Why Do We Only Feel the Pain?

Some days, I’m glad that I have this blog and get a chance to write and there are other days that I wish that Rhonda would write instead.  Then, there are days like today in which I feel both at the same time.  As I’m sure you have all heard about the horribly tragic and devastating school shooting that took place in Connecticut yesterday, part of me wants to write to explain how I’m feeling and the other part doesn’t want to write because I can’t offer any words of true comfort.  Like all of you, I cannot truly come to grips with what happened and why.  All of our hearts have broken at the news that small children and adults were killed in an act of horrible violence.  This event truly hit home for both Rhonda and myself.  She is a mom of three with her youngest turning five next year.  While I’m not a parent, I am a teacher and the proud aunt to two wonderful nieces.  We both look for answers and for comfort.  This afternoon, I found myself on the phone with both Rhonda and my sister.  We all sounded the same.  Hurt.  Confused.  Angry.  Scared.

At times like these, fandom seems so silly, so unimportant.  When I think of those families suffering the tremendous grief that comes from losing a loved one, especially an innocent, young loved one, I think about what is really important.  It isn’t that fandom or Duran Duran isn’t important.  It’s just that fandom is a luxury.  It is a luxury that we are able to enjoy because of the fact that we are safe and that our loved ones are safe.  Our minds and hearts are free to think about which Duran song we like best, what the next album should be like or how can we get Simon and/or John to tweet us.  Others right now are not so fortunate.  Yet, while fandom is not the most important thing in the world right now, it can and does offer comfort to many of us.  For example, when I deal with my grief, I find turning to a song like, “Do You Believe in Shame?” since it is a song that Simon wrote to deal with the loss of a dear friend of his, the loss of Alex Sadkin, their former producer, and Andy Warhol.  I include it below in case, you, too, would comfort by hearing and/or seeing the song:

 
Here is where I could offer some words of wisdom.  I could speak in platitudes and offer commonly uttered expressions about how time heals all wounds but I won’t.  Instead, like all of you, I will hug my loved ones who are close by, send my love to those who are not, and hope that we have to face something so horrific like this ever again.  I leave you with another Duran classic that gives me hope when I need it most.

-A

Duran Duran Music: Gold Package

Since we are on a holiday theme the last couple of days, I have to share that it has felt a lot like Christmas at my home.  It isn’t because I have a tree up.  While I have a little tree, I hardly ever put it up since it is a lot of work and I end up either at my parents’ or at my sister’s for the big day.  So, if it isn’t because of a tree, could it be that I have been baking cookies or wrapping presents?  Sadly, no.  While I have a table full of gifts for others that are desperately in need of wrapping, it hasn’t happened yet.  I haven’t had any time for wrapping or baking as I have been working and getting some homemade gifts ready to go.  What’s the deal, then?  The deal is that I got my merchandise from renewing on DuranDuranMusic, Duran’s official fan club, with the “gold” package.  For those of you not aware of what the “gold” package entails, here’s how the website describes it:  “A terrific new GOLD level VIP member package is NOW HERE! The Gold package includes all the great perks of membership such as pre-sale access, contesting, Katy’s Kafes, Q&As and more – as well as:

– An exclusive NEW T-shirt for the fan community
A black faux leather “UltraHyde” padfolio with the embossed Duran logo
– AYNIN video still fridge magnet
– 22 oz. water bottle with “D” and “Duran Duran” logos
– Custom Duran shaped USB device with an exclusive video, behind-the-scenes portraits and live concert shots!
– A copy of the Hyde Park setlist with reproduction signatures from the band (not shown in photo)
– Personalized membership card for 2012/2013
– Welcome letter from the band” 
(http://duranduranmusic.com/ )  Since I became a member in October almost 10 years ago, I have always renewed in the fall and this year was no different.  I renewed with the gold package.  The reason was simple:  I like the stuff.  Yes, I kept the membership, in general, for the presale access but went for gold for the merch.  It is ridiculous the amount of Duran stuff I have.  Ridiculous.  Anyway, two months later, my package finally arrives.  Before you say anything, I completely agree with you.  Two months is about a month TOO late.  What the heck took them that long?!  Now, I could sit here and be frustrated about the lack of timeliness or I can take a long look at what I actually got.  I choose the latter.  T-Shirt:The very first thing that strikes me about the shirt is how dang soft it is.  Seriously soft.  This is so different than most concert t-shirts.  Most concert t-shirts are rougher, more scratchy.  This, on the other hand, feels so nice to the touch.  When I looked at the material, it seems to have more rayon than most t-shirts.  So, I admit, I’m already in love.  The second thing I notice is the color.  It isn’t a black.  It is a dark grey/black.  I love that it isn’t super common.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love black t-shirts as it is just easy to be able to grab a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans and go.  There is no thinking involved.  Yet, this has that same characteristic without being so boring.  My falling in love at first sight is growing more serious.  Now, it’s time to look at the picture.  The image is below here. 

   Obviously, it is like all of the other Diamond in the Mind images, which is okay.  I like that the crowd, the audience, is obvious but a little more vague.  The lighter grey is nice.  The big pink D is a plus as is the Duran Duran in the corner.  Now, it took a few minutes for me to realize that the web address was listed on the very bottom, but it is.  This is fine.  That is better than taking up a lot of room.  So, while the image isn’t the best, most exciting thing ever, it is nice and the rest of the qualities of the shirt pull it up to a solid 4 out of 5 cocktails, especially in comparison to the gold t-shirt of last year.    Padfolio:I admit that I didn’t really know what they meant by a padfolio.  This shows, of course, that I am not in a traditional, work-in-an-office kind of job.  I don’t typically deal with padfolios.  I deal with notebooks, loose leaf paper, and folders.  I deal with basic school supplies.  Thus, I didn’t know what to expect with this item.  I knew that I was excited that it was faux leather, though.  As a vegetarian, I appreciate that.  I’m sure there were others, though, who wished for the real thing.  It is the size to hold a small legal pad.  There is also a space for a pen or pencil and a few slots to put other papers or business cards.  I feel like I can’t adequately judge this because I don’t have anything like this.  Does it have enough slots?  Is it big enough?  I don’t know.  Personally, I kind of like that it isn’t very big.  It is easier to carry.  Am I using it?  Sure am!  I am using it for Convention planning!!!  Woohoo!!  Thus, I fully expect it to get quite a workout in 2013 as the committee’s ideas get planned!  Then, I’ll be curious to see how user friendly it seems and whether or not it holds up.  Until then, I will refrain from giving a cocktail rating.  Here is a picture, though. 

