Several days ago now, an article circulated around the Outlander fandom. I found the comments made on the article itself and those made on various FB pages and Twitter very telling. Here is the article for any who want a refresher or may not have seen it in the first place.

Joanne Harris issues call for greater respect from readers

Many people made comments about how if she doesn’t want reader feedback then she shouldn’t engage in social media. Now I could easily be wrong here, but I don’t think the feedback in and of itself is the problem; it’s the people saying she is writing something ‘wrong’. In their opinion. I don’t know this author or her books (yet) so I really don’t know for sure. I have, however, been around the Outlander fandom for a little while now and have seen the same sort of thing.

opinions vary

It astonishes me that people actually have the temerity to tell an author they are writing their own story wrong. I mean…..seriously? Does anyone like it when someone that doesn’t know them, has no idea what is in their head or hearts makes crass, judgmental comments about their parenting? That they are doing it wrong? It really is not so different. A book is something the author creates and, in the case of fiction, it is their own universe they are writing. The only person that gets to say its ‘wrong’ is the creator (or maybe the publisher – I haven’t gotten to that step yet myself).

As a reader, I have no contract with the author. They are not at MY beck and call. I can choose to read their work – or not. An author of fiction especially is not providing a service where I have the right to complain if it doesn’t meet certain standards. Ms. Gabaldon is one author that seems to thrive on feedback, but I highly doubt she has ever changed what goes on the page due to what her readers think.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t have an opinion! Of course you should and do. It is perfectly ok to express that OPINION. To say, “I didn’t like this particular passage because it made me so very uncomfortable and seems, to me, to be promoting something very unhealthy.” That is a well expressed opinion. Compare that to, “How could you have written that? That is absolutely wrong! It promotes violence and hatred. You need to rewrite that whole part of the book!”

Case in point. Many, many people didn’t like the spanking scene in Outlander – I found it perfectly acceptable. How I was raised, my life experience, my own grasp of reality let me take it in context and not stress it. Others simply could not do that. Some people explained their concerns well and I understood where they were coming from without agreeing with them.  Others were absolute snots about it. Some people actually gave up reading Outlander or any of the rest of the books at all because of that one small passage. Their choice – but they acted like DG wrote it to personally offend them.

Again, any writing I do here is just MY opinion. I put it out there to give people another view of things. Agree with me or not – I don’t much care. I love open discussion. In my opinion, part of reading (or watching) things you don’t like is because it is stretching you outside a comfort zone. Perhaps to gain a different vision, see a new facet of something. It may or may not change your thinking, but expanding your mind is always a good thing. Everyone has a choice for what they do / don’t put into their own mind. I don’t watch/read horror – I don’t see the point. I don’t read true crime because it depresses me how really evil people can be. I’d rather put more positive stuff in. Some people thrive on both those genres. I don’t get that, they don’t get me and that is ok.

The only thing you are ‘entitled’ to as a reader is that, when you pay for a book, all the pages are there in the correct order and that the binding doesn’t fall apart after one reading. Whether you enjoy it or not is on you – not the author.

There is another, I guess it’s actually an older blog, written some time ago that I just love. I go back and read this frequently to remind myself that it is my own responsibility to like or dislike something and to express myself well to others.

Entitlement issues… Posted by Neil Gaiman

More to Life

Computers……so useful……so hateful……necessary evils in our current time. Mine crashed recently and, aside from terror at the possibility of losing all my data (yes I will be religious about off machine backups now), it was wonderful!

For the first time in years I was almost completely unplugged and it was really quite peaceful and productive. Very little Email or Twitter, almost no web surfing and no Facebook (I don’t do all this stuff on my phone…it’s a phone). It was nice and made me realize I had become very unbalanced.

Most of my online focus has been on Outlander – including this blog. There are so many great sites out there already about the story and many of them have been around since long before the series. Since I didn’t feel adept to keep up with sites like

Outlandish Observations
The Ladies of Lallybroch
My Outlander Blog
Outlander Musings now Dear Outlander

I chose instead to write about the fandom and my observations regarding that facet of things. It’s a fascinating subject.

The Outlander Fandom rotates me through joy, anger, awe, disgust, insight, frustration and a myriad of other emotions on all points of the spectrum.

Outlander (and all the other books within this world) is a brilliantly written story. It is an awe inspiring, thought provoking, lesson learning narrative with characters that are flawed, make mistakes; live, love, laugh and die. REAL. A story to get lost in, leave your own existence for a time and experience another and in doing so perhaps gain new insights with which to view the real world. But……in the end……a STORY, a work of FICTION.

The Outlander Series is another story. While based on the book(s), it has its own medium and voice; completely separate and unique from the book(s). (But that’s not what’s in the books!!!!!) Amazing actors, awesome backdrop (sets, costumes, music, Scotland), wonderful writing and a unique guiding vision. Still, at the end of the day, it’s a television show.

This whole thing with “Droughtlander” il_fullxfull_478145691_guj1

There are times I expect to see/hear of people smearing ash on their faces, wearing sackcloth and ripping their hair out. For the sanity of all involved – GET A LIFE!

They are books, a TV show and people. That’s it. All great, all worthy of attention and admiration; I am not dissing the story or anyone involved in it.

What I’m saying is that there are thousands of books out there….thousands of stories, hundreds of TV shows and many truly talented people you may not have found yet. Expand a little – hobbies, a different genre, new actors and authors to discover. Don’t give Outlander up – balance it with other things.

This fandom has done some truly awesome things (Outlander Fans #DoEpicShit); it has done some really ugly things. Some things are done I just can’t wrap my head around. Like this: Sam Heughan Owes You Nothing
As a fandom, as people …… should we not think before we act or type? Would Jamie say something hurtful to another clan member just to be snotty? Would Claire wound someone deeply, viciously out of jealousy? Would Jenny sit around whining that it was winter or would she get in and do things should couldn’t manage in the distractions of spring?

Would any of the real people involved here (Sam, Cait, Diana, Ron, Maril, Graham, etc.) invade someone’s privacy? Steal funds meant for charity? Stab people, which are supposed to be friends, in the back on social media in ways that are malicious and cruel?

I am completely aware that the Outlander fandom is not a singularity in all these actions. I’m starting to think “fandoms” are a good microcosm view of society at large….and that makes me very sad. If we have this much upheaval in a relatively small community that has a very singular focus……what hope is there for the world at large?

I might influence others, give them something to ponder – but the only person I can truly change is myself. To respect myself while trying to treat others with courtesy and common sense.

What about you?