Once Upon A Time Wish-List: 5 Things I Crave

Because when has wishing for something ever gone wrong?

In all seriousness, I’ve watched five and a half seasons of Once Upon A Time now and like any fan who takes this stuff too seriously, I’ve got a wish-list.

  1. Explore/expand Rumple’s relationship with his grandson. Please! Let Rumple and Henry get to know each other. If I were Henry, I would be asking Grandpa Gold for stories about my dead father. How could these two being thrust together to solve a problem not be great drama?
  2. I want to see the promise of the premise: fairytale characters in our world. Evict the cast from Storybrooke! That, or do start driving tour buses up and down Main Street such that our rather magical characters have to confront that they now live in a world “without magic.”
  3. Start teaming up other non-obvious duos for shenanigans: Belle and David could have to solve something or Granny and Hook. Yes. That sounds like a riot, Granny and Hook save the day.
  4. More Archie! So many of, all of, our main cast really need some couch time to deal with their issues. And therapists are problem solvers, use Archie!
  5. A direction. I would like to see an overarching goal for the series, a grand arc. Give us a sense of where this has all been going so that when the series does end, because like all good things it will, we get the satisfaction of having arrived.

None of these things are related to my hopes for the currently active storylines, not because I don’t have such hopes, believe me I do, but rather I wanted to take a look at the bigger picture. These wishes are more for the distant future, wishes I think could bring Once viewers (me!) a lot of satisfaction.

Admittedly, I think the first one is a bit of a plot hole that needs filling. In a story so focused on family, it doesn’t make sense not to address a huge loss for two major characters. Both Henry and Rumple have unmet needs with regards to Baelfire’s death. These two characters need each other for support and there is no way Henry would not want to know everything about his father. Rumple is the only source of information about Baelfire’s childhood.

In addition, the fact that Rumple lost his son is what caused this entire story; it’s a little bit important. So it would likewise be important to show how Rumple is dealing with the death of that son. He would want to know his grandson and do everything he could to preserve that relationship. As it stands, he has a relationship with Henry in name only. The last time we saw a hint of this relationship was early in season four.

My second wish could be a way to raise the stakes and address the fundamentals of the show. The interaction between two worlds is a conflict so huge there are a million directions they could take this. Exploring this concept would be a perfect way to use the characters we have to full advantage. We, if it’s not to presumptuous to say so, are attached to the characters who have been in our lives for years and their stories are important to us. I do not feel the need to add more fairytales to the mix, but to explore how the players we have (and that’s a lot already!) would handle our world, the world outside the town line.

Of course, opening this door would allow us to exit the typical patterns of interactions we have come to expect between our characters. Who knows what Granny and Hook might get into when Granny expands her franchise to include catering river cruises on the Jolly Roger?

And oh dearie me do our poor characters all need therapy! Archie is the town secret-keeper and I can just see him feeling unable to stay uninvolved in a particular catastrophe because of what he knows, doctor-patient confidentiality or not. A rich vein for exploration largely untapped.

Lastly, the sense of direction. One of the greatest strengths of several stellar television shows in the recent past has been that they are a complete story. I’m talking about Breaking Bad and Battlestar Galactica, the 2003 reimagining. Both of these had an infinite array of possibilities which could take place between the beginning and the end. The writers could go after any theme they wanted as long as it served the spine of the story. Without spoiling either show, having an end point doesn’t have to mean a fixed number of seasons or episodes, it is only a direction that, when the writers are satisfied that they have explored the world they created, can be employed to satisfy the audience and tie everything together neatly.

A direction does not have to be the back of a cave with nothing beyond it, it can be more like a doorway at the end of the hall. It can even be an open door, but it is a marker and it let’s the audience know what to anticipate. In my opinion, anticipation and the guessing game the audience plays with fiction are a huge part of the fun. I have this inkling of where a story is headed, so I become an investigator picking up clues trying to figure out how to get there, wherever there is.

A directional hint also gives the audience confidence that the writers themselves are not lost even when the story meanders delightfully somewhere unexpected. I am certain there are disadvantages to having a known direction, but a direction can serve the story by revealing just enough of the spine to hold what would otherwise appear to be disparate pieces together. I believe that gentle boundaries help keep a story focused on what is important and help it keep moving toward its ultimate purpose. And stories do need a purpose!

Once may have hinted at a direction with Snow’s goal of getting back to normal and in how Emma and Aladdin both have expressed fatigue over the constant barrage of hardships suffered because they are saviors. I earnestly hope that Once does not conclude its run with everything being “normal” in Storybrooke because for me, there is no worse death for a story than to rip away what made it special in the first place.

That said, I would still find it quite satisfying to have our characters learn to live with and accept their extraordinary lives and be able to pursue more ordinary dreams. But don’t take away the magic; that would kill something beautiful and unique.

Some may be wondering why I’ve been talking about how to end a story with reference to Once. No, I don’t have any scoop or inside knowledge. I would not want any such thing anyway because I am vehemently anti-spoiler. But, because I am a writer, I know that the end of the story is the thing that keeps a story on track. I would be delighted to see Once successfully go on for several more years. I would not be delighted to see it wander fizzling in the dark for several more years. So it is with that in mind that I am thinking about its ultimate aim.

