New Year/New Year Eve - New Year Eve is more of a holiday than New Year. New Year Eve on December 31st, New Year on January 1st. We stay up all night, write resolutions, wait till midnight then go out of your house and shout to all of your neighbors “Happy New Year!” At least that’s how we did it when I was growing up.
My family personally had a tradition where we kept ourselves up all night by playing Mexican Train dominoes, so I suggest if you make an American celebrate New Year with his/her family, that you give them personal traditions their family does to pass the time till midnight.
Valentine’s Day - February 14th if you’re writing about a child, I don’t know how elementary schools are now, but when I was a child, we’d have school, then at the end of the day we’d pass out cards then we’d have a party with lots of homemade hearts.
St. Patrick’s Day - March 17th. You wear green and a lot of adults celebrate by going to the bar and drinking whiskey and beer. The childhood game with St Patrick’s Day is if you’re not wearing green that day, anyone is allowed to pinch you.
April Fools Day - April 1st. This is the holiday of the pranksters and jokesters. A day to pull pranks on your friends. Not a major holiday.
Mother’s Day - 2nd Sunday in May. Typically celebrated by taking mothers out to eat (or cooking for them) and giving them a gift (or several if you so-choose) with a card that you most likely bought at Hallmark.
Memorial Day - Last Monday in May. A day to celebrate those that have died fighting for our country. I never actually had any traditions for this holiday, so anybody that maybe has, some insight on how to have characters celebrate this one would be appreciated.
Father’s Day - 3rd Sunday in June. Typically celebrated by taking fathers out to eat (or cooking for them) and giving them a gift (or several if you so-choose) with a card that you most likely bought at Hallmark or the local grocery store.
Independence Day/Fourth of July - July 4th. Typically celebrated by lighting off fireworks at the end of the day after being obnoxiously patriotic all day.
Labor Day - First Monday in September. Lots of schools schedules are centered around the date Labor Day falls on. My school (in Washington) always started the week after Labor Day. I never had any traditions for this holiday either so any insight on how to celebrate this one would be appreciated too.
Halloween - October 31st. Celebrated by taking children out trick-or-treating or going to a costume party. Often celebrated with haunted houses, haunted cornmazes, and other scary stuff like that. Some also celebrate by dressing up during their sexy time that night. Some people are “too good” to dress up at a costume party, so if you’re writing about a costume party, you might wanna mention the one or two people that were there without a costume.
Veterans Day - November 11th. A day to celebrate the lives of those that have fought bravely for our country. Some schools hold an assembly where they appreciate the veterans that are related to their students (so if a student has a grandfather, they’re invited to the assembly to get appreciated by everyone).
Thanksgiving - Fourth Thursday of November. The time of year to be thankful. A lot of families will go around the table once, having everybody tell one thing they’re thankful for that year (some even go so far as to say “nothing material.”). There’s always a huge dinner where everybody is left stuffed over-the-top. Common foods to cook are beets, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie. Some families (A LOT of families) will watch the football game. Most families will eat at the table, which they never eat at during the rest of the year.
Christmas - December 25th. Some people start the celebration the night before by opening one Christmas gift (some have the rule “it has to be from Santa”). Then on Christmas morning, the family will gather in one room (or they might go to a family member’s house every year). Lots of families will open their stockings first, which are stuffed with like candies and small gifts, some stock small lotions. There will be a Christmas tree, which has the gifts all under it. Some families are really stickler about “it has to be real” while some use fake trees every year. Remember that some families don’t have the money for a tree, so they might have a different tradition or they might make a make-shift tree. Putting up a tall tree in a town square, caroling, and Christmas music.
You didn’t see many new faces. You definitely didn’t see any kids your age. That’s just how it went on the fourth floor of St. Mungo’s. You were admitted, you never left, and at some point or another your family forgot you and you stopped getting visitors.
You were slightly more lucky. You didn’t have a family to forget you. You had been dropped off at St. Mungo’s when you were a newborn. No one ever claimed you. As soon as you turned up they new you were abnormal, even for a witch.
So that’s how it went. No new faces. The same old dull patient and the same old dull nurses. Your only hope at escaping the boredom was having a nurse wheel you around. You and everyone around you (no matter if they were willing to admit it or not) knew you had no chance of leaving this place.
Nurses tried their best to keep your spirits up but this became harder and harder the older you got. The nurses wheeled you around outside and tried to make small talk. It was a nice day but it did nothing to ease your thoughts.
You gazed at the lake and began to wish that they let you swim outside more often. Someone tripped over your chair and fell to the ground. Your eyes snapped to them. Your hands quickly grabbed the blanket that covered your lower half and pulled it up further in surprise.
The boy looked up at you in surprise like he hadn’t seen the girl in the wheelchair that most people could have spotted a mile away. You wanted to help him up but well…
“So so sorry.” He got up and dusted himself off. “I was in such a rush that I didn’t….so sorry.” A small smile spread across your face.
