Archive of ‘unquiet things’ category

For your ears

Some sonic diversions for your end of the week listening…

Inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla
Illustration: Isabella Mazzanti

dearest, your heart is wounded from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Tracks:

Flowering Vines, Unwoman | The Pomegranate, Solitude Forest | Dulcinea, Redefine my pure faith | We Are As Ghosts, Friends of Alice Ivy | Under the Fate of the Blue Moon, JILL TRACY | Wake Up Wake Up, The Groundskeepers Daughter | Control Me, Kandle | Sisterblood, Burning Leaves | Tiny Wars and Quiet Storms, Alter der Ruine | Rosebuds, White Hex | FUTURE GHOSTS, Sidewalks and Skeletons | Carpe Nacht, Espectrostatic

 

Twin Peaks Gets ’80s Synth Soundtrack Reminiscent Of Blade Runner, Miami Vice And Escape From New York

 

Hide From The Sun is a  trippy “Jodorowsky-esque take on Where The Wild Things Are”, from Swedish psych-rock band Goat and is both fantastic and groovy, in that order.

 

AR is the collective pseudonym of Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton. “Diagrams for the Summoning of Wolves marks a stark shift in their response to environmental degradation. Their previous works (Wolf Notes, 2011; Succession, 2013) have expressed profound sadness at the ecological losses of the upland landscape of south-west Cumbria, where they have lived since 2011. They have observed the absence of deer, fell fox and wolf, whose names survive only in place-names. They have found the ghost forests of Furness in the buried pollen drifts of alder, birch and oak. The music, words and art they have created in response to these discoveries are forms of elegy, but they also offer glimmers of hope for a return…To play this music is to participate in its summoning – to become a node in a lattice of light.”

 

“His most personal album to date, The Summoner is based around the 5 stages of mourning and is made after a year of losing several close friends. Hard enough material to work on, he decided to add a 6th stage, entitled The Summoning to be able to arrive at the finalé, Acceptance.”

small kindnesses

I thought I might start 2015 by writing a bit regarding a project that I have been working with on and off over the the past few years.  I don’t think I realized it was a project until I had noticed a pattern to how I approached what I was doing and then, without setting out to do so exactly, the small project was born.  Ach! I sure can beat around the bush and ramble on, can’t I?  Well, please indulge me just a while longer, if you will.

I had a terrible time making friends when I was younger.  I just didn’t understand how people came together, connected and moved on from there to form the bonds of friendship, I suppose.  It all seemed like such a production and I didn’t know how to even initiate the process.  I started a very bad habit of giving my toys away around that time.  I figured if you give people things, then they have to like you, right? In the case of 7 year old girls it does not mean that at all, no – it only means that they keep expecting you to give them more stuff. Pretty soon my Barbie doll collection was looking awfully meager and I came to the conclusion that this just was not working for me and I closed up shop.  Around that time we moved from Ohio to Florida; this presented a new set of challenges for me and shifted my focus to other things and what do you know – once I stopped focusing on desperately getting schoolmates to like me, well, they started to like me a bit more.

I think about it though, every now and then.  Giving away beloved possessions to people you barely know – from a child’s perspective that might make good sense and as a grade-schooler I didn’t really know any better, but as an adult I still get terribly embarrassed whenever it crosses my mind. I resolved long ago to save my nice things for folks who were actually worthy of them.

One summer evening, back in 2012, I was knitting a shawl from some grey wool that resembled wispy fog and felt like low morning mists as it slipped through my fingers.  It made me think of a lovely, brilliant woman with whom I’d had some correspondence online and who I greatly admired.  I posted photos on Instagram of the finished item when I had just woven in the last stray end, and strangely enough, she was the very first person to comment on the picture.  It just sort of clicked for me right then: I think maybe I was knitting the shawl for her all along.

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‘Clapok-tus shawl for P.

And so it has been over the last two years.  Sometimes I will start a project with no one in particular in mind, and over the course of the yarn choosing, the pattern repetition and the trances induced by midnight hypnostitches – it just comes to me.  Ah!  This shade of red would be perfect for this person’s fiery, feisty personality!  Oooh, this dark night blue would be marvelous for that incredible space babe!  Or sometimes, someone will know just the right words to say to me after my mother has died, just the perfect combination of gentle, thought provoking kindness and reflection, and I will know that the next project I am going to embark on will be a journey through mourning and forgiveness and that particular person is going to be a part of it, every step of the way. It can’t belong to anyone else but them when it is finished.

It all sounds a little silly, and maybe a little crazy, doesn’t it?  And how do I know anyway, that anyone will even want my shabby handmade things?  I do hope that everyone who has received something from me in the recent past knows that what I have given them is because they gave me something I needed first.  A moment of levity during a rotten day, a compliment, a beautiful story, a provocative thought, some small measure of kindness.

