It is a process

I used to have a very clear memory of the day I wrote the first blog for my first site. There is still this gauzy, vague sort of picture I have in my minds eye of that morning. I was sitting at my small kitchen table, nervously tapping the keys. The memory I have of my feelings that day are a little stronger than the memory of sitting at that table. For example, I picture it as though I had been at the table in my childhood home, rather than at the house my husband Walt and I lived in for 22 years while we raised two-and-a-half kids. (The “half” comes from the fact that our youngest was only about ten when we moved from Orange County up to the California Central Coast) I do remember the nerves though.

Yet, there was something very peaceful about that time. I could write and say whatever I wanted, knowing that almost no one would read it. No one knew about it until I hit “post”. Even then, it would have been absolutely ridiculous to assume people would read a blog – a fan blog – about Duran Duran. I figured I’d be lucky if my friends, and I mean the ones IN the Duran Duran fan community with me, read the site regularly.

I’m sort of at that same point with this new project of mine. A few people know it exists, but I haven’t shared the name yet. I don’t know why, but I suspect it comes down to a few things. First of all – right now, it exists only for me. It is mine. Sure, I’m writing and “sharing”, but no one knows what it is unless they casually stumble here. I can feel what I want, write however I choose, and there is no judgement. Second, and I don’t type this lightly, I’m not sure I really want to do this again.

Don’t get me wrong, I like writing. I mean, who else really writes a couple of encyclopedia-length manuscripts only to be told no? Well, I know of one other individual, but that’s another story for another time. Truth be told, I don’t think I enjoyed that particular process of writing. I’m a blogger. I write like a blogger. My blogs aren’t hard-hitting journalism. They’re not even gloriously poetic. They’re just my thoughts. I write how I might speak. I blog as though I’m talking to friends. I think that’s one reason why the people who connected with my writing at that other site liked it. My voice, so to speak, was pretty strong. On the other hand, other individuals felt my writing was a bit too pedestrian. Juvenile. Too much like writing in a diary, not enough like a serious academic.

Fair. All points are fair. Can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. I am no more an academic than I am a #1 fan of anything or anyone. Back to the subject of not being sure I want to do this again, though.

The idea of starting from scratch, having no one to lean on (or ask permission or apologize to) for what I’ve said is daunting. I was kind of looking forward to just being Rhonda, not Daily Duranie, not Amanda’s friend or the R to her A. Just me. In some ways I guess I was thinking I’d drift right back into the wallpaper I once blended with, nobody noticing, nobody missing, and certainly no one finding fault with. On the other hand, I have all of these words and thoughts. What to do with them?!? Could I really write again, but this time, change what I didn’t like before? And…what didn’t I like?

I can’t and won’t lie here. There was quite a bit going on that people didn’t see or read about. I didn’t share everything, even with Amanda. As open as I was, the one thing I didn’t talk about much was the friendship with my writing partner. I tried to keep it positive and keep my misgivings to myself. I think it’s fair to say that friendship changed, and had been changing, for a long time before I finally just had to be done. Things happen. People do change, and interests change too. I’d be crazy though if I didn’t at least say that had a lot to do with why I quit. It is absolutely bizarre to think that I’m going to be going to a show in Las Vegas where there is going to be a meetup (that I did not plan or be too much of a part of other than moral support), and I won’t be with Daily Duranie. I didn’t think that was going to bother me, but it turns out, it’s super weird. I’ll figure it out.

Maybe that’s why I almost – and I really mean almost – sold my tickets to Vegas. We weren’t kidding when we used to say that the connections we made through the fan community were 90% of the reason we still go to gigs. It’s true. I love Duran Duran and don’t get me wrong, I can stand up and dance as much as anyone else, but I’ve seen that band over 50 times now. I could probably go see them once or twice a tour and feel good about it, but the reason I go more often than that is because of the friends I’ve made along the way. After the pandemic that we’re still not out of, so much lost time, and even this new stage of my life, I just had misgivings about whether I needed to still be quite the Duran Duran fan I once was.