He was young, about your age. He was handsome with his dark brown hair and green eyes. Maybe you were just over excited but you felt compelled to tell him more. However, you didn’t know if he would want to learn more after he saw what was under the blanket.
“I’m Neville, by the way.” He held out his hand. One of your hands held the blanket firmly in place while the other shook his hand.
“It was very nice to meet you and sorry about the whole falling thing but I’ve got to go.”
“Will I see you around,” you asked before he could leave. He smiled and nodded before turning and running in the other direction.
You heard the nurse laughing slightly and you shot her a look.
“Keep going, please.”
Later that day you had a nurse pulling you around the room where most of the patients were kept on that floor. You were placed all alone because you needed special treatments and sometimes you got funny looks from other witches and wizards.
Occasionally, you would visit the other patients. None were close to your age but most of them were quite nice and really funny so you never really minded. They would tell you stories, some of which you had to question if there was any truth behind.
You were laughing at some joke when out of the corner of your eye you saw the door open. You turned your head and saw Neville enter. He didn’t seem to see you. You tugged at the nurses sleeve and she leaned down so that you could easily whisper in her ear.
“That Neville boy, has he been admitted here?” The nurse shook her head and her expression became very sad.
“No but his parents were a long time ago. You’ve probably seen them before. They’re usually only brought out here for holidays like Christmas because they’re special cases but he’s visiting so they put them out here. The Longbottoms. Poor couple, they were young and so was Neville, when they got tortured into insanity.” The nurse shook her head.
Your eyes went wide with shock. You had heard of them but you had never met them. Suddenly, you felt like had invaded something very private in this boys life. You felt very guilty.
“I’d like to go back to my room now, if you don’t mind.” The nurse didn’t argue as she rolled you out of the door.
You laid in your bed finally free for the first time that day. You didn’t need a blanket to hide your hame from the rest of the world. The thing you hid so mysteriously under the blanket was a tail. Not like a monkeys tail or a cat tail or something of that sort. That would be easily concealable.
Your entire lower body was what muggles would call a mermaids tail. It was bright green and glistened in the sunlight, not that it ever got much sunlight. You were born with it and the working theory among the Healers was you or your mother were cursed.
When you were dropped off at St. Mungo’s no one knew what to do with you. There had been no one like you. Immediately they started conducting experiments and they hadn’t stopped since. You had taken to hiding it anytime you were outside your room. At nights you went swimming at night to get workout in since you couldn’t walk and those were your favourite moments.
As you moved your tail back and forth absent-mindedly you thought about Neville and his parents. You really hoped to see him again but how could you. You knew all this stuff about his parents and him yet he didn’t really know the first thing about you.
You were dragged out of your thoughts by the doors opening and closing quickly. Usually the nurses and Healers knocked before they came in. However, this wasn’t a nurse or a healer.
In walked Neville looking completely distraught. His hands were in his hair which messed it up a great deal. Within seconds he turned towards you. He gasped loudly.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize anyone stayed in this room. Oh Merlin.” The entire time he spoke his eyes were glued to your tail.
“Hey!” You quickly pulled a cover over your tail and his eyes met yours. “Yeah, buddy, eyes up here.” You crossed your arms.
“Sorry, I just-”
“Yeah, I know. I just have a bloody tail. Bit distracting yeah?” You hadn’t meant to come off harsh but this was frustrating. You sighed. “I don’t mean to sound rude but this happens all the time. I’m a regular girl but then people see my tail and all of a sudden I’m a freak again.”
“No,” Neville blurted out. “I think you’re great. Normal isn’t always the best, you know. I also, think you’re very pretty.” Your gaze shifted as you felt your cheeks heat up.
“Yeah?” Neville nodded. He was blushing slightly as well. “Er, thanks. You can um…stay in here if you’d like.” His eyes brightened up.
“Thank you so much. My mom was having one of her episodes…I needed some air. I didnt think anyone stayed in here. Much less a…” His sentence hung in the air as he waited for you to tell him what exactly you were.
“Mermaid. Muggle mermaid but mermaid.”
“Well, yes. I had heard rumors but you can’t believe half of the things you here from those people. So how did you…” He stood there awkwardly which you found adorable. He didn’t quite know what to say.
Ahh, yes. Your origin story. All conversations usually led to this. How did you get like this? (I don’t know) Are you a monster? (Definitely. I devoured three small children this morning) Can I touch your tail? (Yeah, if you want your hand cut off)
“Well, I was born like this. Healers don’t know for sure but they think someone cursed me or someone cursed my mum before she had me. I would ask my mum but she hasn’t turned up so that’s that. You can sit down.” You moved your tail slightly which made plenty of room on the bed for him.
