Tomorrow, I go back to work, to school, after a two week “break”. I put the word “break” in quotes because I still did work (about 19 hours worth) while I was home. This is not uncommon. On top of going back to school, Rhonda and I are resuming writing this blog. I figured that it might be good for me to start my routines sooner rather than later. It is time.
So how was the blogging break? Did it serve its purpose? And how do I feel about blogging moving forward? These are the questions I ask myself. First, for me, the break was a mixed bag, honestly. The positive part is what you might expect it was. I enjoyed having more time and definitely could always use more of it, especially as the holidays loomed. On top of that, I also found myself dealing with a virus that would not quit and some other health issues (nothing major but annoying all the same), which affected my productivity. That said, I missed blogging. I didn’t necessarily miss the self-imposed deadlines but I have figured something out about myself. I need tasks like this in my life. This blog and writing has become needed, but not in an unhealthy one. I found that I need the distraction from other items on my to do list. It helps me stop thinking and worrying about school or politics. Otherwise, I am the type of person that digs into whatever I’m working on with intensity. I’m better on all fronts, though, if I force myself away, once in awhile. On top of that, I think writing helps me process my thoughts. This is never bad and I suspect it will be very much needed in 2020.
Of course, this blog isn’t about me but about being Duran fans, right? It is about fandom. Here’s the thing. I view fandom like a relationship of sorts. I could easily fill the space in my life that is reserved for Duran with other things. Now, some might say that I should but that would be sad and sad for me. No, I want part of my life to be taken up with Duran. It gives me joy. I like being a fan. Of course, over time, the way that I express my fandom has changed. It used to be that I wanted to talk Duran all day, everyday. I don’t feel like I need or even want to do that. Instead, I would prefer it just to be one part of my existence, in balance with the others. In order to keep that balance and my fandom/relationship alive, I still need to nurture it, feed it. If that isn’t going to be chatting online about the band, all the time, then it could be this blog. I like directing my fandom in this, going to shows along with reading, researching, etc. I’m not ever going to be the most popular Duranie on social media and I’m okay with that. My fandom doesn’t need that. However, I look forward to continuing to share my thoughts and feelings here in a format that works for me on multiple levels.
So on that note, I look forward to getting back into the groove next weekend. What did I miss while I was gone? What should I check out? What should I write about?
Sometimes, fandom feels like an endurance test. It like the world and everything and everyone in it is just to push you away from fandom. For some people, they might opt to leave, to avoid, to hide. I, on the other hand, am feeling feisty, determined. I’m digging in my heels.
It has never been easy to be a Duran Duran fan. I am sure that a lot of people would think I’m insane for saying that. After all, at one point, they were the most popular band in the world. They were everywhere and you could buy merchandise upon merchandise in the mid-1980s U.S. Yet, for me, it didn’t always feel awesome. Sure, it was great fun with my friend as we watched Sing Blue Silver for the millionth time in her TV room but sucked that other kids at school talked smack about them along with countless DJs, music critics, and random strangers. “Aww…that band sucks. Can they even play their own instruments? Must be rough to be put together by a management company. What’s with the eyeliner? What are they gay?” were just some of the rude and untruth comments I was exposed to both then and now. It didn’t make me turn away from Duran but made me more determined to love them.
Then, of course, the mid to late 1980s was not always kind to the band and their fans. I saw my best friend walk away from the fandom. All the fans had to watch Duran regroup after side projects but also with the departure of Roger and Andy. On top of that, life often got in the way to the point where I found myself moving on while holding on to the that sliver of being a fan. Could I? Would I return to the really join the fan community? I wasn’t certain especially as the 1990s grew older but I know that when I took the time to watch and listen to Duran my love endured even if I remained pretty isolated as a fan.
Of course, I jumped back in with two feet along with countless others as the band reunited. I believed that this would be the best ever. Not only was I thrilled that the beloved Fab Five was back, I looked forward to getting to know more and more fans to share my love with others. Sadly, I also assumed that Duran’s longevity would result in nothing but acceptance and kudos from the music critics and the public as a whole. As we know, that didn’t always happen. Yes, they received more public acclaim than they had previously but they are never quite totally respected. On top of that, I found myself battling on a new front. Now, it seemed that others criticized my fandom because I’m “too old”. I should have let that go as a kid, people would imply. It certainly should not interfere with real life or all those responsibilities.