It needs to have one, even if it doesn’t tell us at all, my stated preferences aside.

I’m certain it is obvious to everyone that Once means a great deal to me. I have a wish-list not because I think Once is a lousy show, but because when I think about Once, my brain starts sparking off in a million different directions. I have so many ideas about what Once could do it isn’t even funny. If Mr. Kitsis and Mr. Horowitz are looking for another employee, consider this my audition piece. Yeah, I’d love to write for Once. That would make me extremely happy!

Do you have a million ideas about Once too?

What do you need from Once? What are you hoping for quite aside from the granular season level plot points? If Once were yours, what would you do with it?

I can’t wait to read your comments!

While you’re thinking about it, you can check out some of my projects! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

You can also check out my fan-art! This pottery project is a thank-you to the creators of Once and a testimonial of what Once has become to its fans.

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Magic Through Art: Once Upon A Time’s Fan-Art Community

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things about being a part of the fandom is the fan-art. Who knew that television watchers, that’s what we are after all, were such an amazingly talented group?

Well, it should have been obvious. Once is, in my not humble at all opinion, among the most inventive, imaginative, novel and fantastical television shows to hit the main stream since probably Buffy. Sure there are lots of great shows out there, but most fall into genre boxes that already exist. Then there’s Once, which upon its birth, defied the typical mold by eschewing the easy crowd pleasing genres. It’s not a procedural. It’s not a pure fantasy like Game of Thrones. It’s not a historical fiction. It’s not a crime driven drama. It’s not animated children’s (or adult’s) television. It’s not a space opera or other science fiction piece. Oh, and thank the gods it’s not a reality show. Even if I do have a soft place for cooking shows like MasterChef Junior. Once seems a bit out there on its own. For now (here’s hoping we can get more shows like Once in the future!).

It should have been obvious that Once fans are amazingly creative people because Once, being what it is, would clearly attract out of the box thinkers: those prone to flights of fancy, those whose inner worlds are populated by things on the edges of the bell curve. Yup, I’m a nerd. And I’m not alone!

All this creative energy is so wonderful because artists and writers and imagineers of all kinds come out of the woodwork to show us all they’re amazing stuff. Heck, Adam Horowitz hosts #FanArtFriday on Twitter (seems mostly when the show is running) just to show off how creative his fans are! The tide of positivity coming from the fandom’s artists lifts us all when we’re a part of these communities.

Feeling sad because something happened to your favorite character? Here, look at some art! Feeling excited because your favorite just had the best thing ever happen to them? Someone probably made art about that too. Not sure what you’re feeling and just want company? Visit the fandom and talk to an artist. They want to talk to you! At least I do.

What about the fan-artists themselves? What does the art do for them? Why are people rampantly making art about Once Upon A Time? Those are huge questions and there are undoubtedly a gazillion answers. While these artists are not officially affiliated with OUAT, they are a piece of how we experience Once. As a fan-artist myself, I feel like I’m part of something bigger than I am, like there’s just a little bit of Once’s magic in me. I hope Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Kitsis don’t mind.

Here’s a video about my fan-artist experience:

Read more about this project here.

Sharing something like this with a huge group such as a fandom helps me feel engaged as a fan. But, I’ll be honest, it’s also a little scary because those are some large emotions I just put on the screen for you. That’s probably just as true for any piece of fan-art you see. The artist is sharing their emotional world with you, even if not as explicitly as I just did.

As a potter, I spend a lot of time with other artists and one thing I know for certain about my compatriots: they love talking about art. Their art, other people’s art, your art. Oh, do we love to talk about art! Now maybe potters are just a chatty bunch, but I suspect the same is true for lots of other artists. I invite you to talk to the fan-artists you come across about their work! How’d they come up with the idea? How did they make whatever it is they made? How did their art make you feel?

See what I mean about what fan-art brings to our community? We all love to share it around and talk about that amazing drawing/painting/manipulation we saw. Heck, some corners of the fandom even have awards ceremonies which include art.

But. There is a little bit of fan history I should share that’s not so sunny, so I’ll keep it brief. The creators of books, television and movies weren’t always so supportive of fan work. The phenomenon of explicitly encouraging fan works is actually fairly recent. In the past, if you got caught making something of your own based off someone else’s intellectual property, copyright, you could be sued. For real and for serious, sued. The fanfiction world in particular was vulnerable to this and many older fics will prominently display a disclaimer making it clear that they are not making any money off the work and are not intending an infringement.

Nowadays “fair use” seems to be a bit more broadly protective of fan creativity. Many content originators now encourage fan activities because they actually increase fan engagement with the original work. It took them a while to see that, but it seems they have come around. Because of that, we have our wonderful and massive online communities which share our personal fan work with each other for everyone to enjoy. Yay for progress! (Disclaimer: this is not legal advice!)