“Oh, wow. That’s…wow. I mean…just wow.”
“Wow. Do you plan on broadening your vocabulary anytime soon or…” Neville burst out laughing and so did you.
“Okay, well tell me. Why have they got you held up in this place? Shouldn’t you be in the ocean with other mermen and women?” That was a unique question. Not many people asked that. Neville was getting very interesting.
“Well, legally they hold me here until I am 18. They can mostly do whatever, conduct experiments, do surgeries, that type of thing as long as I consent. When I’m 18 I can do whatever I want. I can ask to stay here or I can live in the muggle or wizarding world. Or I could ask to taken to the sea.” You paused just to see if he was paying attention and he certainly was.
“As far as mermen and women go, we don’t actually get along. I’ve met my fair share of merfolk. A while ago the Healers thought that maybe I belonged with them even though I didn’t look like them. I swim fast, I breath underwater, and I could get along fine in the ocean but the merfolk just didn’t like me. They said I wasn’t a proper mermaid and I didn’t even speak their language. They also said if the Healers didn’t remove me from their lake immediately they’d kill me.”
“Hmm.” Neville said thoughtfully. He shrugged. “Their loss.” A smile played at his lips.
“I think the tail is amazing. I think your story is brilliant and I really think you’re brilliant.” Suddenly, the door burst open for the second time that day.
This time an older lady who closely resembled Neville entered the room.
“Neville, there you are. I’ve been looking for you. Sorry to interrupt but we have to go. You can say goodbye and I’ll be outside.” She gave you a kind smile before closing the door.
Neville looked almost sad.
“That’s my gran. I better get going.” Neville moved to stand up but you grabbed his arm and he stayed put.
“Thanks…for talking to me. Um…will you…will you please come back someday?”
“Definitely.” You quickly leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his cheek. Now he was absolutely bright red.
“Bye, Neville.” He looked slightly dumbstruck.
“Er, bye.” He stumbled towards the door. Almost falling more than once. Finally, he reached the door. He gave you one final smile before leaving.
“May well have been one small step for Neil, but it’s a heck of a big leap for me!”- Bruce McCandless
On February 7th, 1984 – the fourth day of STS 41-B – astronauts Bruce McCandless and Robert Stewart performed the first untethered spacewalks, operating the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) for the first time. McCandless, the first human Earth-orbiting satellite, ventured out 320 feet (98 m) from the orbiter, while Stewart tested the “work station” foot restraint at the end of the Remote Manipulator System. On the seventh day of the mission, both astronauts performed an EVA to practice capture procedures for the Solar Maximum Mission satellite retrieval and repair operation, which was planned for the next mission, STS-41-C.
Bazaar celebrates women who live by their own rules and are brave enough to take flight. See all of the Daring Women featured in our November 2015 issue here.
October 19, 2015
By Charlotte Cowles and Photographs by Ben Hassett
Pictured: Alexander McQueen jacket, shirt and pants. FASHION EDITOR: Anna Trevelyan
When I reach Annie Clark, the 33-year-old musician who plays under the name St. Vincent, she’s in a hotel room in Toronto, nestled in bed even though it’s 4 P.M. “I'm…visiting Cara for her birthday,” she explains in the halting manner of someone who isn’t quite sure what she wants to reveal. “We went to a male strip club last night and got lots of lap dances,” she offers. “And now I’m in …” Her voice trails as she searches for the right words. “A bed. Just answering e-mails. It’s seriously sexy.”
“Cara,” of course, is Cara Delevingne, the mega-model turned actress with whom Clark has been romantically linked for months now. Since early spring, the pair have attended red-carpet events together, been paparazzi’d during bleary morning coffee runs, and appeared all over each other’s social media. And while Clark is no novice when it comes to attention—a star in the indie-rock world, she has played with everyone from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra to Taylor Swift and was handpicked to perform with the surviving members of Nirvana at last year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony—the fuss over her relationship with Delevingne is of a different breed. Clark has always preferred to let her raw, emotional songs speak for themselves, avoiding questions about her sexuality and personal life in favor of discussing, say, the writing of Hilton Als or the odd names of lingerie brands. On the wings she wore for her Bazaar photo shoot, she remarks that she was going for “more Tony Kushner’s Angels in America than Victoria’s Secret. I mean, what is Victoria’s Secret anyway? What could it possibly be?”
Dating Delevingne has made it harder for Clark to preserve that level of mystique—to put it mildly. “There’s been a little bit of enigma peeled back as of late,” Clark admits. “But I have a rich life that has nothing to do with the flimflam. I know there’s a through-the-looking-glass version of myself, and I don’t feel particularly attached to that version, especially as it pertains to the public eye—it’s kind of removed from my actual life. The long and the short of it is that what people think of me is none of my business.” She then maneuvers the conversation back to her music with a polite dexterity that’s clearly old hat. “Ultimately what I make is what I want to be—it’s my offering to the world.”
