This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. While this particular scenario – with the dolls, etc. – wasn’t my original vision for a comic, I have to say that I think it’s turning out quite well. And it’s a lot of fun to do.
I started out just using my phone to take random photos of the dolls and putting them on Instagram. Then I began to add props, narrative, and backgrounds – and realized it was taking on a life of its own, turning into a story. I finally accepted, while writing this blog post, that it had become a webcomic of sorts, and I needed to decide if I wanted to pursue that avenue.
While considering my options, it occurred to me that I needed to make a plan, write up the storyline, and set up a publication schedule so I would have something to work toward if I wanted to make an actual webcomic. I set to work, and now I have done that; there is a finite ending to this story. It will take a minute to get there, but it will be a complete arc.
So this is a new adventure for me. I haven’t – at this point – made a plan for when this storyline ends. I may or may not do another comic, depending on how well I am able to keep up with my posting schedule, as I have writing obligations to my fellow Perfect Coven authors. For now, I am going to enjoy the ride and post a page every other Monday on my blog, Wattpad, and my deviantArt page. Please feel free to drop me a comment at any of those places!
I’m not sure if that makes me a good Goth or a bad one, but whatever. I don’t enjoy the holiday season; I find it irritating, exhausting, and depressing. I’m sure much of the antipathy I harbor is due to losing my mother five years ago – she absolutely adored Christmas, and it’s not the same without her – but I’ve always had a tendency to the holiday blues. It’s just more pronounced these days.
I do love winter, and I love snow, but not the holiday, so I doubt it’s the cold and the dark that I dislike. Perhaps it’s the over-commercialization or just that really cheerful people get on my nerves…something. I just don’t like it.
Caveat aside, there are aspects I dislike less than others.
I enjoy the Christmas tree. I despise putting it up and taking it down because it’s such a chore, but once it’s up and lit, I enjoy sitting in the room with it, my cat on my lap, a book and some cocoa.
Our tree is Victorian-themed, of course. Lots of dark reds and golds, ornate ornaments, velvet textures, branches, and berries threaded through the green limbs, and white lights. Instead of traditional garlands, I use long strands of gold beads because we have cats, and cats have been known to eat garland and/or ribbons, and then end up at the vet. So, yeah. The tree topper is a Victorian angel dressed in brocade, velvet, and (fake) fur. While assembling and decorating the tree each year, we will have A Nightmare Before Christmas going on the DVD player, so I can stop and watch when I start getting annoyed. It helps calm me down.
Since I have a Halloween village that I put up every year, you have probably (correctly) assumed that I also put out a Christmas village. Again, because of Der Mann’s obsession, it’s a Lego village, and it grows every year. There was a train last year, and this year the train depot. We also have a carousel, a little open air market, post office, Santa Claus cottage, Christmas tree vendors, etc.and so on, many little buildings and bits I can’t remember because I’m not at home looking at it as I type this. It’s cute and I enjoy it. Unfortunately, so does Boonzilla and Karmazuki. They have been known to wreak kaiju-worthy cat havoc on the Christmas village.
And the Halloween village.
And the city itself.
And the Christmas tree, as Boon likes to climb it. I’m pretty sure he has his eye on the angel at the top.
Presents…presents are okay. I’m one of the weirdos that kind of enjoys the wrapping part. I do not like the shopping and all, though I do get a thrill when I know I’ve found the perfect thing. Receiving presents doesn’t do much for me; I’d much rather give.
We do not put up Christmas stockings in our house, mostly due to cats pulling them down (when we lived in Atlanta) and lack of space (here in Michigan). We follow the German tradition of Der Mann’s family and put out boots. I have some glass Santa boots that we fill with candy and fruit and small silly knick-knacks for each other. One of these days, we might actually get around to painting them.
There’s been snow here (in Michigan) on Christmas. I love that. Snow on Christmas was one of the things I missed most the entire time I lived in Atlanta, so I still get terribly excited when it snows.
Now – to prove I’m not completely Grinchy – there is one thing I absolutely love about Christmas.
Christmas Eve, to be exact.
Der Mann and I have adopted the Scandinavian tradition of Christmas Eve books. We will give each other a list of three books we’d like to read.We’ll each buy the other a book from the list, along with a couple of chocolate oranges. On Christmas Eve, we retire to bed, where we unwrap the books and crack the oranges, and then spend a blissful evening reading our books – and reading the good bits aloud to each other – and eating chocolate while the cats cuddle and snooze.
I wasn’t sure about the topic for this November post. I’ve been wrestling with it a while, considering and discarding. I thought about writing about other blogs. I thought about doing a “thankful” post, like my friend Lady Strange does every November. I even thought I might skip this month. And then the news came that we’d lost another.
When Brian died in 2016, I wrote that he was the first, but he wouldn’t be the last.
I’m afraid that the dominos are going to fall ever faster.
Let me tell you about Kelly.
We were the best of friends, and sometimes, the worst of friends as we could be very, very bad for each other…and for everyone around us. There were more ‘best’ times than ‘worst’ ones, at least as I remember it, and even when I was most annoyed with him, he could still make me laugh. (Even if he did it by threatening to whine).
Our “handful” as he was often called, the wild child with the big hair and big heart, a smirk that always meant the best trouble, music in his soul and demons in his mind.
