I took a break today from social media and attended to family affairs. My daughter, a budding writer and director of audio books came to visit and I shared my Sleepy Hollow news with her. (She’s a Buffy/Angel fan who never got into Sleepy Hollow but would sometimes watch with me when she was home.) There was a time in her life when she was hooked on Star Wars and went to cons. I’m afraid I was an enabler. I once dumpster dived to pull out a life-size cardboard Darth Maul for her which haunted our house forever and is still squirreled away in a closet somewhere next to a model Millenium Falcon and papier-maché Boba Fett mask. I shared my version of what was happening on #SleepyHollow Street and she looked at me and said, “Mom, do you want to write the show or watch the show?” She, it turns out, was not going to be an enabler.
I have been thinking about this line between the writers and the watchers. There is a line. Sleepy Hollow is not my production. I never applied to be a writer or writer’s assistant. I don’t draw a salary or pay a salary. I’m a watcher. And the fact that I entered into a long-term relationship with this show made me a fan. This is the first time in 50 years I’ve been a fan. Yes, I’m old enough to have watched Star Trek (The Original) and I spent a summer writing letters to CBS to renew the show. Paper letters, in long-hand, mailed with a stamp. It’s taken 50 years for another show to come around and spark my imagination with exciting characters and story-telling. And after 48 hrs, I think I can honestly say, I want to see more stories.
Before the S3 finale, I and my husband, (who only lifts his head to look at Sleepy Hollow during the twistories, after which he mumbles something and returns to his book), were on Netflix looking for a movie. He’s a Dickens fan and we never saw the 2012 film with Helena Bonham-Carter so we clicked and watched. (Apple TV is still a mystery to him, so the tables have been turned on who owns the remote in my house). While I was talking to my daughter today, realizing I would get no sympathy from her, the image of Miss Havisham came to mind and I said a silent OMG to myself.
Over the last 48 hours, I have become Miss Havisham.
Left at the altar of #Ichabbie.
All my Great Expectations atomized and blown away.
I have drawn the curtains to contain my anguish. Sitting in my wedding guest clothes, with no wedding to go to. Staring at this gift of Sleepyhead love that has taken me 3 years to make and now there will be no nuptials.
I know a little bit about love. I know that it has to be shared. (I will be celebrating my 35th wedding anniversary this fall). I know that part of my anguish is I don’t know what to do with this love. So I can sit in my darkened room and allow all of my joy to crumble and decay, or I can listen to my own Pip stand-in (daughter), and walk out into the light.
After 48 hours, I can say that I’ve pulled back one set of drapes. Tomorrow, perhaps, a second. I don’t want to be a Miss Havisham who has set the clock to a moment in time after which nothing is relevant. To constantly live in a moment of anguish and consciously choose to walk away from joy.
It will take time. It will require a change in my relationship to the world of Sleepy Hollow should there be a Season 4. Less time on social media, temporary or permanent respite from fanfic–“an adjustment” as Ichabod once said to Abbie long ago.
And maybe, just being a watcher will give me the permission to enjoy the work of others.
At the end of “The Truman Show” when Truman unravels the mystery of his life and runs away to build a new life, there is a scene where one of the viewers realizes the show is over. He changes the channel. And that’s it.
I’m not ready to change the channel. I’m not ready to say good-bye to a story that has had me captivated for so long and allowed me to make friends with people I would have never known if we weren’t drawn together by our mutual love of Sleepy Hollow.
It might be that when the curtains are fully drawn, there will be less of us around the table. And that’s okay. You have to follow your heart. And if you leave, remember to do it for love.