Below is a bit of a gallery of some of the projects I have worked on and subsequently sent away over the past few years.  It should be noted that a few of these are actually swaps with other creative folks, who may have sent me one of their handicrafts for one of my knits.  And it was also called to my attention that I may have started doing this long before I realized I was doing it! Lovely E. sent me a photo of a sari silk scarf that I must have knit 7-8 years ago! Wow.  I hope to continue this practice for a long while.  Thank you for not being too weirded out about it, and for your kindnesses to me over the years.

‘Fetching’ mitts for B.

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‘Song of the Sea’ cowl for C.

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Sari silk scarf for E.

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‘Lenore’ socks for M.

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‘Dashing’ mitts for E.

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‘Hanging Gardens’ shawl for L.

 

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‘Charade’ socks for L.

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‘Celestarium’ for L.

‘Ilean’ cowl for T.

‘Herringbone’ scarf for B.

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‘Imagine When’ shawl for A.

‘Blackjack’ shawl for A.

‘Evenstar’ shawl for A.

 

 

Angelique

I am finally getting around to reading this stack of books, ostensibly about a healthy looking lass with barely concealed bosoms, named Angelique.  I picked them up at the start of the summer, rescued, on a whim, from a dusty, sagging particle board shelf in the shadowed corner of a cramped used book store.  I thought they would be light, campy summer reading.
They – the covers, at least -also reminded me a bit of how my mother once read the riot act to a nosy, churchy neighbor who had a problem with me, as a 10 year old, reading Clan of the Cave Bear (which I was thoroughly obsessed with at the time). I don’t remember it was a great book, and true, I was only reading it for the sexy bits, but thank you mom, for never censoring my reading.

Looking at the covers, you’d think this was a series of bodice-rippers, wouldn’t you?  Yet, from even a cursory glance on Good Reads I can see that this is a much beloved heroine – witty, charming, beautiful, utterly captivating – and that many readers have been swept away by her adventures, and even more, the writing is supposedly superb and the historical details are amazingly accurate. This is a collection of stories that people return to and re-read time and time again.

It is now October and I’ve barely read a single chapter. I paid the princely sum of $15 for all eight of these paperbacks and I really need to start getting my money’s worth from them.
Or at least read the sexy bits.

About Skeletor

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Folks who know me are most likely familiar with a project that I have been working on for the past two years now – Skeletor Is Love: “Skeletor is experiencing the profound emptiness and isolation of human existence” and he is journeying “toward positive mental health through daily affirmations.” I created several social media accounts for this and for almost a year I updated it daily, but then began to slow it down about 8 months ago. Though it met with great success, this type of thing isn’t really meant to go on forever, you know?

I don’t own Skeletor and I technically never had permission to work with the character in the first place, but I figured since it was considered parody and my project was not for profit, it didn’t really matter.  I had fun with it, it helped people, and I was not trying to make any money off of it, so I figured the “powers that be” probably wouldn’t take issue with it.  And they never did. However, a recent incident in which I became aware that a popular chain store was carrying a tee shirt eerily similar to something I had created left me feeling rather out of sorts and frankly kind of grossed out by the whole thing.  I had no recourse because it wasn’t my character and I had no permissions in place – also, it’s not like I was making any money off of the project, so it’s not like anyone was taking money out of my pocket.  At the end of the day the only thing to do was to get over it.

And I suppose I am….but not just with regard to that situation.  I think I am “over it” in a broader sense, as well.  I always told myself that when I stop having fun doing the whole Skeletor is Love thing – then that’s it, it’s over. In the past few weeks I’ve found myself even dreading to think about it, never mind sitting down and create something new, so I realized it was time to call it a day and go out gracefully before I start getting resentful and bitter about it.

It was great fun while it lasted, I met some amazing people and learned quite a bit. I am grateful for the experience and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement and love that came from not just friends and family, but from complete strangers as well.  I think I can say without a doubt, it was truly a life changing journey.  And now that particular journey has come to an end.

 

ORLANDO’S FIRST DEATH CAFE – MAY 17, 2014

Greetings! Please join us at Orlando’s first Death Cafe for an open group discussion on all things death related. While death is inevitable, discussions about it are often taboo in American culture. We intend to open up the conversation on death in an an respectful and friendly atmosphere where people can express their views about death & dying and share engaging, thought provoking and life affirming conversation. Bring your questions and stories, your curiosity and experiences, but most of all – an open mind …and an appetite for cake and delicious treats!

