-her map of Tasmania. It’s her first show, and she’s terrified and ecstatic. Her mother watches, fretting with glued-on lashes a flurry of spiky black around gem-bright eyes. Sequins and rhinestones catch the cheap-lightbulb fluorescence that surrounds the makeshift dressing-room mirror as she puts her scissors down and picks up a pair of sheer stockings. The fleshtone nylon whispers and scratches as she unrolls it over her skin, encasing herself with a drag queen’s first line of defense.

She stands, smoothing her slitted gown over her bestockinged thighs. The slice in the fabric nearly reaches her naval, and slides as she moves, a shifting peep-show that shows far too much but never quite …everything.

“You all tucked up, honey?” her mother asks, and the virgin queen reaches between her thighs, giving the space there a quick once-over with cherry-taloned fingertips. Nothing comes loose, and she strikes a pose. The line of her posture is nervously perfect, from the tip of her glittering stiletto pump to the peak of her lace-front bouffant. Someone must have bled on her lips to get that color of red, and her lashes are a falsely modest line against her carefully porcelained cheek as she shyly ducks her head and blows her mother a moue of a kiss.

“You’re beautiful,” whispers her mother through proud tears that threaten to make her eyeliner run, and with all the frightened determination of a robin in late spring, she nudges the virgin through the curtained door, down the dimly-lit hallway at the end of which the stage is waiting, dollar bills in hands around it, waiting for a garter to receive them.

Putting together a list of wordses to possibly be used in building Strangeandsavage.com.

Fringe
Underground
Outskirts (Out Skirts! I love a pun.)
Alternative
Unconventional
Weird
Queer (so many definitions…)
Aberrant
Deviant
Freak

I learned a new word, as well, in digging for wordses: heterodox. Loff. Loff! Say it out loud. Heh-ter-oh-docks. Hedderohdokz. Mmm. Tasty word with mmmmmeaning.

Brain is apparently set to random, although given RuPaul’s Drag Race is on in the background, this is not startling. Ah, Ru. You are such a distraction.

So we registered strangeandsavage.com in my name tonight.

The project is… the secondary, parallel track to my impulses to make things. Stories come first, but images are a close second.

Watch this space.

In going through my photographs and scribblings and story-bound dribblings, I’ve picked up on a pattern I hadn’t been aware of, but that has given me something to chew on. I haven’t had much time to mull it, so these are nothing more than incomplete thoughts and observations, jotted down here for future reference, or perhaps as a placeholder I can come back to for further chewing.

I suppose that makes this cud. Ah, well. Sorry about the spit.

I am fascinated by doors. Doors, windows, apertures of all kinds; the line of demarcation between Here and There. Gates, entryways. Portals. The slender in-betweens that define the edges and boundaries. I get the same rush from standing in a doorway as I do from standing at the edge of a lake or the ocean: this is in-between. This is a meeting-place, the crossroads where Here and There meet.

Oddly, I don’t get that tingly feeling from crossroads.

I know people who don’t like mirrors. In my head, mirrors and windows are the same creature, and I am compelled to think that it’s instinctive, and that perhaps it’s why so many people don’t like mirrors: they’re windows through which we cannot see the other side, and who knows what’s lurking there, watching us while we fix our hair or glide eyeliner across our lids, or shave, or merely glance? Intellectually, I know that behind the frame and glass is simply an impenetrable wall like all the rest not covered by mirrored surface, but the creature-soul in my hindbrain knows that I’m fooling myself with silly, trivial facts, that reality is something far other, far stranger.

I don’t like dolls and mannequins for the same reason. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then theirs are shuttered and dark, and all manner of unspeakable things may be going on behind them. Human shaped things without life, with eyes but without souls. They’re terrifying.

But… doors. Love ’em. Fascinated by them. I’ve photograph after photograph of doors and gateways and windows of all types. I wonder what it means, down there in the creature-brain? It’s certainly not been a conscious gravitation. The things are clearly important to somebody in my head. I wonder who it is.

*BEFORE YOU CLICK* The following link leads to a blog which contains images that may not be safe for workplaces or viewing by children (the blogger is a photographer whose repertoire includes artistic nudes).

