Hag Couture

WitchesofEastwick (1)

Earlier this year I had the fantastic opportunity to contribute a cheeky piece to Witch Women, “….an exploration of the many facets of the relationship between femininity and the occult… original art and essays ranging from the esoteric to the light-hearted.” Witch Women is published by Tenebrous Kate over at Heretical Sexts, a micro-publisher of niche, print material focused on the dark and the bizarre, and contains a treasure trove of outré art, eccentric essays and salacious stories from some phenomenally talented artists and writers.

I don’t think I am being too forward by suggesting that it is relative to many of your interests! I mean, I’d venture to say that we’re all Witch Women here, of some sort.

See below for an excerpt from my contribution, Hag Couture (in film & cinema) ….if you dig it and want to read more, go buy a copy of Witch Women!  And do yourself a favor, peek around at the other titles while you’re there…you are sure to find something unique to delight and titillate! (I’m looking at you, Erotic Rites of the Nazgûl). Enjoy!

HAG COUTURE (excerpt)

Witches stirring cauldrons, stabbing voodoo dolls, ripping off their own faces – truly, depictions of witchy women getting down to business make for visually fantastic cinema fodder. Whether these celluloid incarnations take form as glamorous queens, amusing fairytale buffoons, or seemingly ordinary small-town housewives, there is something fantastically compelling about watching a film focusing on witches in the midst of ritual. Even more fabulous still, when one narrows that focus to examine their attire and costumery as it related to  those ritualistic actions and behaviors. From gilded enchantresses haunting one’s dreams to gothed-out teens experimenting with the occult , Hag Couture can encompass a wide range of aesthetics, but you must pay mind to what rites and ceremonies you pair with which styles for maximum results and wow-factor! Check out these witches most powerful and fashionable moments, plus tips for conjuring their wicked style.

You don’t always have to be dressed to the nines to draw down the moon!  Here we have Mater Lacrimarium (Mother of Tears, Dario Agento, 2007) draped in a simple black cloak. When you consider her feats of violence, carnage and tearing an entire city apart, you truly appreciate the power in the idea that less is most definitely more.  For a high-end, luxe approach, think the Yves Saint Laurent, Spring Summer capes of 2013 (you can ditch the rest of the ensemble for a sky-clad silhouette underneath.) For budget beauties, a king-size black cotton sheet set from Wal-Mart will do the trick. Bonus points if you get your partner tricked out in some avant-garde, deconstructed Junya Watanabe or Comme des Garcons. Complete this look with a spritz of Passage d’Enfer by L’Artisan.

In The Craft, a favorite for many who came into their magics in the 1990s,  we see a coven of young women experimenting with witchcraft and reveling in their newfound powers. The look and feel of the film – Lace, leather, boots, crocheted sweaters, long dresses, gothic jewelry, and dark nails and lips – is so gloriously goth/grunge nineties, but the wardrobe could use a bit of an update for today’s aspiring acolytes. Young witches in for an evening of glamours and games of “light as a feather, stiff as a board” or out for an afternoon picnic with Manon should stock up on unique pieces from dark indie designers such as Ovate, Noctex, or Morph Knitwear, festoon themselves in supernatural jewels and psychic armor from Bloodmilk or mystical talismans from Burialground and scent their persons with a bit of Snake Oil fragrance oil from Black Alchemy Lab.

Make sure you pick up a copy of Witch Women to read the rest of the piece, in which you will find 8 more of my favorite examples of Hag Couture in film and cinema…and several other fascinating essays/articles, as well as some really stunning art from the likes of  Tom BluntHeather DrainJack W. ShearDana GloverBecky Munich, and Carisa Swenson and  Tenebrous Kate herself!

Pleasing things

Sei Shonagon, woodcut by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)

A list of pleasing things.

Not unlike those penned by Sei Shōnagon, a lady-in-waiting to the Empress of Japan during the Heian period, whose swoon-worth pillow book of lists and stories and observations is a thing of rare beauty and a fascinating glimpse into another human being’s life.

“Elegant Things” by Sei Shōnagon
A white coat worn over a violet waistcoat.
Duck eggs.
Shaved ice with liana syrup and put in a new silver bowl.
A rosary of rock crystal.
Snow on wisteria or plum blossoms.
A pretty child eating strawberries.

