Category Archives: writing

Another West Coast Date added!

Agua Caliente just announced

I have an actual writing assignment that I’m supposed to be doing today. I’ll get to that—but it would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Duran Duran has announced yet another west coast date for September. This time, they’ll be making a return visit to Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, California on September 5th!

Thanks to the eagle eyes of a friend, I was alerted to the new date yesterday. My habitual procrastination has finally paid off. I put off purchasing plane tickets because I didn’t like the cost of flights to Vegas. I debated over driving. Lo and behold – it turns out driving IS the better option after all! I’m making a pit stop in the Palm Springs area along the way to Vegas, assuming of course, that I’m able to get a ticket to the show.

Agua Caliente is one of the best venues I’ve seen the band perform. The theater is small, the sound is pretty great, and there’s really not a bad seat in the house. This time, however, is going to be a little different. According to Agua Caliente’s website, the DD show this time around includes GA pit. For those of us not happy with that, there are still seats in the loge, mezzanine and balcony areas. Pricing is as follows, courtesy of

Ticket Prices:

$115.00 – LOGE
$95.00 – MEZZANINE
$85.00 – BALCONY

6 ticket limit.

Public ticket sale begins July 6th at 8am local time. This is not the same information as for the DDM member pre-sale. That will begin on July 3rd at 10am local time.

Keep in mind that the pricing above is only for the public sale. DDM pricing will likely be different if they offer VIP tickets.

Flying solo

It would appear that I am headed to the show alone. Amanda cannot take an additional day off of teaching, and the rest of the usual suspects I know are also struggling with their work/life schedules. I’ve never gone to a Duran Duran concert alone (although I did go to their mini-concert for Jimmy Kimmel on my own!). This will be a new experience for me! Let me know if you’re going to the concert and we can meet up for pre-show drinks or food before the gig!

On to that writing assignment of mine.

Readers and active participants on our social media may have noticed that Amanda and I have been asking questions about being a fan. We wanted to know what first drew fans to Duran Duran. Then as a follow up, I asked what kept people as fans after all this time. Sure, Amanda and I have our own answers that we’ll share at some point. For now, we want to know yours!

What drew you to Duran Duran and what keeps you interested?

There were certainly mentions of nostalgia and even their ever-present pinup-able looks. However, by and large, most people say it is the music that keeps them fans. I am not surprised by that answer. Although I do wonder if any of us can really put our finger on exactly WHAT it is about their music that keeps us interested.

Don’t be surprised when you see more questions popping up from our Daily Duranie social media accounts. We are always curious about what makes fans tick. Part of that is understanding what brought us here to begin with. Thanks for playing along with us!


We Write in the Book

I had plans yesterday. I looked forward to these plans, which were to have a Skype session with my partner-in-crime and fellow blogger. Rhonda and I hoped to check up properly with being able to share the happenings in our lives in a way that is far more detailed than what can be shared via email or text. Unfortunately, this gathering of sorts did not happen as Rhonda wasn’t feeling good. Of course, I understood and hope that she is feeling better today. I look forward to getting it rescheduled as we have work to do!

That last sentence makes me laugh. As you all know, it has been a pretty dang busy year for me. I worked pretty substantially for the 2018 fall election. Then, I took three weeks off before I began running a campaign myself for a friend of mine who ran (and won!) a seat on the local school board. In between all that, I managed to somehow teach my 120 students some United States history and Women’s Studies. The last election ended at the beginning of April. I assumed that I would take some time to catch up on all the things I could not do while working two full time jobs before getting to the other things I love and want to do. How is that plan going for me? I have started to get caught up but I’m not finished yet. On top of that, teaching has kept me more than busy due to some events at my school and in my district. Part of me feels like I’m still on the hamster wheel that I lived on for months.

All of that said, the light at the end of the tunnel can be seen. What does that mean? Simple. The end of the school year is coming! Of course, it is not coming quickly enough. I still have five more weeks but the countdown to the end has begun. Beyond a lot of self-talk about how I can and will make it to the end, I’m also starting to think about my summer. Most summers revolve around a project or three. I think this summer will be similar. I have a few projects for work but I also have a list of things I want to get done in my house. For example, I plan on going through campaign materials to get rid of what I don’t need. Beyond the to-do lists around the house and connected to work, I have one other huge task that I would like to tackle. But, I need Rhonda for it. Don’t worry. She is aware of it.

