How To Wear The Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice
Submitted for your perusal with a minimum of fuss or commentary; I mean we should all be out enjoying the longest day of the year anyway, right? Not blogging or internet shopping!* Go for a sunrise hike, or float in your inflatable swan in the community pool, or have a lovely picnic in the shade (be sure to pack the world’s most amazing tomato salad!) In the interim, click here, or on the image above for item details!

Okay, I’m a hypocrite. You know I won’t set foot outside while the sun still blazes in the sky! Feel free to tell me all about your solstice adventures, though! I’ll be with you in spirit!

Wanna see some more ridiculous ensembles? Go nuts!

👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Box Of Crayons
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Arsenical Wallpapers
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Your Favorite Books & Stories
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Winter Getaway
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Your Favorite Horror Film
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Arts
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Spring Equinox
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Winter Solstice
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Autumn Equinox
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Jean Rollin Film
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Gothic Romance Novel
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Your Favorite Tarot Deck
👁‍🗨 What To Wear Upon Greeting Death
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Melancholic Holiday
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Date With A Monster
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Dramatic Jewelry
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Tee Shirt

2018 Resort Collections Report: Mostly Tedious But Not All Bad

resortwear 2018

For your Friday afternoon perusal: A quick look at some of my favorites from the various 2018 Resort Collections. From my experience, these springtime/summer(ish) collections are usually an exercise in tedium, but every once in a while there will be a stunner. Actually…do I even know the different between a “Resort collection” or a “Spring/Summer collection”?

No, I do not. But Vogue tells us all about it, right here, if you are also similarly perplexed.

Well, whatever. Look at some fashion stuff.

Anna Sui Resort 2018

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Ellery Resort 2018

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Elizabeth and James Resort 2018

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Etro Resort 2018

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Lela Rose Resort 2018

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Moschino Resort 2018

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Orla Kiely Resort 2018

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Reem Acra Resort 2018

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Stella McCartney Resort 2018

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Roksanda Resort 2018

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Temperley London Resort 2018

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Valentino Resort 2018

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Vionnet Resort 2018

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All images via Vogue

Forty Two Books (+ 25)

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Well and so! Every year over on Goodreads I pledge to read a certain number of books; last year, for example, I shot past my goal of 75–with a total of 91 books read! This year I was lazy and just went for 50.

I’m at 43 books read now, so I thought I’d make a mini goal (I’m sort of thinking about it like a side quest…like maybe stopping in at the Gold Saucer in FF7). At any rate, my mini goal, if you’re interested–or, if you’d like to join me– is old school summer reading, like they gave you in high school. Over the next three months, that is to say, what’s left of June, July, and August, I shall read twenty five books! And FYI, graphic novels and small books of poetry totally count.

Of the titles I’ve read so far, I’ll share several favorites with you; I loved these books so much, in fact, that I am having a hard time coming up with a few words to say about them. It’s funny, if I hated them I’d be at no loss for scathing thoughts and unkind things to share (which is  kind of shitty and I am trying to be better about such this.) But with something I truly love? Language fails me and I can’t even give you the slightest detail.  But I will tell you that there are thrilling tales of terror and adventures, and people who look like monsters and monsters who look like people, and romantic love and self love, and sadness and shame and fury, and loads to think about.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters // Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay // Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman // Borne by Jeff Vandermeer // My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris // Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples // Bird Box by Josh Malerman // and a graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred by Damian Duffy

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But now…off to bet on the chocobos in Chocobo Square! Er, I mean…off to read some of my side-quest books, a few of which are pictured above. I am especially looking forward to Gilded Needles (which Kate and Jack will be talking about soon on Bad Books For Bad People), as well as Black Hole.

What are your reading goals this year, if you have any? Were there any titles you particularly enjoyed? Do you have any summer reading planned? I want a full report!

