Some personal thoughts on 2017…
2017 was a year of endings and beginnings and challenges and rising to the occasion. In January I traveled to Washtington DC with my beloved sisters for the Women’s March, which was both exhilarating and humbling, but more than anything, taught me that though I may have a heart of good intentions– intention, without action, is worthless. It also helped to set the tone for the rest of the year: knowing when to speak up and make my voice heard, and knowing when to shut my mouth and listen. I did much of the way of listening in 2017– and learning, I hope, as well.
In February, my grandmother–my family’s sole remaining elder–passed away. This passing, while heartbreaking, ended several years’ worth of worry and concerns that had been troubling me–but brought along with it an entirely new set of responsibilities to deal with, many of which I am still tackling. For all intents and purposes, I am the matriarch of our small family now, and quite honestly, most days I still don’t even feel like an adult.
In May, I traveled to Portland and Seattle for the loveliest birthday visit with my dear friends and Haute Macabre coven members Maika and Sonya. In July I spent an amazing evening with my best good friend in the world, eating ramen and watching the sublimely ridiculous Frankenhooker– though I did not know it in those moments, it would be the last time I would easily spend time with her; she has since had to move to the Northeast for her job.
And in the autumn of 2017, I congregated in Salem, again with Maika and Sonya, for an amazing whirlwind trip encompassing a great deal of activity in a very short amount of time! Goth glamor shots at Witch Pix, the Bloodmilk night market, Ashley Rose Couture’s exquisite My Dearest Dust show, group spooder tattoos at Black Veil Tattoo, a gorgeous jaunt around Mount Auburn Cemetery, and Sonya’s exceptional poetry reading at the Satanic Temple. In addition to finally getting the opportunity to meet our fearless leaders, Sam and Erin, I also met a marvelous new friend who took amazing care of us while we were there (I cannot thank you enough, kind-hearted and generous Jo!) AND in spite of how frightened and anxious I was, I was beyond thrilled to meet and say hello to the artists I respect and admire, at various stops along the way, as well as the friends who made it their business to overcome their anxieties and say hello to me! People actually wanted to meet me! Who knew?
2017 was an incredible year for connecting with artists and creators, and for working past my issues to reach out to people, to put myself out there, to work hard, and to get stuff done. I am proud to say that in the past year I penned 20+ interviews for Haute Macabre, for a total of 50 essays, articles, and features in general for the site! In addition to maintaining my own personal blog, Unquiet Things. And I know, without a doubt, that 2018 will be every bit as inspiring, empowering, and productive.
In the meantime, though, here are some of my favorite things from 2017…
Paperbacks From Hell The best of all my favorite things: horror + a book that recommends more books for me.
The Pillow Book Certainly not a current title, but 2017 is when I finally read the whole of Sei Shonagon’s diary of poetic musings, exquisite lists, and not-always-kind witticisms and criticisms. As lovely as her glimpses at life in the Empress’s court can seem, she can also be quite scathing in her depictions and thoughts of others. I’m pretty sure that Sei Shonagon is the OG Heian period mean girl–and that, too, fascinates me.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Another diary, the sketches and observations of a 12 year old, monster-obsessed girl growing up in Chicago in the late 60s. Emotional, expressive, messy, and marvelous.
Ask Baba Yaga Weird and wise, poetic and profound. Clarity from the ultimate crone.
Hunger In this painfully private memoir, Roxane Gay writes intimately, sensitively, and bravely about the trauma would define her relationship with food, desire, and denial for decades; about facing herself and living in her “unruly” body and what it is to hunger for something. In writing this sentence about a book I read almost a year ago, I am weeping fresh tears of rage and recognition again – for Gay’s experiences. For my own. For yours. For all of our hungers, and all of the ways that we may never be fed, or full.
The Lure Did you know that you wanted an offbeat Polish hybrid horror-Europop musical of The Little Mermaid in your life? Trust me, you do
Get Out From the moment I heard that Jordan Peele was making a horror film, I had been rabidly anticipating his directorial debut; this brilliant, brutal, creepy, uncomfortable nightmare was perfect in every way, except, I suppose in ways that I wish it didn’t have to be. I don’t think I have the words or the wisdom to unpack and address what I mean to say here, and you know, I think that’s ok. Sometimes, as I mentioned above, it is best to keep your mouth shut and listen to what people are trying to tell you, and Get Out has got a lot to say.
Prevenge A gleefully demented horror-comedy in which a single mother’s unborn child encourages her to go on a killing spree. As ridiculous and fun as it sounds.
Robin Isely https://sliplead.tumblr.com
Kim Myatt http://www.ysvyri.com
Laura Sheridan (Sheridan’s Art) https://www.sheridansart.com
Bad Books For Bad People Two of my favorite weirdos discussing the weirdest, kinkiest, and most outrageous fiction they can unearth.