Still, I figured that I could blow off all those music critics, journalists, and nosey people in my own life as long as the fan community provided nothing but acceptable and joy. Sometimes, it has. I have had tremendous moments in which everything just feels right. I remember looking around, for example, at various points of Durandemonium, the convention that Rhonda and I organized, and thought how amazing it all was. Another example is when it seemed like the entire venue was clapping along to the Man Who Stole a Leopard in Glasgow in December of 2011. Sometimes, I have had it when we have held our online parties. It can be the best time ever.
Yet, there have been other times that it feels like I have battle both the outside world and the inside one. Yes, Rhonda and I chose to express our fandom by writing this blog, by organizing fan events, etc. It’s cool that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe some people don’t want us to do this or that. Others might not always like who we are or what we have to say. That’s okay, too. That said, I’m not going to stop loving Duran, who I am or how I express my fandom. I’m more determined than ever to stick around, do what I do and love the band with all of my being. I’m looking forward to partying hard in a couple of months at some great shows with my friends. Then, all of the obstacles put in my way will get pushed to the side and all that will remain is what started all of this to begin with.
This is not my typical blog. I wish that my writing partner had this one to write as she is so much better at this sort of thing than I am. I’m much more comfortable with facts, analysis, and statistics not because I’m unfeeling but because that is far safer. On top of that, my friend and her loved ones deserve the highest quality of blogs. That said, I’ll do my best for her and her loved ones.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, our friend, Alana, lost her fierce battle against cancer at the end of the week. The outpouring of love and grief on social media for her shows just a fraction of how much she meant to the people who knew her. I suspect that everyone who ever met Alana loved her and wanted to be around her. She was one of those special people who was just genuinely warm, friendly, and supportive. People were drawn her because her presence made everyone feel comfortable and safe. Even someone like me who cautiously watches people before opening up to them immediately knew that Alana could be trusted. It was obvious that she was just such a good egg.
I don’t remember exactly when we talked for the first time or actually met in person. I don’t think it was long after that first time that Alana’s presence in my world and in Duranland was felt. I know that it must have been fairly quickly after we started this blog. There were many times in the first few years that Rhonda and I weren’t always so sure about what we were doing here. I’m not even sure we really had a plan and so we often seemed to be wandering aimlessly, uncertain about ourselves. Yet, when we were really questioning continuing there was Alana offering her support and her encouragement. Even years later, after she had been diagnosed, she still supported us either through comments or through donations. She was so good as dropping in with some inspirational statement at just the right time that I began to wonder if she wasn’t psychic in some way. She just knew when she was needed.
Duranland needed her, too. This fandom of ours is not always easy. There is an inherent competition that continues to burst on to the scene despite any and all attempts at stopping it. Too often fans seek more of everything, including more knowledge, more insider information, more contacts with the band members, more photos, more VIP tickets, etc. Alana was the antithesis to that. Don’t get me wrong. She loved Duran Duran and loved being at shows and with other fans but she never tried to one up someone else. She was someone that we should all try to be more like, myself included. I think back to a general admission show in Biloxi, Mississippi in the summer of 2012. When Rhonda and I decided to go to this show, we decided to go all in. This meant getting up at the crack of dawn to wait in line, all day, in hopes of getting up close. Somehow when we got into the venue, Rhonda and I did, indeed, make it to the front, holding on to the front rail for dear life. Who was right behind us in more than one way? Alana. I remember turning around and seeing the huge smile on her face. Yes, she was thrilled to have a good spot to see the show for herself but she was just as excited for us, for having our first front row experience.
After that summer, with encouragement from people like her and others, Rhonda and I jumped in to plan a convention that we held in Chicago in October 2013. Again, Alana was there the whole time keeping our spirits up when things were tough with the planning and at the convention itself to help us celebrate. The night before most attendees arrived, a group of us went out to Neo, a club that I loved, for their 80s night. We danced and danced in between getting drinks and trying to explain to people there how all of us from such different places would be together in Chicago. As Planet Earth played, I remember this feeling of pure joy spread over me. I was at home, doing what I loved with my people, people who understood and accepted me. That feeling is not one that I have a lot but I knew then and I know it now that Alana had a lot to do with that.