So celebrate the fan-art! It’s marvelous to have access to thousands of artists we would never otherwise even hear about because you won’t find their work in galleries or museums. We all love to share fan-art around in our communities, that’s how we see it, but just make sure to keep the artists identifying info attached to the work so they get the credit when it goes viral. We may not be able to legally make money off of some of this work, but fan-artists can transform from amateurs into professionals because of recognition, so it’s super important to nurture that process.

That leads me to the part where I would like to repost all my favorite fan-art works, but I don’t have the permissions or the links I’d need to do this right. That could change if you, a fan-artist, want your work displayed here on this blog. We could definitely talk about that! I’d have to figure out how to make it work, but it shouldn’t be too terribly difficult.

So, with that happy thought, go forth and keep creating the fan-art which makes our fandoms amazing. And then go thank the content creators (actors, writers, crew, musicians etc.) for their hard work which makes all this possible.

Before you go, you can check out some of my projects! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

Once Season 5B: 9 Hopes

Once Season 5B: 9 Hopes

Alert: this article assumes current knowledge of Once Upon A Time

Dearly Departed, we are gathered here today…

… to fish Hook out of the Underworld.

I don’t know about you, but it has been a long hiatus. I filled the time doing this and that, of course, as one does. Life is full of non-moments. In fact, I think it is the punctuations that we live for, the nodes between the links in time, the accent marks in the music. Once is such a mark for me. We as humans attempt to spend as much time doing pleasant things with pleasant people as possible. In between, we go about doing the other necessary, but less fun, things which sustain us and enable us to create the more precious moments for ourselves and other people. You know, adulting. To me, Once feels like getting a break from all that pressure to make good. When I think of the end of this hiatus, I am transported back to those special moments in childhood when I found that Easter egg, before my brother and cousins, and I held that beautiful emblem of parent-love in my hands.

There is nothing in the adulthood quite like an Easter egg hunt. Except perhaps these little moments, which we spend our lives looking for. Specialness is rare, by definition, and Once is special. I have been spending time convincing, cajoling, begging and suggesting that those around me catch up with Once. And slowly, slowly, some of them have come around. I just love getting phone calls disguised as social check-ins which are really an excuse to talk about Once. Folks get caught up and then they call me. And we talk, sometimes for hours.

Fiction is sneaky in its power. Often we think we’re just in the mood to be entertained, or maybe we want company when we’re alone, but then something happens. Instead of indulging in the quintessential passivity, couch loungin’ ‘n TV watchin’, we’re transported somewhere else. Neurons start sparking as we make associations between our real lives and this new land which exists only in our collective mind. Yes, we are Borg, we all have Once suffusing our synapses. This commonality of experience brings our own lives into focus and it connects us to the experiences of others. Eavesdropping on the inner workings of the writers and actors, directors and crew is, thankfully, an acceptable mechanism of voyeurism. There are few more transparent and available looks into the minds of our fellow humans. Fiction is quite an intimate exchange between creators and fans.

And so we are, for an hour or so at a time, vividly imagining, learning and feeling together in spite of our ultimate separateness. Until it ends. The screen fades to black and then we get credits and music as a consolation prize. Hopefully we are left bereft and missing the people we were just hanging out with. That is definitely the case with Once.

It feels like my friends went on vacation and I’ve been just waiting for their return so I can invite them over for dinner and hear all the latest in their lives. I have missed these characters as if they were real people.

Hi Emma! So sorry about Hook, we all miss him. Make sure you send me a postcard from the Underworld.

Rumple, buddy, you gotta talk to your wife about you-know-what… I understand why you did what you did, but, my friend, you need help. Serious help. If you ever wanna talk, just call me, or better yet, come over and I’ll always listen.

Some people say, Barbara, it’s just a TV show, right?

Oh, of course I know they’re not real! But the neat thing about fiction is that while it is all make-believe, our reactions, our thoughts, our feelings, our pain, our fears and yes our hopes are completely and absolutely real. Our mental landscapes happen in real life though they aren’t visible to other people, even when we try to share. The best we can do for each other is to listen because, after all, we cannot experience one another’s internal workings directly. Unfortunately. Everything that happens in our minds happens and is real and impactful to the external reality we share in common.

Speaking of which, the impact, and indeed the whole point, of fiction is for us to react to it, to interact with it in our minds. Chewing over these fictional relationships and situations feeds our ability to deal with our real lives. This process informs us about our deeply held beliefs, can challenge them, can change us for better and, I would be remiss not to say, for worse also.

Fiction is like a dress rehearsal for life.

That’s why stories are so critically important for our life long maturation processes.

So yep, I’ve been thinking about you Belle, for months, fearing for how you’ll deal with what’s coming between you and the man you love. I’m so here for you. Whatever you end up deciding about him.

Regina, I know she’s not yours, but this isn’t your first adoption and I think with all the hard work you’ve been doing these past few years, you’re going to do even better the second time. And you did great with Henry even while being evil.

But I’ve gotta say, I question your judgment, Emma and Regina, in taking your teenage son to Hell with you… He’s not even an adult yet.

That brings me to my hopes for Season 5B. We’ve all had quite a bit of time to think about what we want to have happen next. Since the plane of possibility is so hugely broad I’ll conduct a little poll about my own hopes and see which them you would most like to see come to fruition.

