…Let’s start with when I became connected to Johnny. It’s quite a funny story, and probably not what you expect.
Rewinding back to 15-year-old me; when MySpace was still a thing, before Britney Spears had her meltdown, and a sequel to a little known film called Curse of the Black Pearl was coming out: 2006.
In between blasting Eminem like a normal shut-in-my-room recluse mad at the world and being convinced that everyone was against me, I was eagerly anticipating Dead Man’s Chest.
But here is the twist.
Between my stepsister (at the time) and I, we decided among ourselves which man was ‘ours’…a normal activity for teenage girls to undertake apparently, because we had done the same thing with every rapper under the sun.
This is where it gets a little…shameful. It was a dark time in my life…
[Deep breath.] I did not pick Johnny.
At least, for about five minutes I didn’t pick Johnny. I picked Orlando, or more specifically, I picked Will Turner. Then…I don’t know if Fate reached into my head and slapped me, or if I just experienced an enlightenment…whichever it was, I passed Will Turner onto her and declared Captain Jack Sparrow as mine.
Two days later, I was cutting out every single goddamn magazine clipping I could find of Johnny. I would go into thrift stores and buy all of their gossip magazines to find clippings of Johnny. I would search the T-shirt racks for Johnny shirts. I would stare at Jack’s poster at Target for a good five minutes. I covered my wall in Johnny posters. I had notebooks and folders and pins and purses of Johnny.
I might have been a fan at that point.
It all really started with Jack. I distinctly remember going to the theater to see DMC…sprinting into the building already imagining what was going to happen, especially since the trailer had painted a romance between Jack and Elizabeth [Sad giggle].
Long story short, when I left the theater, I felt like my fucking dog had died. I was so…shell shocked. I assume many who read this will know what produced this reaction.
That scene. THE scene. More specifically, the kiss.
I am still a hardcore (when I say hardcore, I fucking mean hardcore) Sparrabeth shipper, and could probably fill a library of novels with my headcanons, ideas, theories, thoughts, and fanfics of them. There would be absolutely no smut at all though. I would never write smut……….I hope none of you believed that.
Anyway, that scene literally shooketh me. I was in a daze for like two days. TWO DAYS. It was all I could think about. I thought about it in the shower. I thought about it on the school bus. I thought about it in class. I dreamed about it. I wrote about it.
And then I recovered by watching every Johnny movie I could get my hands on. As it turns out, the next one on the list was Secret Window. I can safely say that I developed a love for Mort’s bed (or couch, rather) hair, his robe, and his constant pissy expression. I watched SW over and over and over and over…and over. Then I watched Nightmare on Elm Street, then 21 Jumpstreet, then Sleepy Hollow, then Blow (a lot of Blow), then Don Juan, then Edward…etc.
Then when I got DMC on DVD, I watched that over and over and over and over and over. Like…a lot. I could actually recite that entire film from memory at this point. No joke. Well…maybe not the Will scenes, because I skipped them. Because fuck Will.
I am not going to get into it here (much) but I will just say that AWE was a colossal disappointment for me, and the following two films weren’t much better (worse actually). (Though, I will take Trilogy Jack over 4&5 Jack any day of the week.)
As I got older, my obsessive fanship of Johnny turned into more of respect thing. I felt him to be very intelligent, and very…complex. An interesting person, intellectually attractive…and I felt him to be very similar to me.
Fast-forward to 2016…I was sitting at my computer, a day or so after hearing about his divorce, and then suddenly…that.
The abuse allegations.
Now, between 2014 and 2016, Johnny had kind of…not necessarily dropped off of my radar, but sort of faded into the background. I still followed him, but had focused on other things (namely a sudden obsession with Severus Snape)…
…but the second I saw the story about Heard’s claims…I doubted it. I just…did. Something just didn’t fit. I didn’t outright not believe her, but I kind of went…hmmm. So I followed the case. Closely. Very closely.
At this juncture, I will give a little more background on myself. I have mentioned it several times before, but I have a degree in Rhetoric and Composition, with a large amount of self-taught psychology knowledge, and I never follow group agreement. Ever. I always, always, form my own opinion on something first. I am trained in analyzing arguments down to the most minute detail, I am trained in examining the counter arguments, I am trained in turning off bias, and I am trained in the meticulous examination of research, circumstance, behavior, evidence, and history.
The longer the case went on, the clearer it became to me that Heard was lying. I don’t give a shit about gender or statistics or anything when it comes to individual cases, because individual cases deal with the individuals in the case.
Everything she did, everything that her team did…all of the holes in her story, the people that stood to benefit from her lies…how other people can’t see she is a liar is absolutely beyond me.
But anyways, besides all of that, this entire post is meant to be about how Johnny’s book came to be.
I will start by talking about how it almost didn’t come to be.
I got the idea…actually while managing a busy shift at my previous job (McDonald’s)…I was literally bagging up a Big Mac meal when the thought popped into my head…
‘Hey, it would be pretty cool to make a scrapbook for Johnny to show him he has support.’
