Peeing in airplanes

A text from my sister earlier this week, after a conversation which very nearly escalated in a panic attack for me, but which didn’t, because I think I am too repressed to fully experience a full-blown panic attack.

“..I worry that you have developed this pattern throughout your life where you NEED something to agonize over, dread, or freak out about in order to feel normal.  This impacts your capacity for joy and hurts my heart for you.”

Yes, she is a mental health counselor, so she is certainly qualified to recognize these things.

I don’t remember ever not being this way.  Even as a little girl, I recall, for example, sitting in an airplane seat and dreading the part of the journey where I might have to pee; I’d have to get out of my seat, disrupt my seatmates, make my way up the aisle and hopefully not trip over anything, find the bathroom, hope that it’s empty, hope that I can look nonchalant if I have to wait, hope that there’s not a long line of disgruntled passengers after I’m done, make my way back to my seat without incident, and disrupt my seatmates again.  As an adult, I still carry this fearful scenario with me, and now, as then, I will just hold it in until my bladder feels like it is going to explode – yes, even if it is a six hour flight – and just wait til we have landed.

My whole life is like that -an extended airplane ride wherein I have to pee, but I don’t want to disturb anyone, make a fuss, look foolish.

I think it might be time to start thinking about how my life, and my “capacity for joy” is being impacted by my nervousness and anxiety and neuroses. And I think it might be time to look into getting help for it.

Still Life With Adornments

I was absolutely thrilled today to find that the blog entries and frivolous writings I did in 2011, right before I moved, were still available deep in the internet archives! It seems a silly thing, I suppose.  It was all just observations and lists and a record of my days, but I loved my little ghostsinthegarden blog quite dearly, and I was sorry to let it go.  I am not even sure why I let it go, to be honest.  Ah well… other blogs, other times.

I have started moving old entries into my current archives here, so that I will always have a record of them. “Always”, I suppose, as long as I don’t let this one languish and become buried by the sands of time and the internet as well. I’ll be more diligent this time, I promise.

If you are curious as to what I was up to in the summer of 2011, take a look!

Cicada Weekend
A year’s mourning
Secret Summer Flowers
Coffret de médecine
Coconut Lime Ice Cream
Les Beaux Arts
A gathering of fripperies
Le Deluge

In the meantime, I am reposting an entry from August 12, 2011, in which I talked about…you guessed it. Fripperies and perfume.  I am fairly predictable.

Still Life With Adornments

There is something about a small grouping of items which I find quite pleasing.  I’ve always loved  “still life” paintings… a rustic bowl of seasonal fruit, an antique vase of hothouse flowers…there is a quiet calm to these little gatherings that I find rather soothing to gaze upon.

Lately I’ve been composing my own hushed, still tableaux with a small collection of well loved-items.  I think there is a comforting magic present in a thing well loved, which translates into a tranquil bit of beauty for the eye when it is weary of the drab in every day drudgery, or even the flash and glam of common advertising that we are constantly bombarded with.  Don’t you find those things tiresome?  I know my own eyes need restful visions upon which to fall sometimes.

Click the images for a link to individual flickr pages with detailed description of the contents of each collection.


this, that, things & for your ears

Cannibalism and Other Nightmarish Things: Sleeping Beauty


The Apocalypse that Shrunk South London (h/t Ian)


STOYA + ANA X COMTE at creem mag


Gorgeous editorial in May 2015 Vogue Italia by Ellen Von Unwerth, ostensibly inspired by ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’.


Thresher, a short film directed by Mike Diva (for fans of Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft!)

Weird Horror Master Thomas Ligotti’s Review of the Hotdog Pizza from Pizza Hut (a must read for fans of weird fiction!)

 Io9’s list of the year’s best short-form speculative literature (so far).

Black Women Vampires in Film over at the Graveyardshift Sisters

What’s Your Look? at rookiemag.  Adorable! “Björk’s sad assistant” and “rabbit-filled sack.”

Super creepy horror game hidden in the darkest corners of the internet

AND…for your ears…!



Near Zennor

Near Zennor from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new @8tracks playlist, inspired by Elizabeth Hand’s work of short fiction, “Near Zennor”. Image via


Prologue, Richard Moult | Oracle, Paper Dollhouse | Enchanter’s Nightshade, Eternal Tapestry | Morgiana, The Hare And The Moon | The Stone Steps, The Soulless Party | His Arm Has Grown Long, Alexander Tucker | The Wind That Cracks The Leaves, In Gowan Ring | Don’t Break The Curse, Hexvessel | The Faery Round, Drcarlsonalbion | Black Mill Tapes, Pye Corner Audio | Black Butterfly, King Dude

Summer Reading 2016

summer2016 copy

I am just now diving into the books that I gathered for last summer’s reading {standouts thus far being Errantry by Elizabeth Hand and Revenge by Yoko Ogawa}, so I thought in the grand tradition of biting off more than I can chew, I will go ahead and make a list the other items I intended on reading this summer…but will probably not pull down from the shelf until Summer 2016.