What is this task? I would like to get back to writing. In my birthday blog, Rhonda acknowledged that I tend to feels things with my whole heart and soul. She is not wrong. I have given all of myself to teaching and to the candidates I have helped and I’m proud of that. I made commitments and stuck to it. That said, I know something else about myself. While I can narrow myself to one thing, one issue, one aspect of myself for awhile, eventually I need more. I’m not one dimensional in that way. Yes, I love to organize and strategize around political stuff but I also like to have fun. I like to think about Duran Duran and fandom. I need to have all in my life to be as happy as possible.

Therefore, this summer is the time to turn attention to fandom and writing. As you all may or may not know, we have a number of ideas when it comes to our writing projects. Some of them are further along than others. So, where to start? Do we go with something completely academic like sexism within fandom? It does combine multiple loves for me but…it might be a ton of work. What about something personal like about what we have learned over the years of being Duranies? That could be fun and something we have started but I’m not sure my head is there yet. Hmm…maybe we should go with something more Duran focused. We have a few ideas related solely to Duran. One of them we sort of started, unofficially. We have read some similar books for another idea to help us get started. A third project has actually been outlined. That one would be the shortest of the three.

Rhonda and I talked about writing a bit when we saw each other in February. I suggested the one we have outlined. The reasons for this are simple. First, it is the shortest idea, which might make it pretty dang doable in a summer. Second, I think it is a kick ass idea. Lastly, I love the idea of being focused on Duran Duran. Being so busy with other things has pushed Duran to a back burner. I’m hoping that this would bring them to the front burner, which I would love.

So, I’m hopeful that when Rhonda and I finally get a chance to really talk that we can start thinking about a plan to get some serious writing done.


The Pressure is Off

I have dearly missed blogging each day.

It isn’t sharing too much to say that much of the writing I did over the course of the past two and a half months was similar to blogging.  I sat down each day, pouring out words for whatever topic I was working on at the time (we called it a word vomit), and refine from there.  It is the same process for blogging. Even so, there is something very special and unique about sharing thoughts here, and I’ve missed it.

We finished the manuscript for our book and sent it last night, crossing our fingers.  There are no guarantees, though. We don’t know that we wrote something compelling enough for the publisher to agree to work with us. We do know, however, that we did our very best.  We worked hard, and both of us are much better writers now than when we started.    What was supposed to be a simple “rework” (HA HA HA) ended up being a completely brand new book from start to finish. Amanda tells me it ended up being 113,408 words including the glossary and bibliography. (If my college professors could see me now….)

When we sat down with a calendar to figure out how long it might take to create a solid draft, June 15th seemed reasonable.  What I didn’t even consider was that on this same date 35 years ago, this roller coaster slowly left the station for the first time.

If you’re not grasping the reference, that’s OK.  I’ve been writing about journeys and traveling so much lately that I’ve really started ONLY thinking and writing in terms of transportation analogies.  Our manuscript deadline shares the date with the release of Duran Duran’s first album 35 years ago.  I suppose to at least Amanda and I, it is kind of poetic (and we are sure hoping there’s some karma happening somewhere) that we turned in our manuscript on the same date. (It was after midnight in the UK when we sent it!)

Not only that, but the release of “Pressure Off” also shares this date!  (editorial comment: I wanted to check the date to be sure, and Wikipedia has the release date for the single being the same week as Paper Gods. Duranduran.wikia has the date being June 15. We have the same date listed, so I’m going with what the fans know!)

If THAT isn’t poetic….nothing is.

So, while I begin the attempt to get my house back into running order, I’m gonna play some “Pressure Off” followed by “Friends of Mine”.  Seems like the kind of day for it.



