Dear Outlander Fans,
I was wrong. There. I said it. Once I fought past the idea of Claire disappearing into the 18th century and falling into a near miss with rape from her husband’s relative, the book settled into a great fairy tale of magic and mystery. Some of the writing still drives me crazy (ending sentences with prepositions in formal writing, overuse of commas and under-use of sentence structure, etc.), but I cannot ignore substance over style.
It’s still violent and rape-y. I tense up during those paragraphs, because I have never been raped, but I *have* had emotion thrown at me before I was ready for it- sexual information that changed me as a human being for better or for worse. Therefore, anything that smacks of abuse or rape sends me over the edge emotionally and I fight to keep it together.
In some ways, it is cathartic, because Claire struggles with the same issues I have over the past few years. Argo never participated in the feelings I had for her, and kept it all above board on her end to make it clear that she could never reciprocate. At the same time, for me, all three of the main characters smack as elements of Dana, Argo, and me… so much so that tears fall in every scene where Claire and Jamie fight for each other, to the death if necessary, because that’s how important they are to each other. One line keeps repeating in my head as I read (DAMN YOU, GABALDON)- that secrecy deserves respect, but always honesty.
There are things I could have just let unfold. I rushed the story, and it came to denouement quickly because of it. The steadfast, loving aspects of Jamie have always been Dana. The adventurous spirit has always been Argo. I twisted and turned in the definitions of love and fidelity just as Claire struggles with hers. She loves Frank- married in every respect, but at the same time, Jamie excites her and she becomes more than she ever could have been without him. It is so familiar, and so foreign. So extremely loud and incredibly close it could be a movie (wait).
So far, the story has explained me to me in a way that I couldn’t have before. I had a revelation that created a positive tempest in a teacup of activity, because it set my brain on fire. As I am sure you well know, Argo is a nickname. Argo is a character. The real person is probably nothing like her based on the amount *I* have written, not who she actually is. In some sense, for the last two years, I have not been in love with Argo. I have been in love with the idea of her. That idea is the persona I created for her based on her words, the ones that quickly got under my skin in a way that no one else’s ever will. The revelation was that the character is based on MY words. I have, in some sense, been in love with a part of me.
A dimension was added to me that I never knew I needed when I began writing to Argo, and it is one I will keep whether we reunite on the ground. The chord that runs between us is not broken. It is strong and beautiful, all the things it once was- but if she doesn’t pick up her end, it becomes a loopback, feeding me. The love that was directed at her is coming back to me full force, because I realized that the words I wrote to her strengthened me, too.
There were ugly, bitter fights- especially when she took the initiative in believing that moving centered around her. She’s on my mind, certainly, but no more or no less than she’s been before……….. as is Dana, my steadfast love. When I think of them both, the love that flows from me is everpresentlovingkindness, the peace that comes from loving them whether they love me or not. I don’t have to receive to send. As I have said about God as well, I don’t love them because it changes them. I love them because it changes me.
They both made me realize that I was swimming in a dark hole, one that would never lead to light unless I changed on my own. It gave me the will and the drive to create the greatness I know I have, rather than believing that darkness is the only thing I deserve.
In some sense, I believe that Jamie and Claire do that for each other….. but they are not above using darkness for a greater purpose. They find light in each other in the middle of a garbage dump of a situation, and it strengthens them for the journey ahead.
It is strength that extends to me. Argo cannot and will not be my Jamie or my Claire, but I realized that I was worthy of a relationship like it. That I needed to reach for something more, something worth fighting for until the death. I believe that I can have that with Dana if she will reach up and grab it, but I am satisfied that she does not want it to happen.
However, that does not mean that I do not look at both of their backs and want to kiss their scars.
Again, I am sorry. I was wrong. It’s a great story that’s unfolding…………..
and it’s a good book, too.