vvitchy vvoman

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Okay, so nothing about this  outfit is witchy, besides the fact of my wearing it. But it is accompanied by a review of one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. I would summarize The VVitch as “Puritan family loses child, succumbs to witch-hunting hysteria”, but it’s so much more than that. First, you should probably watch the trailer.

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My local paper called The VVitch “the world’s creepiest historical reenactment”, and how true it is. I always prefer media that’s totally immersive, that doesn’t step into the meta level to comment on itself or judge its characters.  I’m not interested in morality plays. I’m here to live two hours in someone else’s world and come away with my own conclusions. I don’t like being told who to root for or which humors are supposed to be stirred. And The VVitch delivers just that.

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There’s no directorial judgment on the characters’ choices, no rationalist rebuttal to Puritan hysteria, and that’s just the way I like it. It feels, genuinely, like a reenactment. Like the way things really were, not a modern critique thereof.  I will always prefer a peek at the past to a 21st-century condemnation of it.

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And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that “rural religious gothic” is my favorite genre of anything ever. The VVitch is a northern, Protestant answer to Flannery O’Connor, and I’d love it for that alone. I grew up ghost-hunting in graveyards and river valleys. I had a special interest in the Salem witch trials. I am a child of rural New England, and its landscape trips a very specific wire in my lizard brain. The scariest stories are the stories that feel like home.

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Several reviewers have called this movie “something you should not be seeing”, and that’s probably the best way of describing it. Guys – I have a really high bar for “unsettling”. But there were definitely a few scenes that felt too alien to be looking at. Like you’ve walked in on something profoundly other and you can’t find the door.

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That’s all I want from my horror, really. Not monsters, not madmen. I want the altogether strange. I want things that rattle your bones with just how much they shouldn’t exist. I want eldritch fucking abominations, dammit, and it’s all too hard to find them in a world of jump scares.

I’m tired of horror that’s “all in your head”. There’s a big world out there. Show me characters wrestling with it – with one filled with things that should not be.

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you’re turning violet, violet

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You know that feeling when you have outfit pictures you really, really love, so you sit on them for a while to make sure they won’t get buried when you actually release them? I’ve talked about it before, and it’s perennially true. I took these pictures a week ago, and they might be some of my favorites ever. I’m skittish about letting them go.

I bought this dress secondhand from someone on Pinterest who was cleaning out her closet. It was originally from Tatted Tina’s Designs, whom I’d never heard of. And WOW, am I glad I’ve heard of her now. She’s a one-woman operation churning out some of the best-quality dresses I’ve ever seen. Next time I will definitely purchase from her directly.

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Dress: handmade, via swap group

Coat: thrifted

Hat & pearls: vintage, thrifted

Everything else: thrifted

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And now for the other creative endeavor I’ve been sitting on. Kristina’s post about her recent literary surge got me itching for the same, and I’ve written about 14 pages into my own new novel.

“What’s it about?” you chorus.

“Uhhh…” I stammer.  It’s not something I can sum up concisely yet. All I know is there are Faustian bargains. And a woman named Jocasta, after Oedipus’s mother. And possibly an eldritch abomination. I am New England gothic to the core.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt.

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My mother liked to spook us.

Once when my sister was small, she asked: “how come there’s only two?”

We were sitting in the kitchen garden while Ma shelled peas. Dianna was racing in tiny circles, speeding up past the radish patch like the tubers would stretch out and trip her. She was four, I think, or five. I was ten.

“Only two? How do I know what that means, Dianna? Two of what? Peas in this pod?”

“In our family. It’s just me and Josiah. But the Howlands have eight kids. The Marshalls have twelve.”

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“They do not,” I told her. Mrs. Marshall was sickly. No way she had that many.

“They do. Lyddie said so.”

“Because,” Ma said, “we’re not Catholic.”

“What’s that got to do with it?”

Ma put down her peas. She leaned forward and her big moon eyes got moonier.

“It doesn’t. I was just testing you. Can you keep a secret, baby?”

“I…think so.”

“‘I think so’ isn’t good enough, Dianna. I need you to promise me.”

“I promise, Mama.”

“That’s my sweet girl. Are you ready?”

She didn’t wait for my sister’s nod.