The Witch Wave A sonic coven wherein scholar and mystic Pam Grossman engages in insightful and intriguing conversations about the relationship between magic and creativity with bewitching visionaries.
DreamersOfDecadence A classical art cult of opulent, sumptuous beauty.
CheeseSexDeath Erika Kubick believes cheese is the sexiest, holiest food there is and wants to inspire us to explore this mysterious world of funky rinds and fuzzy molds.
Paperback Paradise Parody book covers from a twisted alternate universe. I peek in when I need a good laugh, the kind of laugh that leaves me paralyzed and wheezing and in danger of thoroughly peeing myself.
Dread Singles What if Lovecraft wrote a different sort of nonsense, the spammy “hot singles in your area” sort?
wolfpupy is a 5-month-old canine who lives in a cave and tweets whatever dumb ridiculousness comes into his head. In an interview he says, “…my biggest strength is probably my sharp teeth I got after my milk teeth fell out. My weaknesses? I don’t handle being shot with a gun or being set on fire very well.” I am kind of goofy myself, so you can see why this sort of humor would appeal to my idiot heart.
Sailor Moon Texts Outing myself here, but whatevs. Sailor Moon 4-ever ok?
LoveNikki A competitive fashion/fantasy game. I lost a whole month of my life to it; it’s crazy addictive.
I can’t tell you what my actual favorite Youtube channel is because it is a shameful, guilty pleasure (feel free to put forth your best guesses in the comments, though). So instead I’ll share my somewhat less embarrassing favorite. I’m a fan of ridiculous mukbang eating shows and Yuka Kinoshita with her frenetic energy and demented cheer while shoving enormous amounts of spicy fire ramen down her gullet is always a treat.
Lana Del Rey, Lust For Life Narcotic, nostalgic, end-of-the world balladry
Myrkur, Mareridt Nordic black metal Lana del Rey. Kidding. Sort of.
Subrosa, More Constant Than The Gods Ok, so this was released in 2013, but both spotify and itunes tell me it’s my most listened-to album in 2017. Vocals intones gloomily on themes of sorrow, struggle, and death, while guitars thickly drone and violins moan along with a doom-laden, dreary elegance. It’s a perfect album, and it feels pretty timeless to me, so I’m including it!
Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Palette You’ll never find me wearing clothing in pink/red/orange hues, but I love these infectious, alien shades on my eyes for some reason. I am guilty of wearing several of these shimmers over lipstick, too.
Ofra Liquid Lipstick Purple Rain Is it cheating to have two lip products here? This is the hands-down-best purple lippie I’ve ever encountered, and for a liquid lipstick, it’s got a great formula. Never crusty or uncomfortable.
The Sum Black This is a light fragrance full of heavy meditations. Woods and phantom smoke and alternating hints of leather and metal. It feels both luxurious and austere. I picked up a bottle at Blackmail Boutique in Austin in 2016 but forgot I had it until sometime this past summer.
(Wearable) Void Merch tee shirt designs Tee shirts & jeans are my official uniform and the weirder and more inscrutable the tee, the happier I am. “Junior League Bloodcult Chainsaw Team” is my current favorite.
(Mostly wearable) Caitlin Ffrench knitting pattern/designs There will never be enough time in the world to knit all of the things, but Caitlin Ffrench’s beautiful, and magically-not-too-difficult-but-never-boring shawl patterns have been keeping my needles constantly busy for the past year. Pictured above is the Mabon pi shawl from Caitlin’s Wheel book. I knit that gorgeousness!
(Wearable… for your bed) William Morris bed linens at Amara. After reading Bitten By Witch Fever I was inspired to find some arsenical wallpaper reproductions for the boudoir, and while this might not be a feat for those across the pond, in the U.S. it proved more of a challenge. I was, however, able to procure a beautiful “Seaweed” bedding, including duvet cover, sheets, and pillow cases, from Amara.
(Not exactly wearable) Ashley Rose Couture Visions of these ravishing, fantastical fairy tale creations have long haunted my dreams if not my own wardrobe.
I did not lead in with a featured image of myself, like my beautiful friends and fellow writers did, instead I have tucked one in at the very end, sneaky-like. Though if you follow my Instagram, you’ll see I post the occasional selfie, I’m still a little squirrelly and strange about posting photos of myself so publically, especially after several years in a former relationship with an abuser who policed and prohibited all of my activities. This was over 6 years ago now, but it’s still so odd, and freeing, and satisfying to say, “Hey world! Look at my moony face! My dream cycle lips, my nails from the oily, black void & my weird, staring eyes!” I’m sort of joking, but I actually love this photo, and well, maybe my face is a little weird looking, but it’s the only one I’ve got. Maybe you will be seeing more of it in 2018.
(Bonus! More purple lippies I love: in this photo it is a combination of Kim Chi and Spank from Sugarpill)