Though I suppose mine, below, is not quite exactly like hers, either.
To be honest, I guess it’s really just a list.

 

Though Errantry by Elizabeth Hand has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year now, I am regrettably just now getting around to reading it. The stories are, as noted on the cover, strange. Full of quiet wonders.  Some are the stuff of nightmares, the sort that,  upon waking and closer examination, one can’t figure out what was quite so terrifying.  Just…. a tone of dread that never really touches on anything immediately familiar as frightening.  Characters finding themselves in unsettling circumstances which are written so naturally that they don’t seem shocking, just subtle and strange and special in some way. I think the review at TOR sums it up quite nicely:  “These are stories of the overwhelmingly mystical breaking into our world in small, almost unnoticeable ways, seen from the point of view of the few people who get to witness those minor intrusions and who then have to try and process their meanings.”  Two standout tales for me, and -not surprisingly – award winners are “The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” and “Near Zennor”.

 

jewels

Treasures from supernatural surrealist and dream-haunter JL Schnabel of Bloodmilk. Pictured here are the Endless Night stacking rings I & II and The Wounding necklace, an item I for which I have longed for quite some time now; a talisman for piercing the darkness.

 

cocktails

The simplest of summer cocktails for still, sweltering evenings.  Vodka + a generous squirt of lime + elderflower rose lemonade.  Lots of ice.  Repeat as needed.

 

legos

Both my paramour and I are big kids at heart, and after seeing this LEGO bird set built over on tested.com, I thought it would make for a fun birthday present for him and a nice afternoon together. And it was!  And at the end of our play, we had something really cool to put on the shelf!

 

bag

A new handbag for all my stuff!  What, you don’t carry around candlesticks and tiki mugs on a daily basis? Well, to each his own, I guess.  This is the “big slouchy messenger bag” from Baba Studio and it is practically perfect.  I loved my old Betsey Johnson number with the fancy skulls, but it was getting pretty grungy.

 

steiner

yves

New art! The strange and terrible beauty pictured at the top is a gift by and from dark artist and sculptor EC Steiner, and lovely Bat-Fleurs at the bottom is a gift to myself, from artist Colette St Yves

Poor Sei Shōnagon is probably rolling over in her grave at this point.  She had some fairly bitter and scathing things to say about silly or unfashionable people and I doubt she’d spare me! Or, who knows -maybe she would recognize a kindred spirit in me, she’d pour me a cup of tea and we’d while away the time gossiping about people and talking about all the cool stuff we have.

The Subscription Box Bug (plus codes for a free month!)

It’s true, sometimes my desire to be a part of things trumps my common sense. When I first started paying attention to subscription boxes, back in the beginning of the year, I realized I was a little bit late to the party with the whole idea, but I was immediately intrigued. I loved the novelty and the surprise of it, and the idea that some stranger was picking things out just for me! However, I also realize that my tastes don’t exactly align with the average person that these boxes are marketed to, but I somehow managed to shush that voice in my head and ordered all of them anyway.

I’ve been blarging regularly about my Stitch Fix boxes, and I am all the way up to number six now, which I will post about separately. I didn’t even bother with number five, because it was sort of a dud. I did keep one cardigan though, that I really love, so I guess it wasn’t all that bad.

I’ve mentioned the netflixian clothes rental  services Gwynnie Bee as well, and that’s actually something I have been having quite a bit of luck with, and have actually kept a number of dresses.  I have a bit of a passion for weird prints and these two are my current favorites.  I love the strange angles and geometry of the first dress (The MM2 Tangerine Prism dress), and the second dress (The City Chic Mirrored Paisley dress) looks like it houses a portal to another dimension in my nether region. And those weird pockets!  I do think they could both benefit from a belt.

 

Rocks Box is one that I had some misgiving about because I am very particular when it comes to jewelry…but as I’ve been saying, I need some more traditional pieces to add to the rotation.  Sometimes I just don’t want to be asked questions about the taxidermy eyeball earrings that I am wearing, or the baby owl skull necklace around my neck.  On the whole they sent some nice things (I kept the gold Gorjana rings from each box, and that black House of Harlow arrow necklace) and they gave me some ideas for some designers that I will seek out apart from the service, but I’m kind of picky, and I just couldn’t force myself to like their inventory.  I canceled the service after three boxes; the third one was a dud, and is not pictured here.

