Also apparently there’s “Is solarpunk REALLY punk” discourse and I’d just like to say there is NOTHING more punk that clean energy and domestic gardening and breeding new kinds of organics in a world that says diesel and industrialized agriculture are what’s right.
Solarpunks are the people who scream “down with lawn culture” and turn their entire yard into a vegetable garden. Solarpunks are the people who destroy the factory polluting their water and don’t lose power when the grid is cut off cause they have solar panels. Solarpunk is clean, organic punk, but it’s still punk AF.
I have been working on this cabinet of curiosities in a letterpress tray for a while and it’s finally done! Full of handmade and collected specimens of all sorts.
Editing to add, if you are in Ohio you can see this piece in the state fair art show!
Finally re-articulating this hare skeleton I’ve had sitting in a jar for a few years! She’s got a lot of important parts missing but I’m trying my best to improvise with things like bone beads and other bits because I’m still insistent on having her all put together. <3
There is a story, from when I was five or
six, about the first time I saw a Stephen King series. I believe it was Storm of The Century, where a small town
in Maine is blocked off by a huge snowstorm and subsequently terrorized by what
turns out to be a demon. Suicides occur, children are taken to become evil
protégé, all while the villain continuously sings “I’m a Little Teapot.”
I remember this vividly, you might notice-
because it scared the hell out of me. As did The Tower of Terror, that skeleton army scene in The Black Cauldron, the entire Fantasia sequence of “Night on Bald
Mountain.” The one time I watched sections of The Wall when my parents didn’t see me come in (a bad idea, in
hindsight). I suffered from one fired-up imagination and had a habit of taking
frightening imagery, allowing my brain to
fill in the story’s blanks. This resulted in a lot of sleeplessness and nightmares.
“They’re only stories,” my father told me once.
“Like Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf. Remember, that wolf always
Something in those words settled into my
soul, and I revisit them sometimes. While I scared very easily as a child, I grew
to like and write gothic fiction overtime- a lot of writers do that. A close
cousin to historical and horror, and a little like neither. More in common with
cabaret music and steampunk culture these days too. Tim Burton was always fun, and
I loved the ghost stories book that my mother had passed along to me- the kind
with The Monkey’s Paw and ghostly
women that haunted roadside hotel. When I was eleven, I sunk my teeth into
Edger Allen Poe’s The Black Cat and
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate
Events. The wolves were there, and they came in the form of human
condition, negligence, and impossible odds. There is complexity and nuance to
each monster, and I saw hope and cleverness there. I found that through fear-
something these stories often used, there was also glints of compassion and
heroics. I fell in love. I dove into the genre and all it had to offer.
As a reader, a writer, and I suppose, as a
person, I’ve always related heavily to that one Doctor Who quote from the
Weeping Angels episode with Sally Sparrow. “I love old things. They make me
feel sad. It’s happy for deep people.” While a bit on the “emo teenager” side
of statements, I’ve far more in common with old ghosts and antique books than I
really should. There is an otherness there that I understand.
There is a rather interesting phenomenon in
horror and gothic fiction that taps into Otherness. These stories exist in
several ways: the heroes verses The Other (Dracula,
The Phantom of The Opera), the village verses The Other
(The Masque of The Red Death), and
The Other verses himself (The Picture of
Dorian Gray, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and one could
argue Frankenstein). Scholars like Jarlath
Killeen have discussed the connotations of this in early gothic fiction, and
their often racially or culturally charged supernatural entities. There is a
mirror effect that occurs in these stories as well, a self-reflection not only
of the author themselves, but of the cultural state they occupy, particularly
in female authors. Female horror authors love Otherness.
Mary Shelley reflects her times with subjects
of responsibility and parentage, and with a monster so brilliant and devastating
powerful- yet so physically abhorrent. Shirley Jackson, who died too young to
see how her books have lasted, loved the subject of dysfunctional family and
tragedy. Anne Rice’s vampires are as depraved as they are empathetic. And this
does not go without critique, films like The
Woman in Black, Corpse Bride, and Crimson
Peak, more feminine in focus and nuanced in their villains, were dragged
for being “too sad” and “not scary enough.”
(Interview With The Vampire, 1994)
This comes in clear contrast to Stoker, or
Wilde, or much of King; monsters are enemies to be defeated. Otherness is
something separate from the hero, or even something that consumes the hero to
his demise (see Dorian Grey). There is no space for nuance- we’re back to Little
Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf. Wolves always lose.
But what if your wolves are not so literal?
What if our enemies are not the ghosts we face, but the beasts that created
them? Or what’s more- what if your wolves are too literal? Women spend most of their lives facing what the Big
Bad Wolf represents, making this threat more reality than fiction. Perhaps women
understand their monsters better, or see them differently.
One of the most
striking statements I’ve encountered about gothic horror is that men write
monsters based on their enemy (take “enemy” to mean whatever you like
sociologically); women write monsters based on how they view themselves. They
aren’t just fighting the monster, they are the monster. Society certainly seems
to think so, given its track record with women: witch trials, poor mental
health, suppression, claims of hysteria… Is it any wonder we feel for the
I write my own sad ghosts and empathetic
monsters now, not near as scared of horror movies these days. If anything, I’ve
come to understand them a bit better. Rather than fearing the wolves, society
sometimes acts as though women might just become one of them. And maybe they’re