Monday, March 23, 2015

GUEST POST: A Fan's Five Stages of Grief with Elizabeth

I'm afraid to announce that our last guest post this month has arrived. Try to hold it together; you don't want to miss this. My own best friend agreed to cover a topic we really haven't touched on this month! Read her, enjoy her, and since she let me pick the GIFs I got to make the captions so don't think I'm not here, either. 

Hola, my amigos and amigas. The name’s Elizabeth (aka Spranz).

I’ve been mentioned before. I am Heather’s elusive best friend, and though I am not a blogger meself (yet), I am a fan, and was invited by Her Majesty to do a guest post. So here I am. My topic? The Five Stages of Grief (That You Go Through After Finishing a Really Good Book). So, in the famous words of Heather herself, buckle up, buttercup, as I tell you about one of the many dangers of being a fan of books.

1. Denial. Usually characterized by staring blankly at the last page, or saying, in a disbelieving monotone, “No! That can’t be how it ends! It can’t be over! There must be more.

Admit it. This is us. Every single book, it's us.
2. Anger. This is where you realize, like Winnie the Pooh, that there is, in fact, no more. Also the point at which you throw the book across the room with an incoherent scream of fury. (Note:  I recommend, if you have this urge, to throw something that you will not damage. Say, a pillow. No, I do not know this from experience.) If you experience strings of curse words directed at the author of the book flooding from your mouth at this point in time, do not be alarmed. These are all perfectly normal reactions.

Of all the things you could damage, Bubbles would probably be a worser idea.
3. Bargaining. In which you desperately Google the author’s name and the title of the book, in the (most of the time vain) hope that there is a sequel or a prequel or paraquel or something so that you will not be abandoned forever in the black abyss of despair (aka a world in which the story is over.) Now, I am not an avid reader of fanfiction, but I think this is probably when the most intense fanfiction reading goes on, for in your desperation to continue your life in the world of the story, you may dive down to depths unfathomable, in which strange people imagine relationships between characters that make you want to vomit. (The relationships, not the characters.)

Dear GIF, I know not where you're from, but your words sing so very true.
4. Depression. What I usually refer to as a “book hangover.” This can last anywhere from a few minutes to a day or two (to months and months and months), and involves you dragging your feet as you go about your business, a crazed look in your eyes and your hair uncombed. Your friends will ask you what’s wrong. Pity them, for you will then release a veritable flood of feels on their head. Also pity them because if they have to ask what’s wrong, they probably have never experienced a book hangover themselves, and thus probably do not care tuppence for all the info you dump on them. They will then nod nervously and back away. You may need to apologize later for your actions in order to persuade them once again that you are not, in fact, insane. (Note: the best of friends, when this occurs, will immediately go out and read the book, whether to join you in your misery or simply to discover the wonders of the book for themselves.)

Hey look, that phone has a cord. How quaint!
5. Acceptance. The moment you pick up another book, the cycle is complete. Congratulations – you have let your grief go and are ready to move on to another story! Do not feel guilty about this; it is only natural. And imagine if you were not able to move on. You would remain forever in the endless vortex of Depression, and would never get to experience another story. How sad would that be?

Problem. This is a Liz-and-Heather post and we're missing Tom.
So, there you have it. The Five Stages of Book Grief. However, coming to terms with the problem is only part of the solution – knowledge, however handy, usually does not help you pull yourself out of the Pit of Despair that is a book hangover. In order for you to complete the cycle and become a functional fan once more, you must reach the Stage of Acceptance. Here are a few good ways to do this:

1. Remember that friend who immediately went out and read the book? Contact them. Sob over the phone. Sob in person. Eat a gallon of ice cream with them. Bemoan the fates of all your favorite characters together. After all, misery loves company. Or, if all your friends are lame-o’s who hate reading (shame on them!) power up that computer. Surely there is someone in all the blogosphere who has read the same book and is willing to commiserate. (Though, admittedly, virtual ice cream is not nearly as good.)

We watched all of The Pirate Fairy, we can't just ignore him.
2. Take action! And by action, I do not mean going after the author with a pitchfork and a torch, though that would be very fun, and believe me, I have considered it more than once. (Darn you, John Flanagan, why do you have to live in Australia?) By action I mean actively moving on. Pick up another book and force yourself to read it. For example, you can choose a book with even more emotional trauma than the previous one. (I recommend Game of Thrones for this purpose. I’ve heard it’s a real doozy.) It’s like when someone asks you why you’re hitting yourself with a hammer. Answer:  because it feels so good when it stops!

Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. BACK INTO THE FRAY.
3. Last, but not least, remember that this is all a natural part of being a fan. It isn’t all fun and games and lollipops and happily ever after, you know. Sometimes it’s DEATH and PAIN and TORTURE and SADNESS and things like that. It always has, and it always will be.

