Category Archives: steampunk

Of Lacing Tapes and Petticoats and Bonnet Strings and Kings

Let me tell you something about attending ten different schools in twelve years. You can come out of it inclined to guard your privacy. You can develop an instinct that panics when you think you’ve screwed up flying under the radar of the self-appointed arbiters of fitting in.

Which is why it took me until now to post thoughts that occurred to me before Christmas.

It was a week or two before the holiday when a saleswoman looked at me and remarked–“I’ll bet you’re doing carolling.”

Since I was wearing a bronze, faux-silk, ankle-length skirt, laced boots, a black and red brocade jacket and a felted hat of decidedly bonnet-ish shape, I could understand her mistake.  However. I had to explain that I just like to dress that way.  She told me she liked it and we both went on our merry way.

About a year and a half ago I decided that it wouldn’t hurt anyone if I dressed the way I want to; I’ve hit THAT age. I suppose I could have taken the advice of a friend who told me it was time to acquire a few of those jogging/warm-up sorts of things and consider a shorter haircut.  Maybe some orthopedic looking shoes to boot.

Except that I would have just loathed it.

When I was still in grade school, I was re-drawing my paper dolls to accommodate hairpieces so that I could trace around them and draw clothes for them from costume history.  I had a doll with clothes from ancient Egypt through the latter 19th century.  As that was nearly half a century ago, I think I may safely say that I have nearly always been fascinated with clothes from every era except the one in which I find myself.

Ergo. If I should to choose to ignore mainstream expectations in the matter of my closet,–and I may as well, as I don’t have a conventional job demanding otherwise–well, I was probably the only person I know surprised that the result is a bit Neo-Victorian.

And now you know something about me that I might consider private.

More to come.







Month 2 Day 2

My first books were sheer fantasy and there is a freedom to writing fantasy;  if you need a small, venomous fish whose bite triggers hallucinations to waylay your heroine, all you have to do is describe one.

Steampunk though, is altered history, so, while you can imagine that Rufus Porter established the first “airline” in 1848, you have to pay some attention to the reality of the times. If you want his dirigibles to expand service to include a bi-weekly run to Mars, some idea as to how he managed it has to be shoe-horned in without derailing the momentum.

A system for reminding yourself to check whether or not iced tea was widely available in 1893 or what year the Japanese national anthem was composed – incidentally, yes, and 1868 – becomes indispensable.

And while using research as an excuse to read a book you can’t otherwise justify has its pleasures, it is possible to feel a bit “bogged down”, maybe even just a bit tired of it all.

Committing myself to punching through the “bog” has paid off. I’m rediscovering how much I love this story, how utterly insane, fallible, noble and human its characters are.

I’m remembering why I do this. Word count for the day 1070 words.