Friday, August 29, 2014

When You Stop Knocking

Sometimes you just stop knocking.

Maybe they're doors to opportunities you thought would be yours. Maybe they're doors to people that you thought would be your friends.

And so you knocked, hoping to be let in.

Maybe the door cracked open the first time you knocked... and so you came back later and you knocked again. Surely it would crack open again... perhaps even further. And eventually... eventually, the door would be open and you could walk through and enjoy what was on the other side.

But the door didn't crack open this time. It stayed shut.

And so you went away, and you came back. and you tried again.

And you tried again.
And you tried again.

You tried a lot. Often.

And then, you just stopped trying. You stopped knocking. You stopped even approaching the door.

Because eventually you realized that doors that don't ever open just aren't worth the time.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughts on Celtic Thunder's Fanclub Plans

A brief hiatus from my Celtic Thunder fast to talk about new developments...

So, if you were getting a little lazy over the summer and thinking there was no new drama to titillate your indignation, Celtic Thunder is here to supply.  They've stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest with the introduction of their new upcoming fanclub. Some fans are supportive, some are quite ticked.  And I imagine that there is a big group of silent ones thinking, "I'll wait and see how this plays out."

I've thought a little about what I really think about it all... and thought I'd try to lay my thoughts out on paper, varied as they are. These are purely my own... I haven't even spoken to anyone in CT about this since the news hit.

What I Think The Fanclub Really Is

I don't think the fanclub is merely a fanclub... not in the sense that we're used to hearing it, or used to participating in through other artists. The more I re-read what CT's is probably going to look like, the more I see it as a form of crowd-funding.

Now, crowd-funding is relatively new... and I think it's something that has been met with varying levels of acceptance and disdain, depending on how resistant to change you are.  We're used to the Field of Dreams model of funding.

"If you build it, they will come."  That idea that the creator provides the capital to produce an item, then produces it, and only then does the consumer come along and join the system.  And we all hope that the demand for the product exceeds the cost of producing it and that the system can start all over again.

Crowdfunding is totally different... and if all you've known is the Field of Dreams model, it can be hard to embrace. Crowdfunding changes everything around... the capital comes, in part, from the community of people demanding the product be produced.  It takes a little of the guesswork out of merely hoping that the cost of production will be covered by the revenue.

Honestly, some of my favorite projects have come about through crowdfunding, so I'm a proponent of the idea of it...  but it's still a new thing, a new idea, a new philosophy.  And so, even for me, it can sometimes be hard to wrap my head around, hard to accept.  But, the truth is that more and more projects are being funded this way, and I have to think that maybe this is the direction that creative projects are going to go in the future.

What I Don't Think the Fanclub Is

Mere money-mongering.

I don't. And probably, I'm not an impartial judge as Sharon has always been my friend. But I see this far more as a response to a changing business environment than it is to simply lining someone's pockets.

The thing is... Celtic Thunder, though I have always loved it, is not a necessity. Food, shelter, clothing... these are necessities. Front row concert tickets?  Not so much, but we all get to decide what things are worth to us.

Being a Celtic Thunder fan is an expensive endeavor. You want to see concerts... and in the best seats that you can. In addition, you want to support the careers of the singers... Ryan, Neil, Ryan and Neil, Keith, Colm, Emmet, Damian, Paul, and of course until recently, George. It's not cheap... and eventually, you have to start making choices.

What Will I Do?

Truthfully, I don't know yet. I think there are some questions that need to be answered before I can make that decision.  I think the question of how the Platinum tickets will line up with PBS tickets is a valid one that should be addressed at some point. And I would want to see a specific list of benefits for each fanclub level before making a decision. I need to know if the benefits are worth the price to me...

And right now, I'm not sure. Am I still the kind of fan that needs to invest so heavily? I don't know.

Maybe I will decide to invest. Maybe I will decide to take that money and take in some extra concerts elsewhere.

But, either way I decide...  I'm not upset. No one is hurting me if I decide that it isn't worth it to me.  It's just a decision I've made based on what's important to me and what's not.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An Honest Letter

To You Who Shall Remain Nameless...

I have a thing I need to say... and I should say it to you. But I don't want to fight or get the run around... and so I cowardly say it here, where I don't think you read. 

I'm mad at you.

I'm mad at you... but probably, hurt. We're supposed to be friends. You can't just disappear for days, weeks, months from the people you say that you care about. And yet, you do. You disappear... and you're unreachable. You ignore everything I say to you like it doesn't matter. Every confiding, every question into how you are.

And then suddenly you jump back, and you're here again and you seem like you want my friendship. I know that you're busy. I know this because you tell me every time you jump back, and though it may not seem like it, I can understand that.  But I also understand that we make time for the things and the people that are important to us. So how can I make any conclusion other than that I'm not?

