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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tumblr Candle Posts for Ryan: Week 4 (June 24-29)

[We'll just have to see if I manage much of a post for Saturday and Sunday, which would mark the end of the 4th week since Ryan's accident. The longer we wait, the harder it gets to write short, but not repetitive, candle posts, especially knowing so little. I'll probably post some sort of candle still until we hear from Ryan, as I sort of promised in my posts, but not necessarily ones that would justify being archived. This past week Celtic Thunder flew to New Jersey for their summer holiday show. Colm Keegan flew out of Ireland Monday, and was on stage Wednesday night, his very first stage performance as part of Celtic Thunder. That he did alright is a huge testament to his talents as a performer, and I look forward to seeing him along with Ryan and the other guys next tour. Anyway, this is the last week so far of my candle posts from tumblr. New posts may still go up on my tumblr blog, but these ones will not remain on my tumblr sites now that they are stored here.]

June 25, 2012

I am not sure at what age they stop giving people teddybears in hospitals. I was 14 the last time someone gave me a teddybear at a medical facility, a long long time ago. I always liked stuffed bunnies better, the realistic-looking ones that crop up everywhere around Easter. I had one teddybear though, a black one that looked rather sophisticated, and that could have pulled off the Ryan Kelly, Dark Destroyer image.

Sadly, I have moved too many times, and all my stuffed animals were left behind somewhere along the way (except for one emperor penguin I have given away twice, that keeps coming back).

I was always puzzled about what teddybears would be good for in hospitals, but I think I get it now, a bit. We can only spend so much time at the bedside of those we love. Teddybears can be sort of old-fashioned avatars, standing in for us while we are unable to be there in person. And, while our loved ones are too fragile or not accessible to us we can hug and snuggle a teddybear instead. Teddybears are thus excellent transmitters of hugs, love and companionship. So, tonight, as Ryan is left behind to recover while his friends migrate to New Jersey, teddybear candles seemed a good choice. I am sure we all would love to be able to give Ryan a big hug and tell him in person just how much he means to us, but we would not all fit in his room, and hugging that many people would be simply exhausting. But, for all of us fans, even for those lucky fans who will get to see Celtic Thunder over the next few weeks, Ryan will never be entirely absent from our thoughts, and a fair proportion of those thoughts would be well represented by soft, huggable teddybears.

June 26, 2012

Still counting down the days till we get to hear from Ryan Kelly that he is better. I hope there is a lot for Ryan to watch on TV, because I can’t imagine how he is not going absolutely nuts stuck in the hospital without Internet or his cell-phone. After all, what do I do when I am sick and stuck at home all day? I browse the Internet, usually looking up random stuff about topics like deep-sea creatures, Irish sociopolitical history, or guinea pigs.

I also hope Ryan knows about his current ranking in this Great Exhibition of 2012 thing. It has to be a great, if a bit overwhelming, feeling, knowing that one ranks just below Shakespeare, and several slots ahead of the Queen. Sure, the demographic profile of the participants in this contest is hardly representative of everyone, but these online voting things are always biased and a bit silly. Still, since most people are sheep who blindly follow anything that moves, maybe these results are rather meaningful. After all, they suggest that among those people who are discerning about their entertainment and culture, Ryan is very important, very highly valued. (If the Beatles and Dr. Who and Sherlock slipped below Ryan in the rankings, even Ryan might find this a bit too unrealistic.)

And- what makes these results particularly cool- unlike the last few online contest things we voted in, this time Ryan has had no chance to drum up votes for himself, because he’s been in the hospital. He ranks in at #17 right now even though there was no facebook status update, tweet or blog post from him asking us to vote. He is simply that well loved, regardless of how long it takes for him to get better, and regardless of when he will be able to get back to making beautiful music for us to enjoy.

June 27, 2012

First, a huge thanks to Emmet for posting this picture. I could not have asked for a better candle than this one- gigantic, projected on a screen as a backdrop to the CT summer holiday set. Ryan may not be in Atlantic City in person, but with what candles have signified these past weeks, he’s clearly not entirely absent from the CT stage this week.

I’ve been in a great mood all day, ever since reading Sharon’s great news, that Ryan’s condition has improved enough for him to no longer be in the critical care ward. Very soon now, there will no longer be any point to posting these candles, because Ryan will be all better. :) I won’t know what to do with my evenings, I’m sure, once I no longer have these posts to write, but my loss of purpose will be a small price to pay.

So, before my mood shifts as I start following the news on the new wildfires near Boulder and Colorado Springs, I figured I ought to send my candle, a bit early, but happier and more hopeful than it may be by 3-4 hours from now. With any luck, there will still be a bit of Colorado left unburnt by the time Ryan and Celtic Thunder get here this Fall.

[I was thrilled when I realized what the backdrop image on Emmet's photo was- as candles go, this one is perhaps the most complex and meaningful of all the ones I used this month.]

June 28, 2012

Before Ryan was hospitalized, one of my primary associations with candle imagery was through the Wheel of Time books, by Robert Jordan. In Jordan’s books, his characters talk about a meditation technique, “the flame and the void”, which helps to clear and focus one’s mind. I was thinking about this idea today, while musing again on the crazy schedule that the Celtic Thunder cast puts themselves through. All of my musician friends seem to agree that to make good music, they have to put themselves in the right frame of mind, center themselves, tap into some inner space that helps them do more than just go through the motions of performing a song. I know that several comments the Celtic Thunder guys have made echo what my friends say, and I certainly find that I perform better and enjoy singing in choir concerts more when I take time to focus myself on singing.

