Some say the first step in overcoming an addiction is admitting that you are powerless over it. From there, you look to a greater power for strength. You take an inventory of yourself, admit your wrongs, make amends and try to help others overcome their addiction. This approach has helped millions recover their lives, health and happiness. However, for women addicted to Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” books and TV series, the twelve step approach won’t work. Why? Because it’s not an addiction to them. It’s a welcome departure. Salvation from the slings and arrows of daily life.
For those of you coming late to the Outlander party, a little background. Diana Gabaldon is a New York Times bestselling American author. She has a degree in Zoology, a Master of Science in Marine Biology and a PhD in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology. According to Wikipedia, Gabaldon was also an assistant professor in the Center for Environmental Studies at Arizona State University in the 1980s. Talk about an accomplished person. But wait, it gets better.
I guess being a full-time university professor wasn’t enough of a challenge, so Gabaldon decided to write a historical novel even though she had no background in history. Wikipedia reports that in 1988 Gabaldon decided to write a novel for “practice, just to learn how.” Right, and when does that ever lead to a book deal? Never, right?
Apparently, Diana Gabaldon doesn’t believe in never. She shared an excerpt of her “practice” novel on a literary forum and an author introduced her to a literary agent. The agent represented Gabaldon and promoted her unfinished “practice” novel. Guess what happened? Gabaldon landed a trilogy book deal. She goes on to become a New York Times bestselling author and now they’ve made a hit TV series based on her work.
From everything I’ve read, Diana Gabaldon is not only brilliant but a really nice person. However, success sometimes begets unintended consequences. Women everywhere and a fair amount of men (known as “Outmanders”) have fallen under the Gabaldon spell and are cheerfully addicted. They have faithfully read all the books and voraciously consumed the Starz TV series. Everything was going along swimmingly, until the dreaded…hiatus.
The first half of the Outlander television season came to a close this Fall, leaving viewers with an unforgettable cliffhanger. Fans must now anxiously await the return of the series in Spring 2015. Talk about unresolved issues! Perhaps this long break is designed to help us identify with Claire, the heroine in the Outlander saga. After all, Claire has been denied her 20th century husband and is trapped in 18th century Scotland. She seems stuck in a long hiatus too, except she landed in the arms of Jamie Fraser, so things can’t be that bad for her. But I digress.
I’ve written a previous article entitled "Outlander-A Men's Survival Guide" to help men cope with this Outlander rapture. Conversely, it seems only fair that I reach out to the ladies with thoughtful advice on how to survive the hiatus. What follows are a few suggestions to get through the down time, or as Gabaldon termed it on her Facebook page, ” Droughtlander.”
1) Forget Group Therapy
2) Role Play
3) Enlist Support
4) Explore Options
5) Retrain Your Husband
6) Watch reruns and use blunt honesty
In conclusion, I think you have to accept this hiatus and your hopeless addiction to Outlander. And Sam Heughan’s robust derriere. Not to mention Claire’s 20th century, feisty independence unleashed on 18th century men in kilts. Dougal’s unflinching loyalty to his clan. The sadistic Jonathan Randall, whom you love to hate. Colum MacKenzie’s paternal sheltering of Claire and Jamie. And so on.
Use this hiatus constructively to educate your loved ones about the value of Outlander. Find a suitable clairvoyant to access the regions of your husband’s (or boyfriend’s) mind. Gently find a way to convey that Jamie represents what every woman wants. A rugged, fit man who will always stand by his woman. A man who will keep her safe and make her happy. He is not afraid to feel, express emotion, make a living, offer kind advice and most importantly, listen. Yes, listen. That rare quality so few of us men have mastered. Jamie takes responsibility for his actions, despite the outcomes. He is brave and strong, yet tender and gentle.
Of course, the reason Jamie is perfect is because he was conjured by a woman. And yet, Diana Gabaldon also constructed Claire, who is an equally amazing human being. All of which brings us back to the brilliance of Diana Gabaldon. The gift of literature is that there are remarkable authors who transport us to other worlds, where we are given a glimpse of something more. Something better. A place where love conquers all. An etherial stratosphere that we earthlings can only dream about, but also be inspired by. And maybe try a bit harder to make our own world a better place.
So ladies and select gentlemen, hang in there until next April. Reread your worn out Gabaldon novels. Don’t apologize for your Outlander habit. Embrace it. Love it. Celebrate it. And to the creative mistress whose pen breathed life into those wonderful Scottish characters, I humbly concede, ” Well done, Ms. Gabaldon. Well done.”
iOutlander rough sketches