I used to think it was me when you would disappear. I used to think I had done something... said something that bothered you, did something that made you mad... somehow made myself someone that you didn't think was worth your friendship and your caring.  And I would beat myself up... blame myself, criticize myself.

Eventually, I realized it wasn't me. I hadn't done anything wrong. I hadn't said anything wrong. This was just how you were... popping in and out of my life like your absence didn't matter. The thing you've never understood is that it did. And it does.

I'm mad at you, and I'm hurt that you've disappeared again. But the thing is... I don't want to not be friends. But I want to be friends in a way that's respectful to us both. When you are here, I enjoy us. I enjoy talking to you, and knowing what you think, and knowing you're interested in what I think. But, I never know when that's going to disappear. Can you understand why being friends on slippery ground is tough?

You won't read this and we won't fight about it. You won't give me excuses that don't really mean anything. And I won't tell you that it's okay.

But maybe I feel a little better, just for having said it outloud.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Not the Same Hobbit I Once Was

"I am not the same Hobbit I once was."

As I look at myself in the mirror, the eyes that look back at me are not the same. I've changed. And some of those changes have come slowly...  some of them are even new.  So new that I'm not quite used to them yet. They still fit like a brand new pair of sneakers that haven't been broken.

Some of the changes, you don't even believe yet.

Some are so wonderful that I still can't believe they're mine. I still can't quite believe that they're a part of me. Some of them are bittersweet. They're not bad, but living them means leaving a part of myself behind. And there is a bittersweet tinge to that, leaving bits of yourself behind you. You want both.  You want to go down new roads, but you want to keep you in one piece.

Some are changes that I resent...  because I know they came about through pain and manipulation and betrayal. Pain that still lingers... that leaves marks from burning fingertips through my heart. There are moments that I want those changes back.

and yet...

It all works together.

I am not the same Hobbit that I once was... but the Hobbit I am now has seen beauty and love, joy and struggle, pain and tears. And perhaps the Hobbit I am now is a Hobbit pretty worth being.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

At My Gate

You've been at the gate to my wall for a long time.  And I've kept you there...

Talking over the wall, talking through it, talking over it.

For a long time.

I've thought about opening the gate...  letting you come in. But, it's safe with you out there and me in here. It's safe.  You can't do anything when you're out there...  a little graffiti on the wall, maybe, but that's it. I can clean that up.

But... in here?  Oh, in here, you could do a lot of damage. You could break things that are precious to me, break them into a million pieces that I could never put back together again. You could break me.

Not that you necessarily would.  Maybe you wouldn't.  But... I don't know what might happen... maybe you would.

I've been thinking about that gate a lot, thinking about opening it, thinking about letting you in.

If I do...  just please don't break anything.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Man Among Men

To the Girls Out There--

I'm celebrating my 18th wedding anniversary today.

He is my high school sweetheart, a love story that's gone on since (if you believe my mother) our first day of 6th grade when I came home exclaiming over the cute boy in my math class. The official story starts a few years later, but this part makes for an adorable prequel.

I've been thinking what to tell you. 18 years is a long time...

I always feel like I cheated Luck a little bit. Like I ended up with a man that I don't quite deserve. He isn't like most men - I've learned that as a grown-up, though sometimes I forget it. He's been mature since he was 16, which I make up for by being perpetually childish.

I guess that what I want to tell you is this:


That is the quality I am most humbled by that I get to experience, that I least deserve - but yet that I think you must look for. It is the thing that sets him apart from most men, the thing that raises him above the rest, and the decision that means everything. I never test whether I am most important in my husband's life -- because I don't need to.

Wait for the one that can love you selflessly. The good ones are worth waiting for -- or for snatching up early before anyone else figures out what's sitting in front of them... in the 6th grade, if necessary.

P.S. to my daughters: I'm kidding. 6th grade is a terrible time to look for a husband.  As is 7th, 8th, 9th...  actually, let's just hold off on this till you're about 40.  Love, Mom

Thursday, August 7, 2014

All of a Sudden, Things are Different

And, all of a sudden, things are different.

All of a sudden, what you knew has changed. Who you understood yourself to be... has changed. 

You can't do what you did anymore. You can't say what you said... because things are different. You changed them.

and it's strange because they're different.

But, you know that it's right.. at least for now... because it feels so comfortable. And maybe you're not quite sure where you are supposed to be right now, what you are supposed to be doing.  Maybe it's not clear to you yet. 

But, you know it's not what you left. 

You'll find your way. People like us, we always do. And when your way opens up, you'll find who you are again. You'll find what you're meant to do, who you're meant to be.