He struggled with depression and substance abuse; first and worst was alcohol, but he was seventeen years sober at the time of his death. The car accident that shattered his leg set him back on the path to drug abuse, an addiction to opioids that ultimately cost him his life.
There are too many stories; pickles and pranks, boy scouts and red roofs, pink pajamas and white tennis shoes, “going to church” on Sunday nights and Hoagy Carmichael on the stereo at 4:00 a.m. There was so much laughter, so much love, and now so many tears.
I could write about us as fierce, wanton children, living our dark fairy tale on city streets instead of primitive forests, fearlessly going where we shouldn’t, dressed in glitter and fishnet, dancing to our own music.
But that’s romanticizing. While there was some of that – okay, a lot of that, we were lucky – there were also hard, debilitating times. There were times he fell so deep in the pit that we weren’t sure we’d be able to pull him out, especially those of us that have our own struggles. And we all knew that no matter how much love we poured into that blackness – all of us that loved him in our different ways, but most specifically Firecracker – and no matter how fiercely he loved us back, still, we knew that someday there wouldn’t be enough to hold back the dark.
But then he would come back, mischievous grin shining bright as the sun, hiding that dark core, dragging us out again to sing and dance and laugh.
So maybe this turned into a thankful post after all. Because I’m thankful for that time, for those people, and that Kelly was part of my life.
Yes, every day may be Halloween, but October is special because it’s Actual Halloween Month.
And, if you’re me (and others I could mention (you know who you are) *waves at friends*), October Halloween is celebrated the entire month of Halloween October.
Plus, in the South, everything finally begins to cool down a bit in October, so there’s another reason to love Halloween! All the autumn colors, sights, smells…plus October is the beginning of the Holiday season, so what’s not to love?*
By love, of course, I mean celebrate! How does a Goth celebrate a holiday that they supposedly live every day of the year? By being even spookier!
First we decorate. That actually begins in September, when I haul everything upstairs from the basement and reorganize to accommodate the decorations. I put the wreath Der Mann made of dried vines and rubber snakes on the door.
Then Der Mann’s Lego city is packed away to make room for my Halloween village (also Lego, so he’s okay with the change) along the top of one of the bookcases. We add to this every year. This year, Der Mann is making me a cornfield and a minifigure with a large knife/cleaver… “He wants you, too, Malachi!” (Der Mann had never seen Children of the Corn! I did not know this. That lapse has since been fixed.)
Then I put the skull candleholders Der Mann made for me, along with their battery-powered black tapers, on the snake cages, flanking my antique birdcage that normally holds Der Mann’s Lego birds, but at Halloween holds my fake bird skeleton. (Hm. Speaking of that, I may see if Der Mann wants to make some improvements to the bird skeleton this year.)
Der Mann has his own Halloween projects. Last year, he modified two plastic rats into Punk Rock Rats.
This year, he’s acquired two more, and is planning to turn them into High Society Rats (no pics as yet, he’s working on them). He has also been working on a tombstone that carries an epitaph from the Gashlycrumb Tinies that he plans to put out in his terribly overgrown garden. He recently acquired a giant skull wall hanging that he intends to modify into an eerie Ouija board (like those aren’t inherently spooky, right?). Finally, he bought a set of resin skulls that I believe he’s planning to turn into sugar skull bookends. We will see.**
On the first day of October, we’ll start queuing up the Halloween playlists and get out the Halloween and horror movies. The first movie, on October 1st, is always Hocus Pocus. (Der Mann had never seen it before we started dating. His education was sorely lacking.) The movie watch-list varies year to year, except for Hocus Pocus. It’s always the first. This year, we’ll probably watch Alien, perhaps The Conjuring and/or The Conjuring 2, maybe Sleepy Hollow or some Night Gallery, and Little Shop of Horrors, if I can acquire a copy of it on DVD (done!). Also, at the end of October, we will definitely be tuning in for Stranger Things! (Der Mann wants to add The Upside Down to my Lego Halloween setup. He’s having Thoughts about how to construct it.)
All during the month of October, I do digital art on a theme.
I’ve done sugar skulls,
undead girl portraits,
and this year, I’m doing mermaids.
I think the digital art part of the month is my favorite. I love making things, or taking a thing and making a new thing out of it. I tend to decide on my theme earlier in the year, and spend some time looking for the resources to execute my ideas (meaning, oh how I love photo manip and drawing apps!). I find my bits and pieces, then, come October, I go about bending and stretching and pushing and pulling…warping everything into entirely new shapes. This year, enabled by Der Mann and Herself, I started a deviantArt account to house the Halloween art and the webcomic, and perhaps, an alternate posting for this blog.
Finally, Halloween arrives. I usually man the door, because I love seeing the kids in their costumes. We hand out candy and toys and dog treats because Halloween should be awesome for everyone and everyone should get a treat! (So yes, I’ll give candy to teenagers – in costume or not – if they knock on our door.)
And that’s how a Southern Goth does Halloween!
Addendum: Der Mann has told me that next year, I can put up a Halloween tree! Oh, yessssssss….
*Okay, there’s one thing not to love. Pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice everything. So. Much. Pumpkin spice. ~shudder~ I can’t even face pumpkin pie anymore. Thanks, Starbucks.
**Der Mann considers himself more Steampunk than Goth; but some people say that Steampunks are merely Goths that wear brown, and Der Mann definitely shares the Goth aesthetic in many ways – obviously. He did marry a Goth, after all.
Here are some other random shots of Halloween decor: