Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

please never die! August 30, 2012

This is purely selfish, I know.

Since October 2011, I’ve been obsessed with author Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series (though I read anything by her I can find: the Lord John series, blog posts, articles, tweets, Facebook postings).  Like millions of rabid fans around the world, I am waiting desperately for the next installment in in the adventures of Claire and Jamie Fraser, et al.  Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (aka MOBY) isn’t due until SEPTEMBER 2013!

>>Insert anguished groan here<<

Recently, Diana went to Scotland to celebrate the wedding of her daughter.  I found myself praying passionately that there would be no plane, train, bus, ferry, or auto accidents.  What if Diana was to expire in some sort of dramatic, Fraser worthy way?  She puts her characters through enough, fate might just mock her with an ironic  twist, and she could be caught in such a scenario up close and personally!  Worse, some ignominious event could fell her, some blip of biology could shut down that brilliant brain and still that witty pen.

😦  NOOOOOOOOO!  The very idea makes my heart pound in dread.

Yesterday, in my audio book of Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn, Jamie fought off a bear with a dirk, bare hands, and sheer determination.  (Claire contributed to his defence by whacking at the combatants with a dead fish).  After this attack, Claire shakily observes,

Anytime. It could happen anytime, and just this fast. I wasn’t sure which seemed most unreal; the bear’s attack, or this, the soft summer night, alive with promise.

I rested mv head on my knees, letting the sickness, the residue of shock, drain away. It didn’t matter, I told myself Not only anytime, but anywhere. Disease, car wreck, random bullet. There was no true refuge for anyone, but like most people, I managed not to think of that most of the time.

I am not a worry-wart.  I have a generally relaxed, laissez-faire attitude about most things.  I believe in doing what you can, and then letting go.  I wait without anxious fear for results of jobs, test results, admissions, reviews, and queries. Impatient curiosity may cause frustration, but not anxiety.  My kids and husband are on their own, provided only with my good wishes and sensible advice.  I never panic over their prospective demises, despite their penchants for death defying recreational activities that would indicate I really should.  Yet, Diana Gabaldon’s books can keep me up all night, fretting about how things are going to turn out for a character who’s stuck in another impossible situation.  Her fictional world stresses me out far more than the real world does.

I love her for it.

So I worry about Herself .*   This is slightly absurd, and definitely selfish.    I know it, and yet I can’t help it.

Please be immortal, Diana.  Or at least, get yourself into a time loop next time you’re in Scotland.  I recommend looking for wild flowers at the base of standing stones around Beltane.

*I also worry,  not infrequently, about Davina Porter, narrator of the Outlander audio books, for much the same reasons.  She HAS to keep narrating this series!  She can’t die or retire!

Imagine my head, cupped in my hands, shaking in embarrassment.  This is quite pathetic, but very real.  Am I alone in this absurdity?  Tell me someone else shares author anxiety?

July/2013 Especially now that MOBY won’t be released until March 2014 now!


audio reading November 14, 2011

My father is legally blind, and as a result he has been receiving books on tape from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the regional library for several years.  I have really only listened previously to one audio book, a copy of The Golden Compass that we took out to listen to as a family on a long driving holiday.  I guess it’s because I read so quickly, or because you could only get them out from the library unless you were visually disabled, but I haven’t gotten onto the listening bandwagon.

Recently a friend suggested that I should listen to The Outlander series (even though I had just read the whole series) because narrator Davina Porter is so wonderful.  I bought a couple books, and have been listening, and I am enthralled with Porter’s melodious voice.  The Outlander series is full of long books- the first one is 33 hours and the second is 35 hours.  I think I saw one comes in at 55 hours (A Breath of Snow and Ashes is almost 1400 pages, I recall).  I’ve managed to knit much more efficiently while someone else reads to me, than when I was reading print and knitting simultaneously!

I made an audio recording of Grace Awakening the summer of 2009 for my dad.  I know how long it takes to do it, and how tricky it is to read expressively with slightly different voices for the various characters, etc.  Porter is amazing at that, with a breadth of accents, pacings, and intonations for the various characters.  I think I would listen to her read the phone book.

Here is an interesting pair of videos Porter and he husband did, wherein Davina Porter discusses her job as an audio reader.  Quite interesting, and you can enjoy her beautiful voice.








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