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What we leave behind, what we pass forward

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I’ve been thinking a lot about change within our fandom, but then most of us have.

After two and a half years I’ve experienced a lot, people have come and gone but every now and again I get the ‘hey, I wonder whatever happened to so and so…’.

One of the first blogs I stumbled upon fuelled by my Thornton high was Befuddled Musings by Calexora.

I was mesmerised by her frank posts where she’d share not only her fangirling feelings towards Richard, but also the difficulties she faced as someone suffering from a chronic disease.

At the time I was very much a shy lurker and would never even dream of leaving a comment, but day in and day out I’d go back waiting and hoping for a new post.

By the time I had delurked Calxora had decided to focus all her energy on RL stuff and go on hiatus.

That’s hard enough on a devoted reader, but there were the old posts to fall back on, filled with insightful comments and humour.

  Calexora stopped posting, but I was particularly sad to see that she had completely deleted her blog about a year ago.

She wasn’t the first nor the last, but losing all those wonderful posts that she so lovingly created throughout her time as an RA blogger triggered something in me.

It made me think about the aspect of fandoms being the keepers of archives.

Every post, every comment, image, recording etc. documents our journey both as individuals and as a group that wouldn’t have existed prior to the availability of the internet.

We are the network society, the keepers of information that captures who we are now.

Much like the books of old, they preserve our journey as we mould our little group of friends.

On my part I have made a promise that when (and unfortunately there are no ifs about it) I’m ready to let go of the RA fandom and I’m done with this blog I shall leave it intact.

Even if I’m ready to move on, I’d like others who are travelling down this road to be able to access the info that I’ve gathered here, but more importantly what others have helped co-create by commenting etc.

On the off chance that you’ll ever read this Marie, you were a very important part of our Armitage community, you are missed and thank you for all the energy you put into blogging.

Although your posts are no longer available for other Armitage fans to read and enjoy (and that’s a real shame), at least their ghosts exist in the memories of those who were lucky enough to be regular readers🙂

To those who have their finger on the delete button I urge you to reconsider.

Perhaps shut down comments, delete any personal info that you don’t want “out there”, but leave your posts as testaments to the journey you and fellow RA fans have taken, to the person you were and the community you were an active part of.

logoforspeadthelove_transparent

Talking about the fandom and contributing I absolutely love the idea behind Spreading the Love 2014 (read more here).

Get this:

An anonymous donor will donate £1 for each and every act of kindness “spReAd the love” mentioned here or here till the end of February 2014, up to a limit of £200!

This can mean a donation to charity, like Just Giving or an act of kindness, however you choose to interpret it!

I hope everyone will take a moment and think about what they can do to make sure the whole sum of £200 finds its way to those who need it and thank you anonymous donor for your generosity.

Great idea, great initiative!

Spread the love 1 Richard Armitage

About AgzyM

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons". A fangirl through and through, anglophile, and admirer of beauty whereever I can find it. I love books and art, and spend too much time admiring Richard Armitage and other amazing British actors.

29 responses »

  1. Thank you for this. I did not know/see Calexora’s postings, but from what you have described I wish I had. Oddly, archiving has been a term on my tongue for the last several days, as I have made posts and have referenced other sites that I have regularly accessed. I will say also that now, when I do post, I think of the posterity aspect of it. And sometimes I even gauge what I post more on what is happening in the Armitage fan community and all that we do as bloggers, more than I thought I would. So it hasn’t all been about me. And it certainly hasn’t all been about Richard either…but it’s at least qood 95%. 😉

    I’m really grateful for having access to articles, images, and information provided by the sites whose maintenance requires (inspires) far more than I can provide – at least as far as time, patience and money are concerned But I am also very grateful for the sites with shared thoughts, feelings, inspired stories and the blessed fan art as well.

