Thursday, August 21, 2014

MOBY: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

SPOILER ALERT:  Dinna read unless you are 50% into Written in My Own Heart's Blood. 

My Daughter's Handywork!
Christmas Eve is my birthday. People always ask, "Don't you feel gypped?" because I only get presents once a year. And every time, I tell them I don't know any better; this is the way it's always been! I wait all year for something I want, whether a bike at age ten or an iPad at age 40. And it's because of this that I've developed a bit of a habit - a ritual, if you will - on Christmas Day. I gather all my presents in one big pile, and watch everyone else open theirs first because I know "this is it" for another year; this is all I'm going to get. (Waaah, poor me.  I know this is quite a First World Problem...but stick with me; I do have a point.)

Oh sure...I open a few gifts here and there until I'm about 50% through...and then I just stop, and watch everyone else. This usually continues until my family finishes opening theirs and groans, "Come on Carol...finish opening your presents already!"

Today, lads and lassies, I am suffering the same fate, but it's only August. This time around, MOBY is my pile of presents, I am exactly 50% through, and you are all my family, telling me to hurry up and finish. 

I am sharing this little nugget of info in order to give you an idea of the anxiety I feel at this very moment. And don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who may have delayed MOBY gratification...and just as many who - at the very least - are able to appreciate how I feel.

But to me, this is personal. And finishing this book is going to leave me in complete and utter...

PURGATORY! 

As I've mentioned (ad nauseam) before, I am a self-professed Revolutionary War dork/buff/addict. Southeastern Pennsylvania and the central New Jersey shore are the only places I've ever lived and I have breathed in their history every day of my life. It's not uncommon for me to drive by a wartime house that still stands or a historical marker in the road, commemorating the hanging of British tories. (Whether the story is true remains to be seen, but the Daughters of the American Revolution seem to think it is.) If a blurb about Paoli in An Echo in the Bone (or a chapter entitled Remember Paoli in MOBY - but that's a different post!) had a profound effect on me because it's the town I grew up in, imagine how I feel now, diving into chapters about Freehold. FREEHOLD! I live in Monmouth County. I have jury duty at the courthouse in Freehold next month. I have visited the Old Tennent Church and cemetery many times...FOR FUN! I have gone with my husband. I have gone alone. And I have dragged my friends. I even exclaimed to them during our most recent visit that I was positive Claire was going to work there in MOBY, as I knew the church's history and that it was used as a hospital during the Revolution.

So yes, I have waited 400 some-odd pages for Claire to mention the Old Tennent Church, and damnit she did it two nights ago when I was reading. And did I rip into the chapter as most of you probably would? No, no I did not. Instead, I slammed the book shut (ok I turned my Kindle off quite vigorously) and put the book down. And I haven't opened it since. Because I am scared. I am scared to finish this book! I am scared to wait another five years. And most of all, I'm scared to walk out of this room...and never feel the rest of my whole life...wait...that's a line from Dirty Dancing. But seriously - I'm scared to read about what is going to happen to my favorite characters in the world - at one of my favorite historical spots in the world. And what makes it so unbelievable is that it's in my own back yard, figuratively speaking. Even if I weren't reading MOBY, I'd still be heading out to drive through the battlegrounds and the Old Tenant cemetery soon.  I'd still have a need to marvel at the fact that people just like Claire helped soldiers just like Jamie in this church-turned-hospital, just so I could live here - in Monmouth county, New Jersey - free as a bird.  I don't have anyone with a gun stationed at my church or local market. I can pray where I want and visit who I want and not worry about offending the crown or committing treason just for talking to the wrong person.

Live free or die, lads and lassies...live free or die. 

So that is my story. I couldn't press on at this hallowed halfway mark until I shared it with all of you wonderful fellow Gabaldon fans, in hopes that you'll understand my reason for procrastinating...as well as commiserate with me and tell me everything is going to be alright (sans spoilers, of course!) I have been so fortunate to spend all these years getting to know you guys through countless Outlander discussions. And laughs. Lordddddd the Outlander laughs. I would not trade this angst for the world.

Now...I promise I will get back to reading, no matter how anxious or fearful I am to do so, because I know what some of you saying. "Come on Carol...finish opening your presents already."  :)

6 comments:

Brymen said...

Step 1. Get your book and blanket.

Step 2. Drive to the courthouse.

Step 3. Spread blanket under a tree.

Step 4. Read until it gets too dark to read anymore.

dolittle said...

Carol,
I definitely get the history thing. I work in special education, and several times over the years I have helped students with learning disabilities get through 9th-grade world history. I love it – and I find it MUCH more fascinating from a mature perspective than it ever was back when I was in high school and college. Now, I proudly embrace my inner geek!

As for the American Revolution, it became more fascinating to me back when I found out my 5x great-grandfather had served as a patriot. In fact, when Moses Laird came up in a recent post, I had to do a little more searching, since my ancestor is a Capt. Robert Laird. I didn't find an obvious connection (Robert Laird was born in Lancaster Co., PA, moved to So. Carolina, and served there under several commanders, including Pickens, Williams, and Greene) but I didn't really spend much time looking into it…yet. BTW, this particular ancestry line is a Scottish connection – so, as an Outlander fan, it’s extra fascinating!!

Purgatory Carol said...

OMG Brymen. You rock my world!! The funny thing is this: I have only been to Scotland once in my life...wayyyy back in 2000, long before I read Outlander. My husband's cousins took us to a "drovers pass" that was the most spectacular thing I have ever seen - ever - in my life. They sortof stood back and let me take it all in...and all I could think was "I just want to spread out a blanket and stay here alone all day and read a book and just...be." :)

Betsy said...

Bryman i was thinking the same thing except was going to suggest the cemetery. And Carol I'm the same way except my war is the Civil War. But I also revel over my Proximity to "Frasier's Ridge". Makes it very personal.

Laurie S said...

Gurrl...you have some terrific, hairy reading ahead. Enjoy it any ole way you want!

Anonymous said...

Just catching up on your MOP posts on a holiday morning. Had to post in memory of an outstanding Outlander fan girl who passed suddenly Friday morning. I was able to finish teaching my classes, drove home, and had a sudden thought as I pulled into the driveway: Oh dear, Susan will never know how the story ends! I broke down sitting in my car. Time to get busy living. I know Susan will be inspiring Diana from her side of the veil. Happy reading.