 

The Daily Look Elite box  appeared promising at first, but they only cater up to a size 12, so if you are on the larger end of the spectrum, your choices are limited. I hate the term “edgy” with the fire of a thousand suns, but I think that if you’ve tried something like Stitch Fix and thought “oh man, this is stuff my grandma or the girl scout troop leader or low-end ladies who brunch would wear”, you would probably find Daily Look a little bit more edgy/contemporary. My first box was such a disappointment that I didn’t even bother photographing it, let alone trying it on.  And my second box, well, they sent me two (!) pairs of shoes, one pair of sunglasses, one trench coat, one kimono, and one bag, and one tiny pair of earrings. None of them were all that awful, but it was just nothing I need. I did keep the bag because upon closer examination it appeared to vaguely resemble an Alexander Wang satchel I’ve been lusting after, but upon evaluation I realize that I do edgy and avant-garde and offbeat just fine on my own.  I actually need more grandma clothes, to be honest.  Daily Look Elite has been canceled.

 

The last box I ordered was the Pop Sugar Must Have box.  Pop Sugar is one of those sites I never really make a point to look at, but sometimes when I am looking for reviews or roundups of certain types of cosmetics or beauty products, I end up there anyhow.  Now I knew going in that this box probably wouldn’t be to my taste (especially starting in June when everything is summer! beach body! sunshine! and all of that nonsense), but once again, I silenced my better judgement and signed up anyhow.

There was nothing terrible in here, but nothing really compelling either.  The new book by Judy Blume which I will give to my grandma because she is currently reading 50 Shades of Grey and I don’t want her brain to start to deteriorate, an eye shadow palette from Pacifica, a yoga headband, some sunglasses which aren’t my style at all and anyway I wear a terribly strong prescription, a gift card for $30 off a “vintage” jewelry site (which is mostly overpriced 80’s Avon stuff), and loofa buffer pre-filled with a very synthetic smelling yuzu body wash and some gummy vitamins. I am not sure why they call this a “Must Have” box.  Who Must Have this stuff?  I would be interested to see what they do for the autumnal season, so I might give it another try. In the meantime, I think I will squirrel some of this stuff away for gifts or surprises or something. Surprise! Have some crap that I didn’t want! Ha.

For most of these boxes I managed to find instances of “get a free month when you sign up”, otherwise I might not have tried them at all.  If you poke around My Subscription Addiction you might be able to find some of those and that way if you don’t like it, well, you really haven’t wasted anything other than your time. In the meantime, here’s a code for a free month of Rocks Box: SARAHBFF951 and the url for a free month of Gwynnie Bee: http://goo.gl/LbCqJh

What are your favorite subscription boxes?  Is there one that you think I should try?  You know, I really wish they’d put together a Haute Goth box*, or a Ghost Chic box – that would be right up my alley!

*I know there’s already some sort of goth box, but when I checked it out, it didn’t impress me.  I want one that includes art from my favorite dark artists, unusual baubles from my preferred ghouly jewelers, spooky tales from writers and poets, maybe a tarot deck or divinatory devices, an unusual piece, maybe a scarf or shawl or hat from a macabre desiger.
Wow, I think this box will probably cost about $1000.  I don’t want much, do I?

this, that, and the other thing (xiv)

A small list of amusements and delights and wonders from around the internet over the past few weeks.

How To Grow A Black Garden over at The Live Box Magazine.

 


Future travels include transporting myself into every one of Didier Massard’s photographs.

 

Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place is now on Hulu!  I heard about this weirdness a few months back and never bothered to look into it, but now it’s just too easy.

 

Ukraine-based designer Anna Mo creates super chunky cozy knit blankets, hats, scarves and other accessories that you can find in her Etsy shop called Ohhio. Each piece is handmade using 100% Australian merino wool. Beautiful!

An interview with one of my favorite artists and talented friend, Carisa Swenson over at Rooms Magazine, about her work and process.