MagnetHow can this be a bad thing and how could it turn out badly?  Magnets cannot be that hard to make with decent quality, right?  I wasn’t expecting a ton with this, either, simply because I expected a basic magnet, nothing super fancy.  Now, of course, they could have made something fancy.  After all, they did magnets during the Astronaut tour.  Those magnets, which I’m sure many of you have were separate magnets for each guy and they were cut in their shape and slightly puffy.  Those rocked!!!  I love that I could move them around!  This magnet isn’t cool like that but it is fine.  The picture, which you can see below is the classic 4-some shot from the All You Need Is Now video.  I don’t mind it, but I wish that John was looking straight head.  Everyone looks good, though.  I am a little surprised that they chose that image and not something from ADITM, but it’s fine.  It will do the trick and hold up pictures, postcards and cartoons that I cut out from the paper.  It is a fine, 3 cocktail rating.  

   Water Bottle: This isn’t the first Duran water bottle I have gotten.  I have one from going VIP to a concert in the spring of 2005.  I haven’t used this water bottle yet but I don’t use the 2005 one much.  I’m not sure why that is.  I just have other water bottles I have received since then that took over.  How does this one seem, especially in comparison to the other one?  The 2005 was all white and had the lettering of the time.  That’s it.  Obviously, this one is similar, but this one has writing on both sides, which is cool.  It seems a little more professional that way.  I do have one compliant, though.  When you open up the top, it is just WIDE open.  The opening is too open.  Do you know what is going to happen the first time I actually use it?  Yeah, I’m totally going to spill all over myself, especially if I use it in the car, which is common for me to do.  Why couldn’t they have a different top or opening?!  It totally takes away from the positives like the quality of the font and the dark clear color of the bottle, in general.  It ends up with a 2.5 cocktail rating. 

USB Device:This is basically a flash drive, which is cool enough.  There isn’t much on it, which is definitely a big thumbs down.  Why not include a lot more than like 8 photos from the Olympics?!  You can’t tell me that Duran doesn’t have any more than that.  I’m sure they have TONS of photos.  I get why they want to focus on that particular show since it was such a big deal this year and also relates to the setlist they included.  Likewise, there was only one video and that was Wild Boys from the same show.  Again, why didn’t they include more?!  This just feels like they are short-changing us on this one since they could include SO much more.  Now, the pictures and video are quality and I loved looking at them.  I was just disappointed with the quantity.  Now, the flash drive shape is cute as you can see below.  I was a little surprised that it wasn’t just the D that they have been using lately.  The double D feels older to me than AYNIN’s D.  Its still cool looking.  Overall rating:  2.5 cocktails. 

Setlist, Welcome Letter and Member Card:As I stated above, they included a signed copy of the setlist from the Olympics.  I should note that the signatures are photocopies as well.  Now, it is on nice paper but I can’t say that I care that much about it.  I wasn’t there.  While I know that the show was a big deal for the band, it doesn’t mean as much to me as a show I had been at.  I also have to say that I don’t need copies of their signatures.  I have other things signed that aren’t copies.  Likewise, I think the welcome letter is exactly like last year’s.  Instead of really welcoming you to the fan club, I get a listing of the member benefits.  Yeah, I get them already.  I would prefer a real welcome–a real thank you for joining and how this is the place that fans are welcomed and appreciated.  Of course, we all know that isn’t really much of the case anymore, if ever, so they can’t really say that, but they can definitely make it less advertisement and more of an actual welcome.  The membership card is basically the same as last year.  I did notice that they are no longer including a year.  My ID# has also changed, which I wonder about.  Last time, it was a four digit number.  Now, it is a 7 digit number.  I wonder why.  The part of the card that always amuses me, though, is the statement at the bottom about how it is property of Duran Duran and that they reserve the right to change the program at any time.  Yeah, we know.  Lame.  These little extras are a 1.5 cocktails.  They definitely didn’t add to the package, at least for me.  Overall:There is clearly some evidence that time was taken to make the “gold” package quality.  The t-shirt alone shows that.  Likewise, most of the other products have some care taken to them, some detail that was thought about and followed.  I wish that they just included more on the flash drive and did something different with those extras like the setlist and welcome letter.  Trust me, a real welcome letter could go a long way, at least in my world.  Am I glad that I purchased it?  I think I am.  Again, I’m a sucker for the stuff.  I am.  Plus, you never know when the band is going to decide to do some shows.  I need to have the chance to have the presale access.  It is an insurance policy for me.  🙂  -A 

The Fans Wish List: 2012

Dear Duran Duran,

We have been very good fans this year.  The fan community in general is sending our wish list to the band this year via Daily Duranie, and so this letter is meant to speak for everyone and no one in particular.

During 2012, we went to many, many shows in many different parts of the world. This sometimes required buying “presale” tickets in advance, utilizing our DDM memberships.  We hardly complained when we were given presale dates with only a few days to spare (actually, we were quite happy with those most of the time).  We only screamed obscenities in the general direction of the band a “few” times when we first learned of tour dates and realized we would need to change our entire schedules to suit the band’s tour. We were overjoyed when we were told of general tour plans in advance, because that gave us time to plan – even though we didn’t have completely firm information – and we really appreciated what information could be outlined in advance. We stood in lines for hours, waiting for those precious and coveted front row spots. Sometimes we even waited just to be allowed into the venue, only to stand for many hours longer in GA. (jury is still out as to whether most of us love or hate GA)  We did not shove anyone from their seats and we did not threaten to clobber anyone in the GA section when we were elbowed, shoved, stepped on, or when alcohol was sloshed upon us….although we might have possibly scurried right down to the front row when invited by other occupants of the front row.  We were good fans, not angels!  We tried to make sure every show had plenty of those “familiars”…and we tried to behave by not jumping up onto the stage to accost the band, although we did sing with Simon when asked. (Well, some of us did. Others just know not to hurt people like that.)  We clapped, we sang, we screamed and we rejoiced in delight.

There were some of us that were especially good fans even when our only shows for the entire year were canceled due to Nick’s illness.  Instead we partied in the bars and possibly drank our body weight in alcoholic beverages.  Hey, it happens…and we’re talking about the alcohol as well as Nick’s illness. We hope he’s well, and we hope the band remembers to come see those fans again soon.  

During 2012, we also bought many, many books in far too many versions to list here. John might know this because he signed a lot of them.  We really hope he hasn’t had any permanent damage due to writers’ cramp. (and we really hope he’s still got that Daily Duranie wristband – we’ll be looking for it on tour next time – and you know we’ll write about it!)  We showed up many, many times to signings. Some of us have had our books signed more than once, and some of us have had our books signed when we couldn’t even be at the signing ourselves.  Still more of us made the effort to learn Second Life just so that we could go to the reading/chat there. (and still others might have just watched the video….)  We have read the book, listened to the audiobook and are still dissecting every possible bit.  That John Taylor is one fascinating guy.  

