The Cruelest Cuts

Cruel to be kind

It’s funny how when you’re living in a present moment, it’s incredible easy, almost an automatic reflex to be cruel to yourself, just utterly savage. I was so happy when this photo was taken, ecstatic, even. A huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders just months before, and I was back among people who loved me. In spite of that, there are so many things I poked and picked and pricked at myself about. Too flubby in the bod, crooked teeths, frizzy hairs. Wow. Rude.

I see this photo today and just…marvel at how pretty I look. Why is it so much easier to show these kindnesses to a past version of ourselves? I’m trying to keep this in mind this morning and hold it close to my heart as I’m looking in the mirror, not pleased with what stares back. I’m trying my best to be kind to that person right now in this present, fleeting moment. I’ll never get this moment back again, you know? Now is when I need this love most. Not eight years ago. Not the faded me in a photograph. Current me, the one existing this second. Who knows how many more seconds are allotted to me? I can’t waste them being mean to a person who did nothing wrong but look in a mirror and just wish to see something nice.

Ghosts I Have Been (Again?)

81mEFcNf0fLThis “discovery” feels a bit like one of those pieces of information I’d already researched and mentally filed away, and then, at some point in time, scrubbed all memory of the occurrence. Today when I unearthed the artist responsible for one of my favorite childhood book covers, I thrilled to the revelation for maybe three seconds before thinking…but… wait…don’t I already know this? After some thought, I’m pretty sure I had already found this once before and then promptly forgot it. Old news, I guess. But still pretty neat!

For posterity’s sake then, I am noting that the cover art for Richard Peck’s Ghost I Have Been was created by sci-fi and fantasy artist Rowena Morrill. You know, for when I inevitably forget this all over again.

Here’s a fantastic facebook gallery of her works, which no doubt contains a cover or two that you will recognize: there’s cover art for magazines such as Weird Tales, Creepy, And Heavy Metal, along with accompanying cover illustrations for books by beloved genre favorites such as Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K.Le Guin, Madeline L’Engle, Robert McCammon, Piers Anthony, and even a few H.P. Lovecraft collections! And then there’s this one with a cape-wearing baby-faced leather daddy Hitler riding a motorbike. Yikes. They can’t all be winners.

Rowena_Morrill_Ghosts_I_Have_Been

Links of the Dead {August 2019}

Image: J. DeBetz 1891

Image: J. DeBetz 1891

A gathering of death-related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

Previous Links Of The Dead: {August 2018} | {August 2017} | {August 2016} | {August 2016}

💀YES! Magazine–The Death Issue
💀Living a Year as if It Were My Last
💀What Should I Do With My Dead Dog?
💀I Couldn’t Say ‘My Mother’ Without Crying
💀Why You Need to Make a ‘When I Die’ File—Before It’s Too Late
💀I’m Dying. I Want Someone to Love My Husband When I’m Gone
💀Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88
💀I Deal With Grief Through Extreme Makeup to Make People Look at Me

this, that, and the other thing {xlix}

Cover of "Strange Affair" by Edwin West (pseudonym of Donald E. Westlake). Illustration by Harry Schaare.

Cover of “Strange Affair” by Edwin West (pseudonym of Donald E. Westlake). Illustration by Harry Schaare.

Pulp Fiction Helped Define American Lesbianism
A Group Of Czech Students Recreate Weird And Strange Scenes From Medieval Books
Bury Us Beneath Occult Books: The Ritman Library Digitized
Going Against The Decluttering Craze: The Book Hoarders Who Defy Marie Kondo
This Open-World Game Lets You Solve Mysteries As A Gang Of Cats
English Heritage Map Of Myth, Folklore, And Legend
Scientists Find Huge World Of Hidden Galaxies, Changing Our Understanding Of The Universe
Metallic Bras From Space! Sci-Fi Pulp Ladies & Their Shiny Metal Brassieres
7 Books About Magic Doors for the People Narnia Left Behind
Dazzling Color Photos of the Legendary Romanov Costume Ball of 1903
Artistically Arranged Time Slice Photos Show the Stages of a Total Solar Eclipse
8 Days Alone In Italy: On Ancestral Work, Fear, Solitude
Don’t Look Now: VR horror enacts our greatest fears about technology
I’m ugly. (And I’m proud.)