    And I am pretty certain I would not have crept out from the shadows if I hadn’t been inspired by blogs like yours.🙂

    And, like you, I may at some point – but soon – need to address some things in my life that require more time. But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy being here. 🙂

    Reply
    • I think as bloggers, as we bang on our keyboards, fiddle about with posts, we don’t really think about how many people have access to what we put out there.
      It works in the opposite direction- we get inspiration from others, are lucky enough to gain access to someone else’s thoughts but we rarely think about the fact that half way around the world, ages after we post someone can google and happen upon what we produced.
      I’ve been meaning to write a post about why I support the freedom to use stuff others post online. In my case I often take different elements and put them together in my own way adding my own twist. It may well happen that someone someday will come knocking on my door demanding payment for using an element in my silly RA photoshop images, but I rarely post anything that I haven’t in some way altered.
      I actually believe that everything I put online automatically belongs to “the people” and they are more than welcome to use it in whatever way they like, whether it’s to snag it as an avatar, use elements for their own fan art or simply reblog. That’s my contribution to the building blocks of our fandom, as measly as they may be😉
      If I don’t want something to spread I just won’t post it online. I think it’s a tad naïve to think that you can post something and expect people to just look.
      Why would you do that in the first place? I’d never post private pictures because you really don’t know who may chance upon them. It’s a bit like tearing open a feather pillow on a windy day and then trying t put it back together again.
      Anyway as I mentioned before, each blog/post, fan labour, comment, tweet etc. is a building block of a fandom. I’m happy that my blog may have encouraged others to go ahead and create something of their own, but my little corner of the internet was also built on foundations created by others like Calexora, Servetus, Nat and many others. Without their input many blogs wouldn’t have been created. If we wipe that out we not only lose amazing posts which archived the early days of the fandom but also a huge chunk of history illustrating how we got to this point now.
      I really hope that when it’s time to go (and let’s be realistic, it’ll be curtains for all of us at some point) we will be able to preserve everything that we have created, even if we have moved on🙂

      Reply
      • Like you have said of yours, I will likely keep my blog up when things get to “that” point.

        I think I can honestly say that you have a good, solid chunk of supportive “fair use” involved in your posts and edits. Things like satire, commentary, review, and opinion are all supported by fair use for the journalist. (And blogger is included in that definition.) Just consider the watermarked aspect of an image (especially corporate watermarks) before you snip, maybe.🙂

        But as long as you keep on a’bloggin’, baby, I’ll likely keep-a-readin’!

        Reply
        • Well, had things been so tight with copyrights pop art simply wouldn’t have been possible. The first Campbell soup painting and they would have sued the wig off Warhol, Lichtenstein took comic book frames and painted them on large canvases, try doing that nowadays with Warner Bros…
          I am by no means insinuating that I am an artist, but what I do is add value to what is already there and I don’t make a penny in the process. If someone wants to hit us bloggers, that’s easy enough (as we have seen in recent months) but the reason why, say, photographers release their images isn’t to delight us, it’s to promote their work and posts are one of the channels to get the word out. We’re free publicity and reach a good number of loyal readers and a specific target audience that happens to dig very deep in their pockets. How many of us have both featured RA images from a photo-shoot AND bought the magazine?
          I think it’s sad that pages like RANet that serve as archives (and brilliant ones at that) have to be fearful that someone will try to squeeze them for money. It’s just ridiculous. If you’re so protective of your stuff then keep it nice and safe in your home, far away from that horrible internet. But then of course that wouldn’t serve their purposes either…
          OK, enough of me ranting🙂
          Time to start working a post for tomorrow.

          Reply
          • I agree on that, that the legal threat can be excessive. As far as art goes, I don’t know what protections there are, such like with Fair Use, if any – just in regards to press. I’ll look forward to your next one then. 🙂

          • As far as I understand there’s a notion of adding your own value to something someone else creates. Therefore theoretically if you paste a Santa hat on Richard and give him a bushy beard and stick a candy cane in his pocket, you have already transformed the image into something else. The question is who gets to determine at which point you’ve added enough to make it your own.

  2. Great post. People just starting with fandom have an inexhaustible appetite for material about the Beloved, and I think it’s helpful for them to have access even to sites that are shall we say, vintage. It lets them see the history, and what others have done and felt. That was an important part of my own fan experience.