If you are keen on short stories,and tales of the weird/fantasy/speculative fiction/magical realism/horror…then you I imagine you will find a few treasures here for your own shelf. And please feel free to share what you are reading this summer…or future summertimes!


The Vorrh by Brian Catling

“Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes  memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse.”

The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls

“Master anthologist Ellen Datlow has assembled a list of beautiful and terrifying stories from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, Pat Cadigan, Tim Lebbon, Richard Kadrey, Genevieve Valentine, and Jeffrey Ford. The collection is illustrated with photographs of dolls taken by Datlow and other devoted doll collectors from the science fiction and fantasy field. The result is a star-studded collection exploring one of the most primal fears of readers of dark fiction everywhere, and one that every reader will want to add to their own collection.”


Japanese Gothic Tales by Izumi Kyoka

“Resisting the various forms of realism popular during the Meiji “enlightenment,” Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939) was among the most popular writers who continued to work in the old-fashioned genres of fantasy, mystery, and romance. Gothic Tales makes available for the first time a collection of stories by this highly influential writer, whose decadent romanticism led him to envision an idiosyncratic world–a fictive purgatory –precious and bizarre though always genuine despite its melodramatic formality. The four stories presented here are among Kyoka’s best-known works. “


Gifts for the One Who Comes After by Helen Marshall

“Ghost thumbs. Microscopic dogs. One very sad can of tomato soup . . . Helen Marshall’s Shirley Jackson Award-Nominee and second collection offers a series of twisted surrealities that explore the legacies we pass on to our children. A son seeks to reconnect with his father through a telescope that sees into the past. A young girl discovers what lies on the other side of her mother’s bellybutton. Death’s wife prepares for a very special funeral. In Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Marshall delivers eighteen tales of love and loss that cement her as a powerful voice in dark fantasy and the New Weird. Dazzling, disturbing, and deeply moving.”

Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck

“Enter the strange and wonderful world of Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck with this feast of darkly fantastical stories. Whether through the falsified historical record of the uniquely weird Swedish creature known as the “Pyret” or the title story, “Jagannath,” about a biological ark in the far future, Tidbeck’s unique imagination will enthrall, amuse, and unsettle you.”


Short Dark Oracles by Sara Levine

“In her vivid hyper-real collection, Short Dark Oracles, Sara Levine paints her way into even sharper and more dangerous corners. The fictions are an impasto of primed primary colors, prose that cuts a swath in brilliant swatches of saturated power that pops, punches, turns every turn into a fat flat facet, hard as a side of diamond, steel still-lives, glittering, metallic, distilled. “


The Lord Came at Twilight by Daniel Mills

“In the foothills of the Green Mountains, a child grows up in an abandoned village, haunted by memories of his absent parents. In a wayside tavern, a murderous innkeeper raises a young girl among the ghosts of his past victims. Elsewhere the village of Whistler’s Gore is swept up in the tumult of religious fervor, while in rural Falmouth, the souls of the buried dead fall prey to a fungal infestation. This is New England as it was once envisioned by Hawthorne and Lovecraft, a twilit country of wild hills and barren farmland where madness and repression abound. The Lord Came At Twilight presents 14 stories of doubt and despair, haunter and haunted, the deranged and the devout.”


Nevers by Megan Martin

“Every character in Nevers is having a better time than the narrators.  And everyone, according to these narrators, is an asshole.  Megan Martin’s collection is comprised of shorts of almost uniform length and uniform theme.  Each is voiced by a narrator who has had enough.”


North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

“Nathan Ballingrud’s Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud’s intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible.”

The Stitch Fix Report { June Stitch Fix Review}


I don’t know that I need to preface this post with an explanation of what Stitch Fix is, because if you are here reading this, then you probably know this already.  However, to review, Stitch Fix is a personalized styling service for which you pay a $20 per box subscription fee, (which can then be applied to the items you purchase), and you are then sent 5 articles of clothing/accessories. If you don’t like any of it, you can send it back in a prepaid bag, but then you are out $20.  If you purchase all of it, you get a 25% discount off the total.

The above note was from my fifth fix,  received in mid-May. My regular stylist was MIA. I sent most everything back. The Papermoon Waters Printed maxi dress was soft and comfortable, but I like my paisley eye-blindingly psychedelic and this paisley was too subdued for my liking…plus the cut and style made me look kind of blocky; regarding the Kut From The Kloth Danny knit pants -I have no use for black pants in mid-summer Florida; the Mystree Bess black dress was oddly textured and did not fit well, and the blouse, though it was something I’d actually admired from afar and pinned, in person it was that awful crunchy-gauzy material that I really dislike.  The one thing I loved, the Renee C Huebert Space Dye open cardigan, was an item I had both pinned and requested, and it was the only thing I kept.