Currently: Bedroom Shelf Edition

Bedroom shelfEarlier this month we bought a new mattress–and that was a bit of a debacle which I’ll get into some other time–but I have since its arrival slowly been making a few gentle upgrades to my dream sanctum.

I wanted a small circular shelf for above my bedstand to house and display various dream-time odds and ends, talismans and looky-loos, but what I ended up with was this ginormous behemoth. I distinctly recall my internal approval of the dimensions while I read them…but I guess it turns out I don’t know what numbers are or how they work. However, my partner convinced me to keep it, we swapped out the massive, fearsome sorceress on that wall whose wild, chaotic energy probably belongs in another room, and yesterday, we got the shelf hung.

Bedroom shelf 2

Now it’s pretty naked. I didn’t really have anything in mind just yet with which to adorn it with Most of the items there currently are just placeholders, but the print by Becky Munich may be perfect and might stick around….

, I would love some thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations for candles, crystals, statuary, sculpture, art, books, whatever–anything you feel might be a good fit for a bedtime/sleep sanctuary/dream adventure altar. My tastes run toward the fantastical and surreal, so I am not looking for anything too cutesy or twee (here’s a shelf I passed on, for example), and high gothic drama really isn’t my thing, either. Mythic, fairy-tale, folk-tale art feels may be okay, because I love all of those things, but again, nothing too saccharine. Sorry to impose so many restrictions, but I know what I like, and I think that’s helpful to share when looking for advice!

All my cranky codicils and caveats aside, what might you put on your own personal dream altar? Please share your links and tag some artists in the comments for me!

10 Goth Cheeses and What to Pair with Them

HalloweenCheesePlate-2

For August’s installment of our Ten Things series, I am over the moon that Cheese Sex Death is paying us a visit and taking us to moody midnight cheese church!

As lover and fanatic of all things cheese, I was beyond tickled when I came across the Cheese Sex Death Instagram at some point over the past few years, and it’s been such a treat getting to know the person behind the account: former cheese-monger Erika Kubick. Erika believes that cheese is the sexiest, holiest food in the world and that we should all pleasure ourselves with it every day. She created Cheese Sex Death as a guide to buying, plating, pairing, cooking with, and tasting cheese, and to inspire people to indulge their funky fromage fantasies!

According to Erika:

Even though the world of artisan cheese seems intimidating,  all you really need to know is that you like eating it. I’ll help you learn the rest.

With Erika’s cheese classes you can enjoy a customized luxury cheese tasting in the comfort of your own home or office, and you can frequently find Cheese Sex Death doing pop-ups and events–as a matter of fact, she’ll be at the Chicago Oddities Market this very weekend (8/24 and 8/25 at noon) serving up some sexy raclette nachos, which sound really freaking amazing. Stop by, grab some cheesy goodness and say hello!

In the meantime, put on a Siouxsie album, don some black lace gloves, light a few candles, and peruse Cheese Sex Death’s 10 Goth Cheeses And What To Pair With Them, below. And a million black lipsticked kisses to Erika and to intrepid intern Zoe for this dark, dreamy and utterly delicious post today.

HalloweenCheesePlate-2

10 Goth Cheeses And What To Pair With Them

Most people associate it with cute images of love and romantic picnics in the park, but cheese is one of the most magical and goth foods out there. Many different kinds of cheese spend their youth aging in cold dark cellars, much like a crypt, where they are left to decay and mold. And if that’s not goth enough for you, both Pagans and Christians alike have a history of using cheese in magickal spells and rituals. Some have used it to manifest good fortune or ward off illnesses, while others used it to tell the future!

By interpreting the holes in swiss, the veins in blue, or the cracks and bumps on a cheese’s rind, a fortune-teller would be able to read the markings and find patterns and signs that tell the future—a practice known as tyromancy.

Now that you have learned a little about the magical history of cheese, let me introduce you to 10 different goth cheeses, and what to pair with them.