 

Dream-land (ca. 1883), an etching by S.J. Ferris after a painting by C.D. Weldon

The Art of Dreams, via The Public Domain Review

 

tee

I’m a little bit addicted to this tee shirt app http://yoshirt.com/

Here’s to giving up, by Alice Lee “Here’s to celebrating the work that was done instead of constantly worrying about what is to come. I am really bad at that and I would like to get better, if only because thinking the things you spend your life working on lose value ten minutes after they are released is also no way to live.” <—Amen to that!

In Praise of Darkness: Henry Beston on How the Beauty of Night Nourishes the Human Spirit, over at Brain Pickings.

How To Be A Lady In The Streets And A Haunted Clock Tower In The Sheets
“Your bed is nothing if it’s not buzzing with high-pitched screeches that seem to be coming from NOWHERE … yet also from EVERYWHERE. Bonus points if you can open up a mysterious time portal and get some screams from the past in there, too! SpOoOoOoky!” (h/t to Jack, Jennifer, my beardo and everyone else to shared this with me!)

My favorite thing right now is Nihilist Arbys on twitter

Purify Your System With The Seven Day Chili Dog Cleanse over at McSweeney’s

 

 

 

How to wear…a gothic romance novel

Image via mylovehauntedheart

On rainy midnights do you ever find yourself curled on the sofa, reading a worn paperback with a cracked spine, the shadowy darkness of the tattered cover providing the backdrop for a beveled tower, backlit by the moon and away from which a pale faced and wan young woman flees, her ruffled peignoir trailing and tangling behind her?

What is this poor, doomed lady running from? Could be any number of gothic romance tropes – ghosts, phantoms and strange sinister spirits. Abandoned monasteries, isolated castles. Brooding, mysterious gentleman. Wild, turbulent love and bitter betrayals.  Fearful family curses.  Dreams, illusions, obsessions, murders.  I mean…what isn’t she running from, right?

And do you ever find yourself wondering…“what would I wear if I were running in her shoes?”

Well, nothing practical or suited for running long distances, I can assure you!  See below for an array of ruffles, lace and dark baubles with which to bedeck yourself should you find deeply entangled in a highly atmospheric, possibly historical and definitely creepy love affair with a sweetheart who may or may not want to kill you.

Be sure to click through the images to visit the polyvore pages where you can find information on the items shown.

midnight

forbidden

shadows

phantom

enough

 

 

Not into gothic romance? Not to worry – I’ve got you covered! Below are some bonus wardrobes for lovers of pulp and general weirdness.

piggy

satan

weirdo

 

 

For your ears

Aural transmissions & melodic missives from one on the verge of a something….or a nothing…I don’t even know.  Life is weird right now. Have some music.

The Hare and the Moon – Cruel Henry

 

Brown Bird, Axis Mundi

 

Ghost – Cirice

 

The Inward Circles – “Belated Movements for an Unsanctioned Exhumation August 1st 1984″(Excerpts) 

The Doomed Bird of Providence – “You Brought The Knife”

 

Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld – “The rest of us” 

 

Jasmine Guffond, Yellow Bell

 

Chelsea Wolfe – “Carrion Flowers”

 

thisquietarmy, Anthems For Catharsis

party’s over

party’s over from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Guiltiest pleasures: pale, languid covers of beloved favorites
Image: Brandon C. Long

Track list:

Running Up That Hill, Placebo  |  Don’t Fear The Reaper, Gus Black  |  There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, Trespassers William  |  Susanna And The Magical Orchestra, Love Will Tear Us Apart  |  Paint It Black, Anne Marie Almedal  |  The Killing Moon, Nouvelle Vague  |  The One I Love, Rosie Thomas  |  Under The Milky Way, Sia  |  Love Is A Battlefield (Feat. White Sea),  Wrongchilde  |  I’m On Fire, Bat For Lashes  |  Silver Springs, Lykke Li  |  Red Right Hand,  Pj Harvey  |  Disintegration, Big Blood

Self care in time of crisis

My apologies in advance.  Anyone who is living a fun, care-free life right now: I hate you.  Do you call yourself an “International Playgirl” or something along those lines? I hate you. Are you anyone other than me, whose life feels like it is grinding to an interminable, soul-sucking halt? No? Well then, I probably hate you all.

