victoriana

steampunkXI

This was supposed to be a steampunk outfit, but it ended up more “1940s train traveler”. Ah well. I love it anyway. And what better to pair it with than this short story? It’s sort of based on Chekhov’s “The Bet”, which I read when I was 10 and which proved very formative to my literary sensibilities.

steampunkIV

Let me first whet your palate with the mention of Dr. Lucius von Schroeder. It is with a bowed head and a mist in mine eye that I recount his fate. Not I, nor the beings ingrained within this volume, shall pass judgment should you choose to turn your dear faint head away.

Von Schroeder was only a boy. I shouldn’t have nursed his whims so. Then again, bravado had thrilled him since his first beard. It was writ epic in his nature. Who was I to stand in his God (or whomever)-given way?

steampunkI

Von Schroeder craved beginnings and feared their ends terribly. He spoke of new dawns and advances yet unseen with besotted rapture. I don’t think his early days in the seminary had ever really quit him. He spurned the Church too vocally, too frequently, as though expunging whatever kernel of faith yet remained. He swore fidelity to science through and through, but I knew better. One night, when the walls seemed thin as ash and wind whipped our meager quarters, I heard the young man pray.

steampunk collageI

How life itself ran riot through him! “Ashes to ashes,” he crowed. “Why, you and I are naught but stardust. Think of all we’d accomplish by truly realizing such infinite life. What is a man but his insistence on his own humanity? O, but what wonders we could channel if we’d stop clinging so.”

Lucius lusted faithfully after the ends of the earth. His need for transcendence, for taxonomy greater than his in creation’s kingdom, seemed to dog him with equal parts arousal and anxiety. Were I an insect, carrying discernment in the pads of my feet, I’d have seen the struggle writ subtle on his keen face. The epic of a man who’d abandoned God wrestling his own desire for holiness.

I watched him grow fevered and fevered further. I heard his prayers that weren’t prayers, whispered below breath as he worked. I didn’t recognize his deities. I did not understand his crosses to bear. In his private moments, he stood at a crux between two worlds I would never know.

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I was blind to what truly lay before me until the day my ward summoned me to his bedside. He was pale, but far from enervated; he was lit, incandescent, by the same godforsaken stardust that gripped him so. It hit me: he’d been a little less man each day. A little more spirit. Lucius was ash and wind and his own corner of Armageddon. He wasn’t meant for this world.

“My boy?”

“Professor Crowe, I’ve long known what I have to do. When you return to work, you’ll find your arsenic depleted. Once I have gone, please replace it with any money my earthly possessions will fetch you. It’s the least I can offer. But in the time I have left, there’s one thing I need.”

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He paused. Theatrics always did run deep in Lucius. “Collect my final breath, Professor. Let it ferment. Let whatever cursed thing called me home finally show its face. I will not live to see what multitudes I truly contain.

But you will.”

steampunkXIII

I buried a man half my age with a heart twice as heavy. I drafted notes to his family only to remember he had none. The hastily corked bottle containing his final earthly statement dogged me all the while.

And then, my friend, my dear blameless boy, I let it go.

That little carafe exhaled your remains into a world never meant for them. I felt the air itself recoil. And I hung my head in shame.

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But what else would I have done? For all my dedication to this world’s more sordid wonders, I was cowed by something so ineffable. You see, I hunt the darkness in corners long forgotten. I was not prepared to find it in man.

~

Dress & jacket: vintage, via brick-and-mortar store

Boots: vintage, via eBay

Everything else: thrifted

on modernity (vintage florals, pink coat, red hat, & yellow tights)

I

I don’t understand this emphasis on “vintage with a modern twist”. I don’t want a modern twist. I want to wear my circle skirts and corsets the way God (or Dior) intended. I want to look like a walking anachronism. A ghost in petticoats. (And then I want to open my mouth and shatter the daintiness, because fuck yeah contradictions.)

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It disturbs me, this obsession with looking “modern”. Living in 2015, I have thousands of years of fashion to inform me. Why would I want to confine myself to what’s trendy right now? Why would I want to telegraph “my mind is so small that I only care about what’s right in front of me”?

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I bristle when I hear “outdated” as an insult. God forbid I don’t reinvent myself every time something new comes down the runway. God forbid I know who I am and dress like it. Why is it a bad thing to know what you like? Why should I retire my attachments because someone else has decided it’s time to replace them?

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If modern styles are your thing, then wear them to death. From an artistic standpoint, I have nothing against innovation. But I question any ethos that praises modernity just because. Growth for the sake of itself. Wearing new things to fit in with the hordes of other people also wearing new things, to signal…what, exactly? That you’ll wear that dress or those shoes for a season and then leave them to collect dust? That’s not really something to brag about.

Vintage girls, they say, live in the past. We yearn, secretly or not so, for a time when men opened doors and women didn’t leave the house. Maybe some of us do. I can’t speak for everyone. But I know I’d rather fetishize the past than forget it.

 

scraps of warmer days

New items in the shop! As usual, click each image to visit its shop listing.

etsy dress II

etsy blue I

etsy florals I

I mentioned this in the last post, but I’ve got a new page for y’all to subscribe to: my modeling persona, Gloria Mundi. I’m trying to reinvent myself as an explicitly pagan model. I’m still interested in other genres too, of course (who could ever turn down a pinup shoot?), but I’d like to start from a pagan place and occasionally branch out. Gone are my days of taking every job I was offered. I think I have enough experience now to be more selective. I’ve started actually curating my ModelMayhem page, rather than posting shots from every single shoot. I’ve always believe that modeling is an art, and a respectable one, and I ought to start presenting it that way.

I leave you with two Dressember ootds!

dressember sweater I

dressember black I

conceptual

Everything I wore today speaks of autumn, and at least vaguely of Halloween. I am preparing for my annual WEEK IN COSTUMES (which will be more like three days, due to the out-of-town mock trial tournament devouring my weekend). This is my warm-up outfit, a conceptual costume if not a literal one.

Orange sweater and black pants. My Slytherin sweater, which I’ve blogged before, complemented by my snake bracelet. And a vaguely steampunk belt.

I like the hard/soft combination here. Harem pants and loose sweater plus stark, metallic jewelry.

That’s my living room. It’s a pretty nice living room.

Sweater and Belt: Battery Street Jeans Pants: Handed down from Mom Shoes: Danform Bracelet: Claire’s Scarf: Plato’s Closet Hat: Gifted

surfboard dysphoria

Had I grown up by the ocean, I might be an entirely different person. Less high strung, for one, and probably not petty, obsessive, or narcissistic enough to document my outfits on the internet. Sometimes I attempt to channel a certain simplicity you don’t see anywhere but the Atlantic coast. Today was one of those times.

Yeah, my hair is pretty damn short now. Was sort of an accident, but I like it. It barely hits my jaw. I look even more like a lesbian* than usual.

*I’m not a lesbian. I’m just often told I look like one. Apparently I set off a lot of people’s gaydars.

ALSO! I got an awesome, awesome plug from Kate at Eat the Damn Cake, one of my favorite blogs. Only fair that I return the favor.