Daily Archives: August 28, 2012

Meeting a FRAF: It’s a good thing

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I had a really wonderful experience recently. No, I didn’t get to meet Richard Armitage (darn it). But what I did get to do was meet, for the very first time, another RA fan, one who means a great deal to me.

We had wanted to get together before but things just didn’t work out. This time, they did.

Do you know how wonderful it is to finally be able to put a face and voice (although I had heard her speak before) to someone with whom you have bonded via cyberspace? To be able to give a real hug rather than just a virtual one? It’s pretty damned good, let me tell you.

Not only did she get to meet me, she got to meet the most important man in my life, yes, Snake Slayer extraordinaire and Master Baker, my husband.  The three of us enjoyed a good chat together before I whisked FRAF (Fellow RA Fan) off to lunch.

After a nice relaxing meal together at our local world-class golf course, which offers a really lovely view and a minimum of noise, I took her on a mini-tour of our town. Driving around, I pointed out some of the historic old homes and churches and other points of interest, such as the building that housed my former employer (she obligingly “booed” and “hissed” as we passed). I think I might have been some sort of travel guide or museum docent in a previous life. I love doing stuff like that.  (Come to think of it, she did mention I should consider a job with the Chamber of Commerce.)

A shot of the lovely golf course where we ate lunch.

Our county courthouse, which dates back to 1902.

This is a home of a friend of mine, and it’s lovely–a great place for entertaining. It’s also for sale, so if you are interested . . .

Turns out Alabama—and this was her first visit—was greener, prettier and softer than she expected it to be. She said she could understand why we loved the area. And apparently I am just what you would expect—now, I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

She was duly impressed with spouse, as I knew she would be. I have extremely good taste in menfolk, what can I say? We all talked again for a while after the lunch and tour.  All too soon, it was time for her to hit the road. We shared an even bigger bear hug and our hope to do it again.

FRAF was just as warm and kind and funny as I had expected her to be. And no, we didn’t only talk about Mr. Armitage. Oh, he got his fair share of time, trust me—after all, we couldn’t miss the chance to wax rhapsodic about the TDHBEW right in the same room together, could we? Squee!

But we also talked about other things like family and pets, blogs and writing, future plans and past disappointments. We laughed a lot together; at one point, I cried just a little.

I know several fans around the world are planning on meeting as part of The Hobbit premiere later this year. I can only say, “Go for it!”

Meeting a fellow fan in RL is a joyous experience that many of us have not yet had. Take advantage of the opportunity if you get it.  It’s fun and interesting and for me, it re-affirmed my belief there are some truly great fans–great human beings–in Armitage World.

After a summer that proved a major bummer for me in certain ways, meeting my FRAF was truly uplifting, an event I will treasure for a long time to come.  Richarding is even more fun when you can share it in RL, too.  Keep on Richarding and carry on!

An emotional thesaurus, courtesy of Thornton & his CReAtor

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According to The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Bella Puglisi, up to 95 percent of all communication is non-verbal. Even in instances where we are trying not to show our feelings, we are still sending messages through body language. As a writer, I have to make sure my characters express their emotions in ways “that are both recognizable and compelling to read.”

These words made me think of Mr. Armitage, an actor who can speak volumes of dialogue about his characters’ thoughts, feelings, emotions without speaking a word. Think of the wonderful scene at the train station in North & South. As Thornton, he does not have a great deal of dialogue in that scene, and yet–we know so much about this character and what’s going on in his head and heart. A pensive Thornton arriving at the station, the lightening of his expression as he sees Margaret and presents her with the flowers from Helstone. We learn so much by watching his body language, his facial expressions, seeing his attentiveness to Margaret, the way he uses those eloquent and beautiful hands when cupping her face for that kiss

The look of desolation when it seems Margaret is leaving, the dawning recognition that we see in his eyes and smile when he realizes she is, indeed, coming home with him–we can relate to and respond to these emotions so easily.  (In no way do I intend to discount Daniela’s contributions here–their onscreen chemistry added immeasurably to the production and particularly to this scene–but the focus here is on RA’s perfomance.)

If good writing involves crafting characters that are both recognizable and compelling to read, then good acting surely means breathing life into characters that are also recognizable and compelling to watch as well as to listen to. Richard Armitage accomplishes that feat very, very well, I think.  He is very much a storyteller, and not just in those charming Cbeebies videos.