Fangirling

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F is for fangirling. This may be a concept unfamiliar to some, but is definitely a ‘thing’. Further, it is a ‘thing’ I have embraced and am absolutely inspired by a lot lately.

Fangirling is a term that essentially describes a borderline mania regarding something you absolutely geek out about. Most commonly this will refer to belonging to a certain ‘fandom’ with varying degrees of obsession. While I have definitely embraced being a Fangirl, I like to believe mine are in healthy and respectful limits. Sadly this is not the case for everyone, but that’s for a different post. I like to look on the bright side of fangirling.

First, I would argue that Fangirling is not limited by age (or gender as some joke that guys freaking out about something are Fangirling πŸ˜‰ )

Also, Fangirling can happen to anyone. I am almost 40 years old. I am happily married with 3 boys and a full time job. I have a very normal- if somewhat busy – life. And yet, I am a hopeless Fangirl. πŸ™‚

What do I Fangirl over? Well, anyone who knows me, or has read this blog, knows most of my Fangirl love is focused on Tom Hiddleston. But throughout the rest of this A to Z challenge, you will see me focus on other objects of my Fangirl love in later posts. Come back tomorrow for G which will be Game of Thrones Fangirl gushing, or the Wednesday post for H to share my Harry Potter love. K will be for Katniss (and my Hunger Games Fangirling). S could be for Sherlock, but I have something else for S, so it will probably be W for Watson where I share my Fangirl love for the BBC series Sherlock. As a note, if Tom had not my Fangirl heart, it might have been Benedict Cumberbatch’s. But I have Fangirl love for the entire cast and the writers of that series honestly. πŸ™‚

Thanks to the internet and all forms of social media, it is quite easy to foster a Fangirl interest (or obsession). For example, take my Hiddleston Fangirling. It was all innocent enough at first. I was just looking at the actor who played Loki on Pinterest. (There are some funny memes that say. “I just wanted to know the actor who played Loki, I never asked for any of this!” So true ehehe) Oh he’s really nice looking I thought, with his natural hair instead of the long black hair. So let’s look at some more pictures – gee there are a lot. And then, Oh aren’t those memes funny? Must scroll through more. And then, Doesn’t he look like a lot of fun? Well, I should watch an interview or two. And okay another. Maybe one more.

It can become a sickness. But it was the Nerd HQ 2013 Interview panel with Tom Hiddleston that sealed my fate as a Hiddleston Fangirl. It’s an hour long and beware you may also lose your Fangirl heart if you watch it. He’s ridiculously smart and charming. Yes, I am putting a warning label on it. It should come with one. πŸ™‚

But you can find all manner of the same type of posts on the internet/social media for any fandom you join. I find it quite a lot of fun. But also inspiring.

How is it inspiring you may ask? Well for one thing all the many Fangirling moments are fun and make me smile. And really, don’t we all need a little more in our life, however silly, that makes us smile? It is for this reason I gave myself full permission to Fangirl out. It makes me smile. πŸ™‚

But here are some other ways:

This Blog! The title of this blog (and part of inspiration to do the writing challenge, and this blog to accompany it) was from my Hiddleston fangirling. Read my initial post for the blog that explains the motivation and the name.

This Challenge I saw this A to Z challenge on Twitter, which I joined at first just because I wanted Tom’s tweets. (Hush!!!). I actually quickly found I had to create two Twitter accounts. One for writing and one for Fangirling. I saw I had way more Fangirl tweets and didn’t want to scare off potential writing connections. I have enjoyed both quite a lot.

Poetry I found The Love Book app which I write about in my D post – Desiderata through a Fangirl binge on Pinterest. And now I have a whole new appreciation for poetry. One that has made me smile a lot, too.

Exercise Believe it of not my Fangirl love for Sherlock had me getting on the treadmill at night so I could get caught up with all the episodes. Sadly now we are on hiatus so I’ll have to find another show to obsess over so I check back in on treadmill. Downton Abbey, maybe? πŸ˜‰

There’re lots more ways I have been inspired, but I will be covering those in later posts.

Below is a favorite quote by Simon Pegg ( I have lots of Fangirl love for him as well!! ) which is about being a geek, actually, but I think applies very much to Fangirling. I love it. Hopefully you will too and hopefully you give yourself permission to geek out or Fangirl out about something. Please share with me in the comments what you Fangirl over. I would love to hear it!

Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.

;

Desiderata

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My D post is late because I went to a friend’s 40th birthday party last night and enjoyed the J. Lohr Cabernet a bit too much πŸ˜‰ My post would have been D for drinking too much. Haha.

Instead this D post is Desiderata, a poem by Max Ehrmann which is one of my favorites on The Love Book app of poetry I have on my iPhone. Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter knows I absolutely love my The Love Book app.

I found it because I am a Tom Hiddleston Fangirl and saw a picture of him reading for it. I got the app and it’s been love at first listen ever since. Tom, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Watson, Damien Lewis, Gina Bellman and Helen McCrory all read poems, as well as a collection of other poems that aren’t read.

I have never been a poet and was not as drawn to the study of poetry when I was in college. It seemed to me poetry was a lot like baking and prose like cooking. Baking required precise measurement at just the right temperature for an exact amount of time to make something beautiful. Cooking you can play with ingredients and how it is cooked, to a certain degree and still come up with something great. Poetry requires more economy and each word and line is so critical to the success of the poem. Prose the words are all important and composition is important, but there is difference in how the words can be arranged.

I read some poetry before, of course, but the Love Book app inspired me to really dive in to poetry more than I had before. Not writing it, just reading it.