Without further ado, here are my hopes.

Most of all, though less specific, I hope this little mission to the Underworld goes spectacularly sideways for our intrepid adventurers. Once is at its best when I’m left staring at the screen with the blood draining from my face while I’m trying to figure out where that came from. That said, I’m looking forward to warm fuzzies too. Once has given us some of the most touching moments I have ever seen on television in the past and we have no reason to expect less in 5B.

Adjacent to those moments, while I am up front about Rumbelle being my favorite of the romantic relationships, I have grown away from just waiting for snuggles. What I really want for them is to spend time dealing with their lives. We haven’t had a lot of that recently and, together or apart, I want to watch them sorting out their difficulties. Shipping is nice and all, but that’s what fan fiction is for. I want our writers to do some of the heavy lifting required between Belle and Rumple and put it on the screen for us to watch. Real life relationships are challenged by themes of addiction, dishonesty, ambition and codependence. Lots of people struggle with how to manage this and how amazing would it be to see this play out between Belle and Rumple?

What are you hoping for? Please comment below.

It’s clear I have a tremendous amount of faith in the creators of Once, and hopes plot-wise as well. We are in good hands, my friends. The writers have shown over and over a creativity seldom even approached elsewhere on television. Once is a very special Easter egg indeed and our journey of discovery is just about to resume. Even better, the internet just told me that Once has been picked up for Season 6!!!!!

Do you have your basket? Let’s go!

While you’re here, come check out my Once projects:

Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

Fan-art in the making! I’m in the midst of a Once-themed Gratitude Project. Take a look at my progress!

Part of the Magic: The Fan Experience We Create for Each Other

Part of the Magic: The Fan Experience We Create for Each Other

The passions of Once Upon A Time fans run deep and swift. The miracle of fiction allows us all to meet each other in a common place of interest and intrigue. A TV fandom, not unlike a kingdom, is an extensive network of people held together by a common theme, but, instead of a ruler at the center, it is a work of art. Yes, Once Upon A Time is somebody’s art project, a lot of somebodies actually.

The experience of the fan does not have to end with the fan’s solitary ingestion of the piece of art. In fact, the fan-created world surrounding the official Once offerings is rich and diverse. A marvel to behold. With the advent of the Internet, a global choir of fans are now all able to sing together in ways we never could before. Fan communities extend Once Upon A Time far beyond its TV boundaries. They create a space for fan participation.

We members of the fan community ARE a part of the making of Once Upon A Time even if we never see the set in person. Every time we hit the like button as a meme floats across our e-desk, every time we post a bit of snark, we are creating the experience of Once both for ourselves and for everyone who sees what we have done.

Once is not solely in the hands of its originators.

It is lovely that fans can participate as much or as little as they feel comfortable. Some fans just call their family members after they see an episode to discuss and that’s the end of it. They are content with that. Other fans pay large sums of money to fly across the country, the world?, in hopes of meeting their favorite star and mingling with the roiling hordes of others doing the same. Their smiles are, dare I say, fanatic. Imagine that we all have a filing cabinet in our brains labeled Once Upon A Time. Some folks have a single folder which contains only the episodes they have seen and their personal reactions. There are other folks who have moved on to needing a Dewey Decimal System for to catalogue their acquired memories.

This teeming ocean of fans is beautiful. A piece of fiction has inspired millions to conversation. And many others to much more than conversation. Once has given rise to a wellspring of fan creativity. What we may not realize is that fan sites, Facebook groups, blogs and Twitter groups don’t just bubble up from the earth by magic. All of the infrastructure is run by real people who put their time and effort into making something great for everyone to enjoy. A lot like Once itself.

I am certain that some content providers (folks who make the clever memes you like and the articles you share) have figured out how to get paid for their efforts. The popular press certainly has. But a huge chunk of the fan-made content (which I think is arguably better quality that most of the popular press) very likely do it only because they enjoy it. They give their time and efforts freely to the fans for little aside from the hope of perhaps attracting new fans to the show and, more personally, a smile, a thank you and maybe a few more hits.

Once is so much more than a TV show. Once provides a jumping off point for thoughts, hopes, friendships, discussions, projects, art, writing and much more that I am certain never to be able to list. The social value of Once is enormous!

In addition to the fans having relatively easy access to the stars through Twitter, following is just a click a way, the creators of the show can actually hear the fandom and its vacillating moods. Anyone can tweet, post, share or comment on anything that they want. And some of the stars seemingly spend quite a lot of time with their fans on Twitter. That means that our rumblings actually make it to the ears of those who provide us with the art we love.

We the fans have a mighty megaphone.

That begs the question: what message are we shouting at the people giving us this incredible gift? I hope that what is coming through the strongest is our message of passion and engagement. Someone said recently that the way to know your work is making a splash on the internet is to acquire some haters. At face value that seems like a dreadfully negative metric. But it isn’t. Think about how many millions of posts you scroll by, read or not, for the one comment you leave. Many people are quite busy out in the world so their time spent on a fan site or Facebook group is limited. If someone actually takes the time out of their day to tell you they don’t like what you did, you know that they are engaged enough, noticed you enough, to care deeply enough that they were willing to go so far as to disagree with you to your face.