Fangasms and The Powers That Be

I am supposed to be working on our book proposal right this minute, but I cannot. I don’t know how much any of you knows about writing a non-fiction book proposal, but there are typically several parts to such a thing. One of the parts, which happens to be the part I’m working on currently, gives the potential publisher (or agent) a description of books in the same basic vein as your manuscript, and then a sort of short “review”, so to speak. The point isn’t to obliterate the competition, it’s to explain where your manuscript is similar and yet different and worthy to occupy space on the bookshelf. So I’ve done a lot of reading lately. One of the books I just finished is entitled Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katharine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis. I cannot stop thinking about this book.

Let me try to explain in the simplest terms possible: Lynn and Katharine (I hope they don’t mind my getting on a first name basis) are the Supernatural (as in, the TV show) version of Amanda and Rhonda….except that they are university professors (Small difference really, don’t you think?) and they write fanfic. We write a blog. Amanda, do you write fanfic?? I don’t write fanfic. I’ve no time!!  As I read this book, I felt the giddiness bubble away inside of me like a shaken bottle of soda. My husband has listened to me say “Oh my God, that’s just like us!” more times than what is truly necessary over the past few days. I couldn’t put the book down. They describe going to conventions, in fact the very first few pages of the prologue they describe getting to the San Diego convention center at some ungodly hour – I think it was 4am – because they wanted to be first in line to get in to Comic Con. Let me quote directly from a few sections within prologue and then you tell me if it sounds at all familiar:

“At 4 A.M., the massive glass and concrete convention center up ahead was still a dark outline against the sky. We lurched into a spot in the deserted underground parking garage. Easy!  We were feeling confident that we’d be first in line as we hurried up three flights of stairs and onto the darkened sidewalk, repeating our mantra “please let us be the first ones here, please let us be the first ones here.

“We did it,” Sabrina whispered to Kathy. Even Lynn – never a morning person, let alone a 4 A.M. person – started to smile. Then we turned the corner. Our self-congratulatory grins faded. There was already a line. Welcome to Comic Con, one of the biggest fan conventions in the world, attracting over 140,000 people each year. 

“They’re not all going to the same panel we are,” Kathy snapped, grudgingly forced into an optimistic role that was wholly unfamiliar to her. Sabrina just yawned, perhaps in lieu of taking sides. After all, she barely knew us. In fact, we had only met the day before. That, of course, didn’t stop us from offering her the second bed in our hotel room and cramming ourselves into the other so that Sabrina could join us in our early morning quest. She’s a fellow fangirl, and that’s enough for us.”

-excerpts from Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katharine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis

Take out “convention” and put in GA line for a show, and I think you all will get the point.

I don’t know why I was so surprised to see that other fandoms are so similar to ours, except that perhaps I just didn’t know. They talk about “wank” – which is basically drama in fandom – something that ALL of us know well around here. Many people think the drama is just limited to this fan community as though we’ve cornered the market on poor behavior between fans, and yet that’s not the case at all. The competitive nature that exists here is pretty widespread – I’ve read some things about the Supernatural fan community that makes me cringe every bit as much as I have when I’ve witnessed the Duranie drama. The issues are still the same even if the players are far different.

They discuss the same sorts of parasocial interactions that I wrote about yesterday, which is a much fancier way of describing the one-way relationships that seem to exist between fans and the famous.  In some ways, the actors from this TV show seem to be pretty accessible. These actors willingly do conventions on what seems to be a pretty regular basis, complete with events like “Breakfast with the Boys” and taking photos for hours on end with fans.  This fandom has the same type of problem we do though, in that a fan might get a fraction of a minute with them, believe that they had some sort of “connection” and feel conflicted about that. The book didn’t really discuss Facebook or Twitter, so I have no idea whether they utilize social media to connect with fans, but the problems still remain.  You can feel like you “know” the actors, when in fact you really don’t know them beyond their characters or public persona, and for some people – it is difficult to separate those ideals.

They talk about the excitement of meeting their objects of interest, which in their case are Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. (I really hate the word “object”…talk about objectifying…geesh.) They even get into the stigma of being a fan, and they struggle with their role in all of it every bit as much as we do. In some ways, reading their book was validation for writing our manuscript. I was able to see that yes, other people – even academics – can write a book about fandom so that regular people can understand.