Like many that Alana touched in some way, saying goodbye is tough. I wish I had more time, more fun, more Duran experiences with her but feel so lucky that I got to call her my friend.
My plan for this blog was a simple one. I wanted to write about the evolution of my feelings about this week’s announced September shows but I cannot do it right now. Don’t worry. I will. Right now, though, I need to focus on how I got on a different path than I had expected. It sort of reminds me of the track, This Is How a Road Gets Made, in which Simon discusses how a new path is formed. While first glance, he might be talking about literally that but he could also be referencing something more metaphorical. I wonder if he knows which it is. Did he then when it came out?
Did the members of Duran Duran know when they ended taking the unexpected path, one that led them in a very different direction than they might have otherwise? Let me give you an example. When John decided to stop attending art school in order to focus on making music, did he know then that this would change his future forever? Of course, not every decision is that dramatic or changes one’s life in an instant but sometimes those little moments build up to make some changes without a real conscious effort to do so. For the band, those could be something like Roger playing drums using pots and pans as a little kid or John and Nick attending their first concert. Did those moments set them down a path?
Why am I wondering this? Why now? I think I’m starting to recognize some of those little moments in my life have actually built up to alter my life in a way that I wouldn’t have thought possible fifteen years ago. Did I know that this little moments would matter so much? My answer is a simple, “Heck no.” Yet, now, I cannot imagine what the alternative would be.
What are those little moments? What have they brought me to? I look around and realize that I have found my voice. I don’t obviously mean that in the literal sense. I can speak and do speak. No, I’m talking about something more, something meaningful. I speak up and out about what matters to me. now When I was younger, I always wanted to be that person, the person who is fearless and strong in her convictions. This strength would not aggression or closed-mindedness but one that gets the necessary sentiment out.
So, how did I get here? The first step is an easy one. I got involved in my first political campaign. I finally decided to do more than just talk but tried to get something done. This was in the winter of 2008, during the primary when I chose to not only vote for President Obama but to work for him. Throughout that campaign, I wasn’t sure if I *should* be doing this. I worried. Would people walk away from me? What if they didn’t feel as I did? Would they judge me or think less of me? Throughout that spring, I grew stronger in my convictions. Then, you know what happened to me that really helped? I went to see Duran Duran play in Chicago in May of 2008. In the encore, John came out on stage wearing an Obama shirt. Somehow, that made me hold my head a little higher and gave me some courage to keep going. Of course, John later went on to do a couple of videos supporting him.
Despite having experienced a victory, I figured that it was a one time only thing. I had teaching to do after all. But then, this started. Yes, this. The blog began. Initially, I took baby steps in what I talked about, avoiding controversial things for the most part and certainly not talking about myself. Who the hell would want to read about my life? Yet, I discovered that I cannot separate different parts of me. I cannot just be fan Amanda and I cannot just be teacher. No, they are both a part of me. Then, as I got braver in my topics and experienced…well…push-back, at times. I realized then that I could take more criticism than I thought I could. I never liked it. I still don’t and would still love to avoid it. That said, it is something that made me stronger.
Then, of course, the Wisconsin teacher protests hit in 2011 raising the bar both in terms of importance but also in intensity. Something happens to your ability to speak your mind when you are out protesting in frigid temperatures for hours on end or spending the night inside the Capitol in order to occupy it with your political allies. In the midst of that protest, I had to fight for my right to take a mini-leave from work in order to go see some shows. Refusing to give in worked, at least on a personal note. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for teachers as a whole here. At that point, though, I had realized that people might attack me no matter what I say and do so I might as well work for what and who I believe in.
More campaigns followed, my participation growing steadily along the way until I ran my own campaign this past spring. I could not and would not sit back and be silent anymore. In that case, I let my work behind the scenes represent my ideas and feelings. This brings me to now. In the past month, I have found myself using my voice in a number of different settings. At times, it is within the work setting, taking charge with a group. At other times, it is about my work. I am a teacher. I have been my entire adult life. It has never been an easy profession on a number of different levels. One of the hardest aspects of my job is that so many people think they know what it is like to be a teacher. After all, most people have been in classrooms. Yet, unless you have actually done it, you don’t really know. One of my first jobs out of college was to work at a Sylvan Learning Center, teaching reading, writing, etc. I thought it gave me teaching experience. As soon as I got my first classroom, I realized how wrong I was. It was so different!
