Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Of claws, cards and crosses

And she pauses in settling into her own dwelling again, to invite her lovely guests for a spot of tea.

My, what a whirlwind the past few weeks have been! The last days of a semester always are, I suppose. Well--I have completed two full years of college, over at a darling little liberal arts school in the South/Eastern part of the country (not wishing to sound ethnocentric, I will clarify that "the country" refers just now to the USA--sadly, I am merely a devoted fan and not a citizen of Great Britain or Japan, my two loves when it comes to the nations of the world). I live on the west coast, however, and let me confirm that it is quite something to move all of ones things across two thousand miles!

The logistics of moving (and of course the stress of final exams) was not the only exhausting facet of these past few weeks. Sadly, I have found it necessary to look for a school elsewhere for my junior year, in order to pursue a Japanese major and also...well, I shall only say that if any of you have experienced how truly horrendous homesickness can be, you have my deepest empathy. Be that as it may, I realized in those last days that I will very much miss many things about the college, such as my dear friends there, which include the eccentric, closeknit Music Department, my...rather incorrigibly funloving Japanese class, and many others.

I will not wax poetic on this subject at the moment, so allow me to move on and give you a glimpse of my gothic and lolita related plans for the summer, as they regard this blog. In a strange and marvelous turn of fate, I and the rest of my sisters (I have four of them, actually, all younger then me--no, no brothers--yes, indeed, quite fun it is) have simultaneously been inspired to tackle the enormous task of cleaning out and lolify--er, decorating the house this summer. I really must thank Lolita for making me view cleaning up as an enjoyable endeavor! At any rate, partly in keeping with the theme for May on EGL (the Elegant Gothic Lolita community on LiveJournal), which is "What have you lolified?", I shall post pictures of any house-cleaning-related accomplishment I deem sufficiently cute and spooky to interest my dear guests.

Aside from that, this ballroom shall continue to be a home to any of my other creative pursuits that relate to those two favorite subcultures of ours. In fact, I have my first batch of pictures right at this moment. You see, with partial inspiration from the March style tips over at Lolita Charm, I began regularly filing my nails for essentially the first time in my nail-ripping-and-then-clipping existence. Instead of changing the shape into which I file them, as the generally awe-inspiring Victoria Suzanne suggested, I decided to pursue my secret wish for gothic claws! So for the last several months I have been diligently filing my nails long and pointy, and occasionally freaking out the dear normal people. Tis quite fun, I assure you.

Unfortunately, claws and piano do not mix, and so I will have to clip them again whenever I resume playing. But I most likely wait till after the San Diego Comic Con, at which (just like last year) I plan to cosplay young Princess Ursa from Avatar: the Last Airbender, because claws are very Fire Nation, you see. Later, I would like to create sets of fake claws--having been inspired by the nail art of Violet LeBeaux over at Tales of an Ingenue!--which would neatly bypass the whole issue of claws versus ivory keys, and of course when I make anything of that sort, I shall post pictures.

Speaking of which, a couple days ago I experimented with painting my claws a dramatic combination of black and dark red. Being unused to the art of nail polishing, I did not achieve perfection by any means, but please feel free to draw what inspiration you can from my attempts.

Being right-handed, I tried something a little more tricky on my left hand nails--namely, red card symbols on a black background (spade, club, etc). I drew inspiration from a recent post on EGL, although mine came out nowhere near as neatly as that poster's did. Here is the whole hand...

 I do hope you can see it all right, and that it won't crash anyone's browser. Perhaps I'm being a little over paranoid, but I am very new to all of this. Anyway, please excuse the messiness of the back porch--besides being good for natural lighting, I thought our French doors might make a nicely lolita background.

From right to left, the symbols are (supposed to be): spade, heart, club, diamond, and rose (unsurprisingly, knowing me).  If you wish, here are a few links to closeup pictures of the individual nails.

Thumb (spade) (Sorry, it's quite blurry, despite my efforts with a graphics program)

Heart (I tried reinforcing the lines, but alas, blurriness persists...) Sadly, this nail is the most recent of three that have recently broken, and this one hasn't had time to grow back.

The rest are frankly embarrassing, so I'll move on to the other hand. I confined myself to (somewhat sloppy) crosses across each nail on the right hand, and as a whole I like how this turned out better.

The fingers...                                                                 

...and the thumb (not quite as blurry as the other closeups, thankfully).

Well, that's all for now. It has been quite an adventure, figuring out how to post pictures! I feel so loli, here with my blog and my nails. <3  I will say that having these claws gives one a delightfully disturbing thrill, especially considering that a certain demon butler (namely Sebastian of Kuroshitsuji) also has black claws, under those elegant, prim-and-proper white gloves.