I differentiate between regular people and academics because if you’ve ever read a book on fandom, which I would guess most of you have not…unless you’re as crazy as we are…more often than not it is filled to the gills with research, footnotes and explanations that typically border on pathology. Rather than describing fandom with the emotional connection that Amanda and I thrive on here, it’s typically described as though it were an affliction. There is almost no explanation of the good that is done. There really not a lot of talk about the community aspects. There is, however, plenty of discussion and explanation of how being a fan of something somehow compensates for some sort of “loss” in ones life. As though it makes up for what we are lacking in other areas of our lives, personalities, etc. While I am certain that remains to be true in many cases, I personally believe there is a lot of good to be found in finding a group – which is really all that fandom is – finding a group where you belong, and that good that isn’t solely pathological in origin. That’s where our manuscript is different from most academic writing, and more like this book.

Another difference in academic writing is that academics do not believe that fans can actually write books about their own experiences without being clouded by bias. They don’t subscribe to the theory of “going native”, which I realize sounds a little…well, barbaric…but that is how it is referred in the academic world. All that means is workin within the community you are observing/studying – becoming a part of it all, really. Apparently these folks don’t believe that fans can look at their own fandom objectively with a sociologic lens. Personally I don’t think the academics out there can stand to think that they might actually BE fans because then that would require that they believe that pathology describes themselves. Talk about stigma, wow. So Fangasm differs in many ways from the drier reading I have done as of late.

Amanda and I haven’t had a lot of the experience these authors have had. Our journey through fandom, while similar, is also very different. For example, we have not necessarily been wholly embraced by what they call “The Powers That Be”. We’ve not been invited to do an interview of the band, for instance. We don’t get backstage passes or front row seats or special invitations – not that we feel that we should, but that differs from the experiences that these authors experienced. We pay our own way. They wrote about what it felt like to “be official” and get on the inside – and oddly enough, when they were finally granted that sort of access they admitted that they often felt as though they didn’t quite belong. They also started realizing that it all comes with a price. In their case, the television network wanted to publish their book – but they wanted a specific sort of book. They wanted fluff. A fan written fluff piece, basically. They wanted control over what would be published, and their ideas did not necessarily coexist happily with what the authors had in mind.  The authors went ahead with their own plans for their book, and the network didn’t like what they saw. As a result, they were eventually sent a “Cease and Desist” order. They were told never to contact anyone involved with the production of the show again, and the publishing deal didn’t come through. I know a few DD fans over the years that have had websites and things that, for a variety of reasons, seemed to tread rather heavily on the rights that the lawyers of the band felt they held, and as such – websites have been “heavily encouraged” to cease operations. I don’t know if those fans went away, or just went deep underground – but the point is still the same.  You can’t mess with The Powers that Be. In the case of Katharine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis, rather than get mad and go away, they finished their manuscript, found a publisher on their own, and kept going. From what I’ve read, they still go to conventions and they are still fans of the TV show to this day. I’m not sure that I would have come out from under something like that with such a good attitude. Their experience gave me a lot to consider, and I have to say, there is certainly something to be said for doing it all on our own. We have no one to answer to but ourselves, and no debts to repay. We review things the way we wish, we write what we want to convey – and while we might not always give glowing reports, we do love this band, and it’s all accomplished on our own terms.

The good news here is that since I’ve dissected the book a little here – I actually got some work done on my book proposal, too!


