Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lyssa/Indigo Project #2

23 August 2009

Dear Lyssa,

Imagine my surprise in receiving your letter in the mail the other day! I was just thinking of you when I checked my mail and POOF, your signature dark purple envelope was on top of the pile. Even after all of this time, it’s still good to hear from you!
Yes, I was surprised too when I received the invitation from her regarding this experiment; I had no idea what she was talking about but it sounded like it might be fun to do. After all, she’s been our friend for most of our lives, helping both of us out when we needed it. Why shouldn’t we return the favour?
So, where to begin? Well, things are going well at the university; I celebrated my third year of Head Librarian yesterday! Still can’t believe how lucky I was to find such a job, especially with the way the economy is going. I feel sorry for our president but like I have told everyone before; he has four years to prove to me that my vote was not used in vain. If he screws up, he’s out. In any case, the librarian position is still doing well and I still enjoy roaming around the books, although the library is not as dusty now as it was when I was a student there. I miss the smell of the books, actually. Now, things are so cleaner and easier to find, of which I must learn to accept and pretend that I enjoy such sanitary conditions. The students know of my eccentric ways and, would you believe, I receive invitations to attend student parties? I know I am not like most women but to think that students find me to be hip enough to be invited is really kinda . . . . cool! Of course, if they REALLY knew what lay behind my purple coloured glasses, I think they run screaming in terror. Kind of like the reactions you used to get when we would hang out together at our coffee shop haunts. Remember those days? I still do and miss them actually. I miss you too. Seems you are so far away and yet so close at the same time. I wonder if perhaps we can meet up sometime and spend a Saturday doing what we do best; leaving a trail of chaos for the normals to find!
Michael and I are doing well and glad to hear that you and Oliver are doing well too. I am so glad we both found partners that can respect our “extra” internal stuff and who also have the same “stuff”! No word of marriage yet but he has been dropping hints every so often. YIKES! Will keep you posted on that too.
The second book is going rather well, so well that I sometimes wonder if I am doing something wrong! The pages can not come fast enough from my brain and I welcome the rush. Still have not thought of a title but I am sure it will come to me in time. The first book is selling rather well; going on another book tour in two weeks! I think one of the locations is your neck of the woods but I will confirm that as soon as possible. If so, I am taking you out for dinner when we get there!!
Oh yeah, before I forget: it was purple. Guess you were right on that one.
Thanks to you, I am now a Tori Head! I liked her music anyway, but good lord! I have been listening to her non-stop for the past week. But I will say that, because of her, I dragged out my old painting supplies and have begun working on a new series of works. She has been quite a Muse for me; is she the same way for you still?
Well, I’d best be off. I am writing this during my lunch break and I have 30 minutes left – want to get in some reading time before I go back. Once again, take care, love you so much, and looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Bluestocking Forever!



Indigo

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lyssa/Indigo - A New Project

18 August 2009
Noire



Dear Indigo,

Well, I figured that I would start this project just to see where it would lead. She’s not being too open with the details, only that we must correspond with one another. Frankly, I can’t see how this is going to affect either of us, but I digress.

Shall we begin, then?

I miss my coffin shaped bed.

Yes, it is true; I miss sleeping in that thing. It brought me much comfort during my lower than low moments. I still can’t believe I had to give it up because of a few complaints from the other tenants of the complex. After all, no one ever visited my lair so why would the neighbours complain about my living quarters? Oh yes, I forgot; I am the spooky neighbour so therefore, I can’t possibly be trusted. Fiends, the whole lot of them. Oh well; I am sure someone at Goodwill is just going to LOVE the donation I made to them today!
So, when do you expect to be arriving here? Although we have had our disagreements, I still care for you like a sister. Hell, sometimes we share the same brain! I can’t wait to show you my latest clothing goodies! I recently purchased a dark wine coloured velvet cloak with hood that is simply divine! It goes rather well with my witch boots; you know the ones that lace all the way up to my knees!
Anyway, miss you terribly and sorry for the argument on the phone last week; I was in a Shroud mood and I KNOW you don’t like their music but I find that listening to their darkly inclined music with a glass of red wine gives me such a delight.
Well, dearie, I must dash. Oliver is picking me up tonight for our usual night at Asylum. Don’t worry; I will NOT start a fight with that . . . person, Anna. She thinks she so hot just because she can wear corsets and I can’t! Well, I have something in store for her tonight. Something involving honey and a rat.

But, once again, I digress.

Love you as always and write back soon!