Curious about my reading challenge in previous years? 2016 // 2015

sounds—possibly musical—heard in the night

sounds—possibly musical—heard in the night from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

a new mix // current earworms
{image: Robin Isely}

Track list: Exalter by Forest Swords | Harold’s Theme by Xiu Xiu | Tua Oriel Courvite Isabelle by Dale Cooper Quartet | A Million Billion Stars by Black Marble | New Song by Warpaint | Valentine by DIIV | Transient by Gloom Influx | Shadow by Chromatics | Apocalypse by Cigarettes After Sex | Crooked Fingers by Still Corners | Quo Vadis by Lower Dens | Star Roving by Slowdive | Marion by Beacon | niorum by demen

The Many Moons Workbook

Image credit: Sarah Faith Gottesdiener

Image credit: Sarah Faith Gottesdiener

Last month I had the privilege of interviewing Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, a designer, art director, and artist whose artwork and design is based in the spiritual, feminist, and mystical. Sarah is the creative force behind Modern Women, an intersectional feminist gear company, combining the different elements of designing, art-making, publishing, editing, and collaborating under the unifying umbrella of Feminist and Queer philosophy. We spoke specifically about one of her wonderful offerings, The Many Moons workbook, and how the moon and its magic influences her creative practices.

If you missed it when it initially went live on Haute Macabre, I highly encourage you to give our interview a read now–Sarah is a brilliantly inspiring luminary and no doubt this workbook, which imagines a world where witches, women, femmes, & weirdos make their dreams come true, is relevant to all of your interests! You know, all two of you who read this blog.

Illuminating The Many Moons Workbook with Sarah Faith Gottesdiener

Sarah Faith Gottesdiener // Photo credit: Nancy Neil

Sarah Faith Gottesdiener // Photo credit: Nancy Neil

Scents Of The Week {3}

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Wow, has it really been since the end of January that I’ve compile a list of stinks o’ the week? Lordy. Well, better later than never, right? Though I guess in this case is more like “scents of the month/s” But we won’t dwell on my faults and laziness, okay? Previous weeks: one // two

Kiehls

First up, Kiehl’s Original Musk: I do think this is the perfect musk; it hasn’t got that lofty sneeze-inducing quality that I associate with Egyptian musk, but it does have a feral edge of skankiness, and an underlying bittersweet powderiness that keeps a scent that is mostly warm and clean from becoming bland and blah. Kiehl’s musk is exactly what I imagine 1974 to smell like. Astrology enthusiasts, embroidered caftans, and an endless parade of Tupperware parties through your rust & mustard & olive wallpapered kitchen. {perfume sample pictured alongside the utterly exquisite “black mirror” snake pendant from Flannery Grace}

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Mandragore by Annick Goutal. Mandragore reminds me of a scene in the 1980’s vampire film The Lost Boys, when the main characters’ grandpa says “….well that’s about as close to town as I like to get.” My perfume shelf is filled mostly with deep, dark, resinous autumnal fragrances, and Mandragore, with its bright, effervescent lemony/peppery opening that quickly fades to a gently minty bergamot, is as close to a “summer scent” as I like to get.

Absinth

Absinth by Nassomatto. Bittersweet mosses, green woodsmoke, and sinister woods. It’s a bit of a nose-jarring scent at first sniff, as if the punk-poet green fairy quit bohemian Paris to live amongst the ancient dryads and they didn’t get on well but eventually formed an uneasy friendship. It’s a softly surreal, slightly subversive scent, and I totally imagine Meatface here wearing it.

avignon

Avignon from COMME des GARÇONS Incense series. In short, it smells like the melancholy elegance of a poet who writes with terribly expensive pencils. Pencil shavings & poet’s tears. All of CdG’s Incense fragrances smell like poetry to me, so here is Avignon captured alongside some of my favorites.

pink

Pink Sugar by Aquolina. If you’ve not tried it, it’s exactly what you think it is. Which is to say an ultra sweet, teeth-aching miasma of fizzy spun sugar. Marshmallow and a tiny twist of lemon with a barely-detectable licorice spike. It is wretched. It is divine. I inexplicably adore it. I buy the “hair perfume” version so I can spritz with manic pixie dust mad abandon. The dry down is sweetly vanillic and woody, like maybe the bark of the mythic candy floss tree in the dime store candy forest. I know heaps of folks who hate this stuff. Oh well. More for me!