    Reply
    • Agreed, old posts definitely scratch that initial itch (fire? madness?). It’s also a great source to learn about previous projects/interviews/shoots etc. I remember knowing Lucas and Porter very well indeed before I even watched the shows. My fellow Armitage Admirers had already posted delicious goodies which enticed me to give them a go.
      BTW, I wonder what the more, shall we say seasoned bloggers would say to being described as vintage LOL! I like it! Many are like fine wine- just get better with time🙂

      Reply
  3. Cieszę się że tak postanowiłaś Agzym bo wiesz te stare fanki tez lubią sobie czasem wędrować po Twoim blogu🙂 Dziękuję

    Reply
    • Ja sama się troszkę uśmiałam kiedy zerknęłam na pierwsze posty. Blog spełniał całkiem inne zadanie i miał być taka moją małą zabaweczką. Przez myśl mi nie przeszło że ktokolwiek będzie tu zaglądał. Latem wypucuję starocie żebym się nie musiała wstydzić😉

      Reply
  4. I’m really glad you said this, because it’s been on my mind lately. I really hate it when things disappear, especially things I love, because one thing I can do for the fandom, having been reading for so long, is point readers to older stuff that is really neat that they might not be aware of. Calexora is not the only one — although some of what she wrote is available on the Wayback machine. But not just things I love; even things that make me wince. It’s all part of the story. But a lot of bloggers have left their stuff there — my “resting at the moment” sidebar column documents some of that.

    I hope people know from the format of my blog that I feel it’s the responsibility of bloggers to point readers to things they think are worthwhile. Established bloggers should help new bloggers find audiences — even if we don’t love everything we see on new blogs. The more diverse the fandom, the stronger.

    Also, before I tell you how I feel, let me say that my current plan when I’m ready to go (saying when because I imagine that point, not because I know anymore when it will be — I’m done making that kind of prediction) is to leave “me + richard” where it is, perhaps not indefinitely, but at least for a year or two. I’ll also archive it completely for myself. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the domain names I own. We’ll see — when it gets that far.

    Responding to your comments above — I (pace the comments of my critics) don’t post anything that I’m not ready to have anyone see. That said (apropos of discussions going on this week), that doesn’t mean I cede the right to have and own my own reactions to what others say. “Well, what did you expect” is not an argument for me having no right to respond to others’ reactions to me. My emotions are my emotions; you don’t get to decide what they are or whether they are legitimate. On principle, I’ve never deleted any post I’ve written even though there’s one in particular I regret (although I bet it’s not the one most might think it is). I have made private two things that reblogged referenced things written by legal minors when the person deleted it themselves and asked me to (although that won’t remove it from the Internet, for better or for worse). But those posts still exist in my own dashboard and could be reproduced. So I feel like “me + richard” is an accurate record of what has happened to me in the years since it’s existed.

    re: fair use — I don’t feel tons of guilt. I’ve paid to see TH: AUJ something like thirteen times and TDOS now six times. I use screen caps to illustrate my points. I credit fan work when I can — but it’s precisely this tendency to delete one’s platform that’s one factor in the loss of the original creator. I might add that it’s funny, now, to see graphics I created pop up on tumblr occasionally without reference to me. In essence I don’t feel I need credit, but then again no one’s ever stolen my words.

    OK … actually on to the issue … should we leave our traces for other fans to find? As a historian, my tendency is to say yes, we should make sure we leave stuff there. (Not least b/c of everything that *has* disappeared over the years already.) Also, practically speaking, it doesn’t really cost me anything to simply leave those things where they are. Eventually the host will delete them, as I use all free sites.

    Speaking as a fan, I’m not certain. I’ve been wondering if the mood lately doesn’t have something to do with the tension between those of us who have already been through certain things and because of that, can’t view what’s going on with the same perspective as a newer fan. We want to save new fans from our mistakes and we can’t because everyone has to go on her own journey. In that sense, I don’t know how useful the survival of our remnants really are. They might be interesting or fun to see or whatever but I don’t know that they have value beyond that.

    And now speaking as a daughter, in very vague terms — yesterday again I found and had to confront some stuff I wish my mother had destroyed. I don’t think one can entirely predict on either side what that will be.

