european wasp; pic our own.
It struck me recently that stony-faced misanthropy is but one of my personal aspects and in truth I have occasional access to a wide group of interesting fellow bipeds. I intend to corner these unfortunates and siphon their personal truths in the nicest possible way for your edification. And because everyone loves the sound of their own voice I will start with myself. If you've ever imagined interviewing someone else, I can tell you its vexed. You can almost hear the dry squeal of arsecheeks converging in that most primordial of mammalian defensive manoeuvres. No one wants to give up their age or drop the dime about their coworkers/industry, sound like a smartypants or come off like a cud-munching dunce; in short, people are hedgers and fibbers and want to hear everything back before you work it up, so they can qualify and contradict themselves. But I am an interpersonal fascist (yes, I'm making that word my bitch) and will permit no such fappery.
Do you interview people in your head, perhaps in the bath/on the bus/on the toilet? I would love to hear those pick-axe questions you've always wanted to club someone with. Suggestions welcome.
DISTRIBUTION New Zealand. Southern bits (various).
DESCRIBE YOUR FIELD Writing. Photography. Design.
WERE YOU BORN DOING THIS OR IS IT SOMETHING YOU PICKED UP ON THE ROAD? I think I was born doing this. Born wanting words, anyway. Ask anyone who was made to read the same Golden Book to me for the 756th time.
IF YOUR WORK WAS A LARGE, COMPREHENSIVE VISUAL, WHAT SORT OF COLOURS, SHAPES AND TEXTURES WOULD WE SEE? This isn't as cool a question as I hoped. I'm a synesthete and I'm still getting nothing. Bugger! Umm... Black with peacocks? A sort of scalloped texture? Is sequiny a word? Spikes. Like a great big dress by Alexander McQueen.
IF YOUR WORK WAS A SOUND, WHAT WOULD WE HEAR? I think someone in Siouxsie and the Banshees once said something about making a guitarist interpret the sound of a horse falling over a cliff. Replace horse with upright piano and cliff with the steps outside the big Library in Wellington. That plus a two finger chord on my shitty old Eko played hard + Boss silver fuzz pedal through a crap practice amp. Plus koto.
WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE? Michaelia Doltsopa flowers and freshly cut bamboo stems.
IS IT HOT OR COLD? ASSIGN A MEAN TEMPERATURE. Slightly colder than is comfortable; round about 12 degrees C in a Tshirt, interspersed with equatorial lacunae.
USE THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT YOU DO Consuming. Pointless. Rapturous.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT IT? Inhabiting the bodies of others like some creepy pervy demon.
WHAT DISMAYS YOU? The thought of everything I could be missing while wondering what someone in my head would do.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT YOUR WORK? That its lonely. Or tortured.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE AT ONE WITH (YOUR THING) OR DOES IT STILL SEEM STRANGE TO YOU? Another question that doesn't work in practice. Abandon.
YOUR PROUDEST PROFESSIONAL MOMENT Watching my partner smile as he read the last sentence of the book and knowing it was finished. I think I cried.
WHY ARE YOU STILL DOING THIS? Because I'd die if I couldn't.
FREESTYLE/MANIFESTO/ANYTHING TO ADD- I am so privileged to be writing without commercial imperative or deadline, and to have had so long to develop the craft. I think of the hundreds of millennia behind every one of us and remind myself that the story is everything and always has been; that we are handed these words with our DNA. I think of Byron lying in bed at Missolonghi and wonder if he was ever lucid enough to know he hadn't pissed it all away like everyone said he would. When its my turn, I want to think basta! Not alors.
I am a lipstick minotaur. I spend most of my day in voluntary solitary, writing, working on pics or in research etc, wandering around an internal chthonia with my hair in koala ears after dressing in the dark, but come to the door and you will more often than not be greeted by a scowl covered in MAC Full Fuchsia or Prince Noir, or even Girl About Town if you're very unlucky. I get strange looks from couriers and some people back out of the porch without saying a word, but I don't care. Lipstick is my sniper rifle in the tragic guerrilla struggle against glamour-deprivation, as imposed by my own fucking laziness and the prospect of lunch in my dressing gown again.