Finally, we have been very supportive fans.  It can be said that Duran Duran fans are among the most loyal out there – even if it is with a little side of crazy.  We loved All You Need is Now and can’t wait for whatever comes next.  All of that said, we can’t say we’re very patient.  March will come quickly, and then the fans will begin pacing the floor, awaiting any sign of life from the studio.  With much anxiety comes the inevitability of fans sacrificial offerings of other fans to the Duran gods in hope of extracting news from the studio.  Let’s try to avoid that, shall we?  Stay well, remember your fans…and without further adieu, we think you’ll find our wish list (see below) pretty entertaining!  

With eternal love and adoration,

Your fans


PS – we think Luigi would make a great reindeer.  Put some antlers on that guy and you’re good to go!

* A bank transfer from all of you to all of us (we might be slightly overestimating how much tours and albums make these days….)

*A concert tour with smaller, more intimate venues with a few abstract songs thrown into the set list and the overplayed classics turfed.  (Have to say – a LOT of people asked for this!)

*Concerts in our living rooms with our friends present. We’ll even let you (the band) choose the libations for the evening!  Of course, there are many of us…so this could really take a while to get around to each fan’s home.  Better get started! 

*All-Access Passes and front row tickets for life  (Hmm..this might really tear into your bottom line.  We’re worth it.)

*Brand-new set list at the shows.  We pick the songs, you get no say.  Let’s just be honest – you’d better get practicing some of those obscurities, boys.  Hope that when you’re jamming at Dom’s studio you’re taking some of those out for a test drive!

*Some fans are selfless and simply wish for you to take time out for yourselves with your families that is not publicized so that you can truly relax.  (See, some of us are really nice!!)

*A holiday album (We’d pay money to hear this one. Obviously!!)

*A kids album (See above!!)

*We want New Moon on Monday!!!  We won’t even ask you to reenact the dancing at the end of the video. We’ll probably just do it for you.

*A tour stop or two or more in New Zealand.  (We must agree. It’s not right that these people are ignored. Budgets be damned!)

*Many many many fans simply want to meet you.  We know this is daunting.  We’ve seen your Twitter timelines, and even that gives us the shakes sometimes, so we get it.  We’re an overwhelming, but very loving lot.  Hard to please, hard to get rid of us.  😀 

*A few long-term, very loyal fans just want seats off to the side of the stage.  Why? There are loyal fans out there that have disabilities and are just tired of the panic attacks they have to go through in order to make sure they can get those coveted seats during a presale- and often times they are way, way back so they can’t even see all that well.  

*So many fans just want time to talk with you about the music. We know this isn’t necessarily possible or even something you’d want to do.  We know, but all of us just think we’d be the one fan who would be different.  The one fan that could sit down over a drink – coffee, tea, wine, whatever – and have a real conversation without squealing.  Dreams are free!

*Christmas cards, from the band to us.  How’s that Duran Duran fan mailing list going these days??  

*Every official item released from the fan club/EMI/Capitol etc.  (Some of us want a LOT!)

*Reportage (We are truly surprised that this wasn’t mentioned by more fans – but yes, we want it!)

*Some fans would love for the band to go “fur free”.  Fans are animal lovers, that is for sure!

*Christmas dinner, with you and your families.  Wait…do you all eat together too??  😀 

While much of this is tongue in cheek, *I* am happy to report that there was not a single X-rated item requested. (I’m actually thrilled to report that, because I am not nearly cheeky enough to post such things on behalf of the community.  I blush easily.)  Much of the list is meant as a joke and we certainly hope it does not offend.  Other parts of it, we hope the band takes to heart.  I won’t mention names, but there are definitely some songs that could stand a rest or two, and there are some countries of the world that deserve some gigs a little more often that are not the US.

We in turn wish the band the warmest wishes possible for a wonderful holiday season. We sure hope you’re resting up for those living room shows….

-R (and the rest of the fans out there…if we missed your wish somewhere, list it below.  This is by NO means official.  LOL)

Ho Ho Holiday Rush

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starting to feel the holiday panic. A week from today my sister arrives, and after that it will likely be a whirlwind through New Years. Every year I hope to make this time relaxing, and every year I fail miserably. This week is crunch week for my family because it’s the last week of school for my oldest, my middle kid is trying to finish some writing projects to turn in next week for home school, and my youngest is just trying to keep up. She is very excited, then very exhausted, and in turn very grumpy. It is time to slow down, yet time seems to be speeding up!

Today’s blog is going to be rather short out of basic necessity, but I ask you a timely question. Let’s pretend the band is Santa. (Ok, just so we’re clear, I am NOT suggesting you should attempt to climb on any one of their laps the next time you see them…boundaries…boundaries would be good here.) If you could ask the band for anything – what would you ask?

Would it be something music related – for example you might ask that the next album be similar in style to say, Pop Trash or even Medazzaland.  Perhaps you’re ready for another album like Notorious or even Red Carpet Massacre. Or maybe you’d ask them to play a specific song in a set list for a show?  Maybe you’d ask for a re-do of a specific concert?  Even better – you’d ask them to go a specific city on a tour.  How about giving them an entire list of cities for a tour!

Perhaps music isn’t your thing. You want something more personal. (Again, remove thy self from gutter….) I always hear of people asking them for a hug when they meet. Maybe you want a picture with a band member or two. Coffee and conversation? Musical advice for those musicians amongst us?

Maybe the answer is that you’d ask for nothing at all….and you’d be happy with whatever 2013 brings. That’s probably the noblest answer, but highly unlikely for this crowd, and quite honestly – this is all in good fun anyway!

What would *I* ask for? Truthfully, I would probably ask them to include a few more of the obscurities on the set list should they play some shows this year. Songs that I’ve mentioned here before about a zillion times. It’s funny because when I think of songs, my mind immediately goes back to the beginnings of Duran Duran, but the fact is there are many songs even from recent albums that simply don’t get played. Oh, to narrow it down for this moment…. Let me go with a list of top 5:

1. Late Bar
2. Secret Oktober
3. Last Chance on the Stairway
4. Make Me Smile
5. The Edge of America  (I hear a big time guitar jam coming….)

So really, what would you ask?  Just for fun!  

-R

Our First Raffle for Members Only!!!

The day has arrived, and a winner has been chosen!