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Me, Myself, and I by Ego Facto. I’ve had this bottle for over a year but haven’t really worn it much until recently, and I’m here to tell you, it is strangely addictive. I was initially intrigued by the notes {Hemlock flower, exotic basil, Tuberose absolute, lavender flowers, Java Vetyver roots, Gaiac wood} and I’ve read that hemlock is an unpleasant scent, but anytime it’s listed in a fragrance, I can’t help but to want to give it a go. Me, Myself and I is sort of raw and green and smoky all at once. There is something just this shy of mentholated to it, and though it’s slightly bitter and almost musty at first, hours later it’s a really lovely, flowery-fresh, woody scent. What I love about it most, though, and this is going to sound weird (and maybe gross to some of you), is that it smells vaguely like the handbag or the scarf of a long-time smoker. There was a girl I went to high school with, the sister of my boyfriend at the time, who was beautiful and popular and had her shit super together, and she was, at that time, a somewhat heavy smoker. Every time she’d swing her waist-length, impossibly shiny black hair around, I’d catch a whiff of cigarette smoke, perhaps tinged with her expensive shampoo, (it was probably Origins; a store had just opened in the mall at that time) and I’ll be honest, I thought it was an unbelievably gorgeous, sophisticated scent. (Note: I’m not even a smoker, I have never smoked anything in my life. I’m just a weirdo, I guess.)

guardianGuardian from Solstice Scents. Described as a forest chypre blend and a botanical talismanic perfume, it smells of dense earthy shadows and amber sunlight through a forest canopy, and feels like finally coming home.

death

Death & Decay from LUSH. I wrote about this back in 2015, for Death & The Maiden, and my thoughts have not changed much. A mass of white lillies, a wreath, perhaps – sweet and clean and full, waxen, and with a dignified clove-like spice, you can almost envision their alabaster form and curve. A calming, quiet, meditative, floral, almost too fresh to call classic, but it certainly evokes a kind of nostalgia. This fragrance calls to mind little girls dressed all in white, playing hide and seek around an open casket because they don’t know yet to be sad at funerals.

Antique Lace

Antique Lace from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (discontinued). Many years ago, a friend spilled my beloved bottle of Antique Lace. Which made me awfully sad, I can assure you. I was even more devastated shortly thereafter to discover they had discontinued this soft, sweet, whisper of a scent. Imagine my surprise to learn, seven or eight years later, that they are offering it again! It may have sold out already, but you can bet your fluffy pantaloons I hastily procured a replacement bottle for myself.

How To Wear: A Box Of Crayons

Kaleidoscope Color editorial shot for Interview Magazine by Greogory Harris, 2011

Kaleidoscope Color editorial shot for Interview Magazine by Gregory Harris, 2011

It’s well and truly summer. Sigh. I guess that means hemlines rise and colors lighten up. SIGH. You know I have a very difficult time with these concepts.

But sometimes it’s good to go with the flow, right? Experiment a little? Maybe don’t go too crazy (as the title of this post suggests), but perhaps…just one crayon at a time? I think we can do this.

Find a slip of a dress that whispers the soft pink of the dawn before the day’s heat begins to blaze; a sheer tank top that reflects the cool, clear blue of a secret swimming spot, a weirdly patterned frock in the bold shades of children’s pool floaties or another echoing the hues of a deep red rose, a tee shirt screaming the lurid orange of the sun’s dying rays on a late July afternoon, or a dress the vibrant green of grass clippings that stick to your feet when you walk outside barefoot to get the mail, after the lawn man has cut two weeks worth of growth…

Below you will find a few suggestions in this vein; as always click each image for more information on the items used and where to purchase.

Look 1.

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Look 2.

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Look 3.

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Look 5.

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Look 6.

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Look 7.

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Look 8.

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Look 9.

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Look 10.

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Previous ridiculous installments of How To Wear:
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Arsenical Wallpapers
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Your Favorite Books & Stories
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Winter Getaway
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Your Favorite Horror Film
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Arts
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Spring Equinox
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Winter Solstice
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: The Autumn Equinox
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Jean Rollin Film
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Gothic Romance Novel
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Your Favorite Tarot Deck
👁‍🗨 What To Wear Upon Greeting Death
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Melancholic Holiday
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Date With A Monster
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: Dramatic Jewelry
👁‍🗨 How To Wear: A Tee Shirt

Seeing Stars With Mystic Medusa

Olaf-Hajek-for-Mystic-Medusa-Piece

Back in 2010, on a complete whim, I got a horoscope package wherein I was told I should get ready for some big changes and be prepared to cut some ties and mourn some losses, but to keep my heart open and willing to look at most of these things as necessary and good. Two days later I was horribly dumped, my car sputtered to a stop forever, and my beloved cat died. Being left by that abusive, toxic person was actually the best thing that could have happened for me though I could not immediately see it; I found a newer, better, and totally affordable car with the help from some friends, and I made plans to leave New Jersey forever and come back to Florida, which is probably the best and most important decision I have ever made. I still mourn the loss of my beautiful Inkers, but I know that she was very sick and the decision I made to end her suffering was, in fact, necessary.

In any event, the astrologer who put those insanely accurate predictions and corresponding advice together for me was Mystic Medusa, and I was recently thrilled to conduct an interview with her, which is live at Haute Macabre today.

The Fantastical Fairy Tale Art of Sveta Dorosheva

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(Originally published on the Coilhouse Magazine blog, September 3, 2011)

Sveta Dorosheva‘s fantastical art could be to a brilliant dream collaboration among noted artists, for whom the goal is a visionary book of enchanted tales. Imagine an artistic hybrid comprised of the intricately-lined illustrations of Harry Clarke or Aubrey Beardsley, the luxurious art deco magnificence of Romain de Tirtoff (Erté) fashion plates, and the beautiful-on-the-verge-of-grotesque visages drawn by the enigmatic Alastair .

But! In this imaginary scenario, the artists realize there is something… some je ne sais quois… missing from their efforts. They entice illustrator Sveta Dorosheva to join their endeavors: she flits in, and with a mischievous smile and a gleam of amusement in her eye, announces “yes, yes, this is all very beautiful… but let’s make it FUN!” Although comparisons to the above-mentioned artists may be obvious upon first glance, the sense of enchantment, whimsy, and joyful wit present in Dorosheva’s work ensures that one not only appreciates they are gazing upon something technically pleasing or beautifully rendered; one also genuinely delights –and even emotionally invests– in the engaging imagery as well.

Though born in Ukraine, Sveta Dorosheva currently resides in Israel with her husband and two sons. She has worked as as an interpreter, copywriter, designer (be certain to peek at her Incredible Hats or Fashionista portfolios!), art director and creative director in advertising, and is currently pursuing her lifelong dream of academic training in art. Dorosheva recently spoke with us about her lifelong love of fairy tales, and her inspired, imaginative new project, The Nenuphar Book, which will be published in Russia this autumn. See below for her illuminating ruminations and a gallery selection of her extraordinary illustrations.

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Your work is clearly heavily influenced by fairy tales, fables, folklore, mythology – what are some of your favorites in this vein? Certainly you have some beloved stories from your childhood and I would love to hear about that… but I imagine in researches for illustrations and so forth you have developed a fondness for some more obscure or interesting new tales along the way?

Sveta Dorosheva: You are right. I AM heavily influenced by fairy tales and mythology. Even in adulthood I am most fascinated with things magical, mysterious and fantastic: medieval emblemata and bestiaries, weird and kooky sciences, antique circus, eccentric personalities, odd books and creatures, etc.

When a child I had very weak health and spent a lot of time in bed covered with mustard leaves or cupping-glasses. Dad read me a lot of fairy tales. As an immediate result, I was the best storyteller in the yard and kinder garden. Nannies loved me. They would put me in front of other kids to retell scary fairy tales (I loved them scary, the didactic tales I would just forget – they were ‘nuisance wisdom’) and attend to their own business for a couple of hours.