As a side note, as I was sitting here wrapping up my post, several of my family members came and presented a welcome home present to me. My sister (one of them, that is) has the wonderfully lolita hobby of making doll clothes (although she is not a lolita herself--not yet, anyway), and she redressed a Shang doll and a Mulan doll as none other than Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa, using fabric remnants from the afore-mentioned cosplay of mine! While their connection to lolita is debatable, I shall have to post pictures of them next time, because it is simply wonderful, after all, to be suddenly presented with a miniature, fantastically outfitted version of one's favorite pairing in the world. ~

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Of the first haunted dream

She wishes all of you a lovely May Day, with sincere hopes that her lovely guests are nowhere near so ill as she feels at the moment.

Horrendous sore throat and incessant homework aside, today has been a nicely restful day. It's been raining since sometime in the night, about which I couldn't be happier. I adore rainy days, don't you?--they're calming and a little wistful all at once.

At any rate, if my vaguely folkloric memory fails me not, May Day is traditionally celebrated with songs and dancing. We have all the dancing we could wish for here in our ballroom, do we not?--so today seemed fitting for the first post of one of my gothic-and-lolita-friendly songs. Specifically, the one that solidified the midnight ballroom as the usual haunt (so to speak) of the shadowy, fay creatures from my stories. By the by, you may recall that I spoke of poems rather than songs in the first post. The truth is that they are actually songs, but with such a heavy emphasis on lyrics as well as melody that I use the terms interchangeably.

This particular song-poem is essentially the first of those written about (or by) my characters, and so it requires a very brief explanation. You see, my main character, a quirky, wistful romantigoth girl named Taralyn, is herself a songwriter, and wrote this song about a dream that came to her one night. It was quite a fancifully spooky dream, as you will see--worthy of any goth girl's subconscious imagination. What Taralyn didn't realize is that she had dreamed about a real person, amidst echoes of a long ago fairytale. You'll have to find out the rest for yourselves, dear guests.

Nonetheless, shortly after dreaming her dream and writing her song, Taralyn met Lorcan, a fellow gothic poet (and in future posts, you will be hearing quite a bit from his own quill.)  She never guessed--at least, not at first--that Lorcan was born very much a part of that dark fantasia that she yearned after, or that he had forsaken it long ago, dooming himself to wander as an outcast.

Now, was that quite melancholy and sentimental enough for you, dear listeners to this tale? If I have in fact intrigued you, by all means, read on. My wonderfully clever guests will recognize this song as the one from which I took the quote underneath "Herself," over to your right there.

Haunted Dream
by Taralyn Brennan

I dreamt...a fantasy in shadow--
Crimson darkness, crystal chandelier:
Alone he's waiting at the window--
A silhouette of midnight glimm'ring clear...

They were dancing
In a ballroom cast from Time...
Song entrancing--
Nightingale and evening's chime!
Arm in arm, ghostly charm:
Cold and pale and far from harm...

My heart forgot the sunshine--
No dream for dawn remains:
One kiss--enchanted ice-wine
Has crystallized my veins.

Haunted wonder, and a lost heart sings--
Deathly angel, fold me in your wings!
My hallowed eerie haven: “Forever,” sighed the raven,
On prism'd glass engraven like the moon that Winter brings...
From this dream I know I cannot wake--
You take this dance, and bind it in my blood.

My heart...grew hushed like a cathedral--
It beat as soft as falling snow.
The incense burned—my rose-red candle:
Lovelorn moth, imperiled long ago...

We were dancing--
The shadow-prince (my silhouette):
Gaze entrancing--
And mortal sunrise I forget.
His raven dove looked above,
Caught by hunger and by love...

The dusk-lit eyes glowed crimson--
He gently kissed the prey:
Each vein a scarlet ribbon,
He drank my heart away.

Haunted wonder, and a lost heart sings--
Deathly angel, fold me in your wings!
My hallowed eerie haven: “Forever,” sighed the raven,
On prism'd glass engraven like the moon that Winter brings...
From this dream I know I cannot wake--
You take this dance, and bind it in my blood.

Silver fades in a gloaming sky--
Her sweet, elusive lullaby--
Rainstorm-fragrant wind, a gravestone flower:
Melancholy reverie in grey.

Black the branches—tattered lace--
Pretty crystal mirror hides my face:
He changed me in the darkness of his tower,
And held me close in starlit mercy fae.

I am dancing
On wings that glitter in the dark!
Ice entrancing--
To living Dawn I'll never hark...

(My prince, come greet the moon's white arc.)

Haunted wonder, and a lost heart sings--
Deathly angel, fold me in your wings!
My hallowed eerie haven: “Forever,” sighed the raven,
On prism'd glass engraven like the moon that Winter brings...
From this dream I know I cannot wake--
You take this dance, and bind it in my blood.
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