Your Darke Sister,

Lyssa

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket - a poem by Robert Lowell

The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket
[FOR WARREN WINSLOW, DEAD AT SEA]

Let man have dominion over the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air and the beasts of the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.

by Robert Lowell
I

A brackish reach of shoal off Madaket—
The sea was still breaking violently and night
Had steamed into our North Atlantic Fleet,
When the drowned sailor clutched the drag-net. Light
Flashed from his matted head and marble feet,
He grappled at the net
With the coiled, hurdling muscles of his thighs:
The corpse was bloodless, a botch of reds and whites,
Its open, staring eyes
Were lustreless dead-lights
Or cabin-windows on a stranded hulk
Heavy with sand. We weight the body, close
Its eyes and heave it seaward whence it came,
Where the heel-headed dogfish barks its nose
On Ahab’s void and forehead; and the name
Is blocked in yellow chalk.
Sailors, who pitch this portent at the sea
Where dreadnaughts shall confess
Its hell-bent deity,
When you are powerless
To sand-bag this Atlantic bulwark, faced
By the earth-shaker, green, unwearied, chaste
In his steel scales: ask for no Orphean lute
To pluck life back. The guns of the steeled fleet
Recoil and then repeat
The hoarse salute.


II

Whenever winds are moving and their breath
Heaves at the roped-in bulwarks of this pier,
The terns and sea-gulls tremble at your death
In these home waters. Sailor, can you hear
The Pequod’s sea wings, beating landward, fall
Headlong and break on our Atlantic wall
Off ’Sconset, where the yawing S-boats splash
The bellbuoy, with ballooning spinnakers,
As the entangled, screeching mainsheet clears
The blocks: off Madaket, where lubbers lash
The heavy surf and throw their long lead squids
For blue-fish? Sea-gulls blink their heavy lids
Seaward. The winds’ wings beat upon the stones,
Cousin, and scream for you and the claws rush
At the sea’s throat and wring it in the slush
Of this old Quaker graveyard where the bones
Cry out in the long night for the hurt beast
Bobbing by Ahab’s whaleboats in the East.


III

All you recovered from Poseidon died
With you, my cousin, and the harrowed brine
Is fruitless on the blue beard of the god,
Stretching beyond us to the castles in Spain,
Nantucket’s westward haven. To Cape Cod
Guns, cradled on the tide,
Blast the eelgrass about a waterclock
Of bilge and backwash, roil the salt and sand
Lashing earth’s scaffold, rock
Our warships in the hand
Of the great God, where time’s contrition blues
Whatever it was these Quaker sailors lost
In the mad scramble of their lives. They died
When time was open-eyed,
Wooden and childish; only bones abide
There, in the nowhere, where their boats were tossed
Sky-high, where mariners had fabled news
Of IS, the whited monster. What it cost
Them is their secret. In the sperm-whale’s slick
I see the Quakers drown and hear their cry:
“If God himself had not been on our side,
If God himself had not been on our side,
When the Atlantic rose against us, why,
Then it had swallowed us up quick.”


IV

This is the end of the whaleroad and the whale
Who spewed Nantucket bones on the thrashed swell
And stirred the troubled waters to whirlpools
To send the Pequod packing off to hell:
This is the end of them, three-quarters fools,
Snatching at straws to sail
Seaward and seaward on the turntail whale,
Spouting out blood and water as it rolls,
Sick as a dog to these Atlantic shoals:
Clamavimus, O depths. Let the sea-gulls wail

For water, for the deep where the high tide
Mutters to its hurt self, mutters and ebbs.
Waves wallow in their wash, go out and out,
Leave only the death-rattle of the crabs,
The beach increasing, its enormous snout
Sucking the ocean’s side.
This is the end of running on the waves;
We are poured out like water. Who will dance
The mast-lashed master of Leviathans
Up from this field of Quakers in their unstoned graves?


V

When the whale’s viscera go and the roll
Of its corruption overruns this world
Beyond tree-swept Nantucket and Woods Hole
And Martha’s Vineyard, Sailor, will your sword
Whistle and fall and sink into the fat?
In the great ash-pit of Jehoshaphat
The bones cry for the blood of the white whale,
The fat flukes arch and whack about its ears,
The death-lance churns into the sanctuary, tears
The gun-blue swingle, heaving like a flail,
And hacks the coiling life out: it works and drags
And rips the sperm-whale’s midriff into rags,
Gobbets of blubber spill to wind and weather,
Sailor, and gulls go round the stoven timbers
Where the morning stars sing out together
And thunder shakes the white surf and dismembers
The red flag hammered in the mast-head. Hide,
Our steel, Jonas Messias, in Thy side.


VI

OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM

There once the penitents took off their shoes
And then walked barefoot the remaining mile;
And the small trees, a stream and hedgerows file
Slowly along the munching English lane,
Like cows to the old shrine, until you lose
Track of your dragging pain.
The stream flows down under the druid tree,
Shiloah’s whirlpools gurgle and make glad
The castle of God. Sailor, you were glad
And whistled Sion by that stream. But see:

Our Lady, too small for her canopy,
Sits near the altar. There’s no comeliness
At all or charm in that expressionless
Face with its heavy eyelids. As before,
This face, for centuries a memory,
Non est species, neque decor,
Expressionless, expresses God: it goes
Past castled Sion. She knows what God knows,
Not Calvary’s Cross nor crib at Bethlehem
Now, and the world shall come to Walsingham.