Trust the (songwriting) Process

by C.K. Shortell
Kill your babies.
Of all the advice given to aspiring writers, this is possibly the best—and most difficult—to follow. Why? Because every word on the page is like a child—especially if you’ve been staring at a blank page for a long, long time. You can’t possibly just delete something that you’ve labored over, can you? What good would that do?
Imagine that you’ve actually written a huge chunk of a story, poem or blog. The concept is sound—or so you think. There are parts of it that work well; perhaps other parts—characters, specific stanzas, ideas—aren’t as good. You read it over and over. Overall, something just isn’t right. Maybe the plot is taking too long to unfold, or the meter is off, or it’s just too unfocused. Whatever the problem is, and however much you like specific aspects of it, the fact is that it’s not working.
Scrap it. Start over. Kill your babies.
Doing this is hard enough for writers. It has to be far more difficult for musicians in a band committed to “democratic” song writing. We’ve all heard about Duran’s song writing process that usually involves everyone in the room jamming until someone hits on a groove or hook that the others can build upon. (I say “usually” because in watching interviews from the DVDs included with the last few albums, or specials like the Classic Albums show featuring Rio, we do hear of exceptions to the process like The Chauffeur and Before the Rain. And I think it’s safe to say from info gleaned off of interviews during the Warren era that the “democratic” song writing process was not always in force then, either, or at least it was strained as band members were trying to write while not always on the same continent!)
Some of us (okay, me) like to make fun of Duran Duran for the length of time it takes them to record a new album. But consider the process: John comes up with what he thinks is a fantastic bass line…Roger likes what he hears and adds drums…Dom stops whatever he was doing and brings in some guitar…Simon begins to hum something about “puffs of clouds, dewy raindrops and broccoli sprouts” and all’s well except for that fact that Nick is just sitting there shaking his head.
Thanks, Nick, for killing that one.  Time to start over.
And maybe next time it’s John who doesn’t like the direction they’re taking (Why do I always pick on Nick? Wasn’t I the one who wrote the fawning guest blog on Arcadia?). But the fact is, in a “democratic” songwriting process, you could’ve hit upon something that you love only to have it vetoed by someone else in the room. That can’t be fun or rewarding from an artistic/creative standpoint.
Is that what happens, though? I suppose that’s where a producer like Mark Ronson could step in and either validate Nick’s doubts or overrule them, if he’s even in the room at that point in the process (remember, on AYNIN, he wasn’t involved in every track from the outset; e.g. “Runway Runaway” was written before he arrived. And let me add that the fact the band wrote that song on their own is one of the more overlooked stories of AYNIN. There’s  a perception that the band was lost without Ronson and that may be partially true…but they wrote, in my opinion, one of the best songs on the album before he even arrived, ergo…they still have it…just had to be said). But let’s assume he’s not there yet; that it’s just the five guys (or four—I’m not clear on Simon’s role in the creation of the actual music vs. lyrics) in a room jamming. Surely egos clash, tempers flare…
Or do they?
In nearly every guest blog I’ve written, I’ve always included the qualifier that “I’m not a musician” when giving my descriptions of a particular song. However, in this case, I think I can relate to this process. In college, I was involved in a live comedy show. We wrote and directed an hour-long show of live comedy sketches that ran over the course of five nights.  Several of us wrote individual skits that were then brought and read before the larger group (there were about ten of us total). The majority of the show ended up being comprised of these skits that each of us had individually written.
However, one night, three of us ended up hanging out after our rehearsal and started throwing around ideas. As we talked and laughed, we began to realize we might have something serviceable. I began typing and in about 20 frenetic minutes—with the three of us suggesting lines and stage directions and basically laughing and shouting at each other—we had come up with a hilarious skit. When we brought it to the rest of the group, they liked it too, and we ended up placing it second in the show. We ended up writing several other skits via this same process.
In a vacuum, the thought of trying to write in a group like that would seem to be infuriating at best, and impossible to complete anything worthwhile. And yet it was one of the most exhilarating creative experiences I’ve had and I remember it vividly, nearly 20 years later. It helped that it happened late at night among some college kids who had nothing better to do—but it was as fulfilling to me as the skits that I wrote individually which also made it into the show.
“We believe the sum is greater than the parts,” John and the band like to say in describing the motivation behind Duran’s writing process. Sometimes it may take longer, and sometimes it may frustrate some or all of the band members. But judging from the finished product that we fans get to hear, there clearly is a method to Duran’s madness. For as many “babies” that drop to the cutting room floor…there are diamonds in the rough—er, mind– that make the final cut.
C.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, both of whom love watching concert footage of the band. When he’s not struggling to explain to a three year old why the guitarist always looks different or just exactly what Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.

I don’t know these others who want to set me free

Today has been one of those self-doubting days, and I hate them. I hate the way they make me feel, and I really hate the time it wastes. You’d think that I’d learn to ignore the feelings and move on, and sometimes I really can – but today? Not so much.