Those were mostly Russian fairy tales, but later in life I read all there were to read (before the Internet was available where I come from) and even my thesis research was dedicated to world fairy tales and mythology (I studied languages and world literature).

I feel lost when trying to pick specific tales as my favorites (you know, thesis and all that knowledge…), I wish I knew less of and about them, so that the choice wouldn’t be so distressing. But actually fairy tales of all nations have both a magical, wonderful and a scary, uncanny side. Sometimes monstrous – well, before civilized societies started to adapt them for children (which I personally regret). Before television and such, fairy tales were an entertainment for both kids and adults. They are just captivating stories about things eternal, with plots polished to perfection by centuries and centuries or story-telling. Most successful modern Hollywood blockbusters like “fifth element” and such have the structure of a classic fairy tale, only valorous knight is substituted with no less valorous bruce willis, evil dragon – with evil mr. shadow, beautiful princess with beautiful leeloo, etc…

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I guess Russian fairy tales are the strongest influence from childhood, but I don’t mean that in the ‘sarafan&kokoshnik’ sense:) I mean they were full of wonderful and scary things, events and creatures, and that influenced my picture of the world for life. I remember that when a kid I took all of it for granted – evil stepmothers that wanted to eat their stepsons’ hearts and brains because he who eats them, would become king and spit golden coins…talking wolves and fire birds, immortal skeletons, frogs and birds throwing their skins and feathers off and turning into beautiful ladies, dead water that puts the pieces of a hero chopped by treacherous brothers together, and live water that then makes this frankenstein body come to life, witches with poison pins that turn people to stones… none of them were ‘terrible’ or ‘wonderful’ – they were just part of a fascinating plot. I guess childish perception is different from adult – it does not divide things into monstrous and beautiful. It just absorbs it all without labels, taking it all for granted.

I remember my three-year-old son seeing a dead bird in the street once in December. He insisted that we go and see its metamorphoses every day. I felt rather ill at ease, but he was INTERESTED, because he did not KNOW it was ‘disgusting’… To him bird-turning-to-a-skeleton or frog-turning-to-a-prince is the same type of natural metamorphosis that makes the world tick and such an interesting place to observe, there’s no good or bad, there’s just infinite variety and wonder. And that’s the thing about fairy tales. They booster imagination through metaphor when one is still open-minded, with no moral or social blinkers on (very useful, very reasonable blinkers, but still limiting).

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Your book to be published this fall- ‘The Nenuphar Book’ – is described as “… a book about people and human world, as seen through the eyes of fairy-tale creatures. They don’t generally believe in people, but some have traveled to our world and have collected evidence and observations about people in this book.” Can you tell us more about this upcoming work and the observations contained within?

The Nenuphar book is a compilation of drawings, letters, stories, diaries and other stuff about people, written and drawn by fairies, elves, gnomes and other fairy personalities. Generally, fairy creatures do not believe in people – they just scare their small ones by humans (‘If you don’t eat well, a MAN will come and grab you!”) But some of them have traveled to the human world in various mysterious ways and this book is supposed to 1) prove to other gnomes, fairies, elves, giants, witches etc that people do exist; and 2) collect observations and impressions about human nature and world.

In short, the Nenuphar Book is about people and human world as seen through the eyes of fairy tale creatures. Their observations may be perplexing, funny and sometimes absurd, but they all present a surprised look at the things that we, people, take for granted. Draft excerpts can be seen here – http://www.behance.net/gallery/The-Nenuphar-Book/970281

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Imagine looking at our world through the eyes of an alien from outer space – it’s the same thing. How do you explain money? love? language? work? dance? music? cities? people’s everyday behavior? poetry? clothes? anatomy? books? Imagine someone who does not know anything about this world. How do you explain people talking to small boxes at their ears and then seriously stating they have talked to someone they know and informed them of something? They are talking to spirits! How do you explain a box on the wall in every home, that shows little animated copies of people fighting, crying, laughing, singing, throwing cakes and bombs around… and most importantly – how do you explain the people watching those little devils all the time and even making them do what they want by pressing a small rectangular amulet in their hand? Why do people say things like “my heart is singing” when they seriously think their heart is made of flesh and blood and some strange tubes of something? Well, people are strange.