Yes, there are trolls who make a profession out of crapping all over the Internet just to get attention. But that’s not most people. The mark of having made it is when someone leaves you a genuine note of dissent. It means they didn’t just scroll by or decide you weren’t worth their time. It means they are thinking about what you made.

That’s why I hope that the creators of Once, when they hear our pain over this character or that story arc, grin fiercely and know that they have engaged our passions. And we Oncers have SO much passion! But I also hope that they hear all the wonderful things we have to say. That they see all the fan-art, all the memes, the brilliant (and not, self included) articles we have written. That they know that Once is number six on the list of TV shows on fanfiction.net with 40.7k stories. That says a lot! That says passion!

I hope you will join me in committing to creating a positive message of adoration and appreciation for our mighty megaphone. That doesn’t mean not expressing our angst, our concerns or even our doubts, but it does mean doing so from the frame gratitude for the enormous gift that is Once.

While on the subject of gratitude, I wish to express mine toward all of the administrators of our Facebook fan groups. There is a symbiotic relationship between content providers, like myself, and those who take the time and effort to run fan groups. They gather fans together and give the content providers a place to share their thoughts and feelings while the content providers give the fans a reason to stay in their groups by providing new material for discussion (good, bad, or otherwise). Neither would be half as neat without the other. Echo chambers are only fun for about five minutes. Ten if you’re a singer.

As a group member, I’m looking for articles because I love reading what other fans have to say. As a content provider, I love to write articles so it’s a nice trade relationship for me. I also love seeing fan-art, hearing theories and reading stories. These groups are such a wonderful way to  participate in Once Upon A Time.

As a way to a acknowledge my appreciation for these groups, I want to post a directory of those I belong to and where I post my content. It is essential to note that these groups are diverse in their foci, membership and rules. For example, some groups categorically will not allow any advertising for other groups in their feeds. This is understandable; so while I will share this article about fandom in all of my groups, the directory itself will be behind a link so as not to break anyone’s rules (I hope).

Directory

Dear Admins,

If this article does break your rules in a way I was clearly unable to figure out, I ask that you just remove the post and let me know so I can do better next time. I keep notes about specific or unusual rules and try my best to follow them. I’m not out to detract from your group, I just want to share my thoughts and provide your members with fun.

Most sincerely,

Barbara Mac

Come check out my Once projects:

Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

Fan-art in the making! I’m in the midst of a Once-themed Gratitude Project. Take a look at my progress!

Once Upon A Time Fangroup Directory

Once Upon A Time Fangroup Directory

It is with great pleasure that I present to you the Once fan community I belong to on Facebook, and a few other links for your browsing pleasure. Being a part of these groups brings me great joy and I would encourage you to consider being a member of more than one. These groups all have different flavors and personalities, different wonders to offer. Some are spoiler groups on purpose and others are quite well policed and spoiler-free.

If you landed here and would like me to post my articles on your group, comment below with the name of your group (exactly as written!) and preferably a link. Upon admission, I will not only add your group to this directory but also add your group to my article distribution list. No need to be exclusively a Facebook group, if you host a site and want my articles, I’m game so long as my name and my link are on them. Delighted in fact. I’ll post your link here in return. Just let me know in the comments below.

Below I have listed with their links the groups I contribute to and to which I belong along with the number of members at the time I looked. A note about the size of a group. I have found that my experiences in larger or smaller groups are different, but not better or worse, necessarily. Size does not determine the quality of a group, its members and its content do. I am posting the number of members for interest and because I imagine some people look for smaller or larger groups to suit their needs.

General Facebook Fan Groups in the order of my joining them:

Once Upon A Time Fans 40.8k

Once Upon A Time: Heroes an Villains 2.2k

Once Upon a Time – ABC 16.4k

Once Upon A time Junkies 2.6k

Once Upon A Time Fan Community 2.2k

All Things Once Upon A Time 3.1k

Once Upon A Time- Oncers United 5.2k

Creative Oncers 880

The Hearts of the Truest Believers 11k

Once Upon a Time Addicts 12k

Once upon a time fans for ever 585

Once Upon A Time Captured Moments 858

Once Upon A Time – The Dark One’s Castle 1k

Once Upon A Time SPOILERS 5.7k

Once upon a time (Tv series) 151

once upon a time die hard fans 348

Once Upon A Time Fan Group 1.3k

it’s not easy being green 383

OUAT Fan Fiction & Creations 136

‘Ship and Actor Specific Groups:

Cora Queen of Hearts a Barbara Hershey and Rose McGowan Fangroup 183

Captain Swan Crew 302

Rumbelle Addicts 1k

Rumbelle For The Win 229

Evil 👑 Regals [Lana Parrilla Fans] 9.7k

Rumplestiltskin Appreciation Group 72

Rumplestiltskin #teamrumple 23

Evil Regals 6.1k

SQ Oncers support group. (ALL SHIPS WELCOMED) 599

COLIN O DONOGHUE ONCE UPON A TIME hook 1.6k

Once Upon A Time: Charming Family Feels 1.1k

SwanQueen Fanvideo and Fanart 472

Swan Queen – Remma – OUaT – Regina/Emma 3.2k

Other links I enjoy:

fanfiction.net

AO3 An Archive of Our Own

Disclaimer: sadly necessary! I will maintain this directory in direct proportion to the amount of time I have to spend on it. Meaning, if I haven’t got time or inclination, I won’t do it. This is not a promise of advertising for your group or site. I will also screen against anything I consider inappropriate or not in alignment with my values or the tone/flavor of this site.