On top of that, leaders within the profession can make the job easier/better or the opposite. This school year has proven to be an extremely difficult one. In fact, it has left a lot of teachers and students really hurting. I could not stay silent. In the past month or so, I have found myself in communication with a number of different reporters who are trying to tell the story about life in my school district. It is a risk to be open, to share, but I learned to use my voice so I did. After all, it could lead to positive changes in the future and how can that be wrong?
Last weekend, I discovered that Duran Duran is, indeed, back in the studio working on their next project. Now, we don’t really know if the plan is to complete a whole album, a mini-album like an EP or something completely different. Many of us assume that the plan is for them to create an album, #DD15, if you like. I’m good with going with that plan. I, like many/most/all fans, am all for a full album of new Duran music. In thinking about this announcement, it got me thinking. Where do the shows in 2019 come in? Am I anxious for new music? Do they feel like they finish a project completely before starting the next? Is that the way to do it, if so?
Initially when I heard that Duran was getting started on the next project, I thought about how the band finishes one project before beginning the next. For example, we know that they worked on All You Need Is Now before Paper Gods. The shows in 2011 and 2012, for instance, belong to the AYNIN era. As the band now enters the studio, many assume that the Paper Gods era is over and a new one will begin. I think that. Then, I wonder where the upcoming shows in 2019 fit. Are those part of Paper Gods or #DD15? Did we have shows like this after Astronaut or Red Carpet Massacre or AYNIN? Without looking, I bet we did and that we lumped any of those shows in with the previous era. Is that fair? Not sure. I wonder if we do this because of the fact that they didn’t or won’t be playing new songs.
No matter how we categorize these upcoming shows or how we label the studio work that is going on, I can’t help but think about the idea that there are beginning and ending marks to each Duran era/project. Yes, as I just pointed out, the ending point might not be as clear cut as you might think. Still, their job, their history can be clearly divided between album projects. I wonder if they prefer that, if they like that aspect of their job. After all, they finished shows in 2017 and took a significant break from what I saw. From my perspective, this is probably a nice way to have a career. They write an album before touring it. After that, they take a break. Sure, some might say that the constant cycle could be boring or could result in losing creativity but it seems like a good way to sustain themselves long term.
In many ways, my life runs in a similar cycle. I have a school year in which there will be consistent activities before I get a break in the summer. Similarly, campaigns work that way as well in that once election day is over, there is a brief time of reflection and clean up before a break. Interestingly enough, other projects like our writing projects haven’t really worked that way for the most part. Would it be better if they did? Would it be more positive for us to write for six to nine months then take a break? I don’t know but I appreciate that Duran’s return to the studio has got my mind thinking a bit.
All this leads me to wonder if I need Duran Duran in the way that I did in 2012 or 2015. I remember feeling so anxious to get my hands on new Duran music then. Looking back, I’m sure there were a couple of factors for my desperateness. First, in 2012, I was looking back to the All You Need Is Now era and realized that I had an absolutely amazing time. I simply didn’t want it to end. In all seriousness, I felt like Rhonda and I had worked hard to make this blog something and had started to hold fan events. It felt like we were onto something and having a break was going to kill it. I worried if this blog could be sustained without new Duran activity. On top of that, my Duran-related activities helped me ignore some trauma.
Now, though, I feel like I view my fandom differently. First of all, I don’t worry about the blog as much. I know that we can blog for long periods without new Duran material. I trust in us more now. Second, I think I see fandom as my place of fun, my escape. Of course, there are still things that I would love to do surrounding our writing or more fan events. That said, I have other activities in my life that need my attention, too. Life does not stand still and I cannot either. So what does this mean in terms of new Duran music? Simple. I cannot wait for the beginning of the next era! It means new, fabulous music as well as good times! Who wouldn’t look forward to all that?! But…I don’t need it desperately as I might of in the past. Nope. I am going to be patient and busy with the rest of my life until I can celebrate new Duran. I look forward to that.
