Hi, my name is Rhonda. You might not remember me….
As you can see, we’re back. In my case, it was a very good recess. The thing is, normally when I say I’m going to take a break, I really don’t. I end up tinkering around on the blog, spending time online, and still doing a lot of “Duran Duran fan” sorts of things. This time, I didn’t, and I’m not sure I really missed it.
Back in 2010 when I wrote the first post for Daily Duranie, I will openly admit that I had very little else going on that didn’t have to do with my children. I felt like a nameless, faceless body without an actual identity beyond that of “Walt’s wife” and/or “mom”. I was aching for something else, and Daily Duranie became that something. For years following that first post, I gave my heart and soul to the site, the blog, and even to some extent – even the band.
This blog is about being a fan, but unlike Amanda – I also feel that this blog is about me. Each day I write, I share some of who I am with those who take the time to read. I try to be as honest (sometimes painfully so) as possible. It is 100% me. I don’t write as a distant third party. I’m not a journalist, my voice is loud and clear in my writing, and that is by MY design.
Amanda and I became The Daily Duranie. We heard the words every time we were together. I don’t speak for her, but for me, it became less about us as autonomous fans when it came to fandom and Duran Duran. We were called the Daily Duranie girls, or A&R, or AmandaandRhonda. (No spaces intended) We were permanently connected as far as Duran Duran or the fan community is concerned.
I didn’t mind. I liked being equated with this blog we created together. There is a great sense of pride that this little piece of cyberspace has become something that other people enjoy and look forward to reading. For me personally, I didn’t feel like I was anything other than “mom” for a long time. Writing the blog filled in some blanks for me. I felt a sense of purpose that went beyond diaper changes or school drop-offs, and the feels I’d get along the way checked off quite a few boxes for me.
I also believed that there was something else out there for me beyond being a wife and mother. I just had to find it. I was convinced that the blog would lead me to something bigger. Incredulously, many people within this community quickly embraced the blog. They’d seek us out when we’d attend shows, and it was GREAT to feel that love. I needed it more than I can explain, or even knew at the time.
Since that point, it’s been a rollercoaster. Sometimes we’re up, and sometimes we’re down. Such is life. Late last year, I asked Jason Lent – a wonderfully talented music writer and friend – to take one of my blogging days. It wasn’t an easy decision for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with Jason, but it worked out. I really believe he’s reaching a new segment of readers that we’d never have connected with otherwise. Quite frankly, he’s a much better writer than I am, anyway.
Looking back, I don’t know if I actually found that “something” I was searching for. I don’t have any more or less of a career now than I did in 2010. I don’t really have more friends, and although many people recognize me when I’m with Amanda – if I’m alone, I’m rarely approached. Contextually, I think that if I’m not with Amanda, it doesn’t ring a bell to anyone. Why would it? The point is, the identity I thought I had all this time really isn’t ME – it’s the blog. It’s a side effect, and while I am the last person who will complain, I think it’s worth noting. Truth be told, I needed a break at the end of last year, both from day to day writing, as well as just feeling the weight of writing for ten years. So, I took it.
I’ve used the free time that Jason has given to reconnect myself with music in a different way. I’m playing clarinet again, and I’ve been working on some longer-term projects here at home. I’m spending a lot of my time focusing on things that make me truly happy, and not so much on the things that make me feel pressured to be something I’m not.
One of those pressures, oddly enough, is this fan community. Back in 2005, I was overjoyed to have opportunities to travel, see concerts, and do the things other people did. With each tour, I would up the ante, trying to do more. Lately, I felt this immense pressure to go to things, whether it was because if I didn’t I’d let someone down, or because “I’m one-half of Daily Duranie”.
Hi, I am Rhonda, and I am addicted to the chase of fandom. This is something I’ve thought about a lot during my time off.
First of all, it isn’t just about me. I am not an island, and I don’t live alone. My responsibilities are to my husband, and to our children. For far too long, I let that boundary slide in favor of making other people, including myself from time to time, happy. I accept those consequences – of which there have been many over the years – things I never write or talk about.
Second, I write Daily Duranie. I help run the website – but Daily Duranie is not who I am. It isn’t a person. I’m Rhonda, and this blog is just my hobby. At one time or another, I tried to make it into more than that for myself, but it just isn’t. Square peg, round hole…or something like that.
I am grateful that I started this website. It provided me with something to sink my teeth into when the drudgery of motherhood felt endless. Ten years later, with one child completely on her own, another that is grown but living at home, along with one tween to go —that part of my life doesn’t feel quite as much like a dark tunnel. I have new interests, things to do, and not nearly as much free time to brood.