I really only wear MAC, with a few miscellaneous dupes when they pop up on the horizon for cheap. I prefer a graphic look and MAC lippies are heavily-pigmented and full of obedient waxes that generally don't flee toward your earlobes or retreat into the old-lady creases that you definitely don't have because you're only (insert age here).
Just a word on the pics- we use DSLRs to document all swatches, remove colour casts with professional software and are able to present colours as relatively true-to-life. In all my lipstick reviews I intend to use MAC Russian Red as a baseline comparison, because it is so widely familiar and a gold standard to many.
MAC Ruffian Red. Yes, I know it was limited edition but that's not the point. It is the shit, and still possibly my favorite red ever and I'm not alone in that. It deserves to be memorialized, and bitches, this is MAC, so a reissue is about 2 months away at any given point on the calendar. I am drying your tears with my words.
STAR RATING * * * * *
SHADE: A central red, pulling slightly toward warm/orange with a rich, velvety tomato soup hue. The only other comparison I can think of is rather gory; newly-spilled, highly-oxygenated blood sitting on concrete under high-key streetlight. Life-red.
TEXTURE: off-matte. Ruby woo is a 10/10 full matte. Ruffian Red- 9/10. Thickly pigmented. Densely, almost completely opaque. Comfortable.
STAYING POWER: On me (no base, no liner, nonsmoker, no eating) 5 hours without need to touch up or reapply. Faint staining, very little/no feathering.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Everyone. Really. I cannot think of a toning that would not benefit from Ruffian Red. Warm enough for olive and African complexions, centre-red enough for everyone else. Perhaps not for those with blue/burgundy dye jobs, but that's about all I can think of.
COMMENTS: In some lights, notably indoor fluorescent, Ruffian Red pulls far more orange and may appear so on some internet pics and poorly-toned photographs in general. But don't let this fool you- it is red, and uniquely so in its chameleonic ability to flatter and pimp practically everyone who throws it on. Looks grown up, and a small warning here- you need to be grown to pull this off; not for tweens, teens or the congenitally meek. It is inherently dramatic, recalling the sinister plush of the theatre curtains dressing Lynch's Twin Peaks cycle, or that shade of red that is the eternal companion to gold in so many Asian traditions. Rangda red. Enough said.
FLASHED OUTDOORS NATURAL OUTDOOR LIGHTING
L-R: russian red, ruffian red, chili, ruby woo
A couple of years back we experienced a particularly fruitful phase of stenciling and street pieces all over central Dunedin, presumably the work of local art school hellions but we never did find out fo sho. Our favourite was the inimitable Biz Niz; his-slash-her exact provenance and taxonomy remain as mysterious as the identity of his-slash-her creator, but we certainly enjoyed BizNiz's sense of spatial entitlement and revilement of the mundane. Power streams from each restive tentacle; BizNiz's roar is the infra-bass bugle of cosmic rage we ourselves express at the sight of commercial TV or NZ print media. In demanding sustenance, BizNiz echoes our cries for social justice and cheaper unsalted roast almonds. BizNiz means business; BizNiz is business. BizNiz transcends.
I don't know about Banana Giraffe, though. That bitch just seems so apolitical.
Enjoy the few bombs we managed to document before the apogee they represented began to wane like the tail of some aerosol comet. BizNiz used to girn down at us all from the top floor of the abandoned Post Office building in a gesture of comprehensive defiance. We miss him-slash-her.
Thought we'd throw in a few related images from the same period. If you know BizNiz's parent or you are that savant, dime yourself in for full credit.
Banana Giraffe: rolling on a longboard, still wedged in the ashy buttocks of apathy.
^The unluckiest spectre: like, dopest stigmata eva or proof of transubstantiation?
^The BizNiz; potent, even while pensive.
You know it.
Memorial plaque, Port Chalmers. Pic credit- Travelling-light.
We moved down from Christchurch a long time pre-quake, but in part because of the risk to our inner city hood should just such an event happen. We're glad of our geological nerdening but do ponder our propensity for living in the once-throbbing hearts of extinct volcanoes. Otago Harbour is the petrified remains of a massive shield cone and Port Chalmers would have gotten caught in its throat if this were 10 or so million years BCE. Luckily, the closest one gets to active vulcanism these days are the palls of coal smoke on a winter evening, the odd social pyrotechnic and the rusty brown rock that tumbles down and flattens something in your garden or trips you on the footpath.