This blog post is late, not in terms of time but date. I could use the excuse that I don’t blog on Wednesday, when it was Rhonda’s actual birthday, but that isn’t the complete story. I have been a little busy. (I would call working 70-80 hours a week more than busy but alas…) I could have probably done some sort of quick blog but I didn’t want to do that for Rhonda’s birthday. Nope. I wanted to make it something more meaningful or more fun or both. Therefore, I needed time and energy. Now that I’m starting to recover and feel more human, I can do a blog post worthy of a birthday blog for Rhonda!
In thinking about how I wanted to blog, I wanted it to be monumental because this week has felt pretty monumental. So, I figured a good way to wish her a happy birthday is to acknowledge, to remember, to celebrate the top 12 monumental moments (in no particular order) that we have shared together. Why 12?! Well, if you add up Rhonda’s age…you might get 12, which is a lot more than if you added up my age. Just pointing that out because I can. 😉
12. Surviving Voodoo
Rhonda just recently wrote about the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans in October 2006. The thing about that day is that I truly feel like we survived torture. After all, we stood for hours in the same space without any food or water. So, when Rhonda screamed at Simon that we had time for 50 more songs, the only thing I could do is laugh…at least until I had a few drinks (or ten). Of course, that night represented the first time that signs we brought were successful such as the one below:
11. Secret Oktober in Brighton
Sometimes, once in a blue moon, we are lucky. In this case, we were beyond fortunate to have seen the band perform Secret Oktober live. We saw the song in Brighton, England in November of 2011. This show was always questionable. We were not supposed to see the band there when we first bought tickets. Unfortunately, Simon lost his voice and the first set of tickets we had were no longer used. Thus, we decided to add the Brighton show after the Simon had recovered. Then, we worried that the public union strike in London would affect our ability to get to this show. Somehow, someway, it worked out. We got our cherry on top, though, once this song was played. I’ll never forget the moment when we realized what we were hearing and turned to each other to hug only to see Nick laughing at us behind his keyboards.
10. Walking through Birmingham
Speaking of the UK, we were lucky enough to go in 2011. The first trip did not turn out as we expected since the four shows we had gone for had to be canceled. At that news, we had some options. Do we sit around and complain? Do we ignore anything and everything Duran related or do we still experience our Duranie-ness. Rhonda and I opted for that last option as we walked around Birmingham, gaining a brand new insight into the band we thought we knew. It was not only eye-opening for us but certainly made Rhonda and I closer. Later in the year, we finally got to see Duran play in their hometown, which was a dream come true!
9. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon in New Orleans
Do you ever look back at life and are able to pinpoint a pivotal moment? This moment might be such that it points you in a significantly different path than you might have been on otherwise. I strongly recall sitting at the Howl at the Moon in New Orleans with drinks in hand right by Rhonda at the 2004 Friends of Mine convention. I didn’t know her super well at that point but I remember singing along to HLTW with her and thinking we could be friends. I wasn’t wrong.
8. Laughing during Tempo Cafe in Chicago
If Howl at the Moon made me think that Rhonda and I could be friends, laughing hysterically with her at Tempo Cafe in Chicago at like 4 in the morning told me that I had found my touring buddy for life. This was for our first tour together, the spring Astronaut Tour in 2005. We realized that weekend that we could easily travel or go to shows together. The rest of the world, however, probably wish that we didn’t. I think the people with us probably wished that we didn’t get along so well when we couldn’t stop laughing, annoying them to death, I’m sure. I know that for me, this matters. I like being with people who make me laugh!
7. Running away during Durandemonium
In 2013, Rhonda and I decided to do something pretty crazy. We chose to organize a convention, Durandemonium. It took place in Chicago and by anyone’s standards it was successful. That said, it was a lot of work, a lot of stress so when we had an opportunity to relax a little, we did. After the Saturday night fun, dancing away at Late Bar, our favorite 80s club there, we sought quiet at a very late dinner or very early breakfast. I will never forget the pivot we took away from the doors of the hotel to walk at a brisk pace down the street.
