So several people have asked me today if I was planning to write anything for #WorldOutlanderDay. I wasn’t really planning to, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I do have a story to tell. I may even admit to my darkest, most shameful Outlander secret.
In the beginning…
From reading many reminiscences today, I’ve realized that many, if not most, Outlander fans can point to the exact month and year they first read Outlander. I’m not like that. I’m pretty sure I picked up my first copies of Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber at a Barnes and Noble somewhere in the mid 90s but I couldn’t say when. And although I know how strongly Diana objected to them being there, I likely would not have ever found the books in a bookstore if they had not been in the Romance section. Anyway, I bought them and took them home. And they sat on my shelf for days, months, dare I say, years. I know I tried to start Outlander several times, but I never seemed to make it past the magic first 100 pages. Finally, in the midst of a paperback book-reducing frenzy, I did something I can’t believe I’m admitting in public: much less in an Outlander-related post, I traded Outlander and Dragonfly in at a used book store.
I know, I know. I can hear the gasps and screams of outrage already. I have no real excuse. Looking back, I can only come up with a couple of reasons why I think Outlander didn’t “click” for me back then. First, I was pretty young. I was only 23 or 24 and was still pretty much living in the bosom of my family and I think I just had a hard time relating to Claire. Second, although I’ve always been a huge fan of historically based fiction, neither WWII nor the Jacobite period had ever numbered among my favorite historical time periods. Somehow both these factors, plus never making it past the first 100 pages, doomed me into making a tragic mistake. Most of you will be quite relieved to note however that now, when I recommend Outlander to others, I make them sign a blood oath not to stop reading before magic page 100.
Seeing the light–
Luckily, unlike so many other things in life, I was offered a second chance. I was attending a music festival in Wilkesboro, NC, ( not too far from the fictional location of Fraser’s Ridge) when I started chatting with a weaver who was exhibiting her wares in the arts and crafts tent. As we were talking about different historically set books we had read, she asked me if I had read Outlander. I readily admitted that I had purchased the book at one time but had never ‘got into it.’ Looking back, I think I’m really lucky she decided to have anything more to do with me. However, as I listened to this lady extol the virtues of the series, I resolved to give Outlander another go, and boy is that a decision that has impacted my life.