When Amanda and I first started writing, I can truly say I was doing it for myself.  My family are not the type to express pride at my “little hobby” and I’m not really big on the whole “public accolades” thing. I like fading into the background. I figured we’d write that book and hope it sold. We have ideas for several others if I can convince Amanda to keep writing with me!  When we began the blog, I didn’t want anyone to even know who we were. Mostly out of fear. We went by R & A (still do), and we had no photos up. I wanted anyone who read the blog to read because they liked what we were saying (or because they strongly disagreed) without knowing who we were. For me it was about hiding, and I won’t lie about that. I was afraid of what people might think. I was still trying to figure out my own writing style, and for me, it was more of a personal journey than it was gushing about Duran Duran. I just wasn’t sure how people, the fan community, would take to our blog, and I was really afraid to find out, so we posted as anonymously as possible for quite a while.

I think I’ve settled on this idea that I’m having a conversation with all of you, and that when you read this – you’re getting the real me. I hope that comes through in my writing. When you meet me in person, after my shyness has worn off and I’m comfortable, this is really who I am. I write for myself. My pride in finishing a chapter or a blog is my own personal source of encouragement, and it should be more than enough. However, at some point Amanda and I finally decided that we should “unveil” ourselves. I think we grew proud of what we’d done, and yes – there was a part of us that wanted everyone to know who we were. Egotistical? Probably. I’m trying to remind myself that I’m not quite as superhuman as I might want to think.

I know of several blogs where I took the time to flat out say that we wanted no acknowledgement from the band. We didn’t want to even know if anyone was reading.  There were two main reasons behind this that I’m not afraid to share: One, I had been around in the fan community long enough to see that if anyone had some sort of acknowledgement from the band – any “special” treatment – they instantly became the target for ridicule. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t like being a target, even though I am willingly “putting myself out there”. Two, I felt that if I knew the band was actually reading the blog (band, management…road crew, pets…hired hands…whatever), that I’d change my writing. I’d worry more about what they thought and a whole lot less about what *I* thought. That would totally destroy the purpose. So I made sure to say that I didn’t care who commented – I just didn’t want to know about it, and I still feel that way much of the time, although I think I’ve learned that I write the way I write, regardless of who might be reading. I don’t really know for sure, because I really don’t know who is reading – and that’s OK.

I have to tell you, writing is tough. I don’t think this would surprise the band. I think back to some of the interviews from the reunion period where they said they weren’t sure how the fans would receive them. I remember listening or reading those sentences incredulously.  Of COURSE they’d be well-received! Why would there be any doubt?? I just didn’t get it at the time.

I do now.

Self-doubt is a really hard thing to work through. I write nearly every single day, whether it’s for the blog, for the our book project, or even for the convention website.  It is rare when there is any acknowledgement for those things unless I stand back, look at my own work and think “That there is a good blog.” (and perhaps I don’t do that often enough!) When I think of the band writing their albums – they really have no idea how their work will be received until the first time they play it for any kind of a listening audience. That would drive me insane. I think you really have to learn to be confident with your own material enough to get you through long, long periods of quiet.  I’m having trouble with that concept right now. There are times when I wonder if the blog, the convention and even the book are really going to work and if people are really going to appreciate the work that goes into such things – and get something out of it for themselves. It doesn’t matter if those “people” are fans, the band themselves, management…or even myself.

I have to remember why I keep writing. It’s not so that the band notices my hard work. It isn’t so that I become well-known and recognized. (and I’m talking about as a writer, not as a Duran Duran fan-blogger) It’s not so that I start winning fan contests left and right. Those are just the thoughts that creep into my head when I’m doubting myself.  I’m writing because I love to write. I like seeing finished work. I enjoy painting a picture with words. I actually look forward to expanding my writing beyond Duran Duran in the very near future. (believe it or not)  It is only in the moments where I am weak and doubting myself that I start thinking about how nice it would be to have our blog retweeted by the band, or to have one of them actually comment to us, or to have more people respond to us on Twitter, Facebook or even buy tickets for the convention.  Then I slap myself, put my head down, ignore the drama, and get back to work.

I’m human I guess.


