Characters, Emotional Short-Hand, and #Outlander

Change comes, whether we want it or not. This year has proven that. Health scares do not ask whether it is convenient. Medical bills pile up, unopened, on the kitchen counter. I try to remind myself that sometimes the unexpected can yield glorious results. I dip my toe into the river of change and wonder “What if…” I live in stories, both the story of my life and the stories that I read to escape my life for a little while.

For those who know me well, this has resulted in a kind of emotional short hand. I can quickly explain a state of mind…of being…with a certain book character at a certain point in a story.

Tired, lonely, frustrated, I have confided in a fellow book-obsessed friend that I felt very “Harry Book Five.” Harry Potter–alone over the summer, with only vague messages from his friends while he endured the hell that was Number Four Privet Drive, feeling excluded and forgotten—perfectly captures the days when I scramble get by, so hurried by life that I go days before I realize that I never even spoke with anyone at all but have been stuck in my head with only my problems for company.

Other days, I feel very Outlander Claire…out of my element, trying to make things work out, chasing after some seemingly impossible goal. Occasionally, I find a kind word or a friendly face—my Mrs. Fitz. If I am lucky, she might bring me a drink and tell me to get some rest in her firm, not fussy, way. And, like Claire, for once I might just listen.

On the days of desperation, I feel a bit like MOBY Claire of the Sunken Ship. Alone. Going through the motions. Reminding myself that I have to endure. Waiting for the dawn just for the relief of having escaped another long night. I am not proud of those nights. But truth and courage don’t always come as a matched pair. Sometimes they are patch-worked together, and the seams that hold them are the scars that Life leaves us with.

Sometimes, I find a wee bit of Jamie lurking in my soul. More nights than I care to count I have watched my husband sleep and counted his breaths. I have offered up countless days of my own life to be added to his days, tried to bargain with God, and promised more than I have to give for more time. Please God, give me more time with mo cridhe. Because when you find the Blood of your Blood, Soul of your Soul, the last thing you want is for them to slip back through the stones.

On my best—my happiest days–I am more Claire at Fraser Ridge. I am at home, at peace, and surrounded by those I love. I have my garden and my wee herbs. I tend my children and my chickens and, as the sun slips behind the black shadowed branches of the maple and ash, I feel my Jamie slip up behind me and pull me against him.

imageSometimes you can feel Change. It might be a soft summer breeze or the cutting bite of a winter wind. But you feel it, and you try to brace for it, and you pray…

I can feel Change coming.


18 thoughts on “Characters, Emotional Short-Hand, and #Outlander

  1. “Harry Book Five” – we know this one well, my friend. All the angst, all the confusion, all the pain and feelings of abandonment, and that moment when you really understand with new-grownup understanding that Life is Not Fair. No tantrum, just the dawning horror that it’s really true. And it isn’t just about not getting the last bit of ice cream out of the freezer. It’s about loss and pain and good people that you truly love, who should be here in life at least as long as you are, dropping off this mortal coil unexpectedly and without good reason. None of this, in Book Five Land, is fair. None of this feels right. No one did anything to deserve these fates. These scales are not balanced. At least, not that we can see.

    I’m going to quote you on this one someday:

    “Reminding myself that I have to endure. Waiting for the dawn just for the relief of having escaped another long night. I am not proud of those nights. But truth and courage don’t always come as a matched pair.”

    So much truth in that.

    And then the paragraph after made me tear up. But I’ll leave that one in the quiet places.

    I’m going to say this, though it doesn’t need saying. (But that’s what the Doctor thought, and we all know it wasn’t true, so I won’t make his mistake.) You are stronger than you even realize. And when you aren’t strong, I will be here to help hold you up, or to waive away the well-meaning in times when you need to let yourself be crumpled in a puddle of feelings. But, whatever change is coming, you will get through it. And, however unlikely it may seem, there will be goodness and beauty and hope on the other side. There will be love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to say again that I love the way you write. It’s so appealing, so touching. I do that thing too, about relating to some fictional characters. Either from books, or certain movies… I am also through some changes, trying to get out of a hole, a bit lost, kind of a wanderer, misfit, a bit like Outlander Claire as well. Sending some positive thoughts and prayers your way, and thank you for this post. 🙂


  3. I’m wondering if we can call the rest of August off due to the beginning being generally rotten? I think that would be a good place to start. But like Lord John’s step brother we must show Perseverance and keep on keeping on. Let’s claim health and happiness for everyone through whatever belief system you prefer and hope for a better day tomorrow

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe we can just say “Percy” to each other as a code word to give a little boost from a friend when we’re feeling overwhelmed and/or lost. I know that I could always use a little friendly encouragement when it seems like I’ve hit a dark spot in my day/life. What do y’all think?


  5. I always feel than pain shared is a burden lessened. I hope you feel all your fellow Outlander fans’ love and support. You shared your feelings beautifully! Don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but prayers for a positive outcome.


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