First, we put the names into a glass….a glass that must have been created with Daily Duranie in mind…

Next, Amanda reaches in to pick out a winner (notice that super fine looking DDM VIP member water bottle in the background?? We are living the dream here, people….living the dream!)

Finally, a winner is chosen!! “Christine” is our lucky winner of the signed AYNIN CD that was originally bought as part of a VIP package through DDM. The trouble is, we don’t know which “Christine” this might be…and we’re having difficulty reaching her via Google. So, if you signed up as a member of our blog as Christine – contact us. We need your shipping information so that we can send the CD.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to sign up as a member of the blog. We really hope you enjoy reading, and we also hope you stay tuned. We have a few exciting blogs coming in the next week – something that we’ve been working on for months, and are most proud to be able to share. We don’t want to give the surprise away, but it is our special holiday gift to all of you.  
In addition, we have huge things in the works for next year. As we’ve mentioned, we are working on getting our website completely redone – this is definitely happening. We will be expanding to include ongoing information on our book writing, fan events as well as an entire area dedicated to the convention we are planning, as well as a few other surprises. We’ve been working on having our logo redesigned, and once it’s finished – we can’t wait for everything to go live!  
Once again, if you’re the lucky winner of our raffle – please contact us at dailyduranie@gmail.com with your shipping info so that we can get your prize out to you ASAP!  
Additionally, the holidays are really upon us, and we are finding ourselves in need of a few guest blogs to help us out a bit so that we can take some time to spend with our families and recharge for 2013. If you have an interest in writing about any of the following topics, send something to us here .
*meeting the band
*an experience at one of John’s signings
*the DDUK convention
*living in a country where the band rarely tours (if ever)
OR…taking a direct question from John’s In the Pleasure Groove autobiography that just seems as though it were destined for this blog…
“Is the cover of Rio the greatest album cover of the eighties? Discuss!” 
The Daily Duranie blog is about being a fan. You’ve read a lot from us over the years, and the whole point of being a collective voice is about opening the blog to all of you from time to time. Here is your chance to tell your own story and be heard. We look forward to reading something from YOU.     
-A & R

Book Discussion–In the Pleasure Groove (Chapters 41-45)

Today’s book club finds us focusing on the year, 1983, by discussing chapters 41-45.  As we all know, 1983 was the year that Duran worked on the album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  I think many/most/all of us know that this album did not go nearly as well or as easily as the first two.  Will John shed light on that?  What was going on with him, personally, during that year?  Read and join in on the discussion!

Chapter 41:  The Year of the Geographic
What do you think lead to Seven and the Ragged Tiger being so difficult to write and record and how does that correspond to the title of the chapter?
A -It seems to me that there were a ton of decisions surrounding the making of this album that were…interesting, at best.  First, the managers pushed for a different producer in order to push the sound.  Obviously, there was lots of pressure to keep it fresh in order for Duran to stay where they were, in terms of chart success.  As John mentions here, there was no time to process feelings surrounding this or many of the other decisions.  Then, I understand what led them to leave the country to write and record (taxes) but clearly the places they chose weren’t the most conducive to writing and recording actual music.  Then, of course, as they get frustrated, they move on to the next place.  This, of course, relates to the title, which John explains is the phrase used to describe how people try to escape by changing one’s location.  I wonder what problems they were (collectively) avoiding by doing this.
R – I really believe that at least part of the problem with this album was the enormous amount of pressure they had put on themselves, even if they didn’t acknowledge that til much later.  Part of the trouble with “the geographic” is that rather than recognizing the real problems and discussing them, was the change of location – as though to slap a bandaid over the wound and move on.  The album, in hindsight, listens that way.  Very fragmented.  


What was your reaction to the idea of John connecting with fans and how he recognizes some of them on social media now?
A – As someone on social media (facebook and twitter), I couldn’t help but to take notice.  This is a topic that I plan on exploring further in a future blog.  I am not surprised that he feels more connected.  How could he not?  After all, now, he gets asked questions and answers them.  He can also see what people are thinking about something instantly.  That’s huge.  As far as recognizing fans, I wonder who he notices.  Is it good to be noticed or not?  After all, noticed does not necessarily mean liked, respected, interested, etc.
R – I’m amused that he even went down that road. I would imagine it can be somewhat akin to being a fly on the wall (even if it’s on the wall of your own house!) because he can read every tweet he gets without ever having to respond.  Oh, to be John Taylor and get some of the tweets he does.  I have to laugh sometimes……



Chapter 42:  A Caribbean Air
Did Duran’s new collective look in Montserrat fit with how things were going with the band at that time?
A – As soon as I read about Duran’s new look of pale earth tones, pale blues and white, I instantly had images/pictures pop in my head.  We all probably know the look John is talking about here.  Those colors are all calm, peaceful.  Yet, the band seemed to be anything but.  There seemed to be more problems with the studio and problems with the bills.  Then, the band returns home to play at the Prince’s trust and it goes poorly with tuning and sound problems.  The surface, which included photo ops with royalty, writing songs like Union of the Snake and the Reflex, seemed to hide the difficulties just underneath.
R – I think it’s a part of the geographic: hoping to change things when it’s merely a band aid.

Chapter 43:  Resentments Under Construction
Reaction to the idea that they had to wait for lyrics?
A – Simon’s lyrics, and how long it takes for him to produce them, seem to be problematic based on the fact that it was mentioned in both John’s book and in Andy’s.  I found it interesting that John chose to give him space.  This, of course, implies that others did not.  Obviously, I have no way of judging which is the right way to proceed.  Was it better to try to work with Simon?  Was it better to leave him alone?  I don’t know.   
R – One thing I do know about being a writer is that the pressure does absolutely NOTHING to help the words come faster.  I really do feel for Simon in this regard, because I can’t imagine how difficult it must be.  Actually I *can* imagine – and I’m glad I’m not a poet or a lyricist.  I guess the band works in a way where the music comes first a lot of the time and then something inspires Simon to write.  I think I would have a constant nagging fear of not being able to find something that inspired me.  I have no idea if that’s what it is like for Simon, but hearing/reading about this in both Andy & John’s book and then hearing Nick talk about it in the Katy Kafe…as well as my OWN experiences with writing have given me a whole new appreciation for the lyrics as well as Simon, I must say!