    Reply
    • Here are my thoughts:
      Established bloggers should help new bloggers find audiences
      That’s my resolution for 2014. We touched upon it during the summer but RL took over but I really do believe that more can be done to reach all the RA blogs, to help get the word out.
      Regarding leaving our posts in tact/their usefulness to the fandom:
      I think (although I won’t be certain until I’ve actually come to the point) that when I’m ready to go, I’ll also be ready to abandon everything that’s connected to the fandom. I had moments this spring where I actually couldn’t care less what was happening on my blog and there were weeks when I wouldn’t go in. I just really had an aversion to all things connected with blogging. I would imagine that when that feeling comes back stronger I shall just leave things be. Of course blogs differ significantly and I can hardy describe mine as a terribly personal one. Perhaps if I poured my heart out I’d feel the need to protect myself and would want to delete my blogging past. Perhaps some feel ashamed or uncomfortable with what they had written and by deleting they were also getting rid of the physical representation of a painful past. I think in some cases in the past the RA frenzy had past and the bloggers just didn’t want the evidence of their “crazy” out there. I’ve never felt particularly ashamed by my fangirling ways, but then no one has ever shamed me either. When the need to fiddle with Richard (not physically obviously) passes, I think I will nevertheless be proud of what I created and how people responded to it.
      I look back at my lurking beginnings and remember reading Calexora’s posts and feeling bashful at how private they were. from an outsider who had no previous experience with fandoms or blogs, I felt fascinated but a bit intrusive. Well, this Alice has gone down the rabbit hole and I know no one starts their first post by pouring their heart out.
      Blogging is a process and each blog establishes it’s own rhythm and carves it’s own place within a fandom. Nat was very much a inspiration for me, on a subconscious level. I knew I’d never be one of those in-depth analytical bloggers, but I always admired her for short witty entertaining posts and I think that’s the style I’ve tried to adopt. Had she deleted her blog and I had never happened upon it, I think I’d have looked at the “big girl” blogs and I just wouldn’t have bothered as there’s no way I would have the patience to write more than a few paragraphs of semi-interesting semi-cohesive blabber.
      I too squirm at things I’ve done/said in the past and with blogging it’s right there, but by deleting the physical representation (not that anything ever disappears online) I can’t actually delete the event itself, so I would think working in processing our feelings would be more productive.

      Reply
  5. Reblogged this on Me + Richard Armitage and commented:
    Let me add my support to her view; don’t delete the historical past of our fandom!

    Reply
  6. Oh — I meant to say — the classic example of someone who left her blog visible is Nat. And it’s still the #1 Armitage blog in Google results for Armitage blogs, and because she set up such a good blogroll, I still get dozens of referrals from it.

    Reply
    • I still go back to Nat’s blog every now and again. I think the decision to keep it in tact was also easier as she does come back every now and again. I would image that she has a similar philosophy to mine when it comes to blogging, but then our blogs are from a different category than, say, yours and Frenz’s. It’s easy to give people access to something that people will have a giggle at, much more difficult when posts are intimate.

      Reply
  7. Agzy, first, thank you for blogging the SpReAd The Love info. Obscura and I decided last night that we’re counting each reblog as a kindness so this post and others elsewhere will count toward our total. We need to max out our donor.😉

    Second, I miss Calexora, too. She encouraged me to blog — as did pi, Judiang and Servetus — and I will never forget the time she scooped Peter Jackson’s Facebook page with the info about the first official pics of Idon’trememberwhichdwarves. She was fun to hang with. I miss BccMee, too.

    Reply
    • Calexora was a total newshound! Bccmee is still occasionally around on tumblr. But she’s someone else who left her blog in place.

      Reply
    • I feel the need to say one more thing about Bcc — feel free to delete this if you need to, Agzy, as it gets a little OT, but when we say we miss her, I think it needs to be mentioned that she was bullied beyond belief in the spring and summer of 2012 by a group of about six of our fellow fans, and I don’t think she fully realized the effect it had on her initially, or that the rest of us recognized either that it was happening, or how badly it affected her, either. She didn’t complain; she just eventually made herself social-media inaccessible and disappeared. One thing I loved about her blog was how much participation she encouraged among her readers and it was a real loss when she retreated. Some fan departures happen because the trajectory of the fan experience is over, but others happen because a group of people decide to bully (for reasons that were never clear to me). I’m really tired of seeing that happen — this time, when I saw it happening to other people and to me on my own blog, I decided to stand up. I hope we will see more people standing up when they see this kind of thing going on. I know it’s hard to stand up — it took me a long, long, long time to understand the dynamic.