6. Finishing two manuscripts
Some of our monumental moments are ones that no one was around for besides us. A good example of this is when we finished a manuscript or two. No matter what has happened with those drafts, I’m super proud to have written them. I still believe that we have something to say that would interest people. Someday, I hope we get back to writing like that. While it isn’t easy, I think it would be worth it. I feel very fortunate that we have a friendship that we can not only hang out and laugh together but can also work together, whether doing this blog, writing books or planning fan events.
5. Making fun of Simon in a bunch of ways (but always with love)
Oh, how we love to give Simon a hard time! It started as soon as the reunion took place as we enjoyed talking among our friends about some of Simon’s more interesting dance moves or his idea to crowd surf. Then, we saw new and better moves in 2009, which you can see below. By the time, Paper Gods rolled around, there was so many ways to tease, including trying to find bright colored but way too short pants or trying to paint shoes to match his lime green ones. I cannot wait to see what we can do next!!
Over the years, Rhonda and I have spent a lot of time traveling, both together and apart. Yet, my favorite way to travel with her is road tripping. On top of being able to just sit and talk, it also allows us to come up with new ideas or to create some of the best setlists the band has never played!
Like transportation, we have stayed in a number of different hotels over the years. Sometimes, those hotels become more than just a place to stay. We have found ourselves kicked out of hotel bars as “there are sleeping rooms” nearby. If that wasn’t enough, we have also answered the phone to hotel security. Most significantly, hotels have also been the scene of moments with the members of Duran. Maybe, it was taking pictures with John, Simon and Dom in Los Angeles in 2015, getting someone to wear one of our wristbands or toasting with Simon in Toronto. Good times, indeed!
2. Press conferences
Then, there are our videos that we lovingly refer to as press conferences in which we attempt (often badly) to capture a show or a tour. They speak for themselves!
1. The best is yet to come!
Over the years, we have learned a lot from Duran Duran. One big concept is to look forwards and not backwards. What does this mean? It means that the best is yet to come! I suspect that we will have some monumental moments in February! So on this birthday, I celebrate our friendship and some of our best moments! On that note, I wish my partner-in-crime an absolutely fabulous birthday!!!
If you are someone who checks into the blog on a daily basis (and we hope that you do!!!), you probably noticed that the questions of the day took on a slightly different format this week. We finished up the topic about which video is each band members’ best. The results of that topic are as follows:
Personally, I love how many different videos were chosen. Anyway, the new topic is the last one for videos for awhile. In this case, we are asking the opposite: which band member looks the best in each of the video. I’m not going to lie. I wouldn’t mind seeing some competition between the Simon fans, the Nick fans, the John fans, etc. Fight for your favorite, people!
Of course, the number of Duran Duran videos is finite. This topic cannot go on forever. I’m not sure what survey question we should ask next. After all, we have been doing this question of the day thing for awhile now. We have asked about lots of different aspects of Duran Duran. Here is a list:
Which band member looks the best in each video
Which video is each band member’s best
Song with the best lyric
The best lyrics
Favorite 1st track, 2nd track, etc
Favorite album covers
Favorite picture of each band member
Favorite Andy Taylor solo song
Favorite Arcadia song
Favorite song Duran has covered
Favorite Dom Brown solo song
Favorite duo picture or combo of 2 band members
Favorite group photo
Favorite band member
Favorite John Taylor solo song
Favorite live track
Most played live songs
Favorite Neurotic Outsiders song
Notorious vs. Arcadia
Favorite song from each album
Favorite Power Station song
Rank each of the albums
Songs never heard live
Songs rarely heard live
Songs heard live a lot
Most recent setlist
Other songs that should be added to the setlist
Side and solo video
Favorite song from the Devils
Favorite song from TV Mania
Favorite side project
The question I have for all of you is an easy one. Do you have an idea for the next topic? Is there something that we have not covered but should? Is there a topic that should be redone as people’s opinions might have changed and because the topic is super fun? Where do you think we should go from here?
P.S. Thanks to those who have sent/turned in your Top 40 Duran Duran songs homework! Remember that it is due October 28!
Duran Duran fans have been called “overwhelming”, “crazy”, “insane”, and “overzealous”. People like to call us “stalkers”, and we’ve all heard at least once that we should have grown up by now. People look at Amanda and I with incredulous looks when we discuss our joy for writing this blog. Even people within our community think we’re over-the top.