Desiderata is one of my favorites because it has such a positive comforting vibe to it. I like to say it feels like a hug. (And probably the closest I will be to getting a Hiddleston Hug ehehe)

Here is my favorite part from the poem:

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
No less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you
No doubt, the universe is unfolding as it should.

The whole poem is fantastic though, I would highly recommend
checking it out and if possible, listen to Tom Hiddleston read it to you in The Love Book app.

In addition to inspiring me to read more poetry, the app has also got me started committing poems to memory. So far, I have five of the poems from The Love Book committed to memory. Desiderata, of course, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Whoever Loved that Loved Not at First Sight, To His Coy Mistress & The Invitation. All are really great, but To His Coy Mistress has some really spectacular lines –

Had we but world enough, and time…

But at my back I always hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near…

And the end which is my favorite:

Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run.

The latest poem I’ve fallen in love with is a recent addition read by Emma Watson. Just a note here that all of these artists who read the poems have lovely British accents and being the accent junkie I am, I love listening to the poems read with Emma’s posh British accent for example, but all the others are lovely as well. But I digress πŸ™‚

The poem is called The Invitation by Oriah and it is absolutely beautiful. Here is favorite section which is the end.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
What sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.
I want to know
If you can be alone
With yourself
And if you truly like
The company you keep
In the empty moments.
>

A Coriolanus Experience

Today I had the privilege of seeing National Theatre Live’s broadcast of the Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus

I will admit that the reason I even know about this Coriolanus production and NT Live’s broadcast of it is because I am a Tom Hiddleston fan. I recently stumbled into the little world, or actually, lately, not so little world, of the Hiddleston fandom. My sister has been enjoying calling me by the commonly accepted name, which I have not fully embraced, but which certainly applies, Hiddlestoner.

Tom, perhaps best known as Loki in the Thor movies and Avengers movie, stars in Coriolanus and we Hiddleston fans have been following his preparation for and participation in the production which ended February 13th.

Many fans were fortunate enough to make the journey to London to see the play in person in the small but lovely theatre, The Donmar Warehouse. I read all the details of their experiences and saw all the wonderful reviews the cast and everyone involved were receiving. I wanted very much to see it myself.

Fortunately, there was this gift of the NT Live broadcast. I did not actually get to see the truly live version, which was broadcast January 30th, but feel grateful to have had the chance to see a replay. When I heard about it, I quickly bought tickets and have been anxiously counting down the days to today when I could see it for myself.

I am not any sort of expert able to comment on the quality of the acting, though even to a casual observer like myself, the entire cast seemed to shine. Of course, I was impressed, as ever, with Tom’s talent, but every person on that stage owned my attention. Deborah Findlay as Volumnia was impressive and powerful. Mark Gatiss, who I also love from his work on Sherlock, was funny and smart and his last scene with Coriolanus was the beginning of the end of me. Hadley Fraser was another favorite for me, so much so that I will have to seek out more work of his to enjoy. And then Tom, of course Tom, but more on that later.

I was never the theatre geek like my sister, so I cannot tell you much about the excellence of the staging although I can tell you I was impressed with how such a remarkably small space felt like so much more. I saw the space in pictures before seeing it today and I saw it in the wonderful little short film they did on the Donmar and the production before the show began. I wondered how in the world they would make that space work for battles and all the scenes I knew were coming. I couldn’t say how they managed it but that small stage became a battle zone and the Capitol, all with minimal changes to the stage. It was impressive.

Also, I have never been a Shakespeare fan, not really, sorry Tom, it feels almost a blasphemous thing to say as a Hiddleston fan. I was an English major who avoided Shakespeare like the plague as much as possible while still managing to receive a degree. The language was always too foreign to me. I can never fully get past the language, even now when watching a really great performance like this one. I can say, though, that even as far from a Shakespeare scholar as I would admit to being, this was a beautiful performance of this play. It was spare, and not just in space. It was funny, much funnier than I expected. It pulled me in and did not let me go until well after I had left the theater.

I can’t say I necessarily enjoyed it though, but let me explain. The play is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies and it will break your heart. Repeatedly. Mark Gatiss’s Menenius and Coriolanus’s last scene together got me first. Gatiss was so masterful and that scene hurt. Then they bring on Volumnia and the wife and child next and that scene is so emotionally charged and powerful. Tom’s tears, oh, they will wreck you.

The play evoked many emotions though, one of which, for me, was maybe not necessarily intended, but felt nonetheless. Anger. I know the relationship is representative of a different time and a different world, but as a mother of three sons I couldn’t bear what Volumnia did to her son. She certainly influenced the man he became and controlled him in many ways and it ultimately helped lead to his destruction. And I hated her for it.

Now I’ve heard it said, and could certainly agree, that Tom seems born to do Shakespeare. He was commanding as the strong and arrogant and powerful Coriolanus. I felt his anger and his pain and hung on his words and not just because I am a (ahem) Hiddlestoner. I was emotionally exhausted by the time it was over and I can only imagine he would have to be. When it was over I was in an odd contemplative mood. I chatted briefly with my sister who I went to see it with then made my 40 minute drive home in silence. It felt wrong to put on the radio and listen to some silly song. I had to spend some time just thinking it all over. Taking it all in. Doing my best to process it.

Did I love the play? No, not really, because it hurt. But did it do its job? Oh, yes. It took me out of my world and into another. It made me feel and think and wonder.

So, would I recommend you go see it if you have the opportunity?

Absolutely.

Unequivocally, yes.

And I feel lucky to have experienced it.