Humboldt Fog

Humboldt Fog

Goat cheeses like Humboldt Fog from Cypress Grove are cloaked with vegetable ash before aging in cellars. This helps the rind develop and gives the cheese a spooky, shadowy look. Goat cheeses are especially eerie, with a bone-white paste that contrasts against the ghastly gray rind. Pair a wedge with charcoal crackers, which add an extra touch of darkness and a nice crunch to oppose the soft cheeses.

Casa Marzu

Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu (which literally translates to rotten/putrid cheese in Sardinian) is a sheep’s milk cheese which is aged beyond the regular fermentation period of cheese. The result is a decomposition, brought about by the maggots that live inside of it. How did the maggots get there? Cheesemakers place a specific kind of fly on the cheese, so that they lay eggs inside. Due to the acid from their digestive system, the fats in the cheese break down when the maggots eat their way through it. As if that’s not creepy enough, the cheese must be consumed while the maggots are still alive. They’re known to be able to jump up to 6 inches, so pair Casu Marzu with a blindfold to protect your eyes.

Couphole

Coupole

This delicious, creamy goat’s milk cheese from Vermont Creamery is covered with a wrinkled rind that resembles a brain. These cerebral wrinkles are caused by geotrichum candidum, a fungus widely used to develop the rinds on soft-ripened cheeses. Its rich, fudgy interior is snow white and begs for something sweet, so pair with roasted beets for a beautiful blood-stained effect.

Mimolette

Mimolette

With its bright orange pumpkin-like inside, Mimolette from Normandy is one haunted looking cheese. The rind has a sweet, floral aroma and resembles the outside of a cantaloupe. The cavernous exterior is formed by tiny cheese mites that feed on the rind and aid in the aging process. It’s a nutty cheese with a savory finish, so pair with the equally magical and delicious dried figs, which look an awful lot like shrunken heads.

Clothbound Cheddar

Clothbound Cheddar

This is not your mama’s Wisconsin cheddar. Clothbound cheddars are made in the traditional English-style. Rather than shaped into blocks, it comes in wheels, which are coated in lard and wrapped with muslin cloth before going into the cellar to age, like a mummy to a tomb. Pair this cheese with a hard cider as apples symbolize immortality, and are traditionally placed as offerings to the dead for Samhain.

Smokey Blue

Smokey Blue Rogue Creamery

Smoked cheeses evoke images of fire and brimstone. While smokey flavors can often overpower a cheese, Smokey Blue is a rich, buttery blue with just a kiss of campfire. The wheels are gently smoked over smoldering hazelnut shells, creating notes of bacon, funk, and sweet cream. Spread onto a square of Novo Coffee chocolate from Ritual for a perfect bite reminiscent of campfire s’mores.

Black Betty Goat Gouda

Black Betty

This goat cheese Gouda from Holland is firm and crunchy from a full year spent aging in a cave. Filled with crunchy bits of cheese crystals, which are actually clusters of the amino acid Tyrosine, the pale wheels are coated in black wax to distinguish it from the others. Have yourself a sultry and kinky night alone with Betty and enjoy with a whisper of whiskey.

Foxglove

Foxglove

You can pretty much expect any soft cheese with an orange or pinkish rind to fill a room with the distinct scent of gym socks and decay. These are called washed-rind cheeses, and most of them have more bark than bite. It stings the nostrils, but the inside is milder with a buttery, beefy flavor. Foxglove from Tulip Tree Creamery is bathed in porter beer before aging, creating a sweet and custardy interior. Pair it with Dead Guy Ale from Rogue. It’s malty and sweet, but still bubbly enough to cut through the richness.

Harbison

Harbison

This cheese from Jasper Hill Farm is bound with spruce bark, as if crafted by the Blair Witch herself. The interior is so sinfully gooey that without the wooden ring, it would spill right out of its rind. Peel back the rind and spoon out the indulgent, pudding-like center. The inside is as rich as custard with subtle notes of the forest. Pair with rosemary roasted potatoes to complete the woodland feast.

Challerhocker

Challerhocker

Challerhocker is a delicious Swiss cheese that has been washed in brine and spices, then aged for at least 10 months. The name translates to “sitting in the cellar” and is stamped with a haunting face peeking out from the cheese. Pair with onion jam, as the flavor compliments the buttery, nutty, and slightly sweet cheese.

And there you have it cheese sluts! Now you can impress your friends with the yummiest, gothest cheese board they have ever seen. Cheesus bless.

Find Cheese Sex Death: website // blog // instagram // facebook // twitter

Photo credit: All photos courtesy Cheese Sex Death, with the exception of Casu Marzu

La Femme Pendu

La-Femme-Pendu2

I cannot even remember the last time I was excited about new music as I am La Femme Pendu’s debut album All Of Them Witches, four French lounge horror ballads,  inspired by women in horror cinema– for feminists, film freaks, and creatures of the night. For us!

I got a chance to chat via email with La Femme Pendu for an interview at Haute Macabre, which went live today. I highly suggest you give this glorious album a listen while perusing our Q&A!

Also, La Femme Pendu did a cover of Danzig’s “Mother,” and I have been listening to it for two weeks straight.

Maria Germanova And La Vache Qui Rit

67074114_924353507902332_5908794115542932477_n

Can I even read this book? Well…no. But I just received an autobiography on my beloved Maria Germanova all the way from Russia and I’m not gonna let a bunch of Cyrillic alphabets stand in my way!

To be perfectly honest, I had despaired of ever receiving this package. I don’t typically order many things from that part of the world and wasn’t sure how long it might take to arrive (and it seemed like it was taking forever! Although maybe I had only ordered it three weeks ago. Hm. I should better manage my expectations.)

In a prescient missive heralding things to come, I received the below image link via instagram yesterday from a friend. This is a great re-enactment of Maria Germanova’s Blue Bird costume–don’t the Laughing Cow cheese container disks just totally make it?! Brava to the creator! And as it happened, the book arrived not an hour later.

via Lydia Edwards/@howtoreadadress

via Lydia Edwards aka @howtoreadadress

The Meaning Of Meaning: A Sort Of Interview With Digital Collage Artist Robin Isely

sliplead6

I initially grew to love digital collage artist Robin Isely’s work in 2017 and in my ensuing obsession, I reached out to them for an interview. Unfortunately, In the time that passed, their Tumblr-hosted site was heavily censored, their URL was hacked, and now the entirety of it has vanished. With their permission, I am publishing the piece anyway at Haute Macabre today, so that I may share a bit more about the enigmatic artist and their works. Somewhere along the way, I decided to ditch the traditional Q&A format in lieu of the artist’s thoughts and comments themselves, so that they might be unfiltered through the veil of my own perceptions.

Also upon reflection, my questions might have been a little over-the-top.

Here We Go

Kofi

Ok, so. I’ve been blogging and writing for over two decades. It’s probably about time I made one of these accounts for myself. If you’ve enjoyed my ramblings on fashion, perfume, art, books or horror; or perhaps my writings and reflections on matters of mortality, grief & loss & trauma, mental health, or hell, even my old Skeletor Is Love content, please consider supporting my work through Ko-fi, a platform which allows creators to receive money from fans of their content. Anyone who clicks my link can support me with a ‘coffee’ (a small payment that is roughly equal to the price of a coffee).

In full disclosure, I didn’t think I was ever going to make one of these “please consider donating to support my writing” things. But…I remember following a blog back in 2010 or so; it was a fairly popular art blog where the guy shared a lot of imagery, but he misrepresented the information half the time, and when he wasn’t getting shit dead wrong, he just didn’t bother sharing artist credit at all! And if this dumb-dumb could slap a “please consider donating to support my curation work!” on his blog, then surely I can be afforded the same indulgence. And unlike that asshole, I think my work is actually worth something. Ahem.

So anyway! Yeah, I did post something at the beginning of the year about the trepidation I had about being paid for my work. It might place an obligation on me that I would come to resent, I didn’t want to create any expectation levels, etc. etc. I still feel those things, and so I would probably never set up a Patreon, for example. Or do free-lance writing for pay. Too much stress! Nope! But a little donation link that I can put on my “about” page and I don’t even have to think about 99% of the time? I mean, why not?

So, If you like what you read here, throw me a couple bucks every now and then.

But you don’t have to, you know?

I’m going to write anyway.

1 2 3 69