Chapter 44:  Unlimited Latitude
Do you agree with John’s description of the party people around him, especially when he says that he is their “prey”?
A – I have no doubt this is exactly what was like and is like for all, or most, who are famous.  It seems to me that there are people who just attach themselves who whomever the big star is at the moment in order to further their own lives, or their own careers.  Clearly, these people weren’t real friends since John didn’t mention them more than including this description of them.  I found it interesting that John wasn’t really hanging out with very many of his bandmates.  In particular, he talked about how distant he was from Nick at this point since Nick didn’t support his using.
R – I actually felt guilty when I read (and listened) this part.  How many of us want to know John because he’s the bassist in Duran Duran?  I mean, that’s the only reason most of us even know him.  So, there is that.  I know plenty of people that attach themselves to others for the sake of a career – even in other industries besides music & entertainment. I’m sure that at the time, it was an amazing social move to be seen hanging out with John Taylor.  He recognized he was being treated more as a commodity than as a human, and that disgusts me even though at the time, John was also very clearly a bit paranoid due to the drugs.  I suppose you learn very quickly whom your friends really are when you’re a celebrity, or else you don’t survive.


Were you surprised that John said that Andy was the only bandmate that he could get comfortably wasted around?
A – Obviously, I knew that Andy was using quite a bit at this time as well.  Andy has never hidden it.  It also makes the decision to form Power Station so much more obvious.  It gave John a purpose and a means of keeping Andy happy.  It also gave John someone to party with who wouldn’t question his choices in using.  Again, though, I thought it was interesting that John described Andy’s participation as providing the balance in the band and giving the band an edge.  I wonder if John still thinks that is lost without Andy.  
R – I’ve always felt that Andy was the hard edge to balance out a lot of the softer side, and I felt it worked well.  I think though that the real reason John was comfortable with Andy was simply because Andy never questioned him or forced him to own up to what he was doing.  Every addict needs that sort of person…and when they turn away, I would imagine it’s pretty painful and hurtful, especially in hindsight when you realize that this person COULD have said something or done something and simply did not.  

Chapter 45:  Anticlimax to Reflex
What was the significance of telling the readers the story of his rental car’s fender falling off when he turned it in?
A – To me, this represented the album.  Seven and the Ragged Tiger was done.  Union of the Snake, the single, had been released.  It was done and they were ready for what came next.  The car represents the band, at the time.  Yes, they appeared to be done with an album but what they didn’t realize is that a part of them was about to leave, to fall off.  Obviously, we now know that it is Roger and Andy leaving.
R – I thought it was a terrific ending….kind of poetic really.  


What was your reaction to John starting a relationship with Janine Andrews?
A – I, obviously, don’t know much about her besides being a Bond girl and having dated John.  From the stories I read about, it seemed like their relationship was a bit dramatic.  Yet, I guess I didn’t realize or remember that she was from Birmingham.  John clearly could relate to her in that she appeared glamorous and sophisticated on the outside but was still someone from Birmingham and with the traits of someone from home.  She must have provided some comfort, in some way then.
R – I must admit I know nothing of Janine Andrews, simply that she was there.  It sounds like there wasn’t much peaceful about their relationship though…and somehow, I am not surprised.

Final Thoughts:
I was struck by how John described himself on the last line of Chapter 44.  He wrote, “But behind the party face, I was caught up in a vortex of fear, arrogance, loneliness and extraordinary popularity.” (page 238)  The vortex was the perfect word as it seems to me that John was in a vortex that he couldn’t get out of, even if he wanted to and it seems clear that in 1983, he didn’t.  The popularity continued through less than stellar live shows like the one that happened at the Prince’s trust or through an album that took entirely too long to make.  The arrogance was clearly there as well.  I could see it by the choice to distance himself from Nick and the rest of the band rather than have his choices questioned.  Yet, through all of this, the loneliness remained.

Next week, we will dive into 1984 by reading Chapters 46-51!

-A 

Media Representation of Fandom: Juliet Naked (Chapters 4-9)

Happy Sunday, everyone!  I hope this day finds everyone well.  I’m sitting on my couch, sipping coffee, and watching the snow come down.  It is very pretty!  The weather makes for a good day to stay indoors and read and, in my case, write.  Today, I will continue looking at the book, Juliet Naked, by Nick Hornby.  Last week, I discussed the first 3 chapters only as there was a ton of references to fans and fandom.  I had more than enough to talk about.  Today, I will focus on chapters 4-9 and next week, I will finish the book.  To refresh everyone’s memory, the book focuses on a couple, Annie and Duncan.  Duncan is a huge fan of the singer/songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who has disappeared from public life decades ago.  After the couple returns from a “tour” of Tucker related sites in the US, Annie begins thinking about breaking up with Duncan.  When an unreleased album of Tucker’s shows up, they have the exact opposite reaction to it.  Duncan loved it and Annie hated.  Both wrote up reviews for a fan message board.  Annie got a response from Tucker himself.

As Chapter 4 begins, we learn more about Tucker’s personal life and that he has a number of children with different women.  We also see Tucker fret a bit about how to prove to Annie that the email was, indeed, from him.  He notices that the fans think they know so much about him but they do not know about his children.  Likewise, the fans believe that something profound happened in a bathroom in Minneapolis.  This is the same bathroom that Duncan and Annie visited on their tour.  When I read this part, I immediately thought about our band.  Is that true for us as well?  Is it that we think we know a lot about John, Simon, Nick and Roger, but, in reality, we are dead wrong or are missing key details?  I think that is very likely to be true.  We assume that we really know them because SO much has been written about them or by them.  Plus, for many of us, we have been watching/observing them for 30 plus years.  It would be natural to assume that we know them, but I suspect that there is much we don’t know.  So, is this representation in the book a fair one?  I think it is.  I think it is also one we can benefit from learning and remembering.

Tucker, of course, does respond to Annie and tries to explain that there are a ton of myths out there about him.  He doesn’t mind too much, though, because it makes him more colorful, more interesting.  The more colorful, the more interesting, the more likely that fans will remain as fans, too, I suppose.  When Annie receives his response, she believes it to be truly from Tucker.  Of course, then, she has to decide whether or not to share all of this with Duncan and decides that she doesn’t want to share Tucker.  Is this accurate in fandom?  Again, I think it is.  Some fans, after having had their moment or two with the subject of their fandom, become almost possessive.  They don’t really want others to have similar moments.  Please, understand what I’m saying here.  I think this is a normal response.  Heck, even Annie, in this book, who wasn’t a big fan doesn’t want to share.  Thus, I’m not criticizing anyone.  My point, really, is that this book is realistic.  Annie decides like any of us would to respond to his email and struggles with how much to share about herself and how much to ask about him.  I think most of us would respond in the exact same way.  I know that I would.