This led me to ponder once again Ryan’s current circumstances. While we knew so little, this was an almost unthinkable, and certainly unwriteable notion, but now that he is not dying … Perhaps there is at least a little positive side to Ryan being forced to stay home a while and recover. I have not forgotten that last year at this time Ryan had announced that he was leaving Celtic Thunder. A few months later he was stuck in a nightmarish situation, which allowed him to return to the group. One has only to reread his note, on his blog from last August, to see how much he values his fans and his life as a performer, and I am sure it was good for him to be on tour seeing all his devoted fans since then.

But, since the end of last summer, he has not yet taken much of a real vacation to really regroup and recover from everything that has happened to him. If he was not injured a few weeks ago, he would be back on the road now, having had only a few days rest between his Acoustic by Candlelight tour and the rehearsal schedule leading into the current Atlantic City show. That life- being always busy, always going somewhere, always distracted and never really alone- certainly would be convenient if one wanted to avoid thinking about and remembering and reacting to something painful and difficult. I don’t know Ryan nearly well enough to know whether he is able to deal with the aftermath of last year somehow while still touring constantly- he is amazing enough that I would not put it past him. But if he’s anything like me, it might take something as serious as what happened to him this month to make him stop and rest and really heal from everything, his accident and all that happened last year.

In any case, I hope as always that he is going to be ok, and that he will be back with us fans soon, happier, healthier and wiser, and otherwise as amazing as ever.

[This post reflects some of my concerns throughout these past weeks. I know that people have a tendency to find themselves in bad accidents after going through other upsetting times, as if misfortune were a magnet for more. This is especially true for folks who are still upset or shaken by the past events, so that they make poor decisions or take unwise risks. Not knowing what happened, I can only guess that this could have had anything to do with Ryan's situation. In any case, I have worried about him ever since he jumped into the fall tour last year, because it seemed rather a sudden change from what sounded like a serious and difficult set of circumstances then. I suspect I left a few of my followers a bit in the dark with this one, but at least hopefully I did not upset anyone.]

June 29, 2012

It is easy to forget, now that I have embraced my ‘fan-ness’ with respect to Celtic Thunder and its members, that not everyone who enjoys CT’s music is a fan in the same way. Reading that anonymous note, which was posted earlier today, and which I am sure many other CT fans have seen by now, it took a few minutes for my hackles to relax and reason to restore itself. I am sure if one person felt it necessary to write such a note, there are quite a few others who quietly agree with her. Thankfully Thunderheads are a nice bunch of people who do not attack those with different perspectives; it takes a bit of courage even to admit anonymously to the sort of ‘harsh’ opinions we read today. (Actually I have seen a few similar comments about Emmet and Daniel over the past few weeks too, so Ryan is not the only man of CT to have detractors among the more general CT community.)

For the casual fan, or the newer ones, the CT guys are just singers, performers, and faces on a screen. The reaction they have seen on twitter and tumblr must seem a bit overblown, especially if they do not feel themselves to be a part of the Celtic Thunder family. For people who are newer to Celtic Thunder, tumblr must seem particularly biased and partial toward Ryan these past few weeks. Because so little information was available to any of us, those casual fans who were not online on June 3rd probably missed those scary few hours when first we knew that something very very bad had happened to Ryan. It has been almost a month now since we started praying and keeping our online ‘vigil’ for Ryan, and every day there are a few new tweets that clearly come from fans who have no idea that anything bad happened.

Ryan may not be the most ‘attractive’ of the men in CT. But when we love someone we see the person they are inside, not just their external covering. I cannot see Ryan’s face and not think of him as attractive because I see him as the person I care about so much.

The same is true, really, for all the CT guys we have had long enough. For those of us fans who are more personally interested in them, the Celtic Thunder cast are people, and quite lovely ones. We focus so much on Ryan now, not because he is our absolute favorite, but because we know we almost lost him so recently. I hope the other CT guys know we would be just as devastated if any of them were in Ryan’s place. Ryan is certainly my ‘type’, and I would be thrilled if I could find a guy for myself just like him (but atheist/humanist and maybe not on the road so much), but that does not mean I would be less concerned or upset if George or Keith or any other member of CT were hospitalized instead.

And, yes, Emmet, Daniel and Colm are a bit too new for me to know them as well as I know the others, but knowing how lovely the other CT folks are, I would hate to lose the opportunity to become better acquainted with these newer guys. It is just too bad that not all CT listeners know enough about Ryan, or the others, to see them as I do.

[This last post was prompted by an anonymous comment that a fan received and commented on as a post. The anonymous 'fan' was saying she was glad Ryan would not be on the Celtic Thunder stage for a while. She could not understand why Ryan was getting so much attention, since she did not think he was as attractive as the other guys, etc. I had not yet written my candle post, and wanted to respond in perhaps a more respectful and positive fashion before too many other fans started in on the anonymous comment writer.]
[End of Week 4 posts]

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