I must also comment that I have been kicked out of a few groups for reasons unknown to me. I do my very best to be a good internet citizen and follow the rules to the best of my understanding. I would recommend to anyone starting a group to be clear about the rules and to at least warn someone who has caused an offense and give them even one chance to amend their behavior.

Ruling with an iron boot may be easier, but it isn’t kind or productive. Kicking trolls is a desirable and necessary function of an administrator, but bloggers? People who put substantial time and effort into trying to create something nice for the fan community deserve at least a heads up about what they missed in your rulebook. That said, I’d love a second chance in some of those groups who booted me. If that’s you, or a group you know, please comment below and I’ll re-request to join. Please tell me if something I post doesn’t meet your requirements and why, then just delete the post. I do try very hard to be a good citizen and offer as little offense as possible.

For thoroughness: if you do NOT want your group advertised here, please tell me ASAP (politely) and I will take care of the problem.

Thanks everyone for making it amazing to be a Oncer.

Come check out my Once projects:

Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

Fan-art in the making! I’m in the midst of a Once-themed Gratitude Project. Take a look at my progress!

Once Upon A Time Season 5A Awards Poll

Imagine if you will, a darkened auditorium and a stage glowing gold under the lights with its deep, velvety red backdrop. The house holds thousands and every seat is taken. You are dressed to the nines and fiddling with an unopened envelope behind a graceful yet spare podium. Who’s name is in the envelope?

You decide! In celebration of a beautifully written and fiery first half of Season 5, let’s recognize the hard work of those who make our favorite show. This poll will be open for one week, until 19 December 2015. After that I will publish the results and tweet them to the winners (and you should too!!). Assuming real life doesn’t get in the way, I will even make nice memes as awards.

Polls are closed! Click here for the awards!

*Spoiler alert! Poll assumes knowledge of Season 5A.*

Thank you so much for participating! Check back here the week of 19 December for results!

While we are on the subject of opinions… 

You can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

An Open Letter to Rumplestiltskin from Santa Claus

My Very Dear Rumple,

I got your letter. Several centuries in the post has found it a little rumpled but my response is no less urgent. My deepest apologies for the delay, I only found the bill for my inter-realm mail service yesterday and it has, unfortunately, gone unpaid for a millennium. As I have seen the state of your former castle and your current shop, I know you can well imagine how the clutter tends to accumulate when one is very long lived. I have hired a new elf to head the Division of Correspondence, and I hear she is already causing quite a stir.

Forgive an old man rambling on about business when there is the matter of your letter to attend to. Rumple, you may not even remember writing this, young as you were and as long as it has been so I will remind you of your requests. And, for future reference, the Enchanted Forest tradition of burning wishes on the darkest night of the year is a charming but impractical method of sending a letter.

The contents of your letter are as follows (I have taken the liberty of correcting your creative spelling):

I wish for my Papa. I want him here and to love me.

You did not write much, little Rumple, but letters like these are the most important ones.

Imagine my surprise, when upon looking back at your life, I found you still living. I thought, surely, when I got to reading this after so many long years that the young author would be long passed to the underworld. I admit, I was hoping that I would look at your life and see you had found some love, some peace. That is what I always hope for, of course.

Yours is not the first tragic letter from a child I have received, as you can well imagine. But most of those letter’s get to me in a timely manner and I can give them something at least for their winter gift. Do me a favor and ignore all that pomp and circumstance manufactured about me in your present realm. I maintain a healthy weight and I do not traffic in baubles, thank you very much.

No, for most children, I provide small miracles like warming a heart at just the right time, or helping the child notice a smile. But I wasn’t there for you Rumple. Had I nudged the spinners to hug you just once more, what difference could that have made to you? We will never know and it grieves me.

Among other vicious rumors about this old sorcerer, I pray you to ignore that nasty tale about giving the naughty coal instead of gifts. That, my dear boy, is a malicious lie spread by parents to manipulate the urchins they fail to discipline. Doling out punishments, that is not what I do. I am not in the business of judgment.

And so, Rumplestiltskin, Darkest One, since I could not meet my end of the bargain when you were a child, I will meet it now. My gift to you is advice.

You made a deal with your wife recently: if she were to let you love her, you would do so with honesty and courage. I am so proud of you for that, by the by. Now that she has accepted the terms of the arrangement you offered, it is time for you to keep your word.

Tell your wife, Rumple.

No matter the consequences, breaking deals is expensive, as you well know. Speaking of the price of magic, consider my debt to you paid.