VII

The empty winds are creaking and the oak
Splatters and splatters on the cenotaph,
The boughs are trembling and a gaff
Bobs on the untimely stroke
Of the greased wash exploding on a shoal-bell
In the old mouth of the Atlantic. It’s well;
Atlantic, you are fouled with the blue sailors,
Sea-monsters, upward angel, downward fish:
Unmarried and corroding, spare of flesh
Mart once of supercilious, wing’d clippers,
Atlantic, where your bell-trap guts its spoil
You could cut the brackish winds with a knife
Here in Nantucket, and cast up the time
When the Lord God formed man from the sea’s slime
And breathed into his face the breath of life,
And blue-lung’d combers lumbered to the kill.
The Lord survives the rainbow of His will.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book Review - Gothic Charm School by Jillian Venters

Being different can be both a blessing and a curse; those who are proud to be different than others may face harsh criticisms and other forms of jeers from people who are either narrow minded or fearful of the unknown. People make fun of what they simply fail to understand and in turn, short changes them in learning more about the world and possibly more about them as part of it. Over time, various subcultures have faced ridicule and hurled insults by those who claim to “know better” but most assuredly don’t. The Goth subculture is one group that receives its unfair share of insults and misunderstandings due to different styles of dress, musical tastes, and points of view with regards to Life and Death. Author Jillian Venters, or Lady of the Manners, decided to do something about this mode of thinking and wrote the much needed book entitled Gothic Charm School.

Thanks to Mrs. Venters, Goth people are explained to outsiders as eccentrics who understand the world from a completely different (but no less in meaning) point of view that should be respected by others who may not understand or ascribe to it. Gothic clothing styles, mannerisms, even inside jokes, are essential parts of this subculture that does not deserve stinging barbs and taunts. She even speaks to those who are parents of younger Goths, or Babybats, who are confused as to what to do when their child suddenly decides to wear black lipstick and fishnets . . . . and their child is a boy. Coupled with the advice to outsiders are words of wisdom to those who are in the Goth community who are struggling with their day to day lives with those who are not. She also writes to the Elder Goths (those who are in their late 20s and up) and their own frustrations of their own mellowed out sense of Gothiness as well as the next generation of Goths and their less than desirable attitudes. Club etiquette, advice for the Goth who is dating a non-Goth, a history lesson of Goths, different forms of Goths, Goth music, the future of Goth with its new “cousin” Steampunk and other subjects provide the reader with a plethora of knowledge that perhaps they did not have before regarding this strange and yet morbidly fascinating subculture. Mrs. Venters wrote her book in a style that makes it easy to read and comprehend without causing the reader to go into information overload: no holds barred when it comes to speaking about something very near and dear to her. She speaks from her own experiences as an Elder Goth which leads to more of a credible source, especially for the Non-Goths, while adding a dose of humour that caused me to shake my head while laughing more than a couple of times while reading.

I purchased this book strictly on a whim and because I happen to be an Elder Goth; yes, I was around in my black clad finery during the 90s when Cleopatra Records was in its heyday, when magazines like Carpe Noctem, Propaganda, Ghastly, and other smaller zines were being read with religious fervor, and the weekends were dedicated to purchasing clothing from thrift and local darkly inclined stores for the all night dancing at the Goth club while spending time with my fellow black clad eccentrics. Since that time, being a Goth has been a part of my life and I have no plans to call it just a phase (been doing this since I was 19 and I am now 35!) The only problem I had when I was younger was that I did not have Gothic Charm School to pass to others who questioned my style of dress and thought me to be Satanic or something very sinister. However, I am glad the book is available now for I can direct my non-Goth friends to it when they begin to ask questions about why I prefer dressing like a dark Victorian woman at times, or when I begin talking about my college years and the strange looks that follow. Being a Goth today, I think, is easier than during my college years for the strange and unusual is not as much anymore: one can see the dark coloured strings of Goth in certain mainstream music, national mall chain stores that cater to Goths and other eccentric individuals, even TV show characters. Plus, public creatives like the musician/artist/writer Voltaire, Raven Digitalis, author of The Goth Craft, Mrs. Venters, the author Poppy Z. Brite, and even myself with my book Tales From a Goth Librarian, are in the public eye, revealing ourselves to be darkly inclined but with no show of evil intent or malice towards others. We are creative souls and that’s that.

Sadly, though, there have been events that caused Goths to get a “bad rap” in the media; one event in particular was the Columbine incident. Thanks to mislabeling and a desire to incite public fear, the teenagers involved with that horrific event were labeled as evil Goths and soon, accusing and hateful fingers were pointed at the Goth community, blaming us for the evil spreading through the country. However, more and more public exposure will hopefully douse those flames for good. Being different is no excuse to hate or taunt but rather an attempt to try to at least accept and tolerate; being the same is too boring and honestly, who really wants that? It may not be your thing to dress in black and white lace and striped stockings, but at least give respect to the ones who do for they might do the same for you.