic of writers showcased during FanstRAvaganza.  The talent and creativity has both amazed and given me food for thought as writer.

Appropriate for Surreal Saturday, I just spent a surreal hour grooming my pom Patty.  She not only flopped on her back and allowed me to brush hardened bit of rubbish out of her tail, but remained calm while I used scissors and a brush to cut out matted fur and lightly groom.  Anybody having dealt with this traumatized high-strung pooch would appreciate how shocking a development this is.  She’s friendly sweet girl but hates for her tail and butt to be touched. Yet, there she lie grinning like it was just an unusual petting session.  Then she climbed into my lap and dozed.  Incredible.

Anyway, just realized I haven’t posted video *really* surreal and that this one might fit the bill. There’s nothing deep here, just 9 minutes 38 seconds of WTF.   If the internet were made into a music video, would this be it?  I hate to say it, but yes, yes it is – but they left out the hamster dance.   Seriously NSFW.

Oh, and if you “get” many of the mash-ups, yeah, you’re old.

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FanstRAvaganza 2 is supposedly over, but I’m cheered by the fact RAFrenzy continues on her blog.  I know she’s playing catch-up due to logistics last week, but I get to squee just a few days longer.  She’s focusing on The Voice.  This is totally a win-win situation. Maybe we can get Traxy to contribute her edits, just to lend moral support, yes?

Oddly the biggest thing I miss after the initial rush of the event is – the banner.

This banner headed all the event posts.  This is fantastic photoshopping.  I understand enough about graphics to know a lot of effort was put into this banner.  The composition,choice of profiles,  font, design, color, everything – work beautifully together.  Clients would pay good money for a product like this.  The creator expressly does not want credit, but I just have to acknowledge her work and say, BRAVO.

Because of the length of the event, inspiration was everything.  I derived a certain pleasure of inserting this banner into each day’s post, and admiring its artistry as I brainstormed ideas.  Art can be inspirational and this banner was for me.  It came in flavors of big, small colored and black and white too which I didn’t get to use.  Alas.

I also miss how the event allowed me to experiment with blog composition more than I ordinarily would or even anticipated.  The increased use of images meant paying close attention to the balance of negative and positive space.  A reader is more likely to stop and read something aesthetically pleasing, than a jarring mash-up of words and pictures thrown onto the page without careful thought.  So in addition to the topic, I had to consider which images were relevant to the post, how many, what size, how to place them and where, how did they look in comparison with the words and blank space on the page, and what would the captions say.   Different arrangements created different tones.  For example, Ann Marie’s ficlet required center stage, so specific images had to sparingly highlight the prose, not detract from it.   Interestingly I spent more time editing the posts’ compositions than composing the topics. I suppose this is what its like to be your own copy editor.

I suppose in a way I was trying to turn each post into its own little work of art, to do justice to the banner it followed.  Or it could be me, simply being anal and knowing the posts will be out there on the internet, cached in perpetuity.  I hope for the first, but suspect the last.  Heh, Mr.  Muse is amused, the git.

Oh, almost forgot – shiney!

 

Richard Armitage at promotional event, courtesy richarmitagenet.com

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After the eight day orgy of pondering, analyzing, ogling and downright perving Guy, I wondered if I would respect myself in the morning.  After the initial rush over having actually completed the project, I feel conflicted: glad it’s done, relieved to take a break, yet  anxious to continue writing.  My thoughts are a whirl.  As the writers have all stated during FanstRAvaganza, it’s important to hone your craft by writing, writing, writing.  Yes, I thought, I want to be like you when I grow up. I shall rise the day after and court my muse.

Sadly my muse isn’t feeling helpful.  He grudgingly returned after I criticized his appearance, looking maddeningly the same.  He peered over my shoulder throughout the fest, emitting smug grunts of approval as I toiled. He’s again sprawled, silent and juggling that Bag of Goodies.  I wrack my brains for A Topic having nothing to do with all the fest reading I haven’t finished, my writing I haven’t dissected, and feelings I’ve yet to analyze.  I recall a famous author once mentioning the curious letdown after a project is finished.  What do writers do to revive themselves, to get the literary juices flowing again.  They don’t really say.   Apparently they don’t have arrogant silent muses convinced it’s all about them.