My grandfather passed away last week.  We had just gotten the hospice bed set up so that he could pass his remaining time in a  familiar place, and the medical equipment fellow had just left, after explaining the ups and downs and ins and outs of how to operate the thing. The oxygen machine was running in the corner, a steady hum that I suspected I would get used to over the next few days.

My phone rang again, and I answered, expecting that it was the medical transport folks informing me that they were bringing him home; that they were on their way. Instead it was hospice phoning to tell me he was gone.

He was a 97 year old man.  This shouldn’t have surprised me…and yet it did.  I paced between rooms wondering how on earth was I going to share this heartbreaking news with my grandmother, who had been so happy earlier that her husband of 72 years was finally coming home. I could still hear the slow hiss from the oxygen tank, and the realization that he never even had a chance to use it sadly dawned on me.

His presence lingers in the house, his imprint still on everything.  A pair of shorts, a worn leather belt still looped through, hangs from a hook on the back of the bathroom door.  His glasses sit on a table next to his chair, which none of us can bring ourselves to sit in again.  A magnifying glass on the kitchen table, a WWII aircraft poster in the garage, a stack of bills in the office which had not yet been paid.

It is this last bit, and all items related to it, that make the grieving process difficult, if not impossible for me right now.  Despite how heart-wrenching it is that my neither my grandmother nor I nor my sisters had a chance to say a proper goodbye to a man who was everything to us, I cannot even bring myself to stifle a sob. There is nothing there.

I suspect that this is because I am utterly consumed with the care of the person who is left behind.  Who is, for all intents and purposes quite helpless, and her finances, her property, her health and well-being, it has all been entrusted to me. I know that I am not alone in this, as I have my two sisters – but as I am the only one local, most of these concerns fall squarely on my lap.  I know they do what they can, and I know I have their full support and it’s no one’s fault really, that I am here and they are there – but none of this makes it much easier for me, to be perfectly honest.

And it’s not like I don’t have a job, although granted, my job makes it a little bit easier than someone else in my situation might have it – I both have a very understanding employer, and I work from home – but 99.9% of my usual stress in life in job related and now with missing as much work as I have been missing, gosh. My anxiety is through the roof.

At the end of the day, after taking into account my grandmother’s schedule and appointments and issues, on top of doing the same thing for my job – I just can’t do any more.  I’m not exercising, I am not eating right (that’s an understatement, I have probably gained 10 lbs in three weeks but I don’t even want to think about that), bills are probably going unpaid, the house is a mess and I .  just.  don’.t  care.

I’m probably pretty depressed.  I’m sitting in front of my computer screen, I can’t even look at the things I like to look at, art blogs, new music blogs, recipe sites.  This might seem like a small thing, but I think it’s telling.  I’m not the sort of person where you’d notice a dramatic change in my personality… because I think I am too repressed to sink into a profoundly spectacular depression. Instead, it’s that loss of interest or enjoyment in things one usually might take pleasure in, a feeling of hopelessness.  Resignation. This is never going to end. This is what it’s going to be like forever and ever. And then I realize of course that is not the case, my grandmother is 94 years old and she’s not going to be around forever and I should cherish the time I have with her and what the hell is wrong with me? What kind of monster am I? Wash, rinse, repeat.

I try to go through life with a  “chin up!” sort of attitude, I really do.  But I just can’t even fake it right now.  And you many people who have reached out to me with condolences and concern and thoughtful gifts and kind words – I cannot thank you enough.  For as much as I want to curl up into a ball and disappear at the moment, it’s things like this, that someone cares enough to reach out in some way… I might not think I want these things, but you know, I desperately need them.  And I thank you for realizing that and acting on it.

And I don’t hate any of you, don’t pay attention to what I said several paragraphs ago.  I am just feeling bitter and resentful of people who don’t have these worries and who may never have them.

In the meantime, I have got to get it together on a personal level.  My bank account probably can’t handle this level of grief shopping that I have been putting it through, so I am going to have to find different, healthier ways to cope. More on that later.  Though…if new stuff and things can’t cheer me up then perhaps all is truly lost.