At this point, I should mention a habit of mine, which is to get grand ideas and get really excited about them…and then give up before I even start.
But this time, I didn’t. I got home and wrote up a Tumblr post about my idea…submissions I would like to get, the time frame, etc. etc. I shared it with Lani when it was finished, and then published it.
And nothing happened, at least…not really. I got one or two submissions that first week, but it was very slow. I…kind of expected that to happen, to be honest, because I was so used to being ignored. I was also kind of a nobody in the fandom at the time (I am still kind of a nobody), so I didn’t really foresee the book being even remotely a success. But I wanted to try anyway.
I started gathering materials once I got a few more submissions. I think by the time I bought the binder, I had about 10.
I told Lani that if I didn’t start getting more submissions, it was going to turn into a Christmas present rather than a birthday present. She suggested that I share the post on Twitter. Then things started happening.
By the time I closed the submissions, I had about…40.
The book was never about me…it was never about my gain…despite how some people have suggested otherwise. One person (I will touch on this in a different post) also seemed to drift away from me once I started the book, and I eventually discovered that she thought I was blinded by bias and incapable of seeing JD’s flaws…I guess.
It was all about Johnny. I even had one person tell me that I shouldn’t make a book, right at the beginning. They said that maybe it wasn’t a good idea because he would never have the time to read it…but that was the entire reason I wanted to put all of the fan submissions into a book…so that they would all be in one place for him to come back to whenever he wanted.
To break this up a bit, I am going to include some of the things I wrote in the book. This is a bit from the Film page:
In the olden days, storytellers wove images…vivid, full of life, color, emotion…into their listener’s minds; they placed them on top of snowy mountains or in the heart of the most lush jungle. Their audience laughed, gasped, screamed, cried, and wondered; they flew away from the banality and the mundane, and flew into a new world where they could experience that which would not be possible in their wildest dreams.
Now, we have film, built upon years and years of tales and stories spun by talented minds, only the images are no longer just in the mind, but on the screen.
I just wanted the book to be really special to him, you know? I wanted it to be something that he could connect with beyond the fan submissions…and I like to think that I accomplished that. I also wanted to treat the submissions each very carefully…I put a lot of effort into making sure that each page matched the person.
Originally, I had a few additional pages planned, which I can talk about. I wanted to make a page that was about the word ‘shit’ (his favorite curse word), and I even ordered a ‘shit’ patch to put on the page. I was going to fill the page with various film and literary quotes that used the word shit, and some of his quotes if I could find some.
I also wanted to have a page talking about this photograph:
I planned to have a picture of Farrah Fawcett next to it with one of those “Kinda looks like” sort of things…
I also wanted to give the Vampires their own separate page…but that didn’t end up happening. I ended up just adding them to the ‘Rock’ page later in the book. Here is a bit from the first Music page I had:
From the simple whistle of the wind to the humming of cavemen, to the Greek Seikilos Epitaph, to the Native American hand drum, the angelic harmony of a church choir, the sublime song of the violin, the soul-lifting notes of trumpets, bagpipes, and harps…then comes the riffs of the guitar, a balm for the adventurous spirit…the rumble of the bass, the souring soul voice, the growl of a rocker…Aretha, Michael, Metallica, Bruce D. Chuck Berry, Steve Perry, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Zimmer, Gaga, Alice, Manson…music is like air…it became one with the Earth from the beginning, and we cannot know Earth or life without it.
Here is a bit from the Letters Intro page:
Language, as a visual representation, could completely populate a planet having the same dimensions as Earth if each person represented a word, linguistic rule, letter, phrase, pronunciation, accent, slang term, BAD words, all in 6,500 spoken languages. The English language alone contains 1,025,109 words. So take that and multiply it roughly by 6,000. The result is 6,150,654 words in the entire linguistic tree. That is 6 billion words. Granted, in English, especially, not all of the words are used all of the time. In fact, currently, only about 117,000 words are in use.
In the next 21 pages, your relatives use some of those words to tell you just how great you are.
I also included throughout the book many quotes from various people…musicians, authors…others. Like I mentioned, I wanted the book to connect with Johnny on a lot of levels.
I started the book in January of this year, and finished on May 7th. I shipped it to Lani after a stressful visit to the post office (it ended up costing a lot more than I wanted to spend to ship)…but it made it to her.
So…I got a DM from her on May 17th (if I remember correctly)…so here’s the thing. When she told me that she was going to hand the book off, she told me she was going to hand it off to “his people”.
What she didn’t tell me was that she was going to put it directly in his hands, and then he was going to look at it while pictures were being taken.
So imagine my reaction when she DM’ed me and told me that she had literally just given it to him.
I was actually shaking, guys. I was in shock. Johnny Fucking Depp had touched something I had in my hands a week earlier.
Honestly, I still have trouble believing it. It just doesn’t seem real, it doesn’t seem like something that actually happened to me, that could happen to me.
And I can’t thank the people who contributed enough, I can’t thank Lani enough…and I can’t thank Johnny enough for being the angel he is.
This book was made to make him happy, and continue making him happy every time he looks at it, and I hope that’s what it did.