So bear with me Dear Reader.  I probably fried my brain pawing through tens of Guy pictures and videos.  Damn, that was a tough job.  I anticipate spinning my wheels a bit until my gears slip back into place, sanity returns, and I plow through over 40 posts.

Meanwhile, here’s a another shiney.

Richard Armitage, 2009 photoshoot

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This is it, the last day of FanstRAvaganza 2. It’s been a madcap week talking All Guy All The Time. Things kicked off with an introduction dedicated to our black knight with two polls; ruiminations over how I hate to love him; a feminist take on the show; a wonderful interview with Ann Marie; some sexy musings; a conversion for the uninitiated; and ended with a lovely ficlet written by Ann Marie. Arcing the entire week was Mulubinba’s challenge to convince her that Guy was worthy of all the attention.

Well, let’s deal with the polls first.

The first poll asked: Which series Guy character development did you like best?

S2 – Aww, poor baby just needed love. – 66.13% (41 votes)

S3 – He’s redeemed and triumphed over evil. – 27.42% (17 votes)

S1 – He’s rotten to the core. I love an interesting bad boy. – 6.45 (4 votes)

The second poll asked: Guy changed his image each series. Which one do you prefer?

S2 – Growing the hair and losing the cravat was much better – 67.8% (40 votes)

S3 – Greasy locks, flowing mane, fancy leather. Glamor Guy wins. – 20.34% (20 votes)

S1 – Basic bad guy black all the way. I love the mullet and cravat – 11.86% (7 votes)

The winner is S2 Guy all way. I can extrapolate from that the first question you all simply want to mother S2 Guy…or, erm, something. As for second question, Avalon polled a similar one last year and 64% voted for the S2 Guy image, garnering a 3% increase. Maybe we need to commission a study?

Mulubinba’s challenge was inspiring and I hit the keyboard with dogged determination. Would I be able to reach her? The week ended with Mulubina conceding she was wavering on the issue and might need take a new look at the black knight. Considering her earlier sentiments, I am thrilled to hear this and hope she completes her “Looking for Good in Guy” series. As an added bonus, CDoart announced she was completely persuaded and is now a Guy Girl. I call this a success. My work here is done.

I want to thank the FanstRAvaganza organizers Nat and Traxy for getting things rolling; She Too Shy To Be Named for the beautiful banners (really love the one above, want to kiss it, pet it and call it Ritchie); the other participating bloggers for showing me how it’s done and giving me the confidence to do this; and Servetus for kindly inviting me into this madness. Thank you, Dear Reader, for the lively and encouraging comments. It’s been a blast. Last, but not least, I thank Richard Armitage, whose talents we celebrate.

At the top of the week, I mentioned including a slideshow by our Angieklong. However WordPress wouldn’t play nice so that was scrapped. However she created a fun video I’m sure you’ll all like. So I’ll leave you now with the sexy black knight.

[ETA:  Be sure to catch up on the other participating blogs.  The index is hereRAFrenzy had logistical problems but will continue her celebration this week.  Don’t miss it!]

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When Ann Marie suggested interviewing the black knight himself, I was privately skeptical.  What could she ask?  Knowing his mercurial temperament, how would he react?  After discussion over borrowing Angieklong’s Sloth Machine, which works like the Doctor’s TARDIS, except it doesn’t, and Ann Marie’s reassurances she’d traveled many times there where she was a lady of substance, I wished her well and hoped her shots and insurance were current.  A few weeks later, I received a message from the Sloth Machine: “Mission Accomplished.”  The following missive was attached.
 
*****
 

Sir Guy of Gisborne ~ The Interview

~~By Lady Ann Marie of New Jersey

 

The Sheriff of Nottingham, Vasey, really does hate to lose a wager. He’is not a very good sport at all. However, a wager is a wager and like it or not I correctly guessed his favorite color…black. Not that it was difficult, I mean the man is swimming in black from head to toe! However, the ease of the wager enabled me to accomplish what I wanted to do from the moment I had set eyes on his Master at Arms, Sir Guy of Gisborne. I wanted to meet him, talk to him, to understand what it was that drew my attention to him the moment he walked into the room.

We had not met. Vasey did not introduce us, choosing instead to keep the dark haired Knight close to him except when I was near then Sir Guy was ordered away on an errand or task. I am not sure if he was keeping Sir Guy away from me or me away from Sir Guy.

Vasey.