      Reply
      • So sad to hear that, Serv.
        I miss Bccmee still ..and Nat…Calexora..La Loba..
        Do you remember the name of a girl who was forced to delete her blog by a loved one?

        Reply
        • Yes. RAlfie. Her husband was jealous. I think she was Danish? She was a really talented artist.

          Reply
          • OK, a man who is jealous of a few posts, an aloof British actor and a few enthusiastic women seems like a keeper…
            I’ve said it before- I know I’m terribly lucky that my family and BFF knows about my richarding and approve (some may say they even facilitate it). I also understand that others keep it a secret and that’s wonderful too, a little place online intended for a few chosen/lucky ones. But to dump on someone’s interests/passions/fascinations just because they are not something we’d be interested in is just stinky! I always get upset when the notion of shame and guilt appear in a fandom. What’s wrong with what we do? It makes us happy and plenty of good comes out of it. When I tried to explain my MA thesis people would sometimes comment that the idea of, say, fan labour is creepy to them. I’d just reply that you can never fully understand it unless you are an insider and experience it with others.

          • Oh yes,RAlfie . Thank you, Servetus🙂

      • You know me, nothing’s OT😉
        I had no idea that Bccmee was having a tough time. I just thought that RL stuff and a general RA fizzling out was the cause of her exit. I’ve always been aware the many things that occur in this fandom fly under my radar but I wish she had complained so she wouldn’t have to go through that alone. I can’t even imagine why someone would want to bully her. There was nothing but positive vibes from Bcc, so I can only be sad that someone found it amusing to make her feel hounded😦
        She was amazing at creating those reader participation activities. She had a way to make fellow Armitage admirers feel welcome and included.

        Reply
        • I think that at some point lack of new RA material got her, but she did get bullied. And the people who led the charge were people who were jealous of the popularity of her work.

          Reply
    • Yay! Just so you know, I’ll be back for more pound notes for charity😉
      I hope you don’t mind I put my own image in the sidebar. Unfortunately the official globe didn’t fit and when I started fiddling with cropping ad such it just looked naf. Anyway, the info will be there all year🙂

      Reply
      • Not a problem, I love your graphic, too!

        Re: shame in this fandom, I have a theory about that and it’s one that Servetus and I have discussed in email a couple of times. The shame that some fans heap on the rest of the fandom is their own internal shame that for whatever reason they can’t own so they project it on everybody else. It’s weird to be this fascinated with a guy none if us really knows but there’s such an emotional investment in appearing normal that it causes a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. To me there’s a clear split in this fandom between adults (those who know who they are and own themselves and their reactions to what’s going on around them) and emotional teenagers (those who can’t clearly define why they’re reacting in a certain way so it must be the fault if the person who provoked the reaction). I don’t think age has anything to do with it, I think it has to do with the internal pressure of their own shame. I have enormous sympathy for them because that must be a crappy way to live but as an adult owning me I draw a line at being beholden to their neuroses.

        Reply
  8. I hope, Agzy, that the “when” is still a good bit away, because I will sure miss you… Mind you, for me it is a question of “when” rather than “if” as well – I know that I am fickle like that. But as you so convincingly argued, I agree that it would be a great pity to delete the posts that were written with RA in mind. I might have to go through my previous posts and copy them down so that I have them somewhere because most of them are not even available on my own blog. Well, I should think it’ll be another year until any serious thought of giving up will be entertained. There is one more instalment of TH to look forward to. I intend to hold out until then.

    Reply
    • I think that 2014 will continue being The Year of the Richard. I wouldn’t mind shifting my eye of Sauron towards a new project (I’m not counting Into the Frying Pan as something to get excited about…). Maybe the realisation that it is a question of “when” and not “if” actually makes this whole experience more precious (OK, I’ll quit with the LOTR references, not my fault though, Christmas is always Middle Earth marathon time…).

      Reply

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