Friends and folks who have been through something similar – how did you pull through?  How did you not totally wreck your life while trying to take care of someone else’s? Your thoughts, suggestions and insights are, as always, deeply appreciated.

Four poets

The other night I had a rare moment to myself.  Not “by myself”; I am by myself, alone, all day long, working remotely from home, connecting to an office hundreds of miles away. But rather “to myself”; no obligations or responsibilities or demands on my time, just an hour or two, to do with as I please.  I didn’t have much time, so I wanted to be certain that the minutes I did have allotted to me actually counted for something.

I feel a bit the same about poetry.  It’s an opportunity for a writer to take a few words and a small space and spark an enormous, raging fire in a reader’s heart. Its dearth of strict rules delights me – for someone as meek and timid as I can be, I resent guidelines and rules, they often annoy me and I do love to see them twisted and broken. And poetry is a vital, relevant language – at turns mystical, raw, terrifying, full of rage and longing, tender, and absurd- leaving one hollow, spent, and breathless….and I will confess to loving it all, even the bad poetry.

I dabble a bit with writing my own poems, though not as much as I did when I was younger.  And I’ve no delusions that I was ever any good or that I have improved much over the years, but it’s something I quite enjoy (to the extent that I used to participate in open mike nights, believe it or not! Even I have a hard time believing this.)

At any rate, on this particular evening, I cozied up on the sofa with a stack of books that I’d been meaning to get around to; all relatively recent offerings from some new-to-me poets, along with some old favorites.  It was an hour very well spent.

I’ve copied below a few excerpts for your enjoyment, as well.

curtiss

A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us, by Caleb Curtiss, is a heartbreaking chronicle of grief, stalked by sister ghosts. Radiant, revelatory elegies.

Sparrow {excerpt}

My sister
is not a woman, a girl, or even

a real someone or something.
Not anymore.

In her place I find a bird
nearly frozen, lying

in a field, its body
broken in some way,

and it is utterly flightless
and possibly a sparrow —

 

a0da55c515b7b343952121dccc0d5286_sex_lives_header-920-470-c

The Sex Lives of Monsters by Helen Marshall weaves together, ancient myths and familiar tales in a painful, poignant, and sometimes oddly pitiful exploration of what it means to be monstrous.

As my heart forever breaks for poor, doomed Eurydice, this excerpt from The Stairwell gave my heartstrings a particularly violent tug.

The Stairwell {excerpt}

We cannot be other than we are.
You must mount the staircase,
face toward the dawn.
and I in your shadow,
forever certain
of your turning head.

 

tmb002-janakastucky-coverart

Because I love a burning thing
I made my heart a field of fire
{excerpt from The Art of Loss is a Lost Art}

The Truth Is We Are Perfect by Janaka Stucky, is poetry of sacrifice and miracles and destruction and love is superbly and succinctly summed up by Pam Grossman over at phantasmaphile as “…Incantatory and incendiary”.  Actually, I don’t know if I can do it any further justice.  Just read her review.  Also, here is a link to a Spotify playlist that Janaka Stucky put together for this collection of poetry and a description of the playlist, in his own words, over at largeheartedboy.

 

onights

O’Nights by Cecily Parks presents a luminous, lyrical vision of the natural world through an urbane, modern woman’s eyes – pale nightscapes, violent springs, wounds and lusts, captures and release.

I Have Set Fire To The Forest {excerpt}

I put on a dress to walk
in the seeping rain, believing
that if the willows are suddenly green

I might have something sudden happen
to me. I saunter impatiently

 

Postpastoral {excerpt}

I borrowed an axe
so heavy I had to drag it 
through the woods.

Branches couldn’t catch
the geese or the sliding sun
and the mud-streaked axe blade

and my mud-streaked dress
took on a violet sheen.
I would build a house

to be lonely in.

 

Taking stock

The week I turned 39, several things happened.  None of them were very good.

My 97 year old grandfather was rushed to the hospital the night before my birthday with a blood clot, which they have since successfully dissolved -although from his disoriented state, weakness, and confusion, it’s not likely he will ever be coming home.  Only the day before I had been talking with him and he had been making grocery lists for me and planning meals for the week…it’s strange how at that age you’re doing just fine…until suddenly you’re not.