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“Even before I met your Papa, I always knew I wanted two. One boy and one girl, which is what I got. Lots of women aren’t so lucky. They get exactly what they don’t want, and spend their whole lives resenting their children for not being the opposite. So when I got what I wanted, when my nest was complete, it was time to stop. To quit while I was ahead.

I made a deal. I got a big knife and I carved out the parts of myself that make babies. It hurt, of course, but I thought it would be worth it in the end. I carried my womb to the middle of the forest, I said it down, and I said, ‘all right, I’m finished! Do what you will with it!’

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And the hungry forest spirits came out and gobbled it up. The hungriest of them said, ‘Jocasta, you tasted so good, you must have grown some mighty delicious little ones in there. Please, can we have just one bite?’

After all the work I’d done in making my little family? ‘Of course not,’ I told them. No one gets to eat them up but me, and maybe Darius if I’m feeling generous. Besides, this is my deal to make.’”

“What did the monsters do to you, Mama?” Dianna squeaked.

“Who says they did anything to me? No, I know how to talk to monsters, babe. I told them I was certainly finished having children, that I wanted my boy-girl pair to bring some symmetry into the world, and that I would like them to keep me to my word. If I even think about having another one, if I so much as run my hands over the cradle, they can have that taste they wanted so much. A nice hearty bite of sweet little girl.”

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Ma grinned. “And they’ll hold me to it, too. Those folk aren’t playing.”

Dianna’s lips trembled. She was off and running before she really began to bawl. Ma didn’t go after her. She just laughed and laughed. She looked at me with her big moon eyes shinier than the real moon, like I was finally old enough to get in on the joke. I didn’t tell her she’d scared me, too.

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kook: a retrospective

In honor of my last post and the attendant closet clean-out, I thought I should give my thrifted weirdness a last hurrah. Here are fifteen outfits I absolutely loved, and would absolutely never in a million years wear again.

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one / two / three / four

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five / six / seven / eight

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nine / ten / eleven / twelve

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thirteen / fourteen / fifteen

haunt for the holidays

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Can we take a moment and collectively appreciate Kristina of Eccentric Owl here? I’d known since my birthday (back in May) that I had a package from her on the way, but I had no idea it would be this package. I finally received it on Monday (the day before my half birthday), and…lord oh lord was it worth the wait.

Besides making (yes, making) the skirt in this post, she thrifted me a pair of retro heels, a spangled fascinator, and a cherry-print blouse. I feel positively spoiled. I haven’t been wearing many separates lately, but this skirt stirred my desire for a kitschy skirt-and-sweater combo, and lo! – I’ve been wearing the outfit in this post for two days straight now. Holiday mashups are my new favorite thing.

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Skirt: from Kristina

Everything else: thrifted

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This look was unintentionally super similar to last year’s Thanksgiving outfit. I’d wager it’s an improvement – I have both a much better camera and much longer hair.

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this isn’t my actual halloween look

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I want that well and truly known. I still have a real costume coming to you sometime this week. These were just a few pictures I grabbed on-site at our haunt, between the Saturday matinee and the evening show. And then decided to make super-duper aggressively kitschy, because when else do I have a seasonally appropriate reason to do cheesy overlays, really?

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I’m meeeeeeeltiiiing!

ride with the moon in the dead of night

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I’m halfway done with shows, and I’ve had five precious days off! We start our second run tomorrow night, but I’m at least sort of rested this time. And I was free enough to have a photo day with Holly this past Sunday. Did you know that Ethan Allen is buried less than a mile from my house? Now you do!

(I once bragged about that to a friend from the Midwest, and he did not know who Ethan Allen was. Whaaat. You don’t grow up in Vermont without having half a dozen lessons per year on him.)

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Dress: vintage, via Soulrust 

Cape: from a friend

Everything else: thrifted

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hell week

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I am inordinately pleased that it’s not just my local theater crowd that calls it that. Even Wikipedia says so. And hellish it is. I ate Wendy’s last night. Wendy’s.

We open in two days, but at least I got a visit to my little mountain hometown this weekend. I always move a little slower, a little more deliberately, a little more Buddhist after going home.

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Dress: Hell Bunny

Hat: old & beloved

Everything else: thrifted

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