Clark began performing as St. Vincent in 2006, after several years of working with acts like the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, and quickly won critical acclaim and a cult following for her complex arrangements. With formal training from Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music (she attended for three years before dropping out), the Texas native can play a wide variety of instruments, often layering them on top of one another to produce a vibrant blend of sounds. She also has a reputation for her guitar-throttling, full-body performances. “Part of what happens onstage is a physical exorcism,” says Clark. “I find that I need to be—whether or not I’m onstage performing—really physically engaged with the world. I have a lot of energy, and I have to move.” Being on the road agrees with her, in that sense. “Touring does not suit everybody, but it really suits me. I haven’t been in one city for more than five days in … well, I guess I took one vacation,” she says. “Basically, it’s very rare that I’m in a city for more than three nights.”
“THERE’S BEEN A LITTLE BIT OF ENIGMA PEELED BACK.” —St. Vincent
Though Clark built a respectable fan base over the course of her first three records, it was her fourth, 2014’s St. Vincent, that vaulted her into the big leagues, earning her a Grammy for Best Alternative Album this past February. Leading up to its release, Clark dyed her curly brown hair a dusty gray, giving her pale, fairy-like features a slightly alien edge that complemented her music’s otherworldly quality. With her long, angular, Tim Burton–esque silhouette and moon-size eyes, she’s an ideal vehicle for fashion’s more abstract creations. “I like fashion. I like structure and form and color, and all those things coalesce into wearable art,” she says. “But I’m not, like, worshipful with the cult of wealth aspirations.” Clark defines herself as more of an equal opportunist when it comes to inventive outfits. “I’ve worked with stylists and worn designer clothes and had custom pieces made, which is a lot of fun. But lately I’ve been wearing this catsuit that I found when I was walking down the street in Louisville, Kentucky. There was a store that had big, bold Tupac T-shirts in the window, and I was like, ‘Oh, cool, I wonder what’s going on in there.’ I went in and found this catsuit for $34.99, and I bought it on a lark, and it’s the best thing I ever got. It’s perfect for stage.” She laughs. “You know, my tastes are pretty catholic.”
For last night’s strip club outing, Clark wore an Issey Miyake outfit with Robert Clergerie shoes, “like somebody’s weird art teacher,” she says. “I was looking through pictures, and I look like a creepy serial killer lurking in the background. Everyone else is fun, young, and flirty, and I look like Yoko Ono, which I’m not mad about.” She occasionally borrows from Delevingne’s street-punk wardrobe, but only out of necessity. “We have wildly different styles. So if I’m going to get a coffee in the morning, I’ll throw on drop-crotch sweatpants. But then I’ll go back to my all-black Japanese designers.”
Clothing may be the least of Clark’s and Delevingne’s differences. “Cara is an experientialist—more feet in the fire,” says Clark. “I’m less so. If there’s a dark room of the subconscious, I want to find it and walk around in it. Sometimes I feel very much in my head and slightly removed from the physical world,” she continues. “For example, I dance onstage, but I don’t dance for pleasure offstage. I’ll be privy to a dance club or something and just be essentially sober and watch things happen. More as a social observer, like an anthropologist. I’m not in the middle of the dance floor, you know?” She pauses. “That probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. But I’m having a great time.”
Having recently finished a 20-month tour, Clark will soon head to Los Angeles to work on her next album, which is still in its earliest phases. It’ll be her first long-term break from the road in about five years. “I’m looking forward to having time to build and rip it up and start again,” she says. It will also provide a respite from the spotlight, “although I don’t consider myself very famous,” she adds, bemused. “If I’m by myself, I don’t ever get paparazzi. Nobody takes pictures of me. Or if they do, it’s only as an asterisk to an asterisk—like a tangent to a tangent of pop culture. I don’t get too freaked out by it. But it’s such a bizarre experience. I don’t know where to put it yet.” A topic for her next record, perhaps.
Spread your wings. Jacket, shirt, and pants. Alexander McQueen. Boots, Valentino Garavani. See Where to Buy for shopping details. Hair: David Von Cannon; makeup: Marla Belt for M.A.C. Cosmetics; manicure: Naomi Yasuda for Dior Vernis; prop styling: Nicholas Des Jardins for Mary Howard Studio.
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR.
I am self-refutation. That hesitant looking-back and one step forward, the eyeing downward and northward along the tight rope. The crowd of onlookers and their crowd of gasps and jeers and laughter and applause. Sounds of revelry play along the wind and float up in twists and fits. Second step. Heart beating like horror drums, all barbarism and savagery. Third step. Breath stumbles, sticks as it tumbles out. A little off balance on that one. Fourth st-ah, misstep. Silence. Drop. Silence. I am self-refutation. A look up.