Port is an odd place; it has suffered so many rushes and reversals that the historian's head must spin at the thought of everything played out on these narrow little streets. To Maori it was Koputai, the place of high tides, but does not seem to have been of outstanding significance. Northern peoples have poured in and goods have poured out since the early 19thC. Both the first refrigerated shipment of meat and Scott, destined for Antarctica, departed from our little wharf. Calvinists and artists, bankers and opium fiends, Scottish fishermen and Chinese market gardeners have both gouged at and polished the landscape.
When we arrived it was still peopled largely by the descendants of seafaring families and others pinned to the place by associated trades, and by the boho, attracted by its scenic peace and cheap rent. It was Dogtown, chuckled at in patrician Dunedin and scorned by the proper. That has since changed, and we do mourn the days when the drunks knew your name and fistfights spilled into the street not just from bars, but from art galleries. A flurry of gentrification has shuffled that outré social strata and it is now something to live 'out in Port.' But note the adverb; there is still a wee mite of unconscious qualification, a distance from truest vanilla. Long may it live.
All pictures from our wonderful Flickr group chock full of talented parochial enthusiasts, Port Chalmers New Zealand. I'd like to thank them all heartily for allowing us to use the work featured here. Check us out.
Pic our own.
I once dreamt I had died. It was mundane; I woke in a suspiciously quiet hospital ward, felt weird, walked home and tried to engage my associates. My dog barked at me and my partner treated me as though I was some reprehensible impersonation. Even the house seemed to reject me, all going on as though I had never existed, or at most, had been some brief aberration. It was… lonely. So far beyond motorcycle emptiness or simple abandonment that elaboration is entirely redundant. But I am grateful for the experience because it had finally handed me the upyr; I could crack that stubborn metaphorical ribcage and wear that sucker like a pea coat. A leaky, smelly pea coat.
My concerns about including this class of folkloric creature were peculiarly modern in that I was worried people would identify too closely with them. Expect them to flower like rescue kittens, want them to lose the BO and homicidal tendencies in favour of pining after mouthbreathing mallrats or hitting the gym or wandering around festivals on half a tab of E. To be not even emo, that illiterate child of goth, but grunge lite. Nightwalking dolphins. For those interested in the subtext and wider implications of this ageless meme, the public's embrace of the reformed vampire signposts some dubious developments. To my mind they signal society's deeply fucked relationship with death and its cosmic indifference to the whiny individual; to sex, the horrific dishonesty with which it is consumed and portrayed, and to consumption itself, our sick need to possess and control, to devour and remand our objects of desire.
Much is made of the vampire's origins in this or that psychological S-bend, but I think its just as simple as it appears, even to the contemporary eye. Historically, the equation was simple; death was commonplace, intimately observed and tightly designated by religious and cultural practice. It was bad, or at least unfortunate, entailed suffering, often grotesque; if your conditions were particularly rustic, you might dimly hope for a fairer suck of the saveloy on the other side of the Styx, but that was about it. Fatalism prevailed.
Anyone who has ever watched someone die or handled their remains (and I have experienced both of these privileges) must be struck by the speed with which the individual departs and the flesh is accordingly deconsecrated. To the ancients, corpses were deeply problematic, either in the unseemly haste of decomp or in the worrisome stasis that sometimes prevailed, and in their puzzling relationship with disease and its association with further fatalities. For an elder society squirming under the conflicting demands of chthonic and imperial religions, personal ties and social obligation, the dead could be made to take some of that crushing weight into the earth or onto pyre with them. To make the dead responsible for the evils of life is expedient and therefore human, as well as satisfyingly symmetrical. Scapegoating generally is. Throw gender into the mix and well, that explains everything really, doesn't it? Ponder the feminine orientation of many early references to vampirism and conclude that the only thing worse than a live bitch is possibly a dead one. LOL.
So anyway. Dead = bad, end of story, until recently, when hygiene and medicine and psychology and civil order stepped in and death came to = blank for most of us. Is it out of this vacuum that our need to befriend and spit polish the bloodsack arises? Vanity assures us that our precious regard can transform the lost. Now we're also cosseted and naive enough to get squishy at the thought of corpses talking and touching us and maybe doing stuff under the blankets. Aaaaand that's where things start to walk the plank for me. Fetishizing the corpse into something sexual and desirable is decadent. Decadent in the bad sense of the word; sloppy, thoughtless, selfish, narcissistic, brain-dead; in short, concisely symptomatic of our societal malaise. I'm judging that shit because its disgusting. And even worse- stupid.