Over the past month, I saw a lot of people post and tweet about flying here, or there, to see the band when they play next. Fans twittered incessantly about the Funko figurines, t-shirts, and so on. Duranies posted photos of themselves with the band, talked about parties they were at with some of them, posted about things they knew the band was working on or planning. Little by little, I realized something huge.
This blog, the things I’ve already done, the people I’ve met, and the precious little I know about the band beyond what is publicly “known”, I think this might be as far as the fan experience, or even the “career” as a blogger goes for me with this band. Not that I’m quitting, gosh no, but that I’m not going to continue the chase for more. I’m satisfied right here. For so long, I really believed it would all lead to something else. I don’t know what that “something” would have been. A book? A career? I didn’t know, I just believed that if I worked hard enough and got to know enough people – something would surface.
Let me be clear – in hindsight I can see that many things broke the surface for me. I’m so grateful! I interviewed people I never thought I’d have the opportunity. I’ve been places I would have never gone otherwise. The fun I’ve had, well – it kept me going. Allowed me to breathe when I needed, and laugh when I was hurting. That alone, and believe me when I write that it has been plenty as is, might be my full ride.
The band is still sort of an enigma, at least for me. I don’t know them. Hell, I don’t even know the roadies! I still chuckle that even though we’ve written Daily Duranie for nearly ten years now, I can’t say I’ve had a photo with most of them. I’ve waved at a few of them though, and clinked glasses with Simon Le Bon. I’ll take that any day!
This light-bulb moment isn’t one of sadness though, although it might read that way to many of you. It’s actually freeing to type the words. There’s no need for me to pressure myself to get to more things, attempt to network with people who clearly do not care one lick about me beyond what I can do for them, or try to be this super happy, stars-in-my-eyes, insipidly positive person that all of you know that I am not. I can’t be everything for everyone. I owe the very best of myself to my husband and children. That’s it. It’s taken me nearly twenty-five years to figure it out, but there it is.
I write what I feel at the time. My honesty can be painful to some, and PR is not my speciality. I’m not a sycophant for the band or anyone else. I’m 100% me, and I’m doing it my own way.
I am happier and more content than I’ve ever been, believe it or not. I’m also still very passionate about continuing this blog. However, I am through jumping through hoops to prove myself to be a worthy Duranie, or friend. I am not everyone’s cup of tea – hell, I’m not most people’s – and that’s fine. I have a family to manage, a small farm/homestead to run, and while I care about friends – my family comes first. I will happily cheer for people who are able to head to the UK and beyond for gigs, but unless I get extraordinarily lucky, I’ll be applauding from home. My traveling days are pretty much done, and I had a good run.
Maybe some of you can count yourself among the inner circle, the backstage people, the VIP’ers that get into everything. For the unaware, those people are the fans, friends, and yes – even sycophants, that certain staff, management, or band members seek out in the audience and beyond, awarding them with access passes or tickets to other gigs and so on. I’ve had friends who have gone from fan to inner circle and never looked back. It puzzles and confounds me how some make it, and others never seem to past muster. I just know aside from some very brief glimpses, I’m still on the other side of the curtain with most of the rest of you.
Admittedly, that used to bother me. I worked hard, as has Amanda. We’ve written this blog for years. Didn’t that mean something? The answer is no, it doesn’t. We’re fans. The extra time and effort we spend writing entitles us to nothing. My past discontent with real life bled into my passion for this band, and only now can I see how much it distorted my expectations.
I still love the band. Their music brings me a great sense of joy. Whether or not I ever go to another show, meet anyone in the band, sit with insiders at a bar, or anything else, changes nothing about their music makes me feel. This knowledge is the easiest part of being a fan, and continues to fuel my energy and creativity for writing.
Much of fandom has been great. I have a few friends I’ve made along the way, and some of them have learned to tolerate me, despite my shortcomings! On the flip side, I’ve also felt the burden to stick around, pay for expensive tickets, and even travel places when maybe I knew I shouldn’t, purely to keep up with friends and their own expectations. Not something I’m particularly proud to admit, but it is the truth. I’m just saying, it happens. It did to me.
Going forward, and yes – Daily Duranie will continue, you should expect to read the same unabashed, sometimes bluntly written posts from me as always. That won’t change. You may notice that I’m not present at as many shows or events as I once was. I’m not sad about that. I’m actually relieved to admit that this band and their concerts are pricey, and I can’t buy-in the way I did several years back. That doesn’t mean I’m not a good fan, or that I don’t still love them, but that I appreciate my real life means just a little bit more these days.
Happy 2020. I hope you’ll keep reading!