There’s a politician in town whose work attire I have never seen in stores. Her clothing doesn’t have production line seams, but flawless stitching. It drapes her with a perfection that rarely exists on clothing racks. Basically, her professional wardrobe looks like it is being handmade by someone who cares.
I really want to ask her if she makes her own clothing and if she doesn’t, I’d tell her she should never stop shopping wherever she’s finding her dresses. Despite my character flaw that I have to find the answers to the random questions in my head, I won’t ask. Homemade clothes are a murky area of shame and pride. Maybe the difference between embarrassment and pleasure in handmade clothing is the ability to choose between store bought and kitchen table sewing.
I know that my grandmother’s regret that she couldn’t fit in off the rack clothes was far greater than her satisfaction with her handmade clothing. I’ve heard my mother’s story about the much beloved Aunt who took her to get her first store bought underwear enough to know that she has muddied feelings about the beauty of home sewn versus the normalcy of something from the store. I know that I loved the fit and feel of wearing handkerchief shirts in the heat of summer, but loathed the homemade clothes I had to wear for the two years I was in a back brace.
I won’t ask the politician if she makes her own clothing or has it made for her. I’m sure she wants people focused on community issues instead of her wardrobe. I’m going to admire it anyway. Her dresses are too lovely not to notice.
As the authors and series I haven’t read on the paranormal aisle get smaller, I’ve taken to hunting down my favorite authors’ work in other genres. There are ten times more books on the historical romance shelves than the paranormal shelves. Why? They’re as historically accurate as the paranormal are real, so it can’t be snobbery. The formulas are the same. The only difference is that paranormal uses woo-woo to justify plot silliness. Historical just pretends the characters and twists are believable.
Historical romance authors, there are paranormal writers among you. Take their hand and follow them to the fun of witches, vampires and shifters. Come to the dark side. We take ourselves far less seriously.
When I was 14, I began defying all the controls of the conservative Christian environment that was trying to force my round peg to fit their square holes. I physically fought to be real in a world of facades. My one concession to the rules and expectations placed upon my gender was that I didn’t get a tattoo.
My father would turn a shade of violet whenever he saw a woman with a tattoo. It just wasn’t done. In one of our many, many arguments I tried to gently broach the subject and the response was so negative that I let it go. I wouldn’t be devil marked and maybe the family could accept the rest of my failures.
It was easy to say no to the guy who offered to ink teenage me where my parents wouldn’t see it. His work looked like it was done with a ballpoint pen in a prison cell. As I got older, it stayed in the back of my mind, but I thought I was pleasing my father by resisting that impulse to decorate my body. When my oldest son was friends with the son of a tattoo shop owner, I almost caved. I thought he would see past my age and point me to the artist who could help me.
But I didn’t.
The week before my father died is a series of frozen moments that haunt me. In the traditional ‘always get the last word’ style of my parents, two days before his stroke, my father walked out my front door as he said, “I know you’ve got tattoos hidden somewhere.” I wasn’t allowed a response. He didn’t want to hear what he was certain would be lies. The one thing I didn’t allow myself just to please him was something he never believed. Woulda coulda shoulda.
Now, I’m the “old bitch” that the street vendor in Central Park called me. Too old for body art and too poor to spend money on myself. So, I keep a folder of pictures of line art and other people’s tattoos on my phone. When I die, maybe someone can put a cool image on my urn. Or coffee can.
“I’m juggling at CreepyCon next weekend.”
“That’s the same weekend there’s a tattoo convention. It’s also our anniversary. I could spend your juggling pay on ink.”
“I’m being paid in free passes.”
While waiting for the release of the next October Daye novel (Luidaeg > Selkies), I’ve been inhaling twenty year old paranormal romance paperbacks. I thought I found the perfect description of my dog Antimony when I read this:
I discovered the missing part of that description when I read this:
Uncontrollably bouncy joy and chewer of all things who might someday mature into self control is Antimony’s modus operandi.
Season one and two of Legion were darkly beautiful. Season three of Legion was a blotter filtered orgy of excess. It was television as art. Legion screamed the difference between comic books and graphic novels.
In a genre where time is a plate of spaghetti with endless chances to find a better outcome, Legion sang and danced the message that nothing is real. David lived a million lives. David never got to live. Both are true. Neither is true.
Baby books are filled with milestones that parents date and journal as they happen. If it’s not the first baby, the milestones are memories and stories that you share instead of writing. First steps. First day of kindergarten. Bicycles. Foods. All the little moments that accumulate to adulthood.
Nobody tells you that your mental scrapbook of memories will capture and hold tightly that first conversation you have with your child that is adult to adult. The sheer joy of the casualness that you have reached together. No awkwardness. No filters. A plateau milestone that feels like finding the last piece of the puzzle.
The warm fuzzy of being the parent of adults is the self actualization you weren’t expecting.
‘Do you have any sponsorship or intern opportunities for reduced admission in exchange for volunteer hours?’
‘No, but there’s a raffle to refund one admission fee.’
Update: The refund raffle has ended. The new special is a two drinks at a Nashville bar. Even bigger sigh.
High School Freshman one hour before it’s time to leave: “I don’t want to be late. Let’s leave already.”
High School Senior fifteen minutes before first bell: “I have plenty of time. I don’t want to be too early.”
Yesterday, I went to my favorite used books store. As I frequently do, I sent a teenager to pick up my resell credit while I searched shelves for the missing books in series that I’m reading. Unlike every prior visit, the teen didn’t return with the credit in one hand a book request in the other hand.
A cranky teen sullenly informed me that they no longer buy books back from minors. Apparently, the city has decided used books stores are pawn shops and you have to be 18 to be a customer. I guess buying and selling used jewelry, guns and power tools is the same basic concept as buying and selling musky old paperbacks. It’s stupid that my teen can no longer go to the used books store to swap her books, but it is what it is.
I do wonder if the used clothing store the teen and I frequent is now considered a pawn shop. The consequence of this, intended or not, is that teenagers will spend their part-time job money on new books and clothes instead of gently used items. It’s economically vindictive legislation that hurts consumers, small businesses and our landfill covered planet.
People are terrible. People are wonderful. Life is a struggle. Life is joy. Down. Up. Chaos. Calm.
I need to hop in the car and drive until I can find calm again. I can’t go anywhere because the windowless car is full of glass. There are strangers knocking on my door asking me to bleed for their audience of comment trolls.
We are walking volcanoes. The lava inside is burning and suffocating. If we erupt, we destroy everything around us.