We’re also good and generously kind people, too.
I don’t know how many have taken notice of the donation button on our front page, regardless of whether or not you have used it. I can tell you though, that we’ve received several kind donations during the time it has been there, and I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.
When, at the urging of family and friends, I finally agreed to put a donation button on the site – I wasn’t entirely comfortable. Amanda and I never went into this seeking to make a single dime. I suppose my feelings about that had far more to do with keeping my expectations incredibly low than it did much of anything else. At the time, we weren’t paying for hosting, and it took very little of my time to manage. I was also concerned that we’d have people saying that we were trying to profit off of the band – which is another subject entirely – and I didn’t want to fight that battle. Times changed though. We now host the site ourselves. Ads don’t pay the way they once did. The website is costly, and it takes more time to manage. So, when the donation button went up, I winced, hoped for the best, and then tried not to think about it again.
I was overjoyed and incredibly thankful when notification of our first donation popped up in our mailbox. The hosting bill was due, and my bank account was very low. That person saved me having to beg Amanda for more than her share of website costs. A few others have come in over the month since, and they too have helped. What might seem “free” to do really is not. Since our website receives a lot of traffic now compared to 2010, I have needed to bump up our hosting limits.
My point is simple – I felt like it was high time to say thank you. I am not going to post names of those who have donated, but I want all of you to know that I remember each one of you. I know you sent us money, and I greatly appreciate that you did. Please know that every time we get a notification that someone sent us money, I am sending silent thanks. We use those donations specifically for this site, and we have never taken them for granted. We have a special account set up purely for Daily Duranie, and that is exactly where it goes.
Daily Duranie—this silly little blog—got me through this past year. It was a rough one for me and my family. Writing the blogs gave me a chance to forget about what was going on here at home. It probably seems silly to all of you, but my anxiety kept me up at night. I’d wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat, and all that time, I didn’t dare share my worries with my husband. He needed to find a job, and I needed to stay positive.
Anyone who really knows me probably realizes how futile that particular exercise must have been.
There are many nuances to this story that are incredibly personal and private to me and my family, but once again I found that Duran Duran, specifically writing this fan blog, saved me. I didn’t even turn to friends or talk to Amanda, I just couldn’t. I clammed up and stopped talking to anyone besides my kids and Walt. Writing a simple blog each day though, that I could do. I focused on another topic for an hour, and that really helped with my anxiety.
At one point when we put the donation button up, I believe I’d said that we would use the leftover proceeds for the next convention. Naturally, my life flipped up on end and is still in a state of organized chaos. I had to postpone any thoughts I had of a convention. We sold wristbands and raffle tickets to help pay for convention costs, too. I wanted to assure everyone that we haven’t forgotten. Both Amanda and I really want to do another convention. I hate saying, “Hey maybe next year” and then bailing out on those plans, so I won’t. I’ll just say that we will continue to save whatever is donated (through the button and/or raffles or wristband sales) towards our operating costs, both for the website as well as whatever meet ups and conventions come next.
In less than a month, Daily Duranie will celebrate its eight birthday, or anniversary. This has been the fastest eight years of my life. I don’t know what our plans are, going forward – except that I plan to continue writing. During previous hiatus periods (whether real or fan-perceived), I didn’t always have a busy schedule. I didn’t take advantage of the time. This year, I’ve been forced into doing that a few times, and in a few months I expect I’ll be needing to take some time again. I think Amanda has been using the quiet period to do some things that she feels she’s needed as well. I’m hoping that when the time is right, we’ll both be ready to switch into Duran Duran-mode and feel fresh.
The blog has become a part of my daily life, and the days where I’m not writing feel very weird, as though I’m forgetting something. Some people have diaries or journals, and I have this blog. It is a part of me, and I’m not ready to separate myself from it. In fact, I kind of think the best may be yet to come!
Thank you again to those who have donated. We sincerely appreciate everything you’ve done.