I stumbled across a link to this blog article about police methods in dealing with photographers in public. It’s… confusing. I have friends in law enforcement, so I can understand the desire to be absolutely certain about a person’s intentions and motives for doing something. The attitude this particular officer describes, however, is not so much cautious as belligerent. It troubles me.

According to the officer interviewed, as far as he’s concerned, whether or not someone’s breaking the law ‘doesn’t matter’, and it similarly doesn’t matter whether or not someone’s required to show ID. My instinct is to be offended by that. The job description is ‘law enforcement’. If no law is being broken, immediate initiation of what can only be called harassment activity is not an appropriate response.

This really stood out for me: “we hope the public will take note and take comfort from this kind of activity. We want people to feel more secure.”

Having read this interview, I don’t feel more secure. I feel terrified, because it illustrates that there are law enforcement officers out there willing to obscure the law and intimidate individuals in response to little to no provocation. I understand that there is a balance between protecting the rights of individuals within a society, and protecting the society as a whole, but this seems way over the line, to me. I may be biased: I’m a photographer, and I enjoy photographing structures for the artistic merit they may hold. I’m not interested in doors and windows (an example mentioned in the conversation) unless they form an integral part of the composition, but now I’ve the worrisome thought in the back of my mind that my liberty may be in danger for doing so. I don’t like to think that my name and address may show up in a police file because the light was just right behind an abandoned warehouse while I was out for a walk one Saturday afternoon.

I know there are officers and people related to the field who read my blog- please weigh in and give me your thoughts? I genuinely want to understand the issue, all sides of it, and if understanding gives me reassurance, so much the better.

But that’s okay, because it really is wondrously grand.

This, this, this, this is the sort of thing I need to find, crawl into, and photograph. Found via Neil Gaiman’s blog, a bit wishfully shared here.

Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas are editing a new anthology for Tor called Haunted Legends. Even niftier: they are accepting open submissions for it. This is virtually unheard-of. I imagine the competition is going to be v. stiff. Most of the better-known stories and legends are likely to be already taken by authors of the sort that get emails or phone calls saying “please would you write something for this anthology?” rather than the sort I am, which is almost precisely backwards of that dynamic, and involves me hopefully and rather desperately sending off emails saying “please won’t you publish this in your anthology?”.

Despite this, I hear you say, do you honestly intend to write something, edit it into something you wouldn’t be ashamed to use as tinder in a campfire, and send it off, likely only to be rejected as crap?

Yup. I do indeed. Watch me crash and burn, folks! It’ll be a pretty pyre, and I feel fairly good about it all. And who the hell knows? Maybe it won’t be crap after all.

In other news, I am going to try to craft this headphone mod in time for A-Kon. Which may be a moot endeavour, as the Doctor (my iPod) is being a moody, nonfunctional pile of uselessness. I should, perhaps, rename it, but damnit, David Tennant is so adorable, and when I scored the Doctor, it sort of matched the look: affably, slightly deviant looking. Ah, well.

Avanti, y’all!

I have a bad habit of commenting on poor Jeff VanderMeer’s blog entries. (It won me a stack of fantastic books, once, which startled me more than a little.) The following, tangentially related to my last post, resulted from that habit. I’ve cross-posted it here from his blogpost, just because it’s the sort of crap I want to be able to look back on in a few years, turn slightly green and mutter ‘oh dear God what was I thinking’ over.

(Furthermore, as of moment of going to press, it’s moderated, and god knows if it’ll actually end up publicly posted. xD)

It was written on a whim, which makes it, by definition, whimsical. Er.

My hobby has been called by many grim.
The av’rage man, who avoids the macabre,
Shies away, afraid it will somehow rob
Him of humanity: it’s not for him.

I, though: I find those men far too prim.
In monuments to those who live no more,
I find naught ghastly; rather, I find sure
Beauty in the elder stones and the dim

Remembrance, though crumbling stone and rotten
Edifice, image of those forgotten.

…you know, they may be right in calling me a bit on the morbid side.