I wish you the best, my boy.

Yours truly,

Santa Claus

11 Reasons to Be Grateful for Once Upon a Time

11 Reasons to Be Grateful for Once Upon a Time

Once matters.

It matters in ways I never imagined it would that first sunny summer evening when I sat down with Netflix to watch the pilot. Within two scenes I knew that this show had been written for me. Someone had asked the all important question: what does this world need most? Hope. I was sitting in my living-room with only the company of the pain of serious and debilitating injury and the loneliness that comes from being home bound. But then Prince Charming was charging across a lake on that gorgeous horse.

It was like he came for me in my own glass coffin, the one made up of the windows in my house, and he said, “I will always find you.”

As I healed, and continue to heal, I have come to embrace gratitude as an essential tenant of making happiness a reality. I made this blog as an investment in my happiness and hopefully to make other people happy too. Purposeful engagement with what we have to be grateful for brings those things into the forefront of our minds. Gratitude changes the focus away from what is wrong and toward what is right. I have begun to believe that gratitude is indeed a primary ingredient required to Make Happiness.

With that in mind, I think it is high time I told everyone who works SO hard to make Once Upon a Time that I am grateful for their work. Here is why Once matters so much to me.

I am grateful for Once because:

  1. Once lifted me up and away from my sorrows that summer evening. Suddenly, in a life consisting of little aside from pain and therapies (also known as pain), I had something amazing to look forward to. My mind had a place to go filled with imagination, love, creativity, an Evil Queen and a giggling imp.
  2. Once gave me homework. Because of Once, I started digging in my memories from childhood and wondering which fairytale was my favorite. I believe the first fairytale I looked up was Rumplestiltskin because my dim memories were not enough to satisfy. Because of Once I set out to acquire a copy of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as I came to realize it was my favorite fairytale.
  3. While on the subject of homework, because of Robert Carlyle‘s exquisite performances as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, I looked him up too. It was only then that I realized that I knew him from some of his previous work: Trainspotting and Angela’s Ashes. Trainspotting was terrifying and gave me nightmares as a teenager, and it terrified me again. Delightfully. Someday I will have a better grasp on Scottish so that I can understand more than sixty percent of the dialogue. *shrug*
  4. I am grateful to Mr. Carlyle personally for his bravery demonstrated in a career spent often playing downtrodden, broken, forgotten, and cast aside characters. What he gives of himself in these performances is breathtaking and beautiful (and/or terrifying as mentioned). That said, spending time with the quirky Hamish MacBeth is a pleasure indeed. His Rush is gritty and fresh. My questions about people like Rush (yes I know real people in my life who are much like him) inspired me to think deeply about them. Frankly, Mr. Carlyle reminded me why I have a literary degree and now he’s got me using it! I cannot say enough good about this man, or overstate my gratitude.
  5. Once makes me laugh. I was definitely short on laughs and smiles that first evening. That evening felt like being marooned on a sailing ship at sea in dead calm waters under sweltering heat. Once felt like a gust of emotional wind that started me moving forward again. I was laughing and smiling for real, and it had been a while.
  6. Once makes me cry. Why am I grateful for tears?? Like many fans, I am deeply engaged with these characters and this story. It is a living breathing part of my life. When it hurts, I hurt. But this, my friends, is a reward. Explosions and car chases are cheap thrills, don’t last and mean largely nothing much past the moment they happen. I’m a lady with expensive tastes. Engagement with a piece of fiction is much like the homework you did when you were a kid in school. The more you put into it, the more you get out. The writers have poured their hearts into this work, as have the actors and everyone else who works on the show. When I pour my heart in, I get to see what they are trying to show me. And when it is painful, it is a beautiful pain, it is a relatable pain, a pain that reflects our human connection. Emotional responses like these require investment and are thus, emotionally expensive. Experiencing pain through fiction reminds us, when it happens in real life, that we are not alone. So if I’m crying over Once, I know I am not the only one.
  7. Once has been an integral part of my therapies and my road to recovery. Without getting into much detail about what happened to me, Once helped me begin reading again. Once inspired fan fiction authors to take to the Internet and share their joys. This allowed me to read for pleasure instead of only for therapy. I will share a secret with you though, find what makes you happy and figure out how to make that into whatever therapy you need. When we enjoy doing something that is hard for us, we’re way more likely to keep doing it.
  8. Even better than helping me read, Once helped me begin writing after such a long pause. Once broke my heart in mid Season 4 and amid the leftover puddle of goo, the desire to write remerged from its long slumber. I began writing about Once nearly a year ago now because it hurt so good!
  9. This resurgence of writing is so important to my recovery. While I am, after years on the couch, able to work nearly full time, very little energy is left over for anything else. But Once inspires me to write. So, instead of being a passive couch potato after work each night, I am working on this blog. A little at a time, ever so slowly, my capacity for life is increasing because of Once.
  10. Once gave me this blog. Because of this blog, I have reached out to the online fan communities and begun using a Once as a bridge toward a certification I am studying for as required for my work. I am a budding scientist and have a lot to learn (no that process doesn’t end with college). Because of Once, I have designed a research study and will use it to practice the statistical and analytic skills I need to learn for work ahead of that big hairy certification test. You can help me with that here!
  11. Last, and I think most importantly, I am grateful to Once because it is giving me hope. It gives me hope because through efforts here on this blog, I am gaining skills I need for my future. I have a pathway forward because I have a safe place to practice and play with science. Once gives me hope for love too, because if a disabled Dark One can find love, surely a disabled scientist (who’s a heck of a lot nicer, sorry Rumple but darling, you’re prickly!) can too. Once inspires me to keep trying.