We are currently dealing with some significant decisions that need to be made, provisions that must be put in to place, plans that must ready to be executed at a moment’s notice.  It’s terrifying and exhausting and this is all just in relation to one person; an entirely different set of processes and considerations must be worked through with relation to my grandmother, who is still at home and cannot be left alone. All of this should probably be filed away to talk about here some other time: a sort of “what to do with your nearly 100 year old sickly and infirm grandparents when all their kids are dead and only the grandchildren are left and there’s only so much money to go around” for dummies guide.

I also had a flat tire this week.  And then something else crazy and awful is happening that I can’t even talk about.

Normally when my birthday rolls around I take a moment to reflect and take stock and I treat it as one might treat the new year; what have I accomplished, what still needs to be done going forward, that sort of thing. It’s not quite a halfway point through the year, but I figure it’s as good a time as any.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect to find anything profound here.  I am just going to tick off the books I have read and movies I have seen.  The perfumes I have gotten around to trying. Which all may seem quite frivolous in light of recent events, but I maintain that taking a moment for lightness and frivolity is an essential part of self-care in the time of crisis and conflict.

Books read  /  mid-May 2015

2015 books halfway

 

Stand out reads were Revenants, by Daniel Millls, which was an incredibly eerie, atmospheric tale.  It reminded me a bit of Blackwood’s The Willows, or The Wendigo in that sense, although I am not sure they are in any other ways similar.  Also worth mentioning is Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings. Short stories are my favorite kind of reading; my attention span isn’t what it used to be and so the short story format, with limited space to make a maximum impact, is ideal for me. It’s exciting to find authors who thrive in that space. I read Trigger Warning just this week, a time of distress and disquiet, and it provided many lovely, teary, unexpected smiles. Honestly, I was hooked by the introduction, and I mostly never read those, they’re mostly rubbish as far as I can tell.

Films Viewed / mid-May 2015

Movies

 

Age of Ultron is not on this list, although I did just watch it last week.  I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it. I found all of the carnage and destruction pretty appalling, actually. The ambivalence continues with regarding to many of these movies, but I will say that A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is everything that everyone is saying it is, Pontypool is brilliant, and The Lady in Red Kills Seven Times (La dama rossa uccide sette volte) is great fun and showcases ridiculously fantastic sartorial escapism. Oh, also worth mentioning, but not pictured because I didn’t quite finish either one of them is Curse of the Crimson Altar and Blood on Satan’s Claw.


Perfumes / mid-May 2015

perfumes

 

It probably goes without saying that there are many perfumes I’ve sampled and purchased this year, but the three I was most looking forward to are pictured above. I won’t get into the  official descriptions and notes, you can read that in the links provided, along with reviews from other folks.

Oriza L Legrand’s Relique D’amour smells like a watered down slurry of all the Comme des Garçons Incense series, but not as nice as any single one of them. Also sampled The Afternoon of a Faun Eau de Parfum by Etat Libre d’Orange, and it was like the excitement of watching finally watching your favorite band play live… except that they were too perfect, too flawless to enjoy. A beautiful scent, but it’s somehow lacking soul. It’s a chypre, which I think some find too challenging, but this one is somehow too accessible. Like a fruity chypre, maybe? I would have preferred a challenge.

Serge Luten’s Profundis, however – that was no disappointment. A singularly beautiful and unique scent opening with the scent of big, lively chrysanthemums in the fall -brisk, slightly spicy and musty. Delicate, dewy violets and damp loamy earth follow shortly thereafter, along with a cool metallic chill that calls to mind a brief wind, rising from nowhere, a shadow that suddenly falls across your path.  This is the scent of a pensive cemetery stroll in late autumn, crushed funeral wreaths beneath your feet, the veil of the sun struggling through the clouds, the lingering wisps of incense from morning mass. It’s probably my favorite discovery in the past few years.

Other items of note thus far in 2015

Ok, so that’s it, right?  I can be done for the year?  Well…maybe not. I’ve still got a few books to read.

What about you?  Accomplished anything of note?  Read anything good? Crossed anything off your list? Well, it’s only mid-May.  You’ve still got some time left this year.

1 35 36 37 38 39 49