Something changed my mind and I’m still going, though. More on that in a bit.

What does it even mean for me to be a fan of Duran Duran now, though? I’m not sure. I mean, for me, I don’t have the same amount of time, or even the same intensity about it all. I don’t read every article, watch every video, or even monitor twitter like I did. I don’t talk about music nearly as often – in fact I’m more apt to listen to a book through Audible than I am to listen to music. Does that make a bad fan? No longer a die hard? Not as dedicated? Or, am I just a little less obsessed? Who knows.

At one point, I might have tried analyzing it all to death. I loved to overthink things. I still do, but that time usually comes around 2:38 AM, when I should be sleeping. Maybe I’ve finally hit the point where I no longer have time or energy to even worry about it. I just want to enjoy life a little more and be concerned a little less. I dare say that at my age, a fan is a fan is a fan. Who cares?

So what about this Vegas trip, then?

This time, I’ll meet up with Suzie, Lori and Shelly; and I’ll see Jason (cannot wait to give my psuedo brother a giant hug!) at that meetup I mentioned. Oh, and I’ll also see Dom, and I don’t just mean while he’s onstage and I’m in the back of the venue waving furiously, because you know, he’s DJing at an event on Friday night. As one does. Apparently. In fact, that’s the “something” that stopped me from alerting my friends that I was going to bow out from the trip and sell my stupidly-expensive concert tickets. While I might not be quite as obsessed, I’m not insane. My friend, my forever intern, psuedo-brother and occasional vlog partner Jason had the brilliant idea to ask Dom to appear at an event Jason is organizing at his place of employment – the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip. When he first told me he was doing this, I sent him a laughing emoji. I underestimated both Jason AND Dom, obviously.

Dom replied back, first of all, and secondly, he agreed to do it. Correct me if I’m wrong Jason, but he is even aware that I’ll be there. As will many other Duranies. Good lord. How can I not go?!? Besides, I owe Jason a zillion rum and cokes at this point. (a term of his internship at Daily Duranie, which has not yet been paid due to Covid!) Jason claims that I am a Duranie Influencer, which…well…you all can decide that for yourselves, but I wouldn’t be much of a friend or supporter if I didn’t show off the shiny poster for his fantastic event!

I’m still trying to figure out this blog. Do I really want to do it? I guess so. I mean, I’m writing and this isn’t just a short little guest blog not even written by me just to be able to say I’m still blogging – I wrote every word myself. Today. I’m truly starting over. I’m not Daily Duranie. I’m Rhonda, and this Plastic Paradise. This is nutty and scary, but also, kind of fun. Fandom is complicated. It feels real, but sometimes can be completely synthetic. When you’re completely immersed, it can feel like paradise, at least for fleeting moments. I spent the better part of a decade waiting for those fleeting moments. Now, well, I sort of feel like I need to be in search of them in all parts of my life – not just fandom. Maybe you feel the same, and maybe you don’t.

One thing for sure, I’m not doing this with the dumbass idea that the band is going to pay attention. I’m not doing it so that anyone really pays attention. The writing is for me. If you want to read along and see how I go from middle age to a senior citizen as a DD fan – rock on, my friends. Sure, I publish it all thinking that hey, maybe someone will read, but this could just as easily be an online journal for me. Make no mistake, I still feel those nerves before I hit “publish”. Just before I touch that key, the words are still mine. I own them, I know how they’re meant. Then, in a split second, the words are out there, public, and ready for consumption.

It is a process.

-R (old habits die hard)

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for your honesty and being vulnerable! I read every word and get what you’re saying. I recently lost my BFF to cancer. Life’s too short. Do what makes you happy.

Hey there, thanks for joining the conversation. I’m happy to read your respectful comments and opinions, so type away! :) -R

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