Meanwhile, Duncan continues to be shaken by the unreleased album.  He finds himself being overly emotional and feels like he has been altered.  Again, I find myself relating to this.  I have heard albums that have moved me so much and have resulted in me being emotional.  Heck, I bet everyone reading this has had this type of experience.  The new Duncan meets a new colleague and immediately plays the album for this co-worker, Gina.  When she understands, Duncan finds himself in bed with her.  Duncan, of course, was feeling distant from Annie after she responded to the album so differently and didn’t seem as fan like as he had hoped.  Thus, after cheating, Duncan is up front with Annie and leaves her.

While the domestic drama is taking place, Tucker finds himself hanging out with his neighbor.  This neighbor is the person that the fans think is Tucker himself since a fan saw this neighbor years ago and took a picture of him, near where Tucker lives.  This neighbor looks rough with a “grizzly” look.  Tucker believes that the fans want this person to be him as it makes him even more of a recluse, even more of a genius.  Again, here, we can ask the question.  Do fans make what they want true, even if the evidence isn’t there?  Do we make assumptions in order to fit what we think of our idol(s)?  I hate to say it, but I think we probably do.  How many things have we convinced ourselves about the members of Duran, which may or may not be true?  Let me give you an example.  I would love to believe that the members were as frustrated by Red Carpet Massacre as many of us were, but were they?  I don’t really know.  Anyway, while Tucker is out with his neighbor, a fan spots them.  Of course, this person assumes the neighbor is Tucker.  The neighbor notices this and decides to get on stage to sing just to mess with the fan.  How does this go down with the fan community?  It goes exactly like what we would imagine.

The board fills with activity, especially surrounding the comments the neighbor mentioned to the fan.  The neighbor said that he (Tucker) would be releasing new music soon but that it wouldn’t be like the unreleased album because that was a “piece of shit”.  This response convinces people even more that it was Tucker.  After all, he always used to put himself down in old interviews.  When Duncan discovers this activity, he has two thoughts.  First, he wonders why he wasn’t the first person involved in the discussion and realizes that he has been busy due to leaving Annie.  He then ponders if this fits the idea that fandom happens when people don’t have lives.  Second, he debates about whether he should or should not tell Annie about it because she would like that Tucker agreed with her thoughts on the unreleased album, which isn’t true, Duncan thinks, no matter what he said to the other fan.  Again, here, we see this idea that fans convince themselves of things despite evidence to the contrary.  On the other hand, Duncan really wants to share this news with Annie.  Yet, he wonders if she would really get it, especially since she hasn’t “put time in” the way he has.  Can anyone relate to that idea?  I think we all could.  We all want to share things with people who aren’t on the same plane as you, in terms of your fandom and wonder if they would get it.  Again, this seems like a completely realistic portrayal of fans.

Duncan decides to share with Annie anyway, but is disappointed when she doesn’t seem as excited.  He then decides to write to another fan online but admits that it isn’t the same.  Annie, on the other hand, finds herself falling into a fantasy about the email communication with Tucker.  Of course, she also notes that Duncan would be extremely jealous over this communication.  Nonetheless, I found it interesting that even Annie found herself falling for the idea of Tucker even though she wasn’t a big fan.  Wouldn’t we all?  What will happen with Tucker and Annie?  Will Duncan ever find out?  That is all still to come.

As I continue to reread this book, I continue to be convinced that the author truly knows and understands fandom.  It seems to me that both Duncan and Annie are realistic.  Duncan, obviously, represents a die-hard fan and shows how fandom is emotional.  The book also shows that not all behavior connected to that emotion/passion is good as he isn’t always nice and considerate.  Likewise, Annie shows what it is like to be someone who didn’t seem to get it at first but how easy it is to fall as she begins to correspond with Tucker.  I’m anxious to reread the last part of the book.  I would also love to know if you all agree that these characters are accurate in their fan like and even star like behaviors.  Does this seem like an accurate representation to you?

-A

Hornby, Nick.  Juliet Naked.  New York:  Riverhead Books, 2009. 

Album Favorites!

As I am sure many/most/all of you know, we do a “daily” question on our facebook and on twitter.  The question is usually a this or that type question.  For quite awhile now, we have been doing a poll of sorts about songs on the albums.  Thus, we simply ask, “This song or that?”  In reality, this has been a bracket of sorts with losing songs being eliminated until we get the favorite song per album.  Because Duran has such a large catalog and so many songs, this process of going through each and every album has taken quite a while.  Yet, finally, today we have the results, of our friends/followers collective album favorites.  We will present them here with clips for everyone to enjoy!

Duran Duran (self-titled) winner:  Careless Memories

Clip is from the Chichester Festival in 1981 (November 30, 1981)


Rio winner:  New Religion

Clip is from Hammersmith ’82 (November 16, 1982)

Seven and the Ragged Tiger winner:  The Seventh Stranger

Clip is from As the Lights Go Down (Spring 1984)

Non-album tracks winner:  Wild Boys

Clip is from the Montreux Pop Festival (May 10, 1985)
Notorious winner:  Vertigo

 
Clip is from Working for the Skin Trade (1987-1988)

Big Thing winner:  Do You Believe in Shame?

Clip is from Seoul, South Korea (February 11, 1989)

Liberty winner:  Serious 

Clip is from Italian TV (1990)

Wedding Album winner:  Come Undone

Clip is from MTV’s Unplugged (November 17, 1993)

Thank You winner:  White Lines

Clip is from a live broadcast (1995)

Medazzaland winner:  Out of my Mind

Clip is from Greatest:  Live at Wembly 1998 (December 21, 1998)

Pop Trash winner:  Someone Else Not Me

Clip is from Italy (2000)

Astronaut winner:  Sunrise

Clip is from Live from London (Wembly Arena Spring 2004)

Red Carpet Massacre winner:  The Valley

Clip is from Songbook (January 28, 2009)

All You Need is Now winner:  The Man Who Stole a Leopard

Clip from A Diamond in the Mind (December 16, 2011)

On that note, I did want to acknowledge the runner ups.  They are in order from the first album to the most recent album:  Sound of Thunder, The Chauffeur, Of Crime and Passion, A View to a Kill, Winter Marches On, I Don’t Want Your Love, First Impression, Ordinary World, Thank You, Midnight Sun, Last Day on Earth, Chains, She’s Too Much and Too Bad You’re So Beautiful.  Now, many of you might be wondering what we will be doing next.  First, I plan to have the winners battle each other so that we know the order of album favorites.  After that, I will be asking about b-sides.  Perhaps, I will look into demos.  Then, of course, we have a ton of songs left with the various side and solo projects (Power Station, Arcadia, Neurotic Outsides, The Devils, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, and Simon LeBon).  As always, I have enjoyed seeing which songs people prefer and look forward to the ones to come!