(Speaking of my Stitch Fix pinterest board: I pin a lot of things with helpful notes like: “I like this maxi skirt because the colorful print reminds me of the stars blurring by in the jump to hyperdrive”; or, “…this black lace blouse reminds me of the melancholy beauty captured in Victorian post-mortem photos.” I wonder…am I being too specific? Hm. Heh.)

Anyway, I had higher hopes for my June fix.  I had no specific requests, other “a floral extravaganza” and “all of the flowers”.. however, when I opened the box, there was nary a bloom to be found.  Also, no Macy! Where did she go?  I miss her.  It’s kind of funny; this new stylist references both white jeans AND colored jeans in the personal note, both of which I loathe. Goodness. Macy, come back!




Despite the fact that it didn’t seem to be quite what I was expecting or hoping for, I have learned that oftentimes you’ll be surprised by how nice something turns out to be when at first glance it seems rather horrid.  So, I did end up at least try everything on. The first item, the Ioja Sagamore Cutout top, was probably nothing I would have picked up for myself, but ended up as the one item I kept. I do wish it were a bit longer, but it’s kind of cute. Up until recently I’ve been an all black all the time kind of lady, so I’m slowly introducing color into my wardrobe.

Also, When possible, I have decided to start including photos of myself actually wearing the items.  Not because I think I look terrific in them, but just to give an idea of how they look on an actual human being.  And anyway, I am not doing myself any favors by feeling badly about my body or the way it looks- it’s the only one I’ve got, and it’s the one wearing these clothes, and that’s just the way it is.tank



I really wanted to love The Pixley Bixby Bird Print Tab Sleeve blouse. It is super cute and I love the tab sleeves, but it’s really tight across the bust and the material is not at all breathable. Not good for swampy Florida heat.




The Market & Spruce Cotille lace overlay top. Again, not at all something I would have chosen for myself (or if I had a, it would have been black). It’s actually quite pretty, but again tight across the bust. It does not pass the “can I pull this back over my head without nearly strangling myself test”.




The Pixley Darcy weave jersey T-shirt dress is a very form-fitting dress and unfortunately I looked rather pregnant in it. Which is an okay look for ladies who are actually pregnant, but not one that I am wild about for myself. I actually love the colors and the feel of it, it’s stretchy and comfy and the weaving on the front reminds me of that Joy Division T-shirt. You know the one. Maybe that’s why they sent it to me, because I know for sure I definitely specified no bodycon type dresses.



And lastly, the one that actually was quite horrid….The Renèe C Zia printed maxi skirt. Awful print, awful material. I couldn’t even get the thing on, so it definitely too small. All in all it reminded me very much of those cheapy, flimsy skirts on the clearance rack at Ross that everyone’s passed over and you start to feel sort of sorry for it, but not $9.99 worth of sorry. And in this case, definitely not $58 worth of sorry!


Over all, not quite what I had in mind. BUT…you know, if not for some fit issues (and some body issues) I might have kept all but the skirt! The tops were adorable and that dress was very unique. No flowers but interesting patterns and textures and I do like those sorts of things. I ended up keeping just the tank, so this is the second month in a row that it’s been a 1/5.

That’s really okay, though.  I don’t need a lot of new clothing right now, and Stitch Fix is still a really great way to add a piece here and there to your wardrobe over time without ever having to leave the house.  There’s the anticipation of waiting for the box to arrive, the fun of trying it all on in your own home and styling it with things you already have, and for me the overall experience is just as important as the clothes that might come out of it, so I would say that I am still pretty enthusiastic about recommending that someone give them a try.  (These are all referral links, by the way. I get a little bit of credit toward my next fix if something signs up through me. Full disclosure, &etc.)

As I have just now started wearing shorts again for the first time in oh, say, 20 years, for my next Fix I have requested some light, breathable knit tops to go with them (black horror and death metal tees are for when the heat is less oppressive!) Also, I am kind of keen on aquamarine and teal lately, so I put in a request for something in those colors. And a floral extravaganza! I still want ALL THE FLOWERS!  Well, I guess I will just have to wait and see.



A million years ago

I’d forgotten that a million years ago, I’d made a little Amazon referral store. Well, now it’s been updated! If you’re ever interested in picking up any of the cinema, literature or music that I mention, you might find it here.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how it works.  But if you find something I’ve list that you have an interest in, and purchase it, and then somehow I get credit for it toward some other purchase? Well that’s pretty good.  I’m much obliged to ye.

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”.



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.



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



Both my paramour and I are big kids at heart, and after seeing this LEGO bird set built over on, 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!



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.




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.

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