So thank you, writers of Once. I am certain you get an out pouring of grief from the fan community every time you cause their favorite character pain and cause tears, but I’m certain you know what that strong emotion means. It means we love your work. Fiction is such a powerful tool and you wield it well.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and I know what the weather is like. Actors of Once, stay warm, dry and healthy. We know how hard you work, and I know what being out in the rain in November is like. You bring the light to our eyes and make it real for us. You inspire us. Your work is important. Art always is. Thank you!

And the crew, let us not forget everyone whose faces we can’t see and whose words we can’t hear. Your love of this work is what makes it all hang together, as a tapestry. If the writers are the image and the actors the hues, you are the fiber holding everything together. Thank you.

We are each of us personally touched by Once, that’s why my 11 gratitudes above are grounded in my personal experiences. Why are you grateful for Once? Use the Twitter button below to tweet this at them with your own gratitude attached. Of course, I’d love it if you’d comment here so I can see your gratitudes too, but tweeting the creators your gratitudes is WAY more important. Let’s flood their Twitter feeds with gratitude, so share this with every Oncer you know!

How can you use gratitude to make happiness in your life? Here’s the Ted talk that inspired me.

Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

OutlawQueen

OutlawQueen

In this ‘ship is the essence of Once’s hope message. Forgiveness is one of Once’s more potent themes and there aren’t many people in the world who need more forgiveness than the Evil Queen. Hope for change, belief that it is possible for everyone- OutlawQueen is how Once shows us what can be. *Spoiler Alert! This article assumes current knowledge of the show.*

Robin Hood isn’t one to judge, after all, he was a thief. Robin shares a quality with Belle, that of seeing past exteriors. Regina made vigorous attempts to blow him off many times even with the interference of Tinkerbell. But the special mix of Regina’s reforming heart and Robin’s clear vision made this ‘ship possible.

While Once gave us some beautiful flirtation and that delicious metaphor about getting Regina’s heart back from Zelena, this is yet another example of the meaning in a relationship being demonstrated through the pain of its loss.

Pieces of My Heart OUAT Season 4 Heroes and Villains
Pieces of Our Hearts

Heroes and Villains was a hell of an episode. Regina, giving us proof of how far she has come from her days as the Evil Queen lets go of Robin to save his wife. Pieces of our hearts, and hers, were littering the pavement when she tore up the page (not) from the Storybook. Poor Regina just can’t get a break no matter what she does. That moment was a doozy.

Here, however is where we get down to the risks involved with having so many characters and so many plot lines to service. Something typically gets dropped. I am afraid that this relationship might be it. Thus far in Season 5 Robin has been little more than a pair of arms around Regina and someone for her to protect. It is possible now, after Birth, that his importance may grow enough to allow this relationship to flourish. I certainly hope so. Regina is such a rich character and she deserves the same amount of richness in her partner.

I don’t want to see this ‘ship go in the same direction as Snowing because there is so much raw potential in the current dynamic surrounding Zelena that shouldn’t be allowed to go to waste. I really hope they pay off the set up they gave us with Regina’s inability to have children and now needing to decide how to handle parenting with Robin. That has to sting and I can’t imagine Once won’t give us tension between Robin and Regina on this subject.

OutlawQueen has a save our ‘ship flag above its head right now. The writers must start giving Robin lines more interesting than, “How ’bout a spot of tea?” if this ‘ship is to retain our investment.

Back to Once in Love.

Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!

Snowing

Snowing

I think of Snowing as the original Once ‘ship. Once’s opening image, pilot episode, is Charming racing across a lake to kiss Snow White awake, then they get married.

After that truly heart warming opening image, Once shows us how they got to that point. I absolutely love the tale Once spins of how they met. The dialogue is pert and she clocks him with a rock… Talk about a rough start! But Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin have a chemistry that won’t quit. They even have their own catch phrase, “I will always find you.” It is for these two that we first knew Once would be about love and hope.

Even their troubles back in Storybrooke were brilliantly executed. The writers took excellent advantage of what the curse would mean for these two. The feeling of “off” from their fairytale selves came through loud and clear and we all groaned in pain when David gave Mary Margaret the wrong Valentine. Oh get it right for once David! But of course he can’t while he’s cursed.

Snowing has a steadiness that is a place to lean when there is turbulence elsewhere in the romantic waters. It seems that Snowing will remain a solid couple even if they are sometimes separated by shenanigans. They are definitely the Mom and Dad ship and a consistent place to look for comfort.

Next to OutlawQueen.

Back to Once in Love.

Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!