My terms for the wager, rankled Vasey terribly. I wanted time alone with Sir Guy, for as long as I wished. Well, Vasey would not agree to that last part, and truthfully I had not expected him to, allowing only for one afternoon and then only in the Great Hall. No matter…I eagerly sat in the Great Hall, awaiting Sir Guy. I worried that he would be offended when he discovered that he was a prize.

"How may I be of service to you?"

The clang of spurs hitting stone signaled the arrival of Sir Guy of Gisborne. He entered the Great Hall and strode purposefully over to me. As I stood, he walked to me and taking my outstretched hand in his black-gloved one, raised it to his lips with a little bow, never taking his eyes from my face. His movements caused his scent to waft over me…. leather, horses, spice (what was that I wondered) and hard work. He kept my hand for a few extra moments allowing me to feel the strength of his hand through the soft, worn leather he wore.

He smiled and said, “My Lady, I am Sir Guy of Gisborne. Sheriff Vasey said that you wished to speak to me. How may I be of service to you?”

I smiled as he relinquished my hand and gestured to the seat at the head of the long table. I returned to my seat at his left hand. I called to the servant standing nearby and asked her to pour two goblets of wine. As I dismissed the servant Sir Guy called out to her, “Tell the Guard in the passageway to stand at the door. We are not to be disturbed.”

I offered him a goblet which he accepted with a smile. I was very…. I suppose the only word is…dazzled. By that smile. Fine white teeth, sensuous lips…I caught myself staring when I realized he was looking at me with an inquisitive look. I blinked…I am sure I blushed… and I lifted my own goblet to my lips and swallowed a healthy mouthful of the honeyed wine. The warmth of the liquid soothed me and gave me a moment to collect myself.

He took a sip of the wine and placed the goblet down and leaned back in the high-backed chair, resting his elbows on the arms and steepled his gloved fingers in front of him.

“Now, my Lady, what is this about?”

I looked at him and made the decision to tell him the truth. “Sir Guy, what I am about to tell you may anger you but I pray it does not.” “I won this time with you in a wager with Sheriff Vasey.” I waited.

He lowered his eyes to focus on his fingers and though for a moment, his brow furrowing slightly. “My Lady, just so I understand, I am a prize?”

I sat in my chair, blushing to the roots of my hair, looking down at my hands in my lap. He raised his gaze and looked, intently, at my face, seeing my embarrassment, waiting for me to answer.

I took a breath and said, “No Sir Guy, time with you was my prize and I asked for it for two very good reasons.” I paused, uncertain should I continue.

“Please continue my Lady, I confess you have piqued my interest.”

“The first reason was because I thought it might annoy Vasey as he seemed determined that we would not be introduced.”

That comment elicited a deep chuckle and he picked up his goblet for another drink of the wine. “And the second?”

I looked him dead in the eye and said, “The second reason is that…you… interest me.”

That got him.

He raised his left eyebrow and sipped from his goblet. “The Sheriff has granted me the afternoon to spend with you,” I said. Placing the goblet down he leaned forward in his seat, very close to me and with his voice impossibly deep and low, barely above a whisper said, “And how shall we spend this time?”

I smiled brightly and said, “I wish to talk to you.”

“Talk to me?”

“Yes, talk to you.”

“Why?”

“It is simple,” I said, “I find you interesting.”

“But my Lady, you do not know me.”

“Precisely!” I exclaimed.

"He pinched the bridge of his nose."

Sir Guy pinched the bridge of his nose with his right, gloved hand and sighed. “Very well.” “We will talk.”

He settled back in his chair once again and waited, his eyes on my face, again. Reading me. Measuring.

I wasted no time. As I looked at him I noticed that the black hair, the dark stubble on his face formed the perfect complement to the blue of his eyes. “Was it your mother or father who gave you eyes so blue?”

That surprised him.

“Neither. It was my Mother’s mother and my Father’s mother who were blue-eyed as my mother used to tell me.”

I smiled at him. He could not help but smile back at me. And I watched him visibly relax.

He leaned forward and as he reached to take an apple slice from the tray on the table, I asked, “Why do you wear such gloves?”

He paused in mid -reach, just for a moment. He took the apple slice and popped it into his mouth and settled back. As he chewed he looked at his gloved hands while he did so.

He swallowed, raised his gaze to mine and said, “No one has ever asked me that question.”

“Will you tell me truthfully?” “I will not share what you tell me with anyone.”