Date: Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Times: 2PM-4PM EST
Location: To be held at a private location (residential, Winter Park FL)

This first meeting will be a small group, 10-12 people, and RSVP only.  Please contact us to reserve your spot!

Thoughts on my mother’s death

[editor’s note: originally posted on my personal blog; also re-posted on Nourishing Death.  My mother’s death in late December, 2013 was the catalyst, I believe, for my interest in hosting a local Death Cafe, and I think this is an appropriate place for these thoughts]

My coffee is the same as it is every morning. A packet of stevia, a dollop of almond milk. A dark roast from a noted coffee company, the beans ground just minutes ago, steeped in the french press that we keep breaking, because we are too rough when we try to clean it.

I’m not drinking it, and it is growing cool. I can’t help but to think how my mother got out of bed to make a pot of coffee on Monday morning, probably Folgers in a bulk-size cannister, and never got to drink her first cup of the day. She would have taken it with a scoop of Coffee Mate.

I had just spoken with her on Sunday night. She informed me that she was officially in remission and that she wanted to come to Christmas dinner at my grandparents. My mother has not been to a holiday dinner in years – mostly because as a nurse who worked 14 hour shifts, she was frequently exhausted – and so I was surprised, but promised to prepare the prime rib that she requested and to let the grandparents know to expect her.

The next day, when my sister called to tell me that our mother was dead, the first thing I said was “you’re kidding”. Who would joke about that? Why would I say such a thing? But that is what I said.

Two days later I still think someone is kidding with me.

I am trying to drink my coffee now but it is cold and awful. That is how everything tastes to me: cold.

The police were still in her home when I arrived, and several neighbors were milling around. A toothless Greek man took my hand and sat me down on my mother’s chintz sofa. I have no idea who he was. An officer asked me several questions and I answered without thinking or truly registering who was asking and why. I could see my mother’s bedroom door cracked open, the corner of her bed visible. Her foot was pale.

I walked through the door and sat next to her. Her face was upturned, her expression rapt, as if she had seen something that drew all of her attention in those last few moments. Whether it was something miraculous, or a dangling spider, or even the faces that appear when you stare too hard into the whorls and swirls of humid Florida plaster ceilings – I guess I will never know. Her hands were slightly curled inward, as if she had been gripping something tightly and then suddenly let go. With both of my hands I held one of hers, and it was so very very cold.

My brother in law was the one who pointed out to me that in my mother’s tiny kitchen, a full pot of coffee had been brewed and sat untouched. Grown cold.

I dump my coffee into the sink.

Curiosity and Cookies

We spent a warm, cloudless December afternoon creeping around an eerily quiet antique mall, poking through dusty cigar boxes of faded photographs, fondling rusty skeleton keys and gingerly inching around rickety tables stacked with paper-thin porcelain teacups.   My slowing pace unnoticed by my companions, I was left behind for a bit as I paused to imagine the sorts of ladies who sipped from these fragile vessels and what mysterious secrets they might have locked away with such keys. I wonder if my favorite octopus coffee mug will ever find its way to an antiques shop in the future… and what shoppers and collectors may wonder about me?

I am not a haggler or someone who likes to bargain vendors down from a marked price, or else I might have tried to strike a deal on a stack of elegant Victorian-era postcards tied with a bit of frayed ribbon.  I would have liked to use them as greeting cards or gift tags or maybe just stick one in a random book that I return to the library or trade in at a used bookstore.  I always enjoy finding these surprising pieces of ephemera tucked into the pages of a riveting story, don’t you?

A stuffed crow looked on from his perch as I pondered these things.

Afterward we stopped by another another emporium of oddities, the entrance of which was flanked by this charming fellow.  The kindly proprietor informed me that the statues could be had for a cool $25K…

Gargoyles led to Goblin Market where we savored an early evening cocktail.   I believe this was an “herbal martini”; I am not certain if I would drink it again, but it was certainly interesting.  A strange combination of savory upon first sip and sweet at the swallow.

On the way back we stopped and watched the sun set over Lake Apopka at Trimble Park.  Even though I grew up in FL and weathered nearly 20 years of mild, semi-tropical winters, since moving away to the Northeast – and returning back to the south- I find I am having a hard time re-acclimating myself to December days that are not frozen and which do not require layer upon layer of clothing.  I only gazed out over the lake for a moment or two before I began adjusting my collar and rolling up my sleeves, uncomfortable in the unseasonable heat.

Today the the clouds gathered and spilled and it was a morning best spent indoors. The results were fragrant, steaming mugs of spiced wassail and even spicier ginger cookies. After a point these endeavors accumulate so many dishes and so much mess, one may as well fully commit and make three more kinds of cookies.   This is the sort of logic that is brought about by boiled wine and elevated sugar levels and is difficult to argue with.

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