Don't worry, folks. Go back to your knitting. Problem solved.
Good luck, my fandom friends. I believe you can push through your debilitating Book Grief and continue your puny little lives in reality. See you on the flipside.


Elizabeth (right) and
CJ, a friend (left)
Elizabeth is a Colorado humanities student, which means she studies all things awesome and having to do with how great humans are at their humanness. In her free time—and even in the time that isn't free—she reads obsessively and terrorizes her residence hall as the "crazy book girl." She can usually be found wrapped in a comforter, recovering from her latest book hangover. She doesn't have her own formal blog, but you can visit her on Tumblr at Blog of a Book-lover.

24 comments :

  1. THIS. This is hilarious, and so, so accurate. I especially love #2, because yup, that's pretty much me after finishing any good/really bad book. RAGE.

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    1. She's spot on, right? And yes, I think we've all turned into the Incredible Hulk once or twice in our anger.

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    2. Rage is right. Although the poor book gets thrown across the room whether it was good OR bad. XD Also, if you do happen to turn into a giant green rage monster, please tell me.

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  2. The recommendation for GoT, though. (I'm sure I went through all 5 stages for that series, though. Especially the go-after-author-with-pitchfork idea.) I normally go through book hangovers for most good books, but if I've fallen in love with a character, I go through all these stages. Especially the fanfiction-seeking stage. (Just finished reading Hand of Thrawn, and goddammit, I NEED more good Thrawn fanfic.) Anyhow ... yes. I shall now refer to this as my book psychologist's recommendation.

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    1. I feel like a lot of people want to go after GRRM with a pitchfork, honestly. I've only seen the TV show but really after Ned Stark it all went downhill. It's funny what really good characters can do to us, isn't it? For me it's a writing fan fiction problem that has been going on for... Six years. Mhmm. Elizabeth should definitely be a book psychologist. :)

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    2. Yeah, the friend in the picture up there is a fan of GoT, so I've observed my fair share of GRRM fury. I would recommend fanfiction if I knew any but I do not.

      Book psychologist. I'm making a note of that.

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  3. Sooo accurate. Especially #4. I'm a book drunkard--I'll never be clean! And I experience book hangovers all the time. I DO accept it. But the cycle NEVER ends.

    Great post!

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    1. Depression—it follows us everywhere, no? It's the kind of addiction you really don't want to get over! :)

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    2. The cycle certainly does not. Both fortunately and unfortunately. At least it's not the most expensive addiction out there. Thank goodness for libraries, eh?

      Thank you! :)

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  4. Ha, good post! Laughed so much at the GIFs (can't get enough of Robin Scherbatsky)
    So accurate too. Especially the bargaining part, which I do all the time

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    1. I'm proud of my GIFs. :) But yes, she's spot on, and I think we all bargain sometimes.

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    2. Thank you! To be honest, I got the five stages from the Internet and then modified them to be bookish. I just thought they fit. XD

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  5. This post was too funny! I relate to all of these. Reading poorly written fanfiction to make myself feel better is a definite low of the whole situation. The GIFS, spot on. Great job!

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    1. It happens, it happens. But, at least we can have faith that someday we will pull ourselves from the dregs of the fan fiction and write something better again!

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    2. A low, but a necessary one. As for me, all my fanfiction exists within my head. Ah, the things us book addicts do... Thank you!

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  6. YES THIS POST. #1 and #2 are so me. Sometimes I get so angry I want to cry xD And perfect GIF use :)

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    1. Books do that to you, right? I think I live in a constant state of denial. Also, love my GIFS, yes yes yes. :)

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    2. I'm glad you relate! :) All the credit for the gifs goes to Heather, of course, for I have none of those little moving pictures. Also the captions are hers. She's good at that kind of thing.

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  7. Oh gosh, I do the bargaining one a lot. Clare Vanderpool's website is awful, but it has an address I can send mail to. I NEED CLARE VANDERPOOL TO WRITE MORE BOOKS.

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    1. It is not the appearance but only our determination to penetrate it that matters. ATTACK! But not really... Attacking is mean...

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    2. And address always helps! Although then of course there's the possibility of the author setting the police on you, especially if you seem particularly incensed. But I've been told that doesn't happen TOO often...

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  8. Ha, this was so funny. But I don't think I've ever experienced all the five stages of book grief before. The highest I've ever gotten to is #2, and that's rare.

    That Tom Hiddleston GIF, though <3

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    1. You, my friend, are one of the lucky few. :)

      He's wonderful, isn't he?

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    2. Like Elizabeth said, you're a lucky one. I myself am the sort who just deals with them all on an all-too-regular basis!

      Tom is fantastic. :D

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