-A

Late Bar – The Daily Duranie Review

It has been a long time since our last review, hasn’t it?  Our apologies!  With that, I am excited to say that today we will continue our ongoing quest to review every last song in the Duran Duran catalog with the review of Late Bar today.  Anyone ever heard of that one??

Rhonda’s turn:

Musicality/Instrumentation: Can’t miss the dirty guitar on this one, nor can one miss the bass.  Or the keyboards.  Or even the drums, and that’s what I like.  No one is the star, and everyone has their hands on the wheel. I especially admire Andy’s soaring guitar, singing right along with Simon during the chorus. I miss songs like this, where everyone and no one is featured.  I love the mid-section where John’s bass and Nick’s keyboards along with Roger’s drums set the tone – one of almost obscurity.  Once again I feel like we’re just peeling back layer after layer, kind of like we’re walking through filmy curtains to find the party when suddenly…there it is. It feels like I’m at a nightclub back in the late 80’s. (well, I have to assume this is what it was like, because back in that time – I was only in my late teens and not quite old enough yet!)  My ONLY complaint about this song is that it’s too short.  I want more.  I have yet to hear them play this one live, and dang it I think they should.  Next tour anyone???

Vocals: Can Simon still sing this low? It is SO low…I love how the song opens, and I have to think he has to be in bass range, and he goes from there way up into second soprano range at times.  It’s impressive and I won’t lie – I could never do it.  That’s why we love Simon, and this song was made for him.  His voice has the perfect timbre when it’s low, beautifully melodic always, and for this song his voice and tone set the mood like no one else.

Lyrics: Where to begin? Well, Room 7609 has never been just a room number…and I’ve yet to stay in a room with that number, but any Duranie worth their membership card hopes for that on any trip they’ve gone on.  We talk about all-night parties any time the mention of touring comes up, and it’s just a feel-good song. This song is all about a party, and for me, that’s a good portion of what being a Duran Duran fan is about.  The fun stuff.  I definitely don’t listen to this song when I want to be in a melancholy mood, that is for sure.  Truly the lyrics remind me of what it’s like to be invited to an afterparty – one that takes place after the main event, up in a hotel room.  Good times were had by all, I am sure. Quintessential Duran Duran that I really wish they would not ignore for a set list.  Can we fix this?!?

Production: There is something deliciously raw about this one that I just love. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels just the slightest bit gritty – there’s no polish or gloss here, and I love it.  I like that hard edge, and I’m glad it wasn’t sanded and polished away by overzealous production staff, it would have watered the song down and it wouldn’t have the same effect. I even like that you can hear Simon speaking in the background during the middle section – it would have been simple to clean that up, but it would have completely ruined the effect.  Nowadays, they’d have messed with it, using autotune and God-only-knows what else to try to make their point.  Ugh.  I think this is fabulous as is.

Overall:  I feel it necessary to admit that this is one of my most favorite Duran Duran songs of all time.  It is right up there with Is There Something I Should Know and Secret Oktober. I am completely and totally biased, without question.  Even our background artwork for Daily Duranie has a little bit of Late Bar in there.(Go ahead and find it – consider it my challenge to you!)  I am just not sure how they could have made the song any better, except in two ways:
1. Make it longer
2. Play it live!!

Cocktail Rating: 4.5 Cocktails!!

Amanda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  Obviously, one cannot miss the guitars on this one!  In fact, it is hard for me to think of a Duran song besides this one in which the guitar hits you over the head immediately.  Of course, the bass is also super noticeable.  It isn’t like keyboards and drums aren’t there but they are more in the background in this one.  I like that.  While I’m not always into guitar as much as others, I am glad that the songs weren’t all keyboard focused.  Balance is important.  I noticed that the instrumentation on this song begins almost immediately.  There is no lead in, no extra little something that is in so many Duran songs, including songs from this era.  No, there is no time to adjust to this one.  As you as you get used to it, you find yourself completely into and wanting to sing along.  I also love the little interlude in the middle of the song when the bass seems a bit more in front.  It works to build the energy up when the song kicks back into full gear.

Vocals:  Who knew that Simon could sing this low?  Yet, it is so very different than the beginning of a song like New Moon on Monday.  Of course, it doesn’t stay low throughout the whole song.  In many ways, this feels like Simon truly showing what he was capable of as a singer in 1980/1981.  He has quite a range and he is able to convey a kind of dark, sexiness at one moment and a fun, carefree quality the next.  Personally, I love how Simon’s voice sounded throughout this time period and this song is no exception.

Lyrics:  I didn’t really notice the lyrics to this song for a very long time.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps, I was so into the very, very, very catchy chorus that I didn’t really pay attention to the verses.  Now, I do and have.  Let’s talk chorus first, though, because it is the more noticeable part.  Who doesn’t love the line, “There’s an all night party in room 7609?”  I would think that most Duranies would.  It is exactly what many, many of us hope to have or experience on tour.  We all want that all night party in some random hotel room.  I can think back fondly to a few nights of partying on tour myself!  Obviously, in order to party all night, we need to have a bar that is open late.  Who wouldn’t love that?!  As for the verses, I have to admit that I was a little weirded out when I realized that the first line reads, “There’s a hole in the wall next to you.  Things with legs are crawling through.”  That doesn’t seem as party like.  It just gives me the shivers since I definitely don’t like bugs and that is all that I see with this line.  Luckily, it is right in the beginning so I can move past it pretty quickly.  The rest of the lyrics continue with the idea of a party with the mentioning of dancers and mirror balls.  I’ll stick with those images!!

Production:  I wonder what the studio was like during the writing, recording, and producing of this one.  Was it just fun?  Did it take a long time because it feels like it was put together quickly during a time of partying, goofing off?  Of course, it probably wasn’t that way at all but that the feel of the song is so strong that I assume it was like that.  It was probably very serious!  That said, I continue to love the production on this first album and all that came with it.  I continue to be impressed by how some instruments seem a little more pronounced until you really listen.  I love that.  I love that each and every time you can hear a little more.  It works to keep the song fresh for the listener, or at least, me.

Overall:  In my opinion, this song screams Duran Duran to me, not because of the sound as much as the general vibe of partying and having fun.  After all, this is the band that said they wanted to be playing when the bomb drops and the band that reminds us each night in concert that they were designed to make us party.  This song makes us want to party!  Speaking of that, why don’t they play this song more in concert?  More specifically, why haven’t they played this song at a show that Rhonda and I were at?  What can we do to encourage them to?  I think that even if half of the audience doesn’t recognize it, it would still go down well.  The half that does know it will have a ton of excitement and those that don’t will hear the party atmosphere and get into it!

Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!!

A Matter of Feeling

Sometimes, this blog is a blessing, and other times, it is a curse. I don’t think I’m unusual in stating those feelings – anyone who has ever had a career, a hobby or a job has probably felt that way. There are times when I can’t wait to sit down and write, and other times when I feel like have to use the Jaws of Life to pull the words from my brain. I’m not complaining about Daily Duranie – that’s not it at all. Sometimes, it is easy and other times, it is not. The thing about Daily Duranie, and unlike what most of you are probably assuming right now, is that it’s a blessing that it is a nearly daily thing for me. (I blog Monday through Thursday, Amanda blogs Friday through Sunday) My mornings consist of getting up out of bed absolutely no later than 6:45am, taking a shower and getting myself ready, then coming downstairs to make a cup of coffee and get online. From there I check my email, then I swoop in on Facebook to do a general perusal, then I check our Daily Duranie gmail, head over to Twitter for a brief check-in, and finally, to Blogger. In any one of those places, including the shower, I might come up with a blog topic. The point is, every single day is different, and even if I have a tough time the day prior (or conversely, a very easy blog day!), the next morning is completely different. I love that challenge and I look forward to it every single day.

I am finding that the same can be said for writing in general. Unlike Daily Duranie, I don’t write for the book every day. I wish I had the time for that, but right now, it is not possible. My book writing days are supposed to be on Friday. (Don’t call my house on Fridays expecting me to answer!) The trouble I have is that everything else on my “To-Do” list is also to be done on Fridays. So, there are many Fridays when book writing doesn’t get finished or even started until very late afternoon, and by then, my brain is mush. It seems as though no matter how consistent and diligent I am about setting aside my Fridays, something comes up and I feel like I have to put the book aside in favor of doing whatever else is expected to be done.  This is something Amanda and I have talked about with one another at length, both of us agreeing that it just isn’t a simple fix, and that each of us must be patient with ourselves and one another. So we trudge on.

Right now, I am working on the convention chapter. What I should explain is that our book isn’t just a “How to” book, nor is a love letter to the band. It’s not a “tell all” about what it’s like to be a fan, nor is it a purely academic look into the fandom phenomena. In truth, it is all of those things combined into a single book. It’s an academic case study by the mere fact that we take a good look at fandom by examining the inner workings of a single fan community – this one. It is a love letter because Amanda and I have been fans for over thirty years, and there is a reason why it is THIS band that has caused both of us to write.This is definitely a book about how we became fans and why we still our fans…and by “we” I don’t just mean us, I mean YOU, too. So, when we write, it’s an exhaustive process, not only just mentally, but emotionally as well.

Somewhere along the way with this chapter, and probably even the book as a whole, I had it stuck in my head that we needed to get away from being so darn “hearts and flowers” and get into the real meat of fandom. My American Studies professors would have been proud, but the trouble is – the rest of our book is really written from the heart. It is our collective story interwoven with all of the research necessary to ask the real questions that need asking and explaining. I was finding, especially within this particular chapter, that I just had nothing left to say. I would sit down each week and feel almost nothing, and yet I knew this darn chapter had to get finished. So finally, I asked Amanda to take a look at my work. I sent it on it’s way, thinking to myself “Good riddance!”   Amanda was supposed to read the chapter and then tell me where I needed to delve in a little deeper. I thought to myself that perhaps she’d even write a little bit, and that would help me to get back on track.  Later on,I noticed I had an email waiting, so I checked my inbox, and there was Amanda’s reply. I was surprised she got back to me so quickly, but I was anxious to see what she had to say. Her email was very short, much shorter than I would have imagined. Basically, Amanda told me I needed to start over. My chapter was so research heavy that there was no heart in the story. In fact, there was no story. I have to tell you, when I first read the email, the first words out of my mouth were unkind. I am pretty sure I said something to the affect of, “F*** you. How about THAT?” and tossed my phone onto my counter. I know better than to respond straight away, so I let her comments sink in a little. As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. That’s why I was angry, because I already knew this, but I needed her to play the part of the heavy and tell me my chapter was crap.

When I finally did respond back, I told her that I hated that she was right, but that she was right. What was particularly frustrating, and continues to be a real challenge for me, is that sometimes when I sit down here to write, I feel nothing. I just can’t find that emotional component, or that muse. This wasn’t a problem when we first started the book, and I know why – it’s because I didn’t have nearly as much going on then. I could pour my emotion into the book and be done. True to form, Amanda agreed. She said that she knew I would feel that way. I don’t want to paint Amanda as heartless because she’s far from that. She just told me the truth because that’s what true partners do. They have the tough job of being honest even when we don’t think we want that. Sometimes they are the ones to hand us our backsides on a platter, and other times they are the ones to pick us up off the floor, dust us off and tell us to “get back in there!” Amanda does all of that. Many, many times over, even when emotionally she is probably sitting on the floor beside me.

I did eventually get up off the floor, and the very next Friday I sat down at the computer with a completely blank screen in front of me. Some writers say that is the scariest thing – the blank screen or blank piece of paper. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I think that for me, I feel the calmest when I see the blank screen. The blank screen is representative of potential, and there is something very calming for me about beginning a project and seeing no words in front of me. It is only after I begin typing, after I’ve already decided what picture I’m about to paint with words, that the real challenge begins. I’ve learned that one of the worst things I can do to myself is to stop writing once I start, and that taking a break to read back over the words is a death sentence. I literally have to just start and keep writing until I’m finished with whatever story I’m trying to tell. (This is a REALLY tough challenge when you have a family – kids and a husband – who truly do not understand what it means to be a writer.) When I come to a natural ending, then I’m fine to leave off to take a break, and pick back up when I’m ready. That day, I also did something that I am learning to do with more regularity. I plugged in my earbuds, put them in my ears, and found some music on Spotify that makes me happy and blocks out the world. That particular day, I think I listened to A Diamond in the Mind on repeat. Other days, it’s been Between the Lines by Dom Brown, which is one of my very favorite CD’s that is not Duran Duran. (That one is particularly effective at blocking out the world as well as bickering children!)

The good news is that I’m about halfway done with the convention chapter now, and I can tell you that it is a much better read this time. I’ll be forever thankful that I have a writing and business partner that isn’t afraid to tell the truth, and when the time comes (if the time comes!) that I’m called to do the same, to pick her back up, dust her off and say, “Get back in there and write a damn chapter that is worth reading!!”, that she’ll be as thankful as I was….and that she won’t reply back to my email right away.  😀

-R

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!