A small smile crept to his lips as his gaze shifted from me. He said, “You have met the Sheriff, you have some sense of what he is like, how he conducts his business.”

“Yes, I have heard of the things the Sheriff has done…. and that you have done in his name.” “I will not lie to you, Sir Guy, so many of those things attributed to you are reprehensible.”

“Yes, they are,” he agreed.

“If you agree, why do you do them?” I asked.

He paused. “It is my job,” he said quietly. “A debt I must repay.”

I pondered that for a bit. It seemed a dangerous area to explore and I was unwilling to jeopardize his openness by pushing too far. Instead I leaned forward and asked him, my voice just above a whisper, “So, Sir Guy, why do you wear the gloves?”

He looked at me, a cloud passed over the blue of his eyes, and said softly, “It keeps it from being real. I do not allow it, the horror, to touch me. Ever.”

I saw his eyes glisten with moisture and then close. He sat there for awhile which gave me time to reflect on his answer.

I was surprised to find that I was relieved to know that he understood the horror of some of the things he has done. I was at a loss as to what to say to this tragic man. So I did the only thing I could, I rose and went to his seat and knelt beside it and took his gloved hands in my own.

Guy spoke to me, “I have never told anyone that before. I didn’t think I could speak of it.”

I rubbed my thumbs over the wolf’s head clasps on the backs of his gloves. Then, I started to pull the fingers of his left glove, causing his eyes to fly open. Guy gently tried to pull his hand from my grasp but I held it firmly, “No.”

I pulled the entire glove off and started on the right hand. I pulled that off too. I held both of his hands in mine and looked into his eyes. His hands were warm, large with slender fingers. They were beautiful, really.

“Sir Guy, you must remember to remove the gloves on occasion and feel.” “I have watched you for several days and have never seen you express the slightest hint of happiness.”

He smiled, not a genuinely happy smile, though it dazzled. He nodded, “There is very little that truly makes me happy.”

I released his hands and returned to my seat. I was about to ask him what did bring him pleasure when a young woman entered from the far end of the hall. She had dark auburn hair and was wearing a light blue gown with white silk around the décolletage. She spied my presence and came toward me unable to see the figure sitting in the chair because the chair’s back faced her.

“Oh, Lady Ann Marie, I did not know you were here,” she said pleasantly as she walked toward me.

I smiled at her but my eyes were on Guy. At the sound of her voice his face had lightened and opened, something, was it joy….hope?…lit his face.

As Marian came around the side of the chair, Guy rose and turned to face her. Marian stopped dead. She looked up into his face and I watched her forget to breathe…and I watch Guy do the same.

"So that's the way of it, I thought."

So that is the way of it, I thought.
 
From instinct and breeding, Marian lifted her hand to Sir Guy who grasped it in his bare hand. To this day I will swear that I saw an actual spark when they touched.

 “Lady Marian,” Guy said as he raised her hand to his lips. I had noticed that Marian’s eyes had widened at the contact of her bare hand in his. I imagined the warmth she felt, the surprise of the tingle.

“Lady Marian, Sir Guy and I have been sitting here talking.” “Would you like to join us?” The young woman gathered her senses and turned toward me.

“Alas, I cannot, my father is ill and I was on my way to see the alchemist for a tonic for his pain.”

Neither realized that he still held her hand in his.

Marian continued, “I had hoped that Sir Guy would be free to accompany me so we could discuss a healing garden for the village of Locksley and the necessary plants….”

Guy said regretfully, “Marian, the Sheriff has assigned my time to Lady Ann Marie for the afternoon, I am not free.”

Marian lowered her gaze to their joined hands. Seeing her regret, an idea bloomed.

“Sir Guy, the Sheriff said I could have as long as I wanted this afternoon. I have accomplished what I set out to do. So I gift Lady Marian with the time that remains this afternoon to spend with you.”

Marian looked at me, “What was it you meant to do?”

I smiled at both of them. “I wanted to get to know Sir Guy better as I find him to be something of an enigma. That would take much longer than a single afternoon. I also wanted to know what brought him pleasure and, my dear, I have a very clear idea of what that answer is.”

“Sir Guy, if you leave by the same entrance that Lady Marian arrived, you should have no trouble leaving unnoticed. I will be happy to sit in the Great Hall for a spell with your guard outside the door.”