Or, where do people come from? It is quite shocking, but it turns out that big people come from small people. In other words, all people were once 20 time smaller and completely different both in appearance, manner, character and world outlook! People are shape-shifters, that is obvious. That is why they have ‘passports’ – it’s a special little book with pictures of various creatures that a man has turned into, so that he can remember that that smooth elf-like long-haired and wide-eyed creature and this big bold grumpy ogre are the same person… Okay, big people come from small people through a series of metamorphoses. But where do small people come from? Evidently they cannot come from sex, as people themselves state, because this is plain stupid. In the first place, none of the fairy creatures have seen this sex (well, it could be that people are hiding, but then they extol sex as the highest pleasure and crown of love, so why hide something so remarkable? no sense whatsoever, must be a lie.). And in the second, well this is really absurd – let’s say, two people are bumping each other with their stomachs and moaning, shouting and otherwise going crazy because of that, okay… When exactly does a small person appear during this performance? Does he just jump from under the bed or something?

To fairy creatures people are great magicians – they make gnome metals fly in the sky and move on the ground with a magical potion called ‘fuel’. They create personal suns on the ceilings of their homes and make them shine with a tap on the wall in a special place. They call it electricity, but no one can really explain how this ‘electricity’ works without consulting a magic grimoire “Physics, Grade 7”.

But it’s not all funny. Some pieces of the book are poetic and serious, depends on the author (each chapter is written by a different creature). For example, there is a chapter about poets in the ‘Language’ section of the book. Fact is, the world is written in many languages: hidden and obvious messages are everywhere – encoded on flower petals, fish scales and feather patterns, in cloud forms in the sky, on wings of beetles and dragonflies, in the heart of a cut strawberry, everywhere… Fairies communicate in the language of flowers, perfume and dance; gnomes – in the language of stones and gems, etc. People use the language of words and mostly neglect all other languages the world is written in. And this gets them into a lot of trouble, because despite all those myriads words people have invented, they still fail to understand each other very often. But there are exclusions. For example, people have interpreters from other languages, who translate the beauty of the world into words: poets.

Or, say, people in love are another exclusion – they are very bad in the language of words. To them words are bewitched. They talk in awkward silences, incidental touches, turned away glances – they talk with their mouth shut with beckoning secrets.

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What an absolutely fascinating concept! How did you dream this idea up and what sort of ideals and philosophies were you hoping to leave the reader with? This certainly seems an engaging and charming way to tackle the complexities of us human creatures, with all of our amazing qualities as well as our not-always-very lovely behaviors and actions.

I was hoping to entertain them in the first place. A different angle is always amusing. If lucky, I want to leave them with the feeling of ‘what a surprising world we are living in, it’s full of wonder’. Isn’t it?

As for how I came up with the idea… Initially I worked on a completely different book – a book of fairies. It was intended as an activity book for kids – one fairy per day all year round. Today ‘the dandelion fairy’, tomorrow ‘fairy of freckles’, etc. And it was turning out quite lovely, but I was beginning to run out of ideas for fairies and activities and the project slowed down. Some time passed and I decided to pick up with it. I leafed back through my scrapbook with quick ideas and drawings and found a year-old line saying “maybe this fairy should keep a journal of her observations about people’s world”. And it suddenly struck me as a completely independent and very promising idea. I couldn’t believe I wrote it down a year ago and never noticed it’s huge… So, to my regret, I upset my publisher and quit that activity fairy book and wrote a new one in a couple weeks.

It went smooth and fast and overflowing with more and more ideas for everyday things, that would look surprising to a ‘newcomer’. Well, writing was smooth. Illustrating it took three years. It’s HEAVILY illustrated. I still can ‘t leave it alone. I hope the book finally gets published this fall and we part as friends:)

Find Sveta Dorosheva: Behance // Facebook // Etsy

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