Why I blog

Last night, I exchanged a couple of emails with my husband.  He is in Las Vegas having a very grueling week at the Consumer Electronics Show.  Excuse me while I play a sad, sad song on violin for him….  Anyway, I shared some family news with him, and mentioned my blog regarding Andy’s new website.  My point to my husband was despite not earning an actual salary for writing, I really enjoy writing and blogging.  I wish that I would have recognized this years back and done more writing directly after college, but at the time I suppose I had more living to do (babies to have, children to raise, a husband to properly train…etc.) before I could spend time writing.  He in turn said that he could understand why I enjoy it so much.  This was a first coming from my “dollars and cents” husband, but it also made me really think about why I love this “job” of mine.  Yesterday afternoon on Facebook I had updated my status to say that if this was as good as my “career” ever gets – I’m good right here.  This is true.

When I was in college, I wrote on a daily basis.  Much of it, if not all of it, was in the form of essays for class.  My major was American Studies, which required a lot of reading, critical thinking, and writing.  You might think I studied about American history – and while that would partially be true, most of my work was centered around our culture, and what makes the American people tick.  Here’s the truth: I decided on that major purely because it was so easy for me!  The writing seemed to come easy, and where my classmates would do two and three drafts before writing a final copy – I’d do ONE draft: the final copy, and turn it in for good grade. It never occurred to me to become a writer – I just knew I had to get a real job after college, so I did, and then I became a mom.  It wasn’t until I met Amanda and started joking about writing a book (never again will I joke about such things) that I started thinking that maybe I really could write again.

My style here is very, very casual.  That’s done on purpose, and it’s ALWAYS a first-draft/final copy thing.  I don’t have time for anything else, and I want the blog to seem as though I’m chatting with you as opposed to trying to teach you something or trying to sound smarter than I really am.  Hell, most of the time the readers – you guys – are teaching ME.  I’m as “real” in...real life as I am here, and yes, I’m every bit as opinionated!  I know that there are times that you don’t agree with what I’m saying, and there are times when I know going in that I’m going to get slammed for something I’ve written.  Sometimes, I even welcome that.  Anyway, when I write the blog, I try to keep in mind that most of you want to read something less formal, that I’m trying to sound like I’m talking to friends, and I hope that comes across.

I can’t explain the gratification I get out of blogging, but I’m going to try, and in doing so, I’m going to share a little story.  I know I’ve mentioned that I am a trained musician.  I played clarinet from the time I was about 8 until…well, I still play now but I don’t take formal lessons any longer. I always believed that I would go to college, major in music performance, and then join an orchestra.  I don’t know what happened when I got to college (I really do know what happened but that’s another blog for another day), but for whatever reason, I changed course. Trouble was, I had no idea what else I was good at or what I enjoyed.  I spent a lot of valuable time trying to fit myself – a round peg basically – into square holes.  Something was always missing and I struggled at everything.  Recently, as in two years ago now, I finished a secondary degree in Gemology of all things.  Yes, I’m a scientist now.  (I’m laughing as I type that.  Scientist my ass…)  Even as I studied Gemology, I realized just how ill-fit I am for that sort of thing. I finished the program and did well, but I still don’t feel fulfilled.  The part I enjoy most about gemstones is the appraisal process, and that’s because in some really fun cases, I have to actually research where the piece came from (meaning jewelry), and I write.   Shortly before I received my diploma, Amanda and I started writing our manuscript, and then I had the brilliant idea to write a daily blog.  What in the hell was I thinking??

Originally the plan was to do short blurbs each day.  Spend a half hour max on each topic.  Uh-huh, sure.  It always sounds better on paper (or computer screen) than what it ends up as in daily practice.   I’ve been writing for about 45 minutes so far today, and I’m missing out on my only exercise time.  AGAIN.  I’ve got to get better about that because I really do like getting out, walking/running and listening to my iPod.  It clears my head, and as a writer – I need that time.  As a mom, my KIDS need me to have that time.  I digress.  The reality is, once I start writing for this thing, I have a hard time stopping.  Sometimes the words come easily and I’m finished before I know it.  Other days, I know what I want to say, but I can’t formulate the sentences.  Still other days, I know exactly what I want to say, but if I do, I’m going to offend a lot of people.  (smile here)  Then there are the sheer golden moments, and that’s what I experienced yesterday.