They both smiled. Guy finally relinquished Marian’s hand and stepped forward to bow and step forward to kiss my cheek. He said, “I look forward to talking with you again Lady.” His face held joy as he turned to Marian who lifted her hand to him as he took her fingers in his she smiled at me, mouthing the words , “Thank you.”

As they departed through the far entrance of the Hall I turned back to the table.

And there they were.

His gloves.

~Fin~

All rights reserved Annie Lucas March 2011-Copyright

*****

FanstRAvaganza is almost over.  Be sure to visit the other participating blogs. CDoart’s index is here

[All images courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com and richardarmitagecentral.co.uk.]

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I have arrived at a point in my not so quiet contemplation of Sir Guy, where I must reach out to the uninitiated. Yes, there are some among us whose feet aren’t planted firmly on the path to our black knight. They wonder if he is worthy of the attention he gets.  (I’m looking at you, Mulubinba.)  They have not seen or do not fully comprehend the Gisborne mystique.  

What is this mystique? Nobody can definitively say. It is something ineffable that touches a special chord in each one of us.

Maybe it’s the eternal struggle between good and evil, personified in this character, the redemption of a twisted soul. Guy is a man who has done evil deeds for so long, it’s become second nature. His soul is black and seemingly irredeemable. He doesn’t concern himself with compassion, empathy or humanity. But through idealized purity and goodness he sees in one woman and her belief there is good in him, he longs to retrieve his soul and cleanse away the sins. He’s at constant war between serving his base nature and doing what is right. We like to see good win and so we keenly watch that struggle, rooting for him. We cheer when he succeeds and sigh in disappointment when he fails and wonder how it went wrong and what he should have done differently. We are drawn to his story because his conflict is universal. Our situations may not be as epic, but each of us deal with the good and dark sides of our natures every day.

Maybe the mystique is the plight of the lost boy who has lost everybody and everything: his parents, his home, his status, his birthright. In his twisted mind, he comes to believe he has everything to gain and nothing to lose. He rages against the world and doesn’t care for humanity because humanity has not cared for him. He lives unloved and untouched. When a bit of love and human contact does come his way in Marian’s form, he obsessively holds tight and cannot, will not let go.  We can empathize because the need to love and be loved is ingrained in the human experience.

Maybe the mystique is the potential romance between Guy and Marian. We’ve seen enough Hollywood movies; we do love a happy ending. We wonder if Marian could come to care for him and if he could win her in spite of himself. We’re amused that a such thoughtless cruel man could share a body with a gullible, naive love-sick puppy.  We feel his vulnerability.

Maybe the mystique is Guy’s badness which engages the dark side of ourselves. We’re not allowed to get away with bad deeds in the real world but have free rein to revel within the confines of Guy’s world. We can secretly smile at his badness and oogle him in his sexy black leather because he’s easy on the eyes and it’s deliciously fun.

 Maybe the Gisborne mytique is the combination of all these aspects breathed into life by the considerable acting talent of his creator, Richard Armitage.  And what a creator! He transforms a potentially cardboard villain into a multilayered deeply flawed human being. He takes uneven sometimes trite dialogue and make it interesting. He shows us the light in this dark knight, signaling internal conflict through subtle body language and expression with a tilt of the head, a furrowed brow or pleading glance. One of the most interesting things about Guy is what’s unspoken. He’s like a canvas in which the blank space is as equally important. He trains us to watch for signals, watch him. Guy’s presence grows in the series so that stories center more around him than the hero of the piece. I don’t know a higher compliment on an actor’s talent than that.  He created a marvelous character, truly a beautiful disaster.

So if you’re still unsure, take another look and watch all three series. Ignore the anachronisms, the uneven stories and triteness. Focus on our black knight, what he says and how he conveys what he’s not saying. Keep an open mind. I guarantee you’ll spot things previously missed. If you still are not persuaded, well, there’s always next year’s FanstRAvaganza. We are very very patient. It’s just a matter of time.

I’ll close with my absolute favorite Guy fan video.  It’s poignant and beautifully done.  The lyrics say it all.  Beautiful Disaster sung by Kelly Clarkson, video by Aim1013/smoothvideos.

 

 

Don’t forget to visit the other particpating bloggers.  CDoart’s index is here.

[All images courtesy of richardarmitgenet.com and richardarmitagecentral.co.uk]

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