I've a feeling that you might already know.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Courage to Tell Your Story

I once read that the original definition of Courage is to tell the true story of who you are with your whole heart.

I liked that.

We spend so much time covering up who we are. We think that people won't like the real us, or they'll judge  us for the truth that lies within. They will mark us as unworthy if they knew who we really were.

For we know we really are... and we know that sometimes we aren't pretty. Sometimes what happens to us isn't pretty, and we don't want people to know.  Sometimes what we do isn't pretty, and we definitely don't want people to know.

But I have found that, even though it's scary, I have made my deepest connections when I have let the unpretty parts be seen. I have found that when I've admitted to the darkest parts of me, it is then that I've heard a whispered and grateful "Oh, me too... I thought I was the only one."

And I have found that, though perhaps it's backwards, shining a light on the dark corners has illuminated the parts of me that I do want to shine.

So, Courage, my friends...  Have courage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Unliking Celtic Thunder: When a Fan Girl Reaches Her Limit

Today is Day 4.

Four days ago, I "unliked" Celtic Thunder. I unliked their Facebook page, and those of all the 47 castmembers -- yes, even my favorites.  I took all my CT-related lists out of my Tweetdeck.

Initially, this wasn't a big deal. It's not completely out of character for me to unlike a page when one of the guys is getting on my nerves. I always figure it's best to "unlike" for a few hours while my temper cools. It saves them from feeling the brunt of my sometimes caustic tongue, and saves myself the need to apologize a few hours later. But... after a few hours, I cool off... and I relike... and no one's the worse for wear.

But, this was different. I wasn't upset with anyone, really.  I was fed up with a lot of things, sure. But it really wasn't done in a fit of temper.  This wasn't one person irritating me... it was completely unilateral. I calmly and methodically cut everyone out.  And when my frustration was less at the end of the night... when I normally would have quickly added everyone back before going to bed...  I chose not to.

And so far... I've still chosen not to.


I guess there are a lot of things.  Some things that just feel strange to me...  some things are missing that I wish weren't. The hyperdrive of solo careers and tours and merchandising and and number-crunching and constant pumping has left me feeling both starved and suffocated at the same time during this off-season, and I've gotten so that I just don't want to hear about it anymore. And heaped on top, there are things that are just too personal to talk about here.

I'm not sure what it all means, this "unliking" that I've done. It's a strange world we live in that "unliking" something is even a thing that could mean something. Does it mean I'm done? I can't quite imagine walking away...  but then not long ago, I couldn't imagine cutting myself off in this way either. Should I be more bothered by it?

It's different.  My social media is quieter. My Tweetdeck twitters at me less. I don't know anything that's going on in Celtic Thunder Land, not a clue what's going on with people... but I'm blissfully unaware, too, of any gossip or drama that might have rubbed me wrong.  It's different, but not altogether bad.

I don't know if this is permanent or temporary. I don't know yet if this is all there is, if it's a passing phase that I'll walk out of, or if it's something I won't return from.

And I guess that mostly I just don't know what it means. I've loved them for seven years... Seven years is a long time.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I've Been Thinking

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. I've been thinking about what is reasonable to expect from a friendship, and what is not. 

I've been thinking where I fall on those things.. where I'm a good friend, where I'm not.  Where I have been and where I haven't.

I've been thinking about honesty, and what that means. I've been thinking about how honesty isn't just "not lying" and how misleading inferences and omission of the truth is just as dishonest as outrightly speaking lies.

I've been thinking about respect and the importance of showing up... and how it really isn't that hard.

I've been thinking about grace and forgiveness. I've been thinking about patience.

I've been thinking about the pulling-in that happens when someone speaks unkindly to you.

I've been thinking about all these things...  and perhaps sometime, I'll be ready to write more about them.  

But today, I'm just thinking about them.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

When Your Road Isn't the Same

Sometimes the road you're meant to walk down isn't the road that everyone else is taking.

You meander off on your own... down a path that you know that you're meant to take. But, when you look around, you realize that everyone else seems to be walking a different one.

And it's not that you doubt that yours is the right one for you to be on...  but at the same time... you kind of do. Maybe the other road is better simply because it's more often walked. Surely there is a reason for its popularity that you have somehow missed.

And so you doubt.  You doubt your road. You doubt your destination. You doubt yourself.

But popular doesn't necessarily equate to better. More-travelled doesn't necessarily equate to right. Company doesn't necessarily equate to truth.

So if you honestly feel that the road you're walking is the right road to take, remember that it's okay to go your own way. It's okay if no one walks yours with you. It's okay if no understands why you need to follow that path.

Sometimes you go the way no one else is going to become someone that no one else is meant to be.

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