Yesterdays blog was a little different.  I don’t typically do interviews on the blog because I didn’t study journalism, I don’t know how to properly ask “smart” questions, and above all else – I’m not pushy. I had to incorporate what Kitty was trying to convey into my normal blog format, and so it was a little challenging, but I enjoyed the writing!   I can promise Duran Duran that this is one fan who will never bug them for an interview.  I just glean the information I need for a blog from wherever I can, try to blend into the background, and go away quietly without causing an uproar.  Daily Duranie doesn’t do gossip, we don’t do tell-alls, and we don’t write love notes to the band.  Well, not every day, anyway.  The whole reason why this isn’t a news blog is because I simply cannot do news.  I’m not sure about Amanda, but I’m guessing she doesn’t either.  Besides, you all have Salvo (Durannasty) and Kitty (Gimme A Wristband) for that – they do a great job, much better than I would ever hope to accomplish, and I know my rightful place in the Duranie world.  The funny thing is that when we started the blog, I don’t think either Amanda nor I really knew where we fit in!  The only thing we knew was that we were studying fandom for the book.  We like the idea of trying to understand why we fans behave the way we do.  Why are we still fans after 30 years?  Why do we compete against one another?  Those are the questions we focus on for our manuscript.  We just started blogging as a way to learn how to interact with the fan base beyond friendship, and figured we’d find eventually find where we fit in.

What I decided with my blogging was to just be myself.  I stumbled around for a bit, but eventually realized that what I wanted most was to bring fans together.  There is so much in our community that is divisive, whether it’s due to fighting for show tickets, fighting for attention, fighting to prove we’re the number one fan…arguing over whether or not there should be a paid fan club, then of course BEING in that fan club…it’s all overwhelmingly negative at times until there’s a moment or cause that brings us together, and those moments are remarkably few and far in between. Blogging is a funny thing because each day, I feel as though I put a little bit of myself out there for people to read and know.  It’s bizarre because I never know how something is going to be taken, and I never know what will genuinely strike a chord with someone.  I just write whatever I’m feeling at the time and hope for the best….which brings me to the blog from yesterday.

Amanda and I both get notes and emails at times saying how someone really loved what we wrote, or that we “get it”.  I think we do get it purely because we’re fans just like anyone else.  Those notes are what keep us going, and to this day when someone thanks us, I feel like I should ask them if they know I’m just a mom.  I’m nobody special!  The key is, and I’m obviously speaking for both Amanda and I when I say this “We love what we do.”  I don’t know who said this – but at one point or another in my life I’ve heard people say that if you’re doing something you really enjoy, it never feels like work; and if you’re doing something that you really are passionate about, typically you’re very good at it; and finally, if you’re doing something you really love, a monetary salary doesn’t even begin to outdo how you already feel about your work on a personal level.  I never understood ANY of that before now.  I figured only people like Oprah knew what all of that nonsense was about. Work was work.

Yesterday’s blog was really my love for writing coming through, combined with a sheer passion for music.  I have loved Duran Duran, and every member of Duran Duran, since I was 10 years old.  I’m 41 now.  That’s a long time – and as I gleefully tell my husband at times, “I’ve loved Duran Duran longer than I’ve loved you!” (Yes, I have bitch tendencies at times.  Don’t we all?)  I love that he’s told the record labels and managers to basically kiss his ass and he’s going to do it his way, as it should be done.  What I love more than even that though, is blogging and sharing those thoughts with all of you, because you get it.

The best part of the writing yesterday came when I’d realized I’d been working for a few hours and yet none of it felt like work.  It was fun!  I felt good about what I’d written, and that the points I was trying to get across came through well.  Then of course Andy himself mentioned it on Twitter, and for me – that was a big bonus, of course.  Andy was one of my childhood heroes, I continue to have great respect for him, and I really do believe that website is the beginning of something great.  A revolution, I hope.

So why do I blog?  I love it.  I may never earn a real paycheck, and I may never get the front row seats, meet the band, have my “Kodak” moment with any of them, but this blog brings fans together.  I see that, I see where it has its place in the fan community, and I know that when I write, people enjoy reading.  That’s enough for me.  I’m good right here.