Every summer I come up with a long list of projects, things I want to accomplish but cannot when I’m working 60-70 hours a week during the school year. Typically what happens is that I get about 75% of the way done and then the rest goes undone until the next summer. For example, last summer I worked on organizing pictures. I finished organizing them through 2011. Clearly, I did not finish (and haven’t yet). This year is no exception when it comes to starting a big project. Organization is my big focus. I decided, perhaps stupidly, to go through my entire house and reorganize it. Needless to say, I have thrown out a bunch of stuff and put other items aside to give away. This makes me feel good and more in control. I need that.
In some ways, this summer, this time reminds me of the summer of 2015. During that year, my mom battled cancer. This meant that my entire focus was on her and what needed to be done to support her. This, of course, didn’t mean that everything else stopped. I still had to pay my bills, go to the grocery store, clean my house, etc. Life didn’t stop but my priority changed. Now, in 2018, my priority is my political activity. It is an election year (maybe the most important in US history), which means that a whole lot of my time is spent gearing up for August through Election Day when voter contact will be frequent. Thus, I’m trying to keep up on my household tasks while keeping my eye on political stuff and reorganizing my house. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I chose this and feel like it is what I need to do. But I do realize that other parts of my life are being pushed to the side.
I’m getting close to finishing this big summer project having just one room and one closet left to complete. What room and closet is left? It is my office, which is really my second bedroom. Now, some of you might know that my office is my Duran sanctuary of sorts. It is covered with Duran posters, album covers, photos from various tours, and much more.
In the process of reorganizing this space, I have gone through convention materials, notes from various book projects, notebooks filled with brainstorming and blog ideas. I smiled a lot as I came across each and every item. In some cases, my facial emotion reflected the joy that arose from a good memory of a fun time. In other cases, I felt a longing to finish or to start a project that once came up. I miss writing and researching in that way. Yet, I instantly recognized that now is not the time as much as I might want to sit down and write or research some angle of fandom that I hadn’t considered much. No, my focus is elsewhere. I get it. This is how life goes. Hopefully, it will swing back to this sooner rather than later.
This leads me to think of the blog. For some reason, this is different. Unlike more significant writing, this remains part of my daily existence. I suspect that part of this is the fact that we made a commitment to do this daily. I follow through on my commitments. The other aspect is our longevity. We have been writing this blog for a long time. It is now a habit, part of my daily existence. It does not fit in the projects category of my life. No, writing this blog is like paying bills…although that makes it sound like a chore. Perhaps a better way to say it is that it is like showering. Yes, it takes time, but it is time that makes me feel better. It helps me get the rest of my to do list done. This task gives me energy and an escape from the less than fun aspects of life. It keeps me attached to the fandom, to the Duranie in me that I desperately need when the rest of life gets heavy. In the past whenever I have pushed some aspect of myself aside, that part always bubbles to the surface, demanding my attention and showing that I was unhappy without it. Now, I guarantee that this won’t happen. No, the blog keeps one foot in fandom while I take care of business elsewhere. For that, I’m grateful.
The school year is finally finished. It was definitely one of the longest school years of my career and one of the toughest. I know that I probably say that every year but this year was different. Tougher. Harder. Let’s just say that I have cried more in the last couple of weeks than I have in months over it all. Even as I try to celebrate the end, I find myself exhausted, both mentally and emotionally.
All of that said, today I am leaving for a family vacation of sorts. I’m flying with my parents to Boston to see my brother who lives there. The best part is that my dad will get a big surprise once we arrive which I’m so looking forward to. It has been a very tough year for him, too. Needless to say, I need a break. There is nothing quite like getting a change of scenery to clear one’s head. This trip will be good for me.
I made a decision that isn’t typical for me. I’m taking a real break during this family trip. I won’t be blogging tomorrow. I don’t want to deal with any responsibilities even ones that I love. Instead, I want to focus on the time with the family. My carry on will be lighter without this laptop. On top of tomorrow’s blog, I will also be taking a break from doing the question of the day. So, the blog will be silent on Sunday. I assume that Rhonda will blog like normal on Monday. Then, I’ll be back with the question of the day on Thursday and my weekend blogs on Friday. I think the complete break from everything will be good for me. I need it.
Part of me feels guilty for this. The question of the day doesn’t take a long time to do. The blog should publish something daily, part of me says. The other part of me says that I deserve to take some time to have a short break. It will be fine. On that note, I’m off to the airport. See you all on Thursday!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!