Happy first anniversary, Doc Palindrome! This week, there will be several posts related to our anniversary-this is the first of those posts, you know, for the first anniversary. I’m assuming you know because you are here reading, but in case you don’t, Doc Palindrome is dedicated to finding the geekdom in the world, and creatively sharing your experiences, perceptions and opinions about said geekdom. Which are all things I love. But for me Doc Palindrome was, and continues to be, something more.
When Jesse, our fearless leader, who was the best man at our wedding, announced that he was putting together this site, I jumped at the chance to write for it, even though we hadn’t seen him since our high school aged daughter was in diapers. To my delight and surprise, he was thrilled that I wanted to write for the site and was hoping that I would respond to the call for contributors. So win-win for both of us.
Due to my paranoia about my identity on the Internet, and having been burned several times by people saying they were someone when they really weren’t, I write and tweet under a pen name, Alize Edeline. So the “Ardent Eccentric” is my way of keeping everything “AE,” and reflecting my tastes in all sorts of things from anime to pop culture to absurdist theatre to miniature painting and beyond. Plus “Passionate Weirdo” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
This past year, I tried to write about a variety of things, although not everything made the site due to space and time. We did GISHWHES this year (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen), a bizarre scavenger hunt run by Misha Collins (Castiel) from Supernatural that brings art and random acts of kindness to the world in one crazy shit show of a week. Not everything from that event made it to the site, but this summer it will because it is something that needs to be shared simply for the joy it brings to people.
We attended and shared our experiences at Otakon, the largest anime con in Baltimore, and I hopefully hooked you on the merits of how watching half naked anime girls in Kill la Kill can bring a family closer together. I reflected on San Diego Comic Con as I sat at home for this first time since 2010 (boo), and pop culture even seeped into my visit to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia. I used my season tickets to the local theatre as an opportunity to share my thoughts on Broadway revivals, and had a Rat Pack week where I saw Seth MacfFrlane sing jazz & then rave about the old timey radio shows Thrilling Adventure Hour and Welcome to Nightvale. I was in love with Fear the Walking Dead, but soon discovered maybe that I just loved it and we should remain friends, and was gleefully judgmental of Jesse Anderson on The Walking Dead, and of the Phantom of the Opera as two of the worst depictions in pop culture ever of characterization.
And then came The Magicians.
Oh, The Magicians. This little show on Syfy wouldn’t have even been something I would have watched had a radio show I consistently listen to not vaguely reviewed it one morning. Deemed “Harry Potter for adults,” I was totally intrigued (if you haven’t noticed, that “A” in the “Ardent Eccentric” logo that my daughter created is a witch’s hat, like McGonagall’s, and the little fez and bowtie on the “E” are from Doctor Who) because I’m kind of a Harry Potter obsessive, and we don’t have anything new till Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. OK, we have Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and they revamped Pottermore, but the play isn’t out till July and it’s in the U.K., and I am terrible at mixing potions, so I tend to shy away from Pottermore.
Anyway, I thought I would give The Magicians a try. I’m so incredibly glad I did.
If you read Doc Palindrome regularly, you know that I adore this show from the way I raved about it every week through its first season. And whoops, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wasn’t supposed to do reviews and recaps. But meh, I did seven of them. Because writing them really sparked much more for me, as did writing for Doc Palindrome in general.
I have a degree in theatre, and I directed plays before I went out in the real world and got a job to support my family. I went on to get advanced degrees in public health and that’s what I do now – create awareness campaigns and health education programs about different chronic conditions. Which is all fine and good and personally satisfying, but the higher you move up through the ranks, as with any profession, the less you get to work on the creative process, and actually see what impact anything you do has on the community.
I had reached that point in the ranks within the last year, and I thought it would make me happy. I was coming up on one of those significant birthdays (the ones that people make you feel shitty about), and I was pretty damn successful in my career.
But creatively, I was miserable. Participating in GISHWHES was literally my only creative “recharge” each year, and that’s borderline insane to do to oneself just to feel more centered artistically. I was having what one could call a mid-life crisis, but it was a little premature for my age, and I still had a child who hadn’t moved onto adulthood yet, so I’d be a pretty shitty parent to go traipsing off into creativity land without a care in the world. Not as terrible as Jessie Anderson, but still. So when I started writing for Doc Palindrome, I got to be creative again. On a regular basis. I found my voice again.
And when The Magicians came along, I found that theatre voice again. Things come into your life at certain times for certain reasons, and this show came in at the right moment, and it luckily crossed gloriously with Doc Palindrome. I was writing a grant proposal to keep my job and the jobs of 26 other people in my company for the next five years (no pressure or anything) and was utterly stressed. Watching The Magicians each week and writing about it, getting to spill out all of that passion and exuberance and analysis, sharing that directorial gut instinct you get from watching amazing actors, finding graphics, all of that, was relaxing to me – it let my mind not worry so much about keeping people employed, despite the fact that each Magicians article seemed to take forever.
The ensemble on this show inspired me to contact some old theatre friends from college, as I had the need to direct people again as talented as this cast. I started to crave going to live theatre again more than just once a month, wanting to see anything I could from the tiniest production to a Broadway musical. So there will probably more of those reviews in the upcoming year, along with feeding my obsession with this show when we get to Season 2.
Speaking of finding one’s voice, I also did my first podcast this year for Doc Palindrome, which truth be told, was initially scary as shit. I was also again paranoid about identity issues, but then realized how narcissistic that was, given that no one really knew who I was, and that would imply that the Internet had been waiting with bated breath for Alize Edeline to impart her wisdom through the podcast community.
So once I got over myself, it was actually a really fun time. I am definitely still a “behind the scenes” theatre person, (hence why director, not actor), but I liked talking through these thoughts and ideas that I normally share through writing. I may actually explore a Magicians podcast in the upcoming year, since I would imagine sticking to just writing is only going to keep me creatively happy for so much longer.
But truly, I love Doc Palindrome and all it has to offer, and I’m very proud of the fact that we are celebrating the one year anniversary. There are a ton of sites out there trying to make a name for themselves in the pop culture community, and I think we have done that by having great writers who are passionate and recognize the creative process inherent in developing great art in all aspects of life. I’m hoping that some of you have been inspired to share your thoughts and writings and maybe join us on the site as you find the geeky in everything and we’ll have even more to share with the world.
So congrats to my fellow writers, and congratulations to Jesse on creating a thing, and here’s looking forward to many more creative things to come!
Photo from: http://elearningmind.com/leveling-up-why-gamers-make-better-learners/