Wow, calm down hoe, perhaps? What are you, some kind of religiose maniac? No. I am an überliberal who doesn't give a fig for conventional propriety or organized dogma. I could not write vampirism in association with the kind of drooling subadult pseudoerotica so popular of late for, you know, ethical reasons. Because the undead are a cautionary tale; empty, sadistic, remorseless, and if that's sexy to you, you can't be in my gang. Like sequins, sex is for the living. (anything living- I'm not fussy about that- read the book). It is for consenting adults. Consent within sex is important and I am dismayed by the waving away of this fundamental by so many in their fictional choices. Like the death deficit in our lives, should we take this as some sort of sign that fewer women (if only within the cohort to which I refer) are actually being exposed to the reality of sexual violence? Or have we just become so inured to its insidious manifestations that its just no biggie anymore? Whatever. Sex should not be somewhere women and girls (occasionally men, but that shit is boring, isn't it, hmm?) auction their lives like they had no use for the fucking things anyway. Nonconsensual interpersonal brutality starts with R, not tee hee and sparkles.
While we're on interpersonal brutality, let's think about the possessive implications of vampirism. As its victim, you're chained, controlled and curtailed; as the nightwalker yourself, you get to impose that upon the possessed. Sort of like a douchebag, really. Here's another of the warnings implicit in the historical allegory. Greed the Destructor. Does all this not remind us of our attitude to everything else we might possess, even if only on credit? The vampire's victims end up gathering dust like a fake LV clutch or are crushed underfoot by their master's wheezy lurch toward the next conquest-slash-purchase. Do they still feel treasured? Who cares? They were gotten, and have already been had.
To be sure, these reprobates do besmirch the pages of the Blackthorn Orphans. But I like to think they inspire dry heaves, not damp underwear. Call me traditional but they are amoebic in their moral and physical expression; sinuses longing for stolen volume, battening psychopaths, the most boring/annoying person at the party. They're not here to bring you flowers or meet your parents or admire your exemptionalist paradigm; as Auberjonois remarks, if they haven't sold your blood while its still in your veins, its because that would be sharing. If Siobhan's deceased trash talk could be more revolting, I can't think of a way. Well, I could, but I won't go there and we're all thankful for that. If Petrouchka could invite more recoil or pity, the same thing applies. And Opal, well… what a fucking dead cow. They are not loathsome in their deliciousness; they are just loathsome. Do not friend them, because that would be wrong.
So yeah I bought some second hand Docs off Trade Me and then thought how incredibly base and unprincipled white footwear is for the 384394564th time in my life, even though I'd just dropped the grocery money on them. Because that's just how we roll. Anyway, I thought what could be better than some badarse mehndi stylings on those puppies? Done in felt pen so it wouldn't look too slick or... er... errrrrrr... like I... meant to?
If you're thinking of modding your Docs I do recommend the old Sharpie permanent markers etc, particularly for intricate work. The solvent-based ones will cut through some of the crud/polish on your older boots but the tips will clag up quite quickly in the process. These were unpolished so I just went mad with them, let dry, buffed off the excess black ink with a paper towel (it did leave a little superficial smearing but as you can see, nothing major) and sealed them afterwards with some neutral/clear nuggety stuff. I know everyone says oh my gerrrrd, you've got to use dedicated leather paints blah blah blah but when you consider the ingredients, it's all the same stuff. Solvent is as solvent does. You were sniffing them for a reason back in the day.
Nikau palms near Punakaiki on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. (our pic) link
As our only native palm the Nikau holds a special place amongst New Zealand flora, giving the forests of its selective range that otherness that is so often admired. It is sometimes shocking to see its stiff, totemic silhouette loom out of a snowfall on the West Coast, so tropical is the palm in our collective associations. Upon closer inspection it doesn't have so much in common with its slouchy northern cousins; it is always ramrod straight and truffula-esque, often cloaked in epiphytes and standing amid scrub and podocarps like adopted children of the forest proper, beloved if not blood-related.
We have several juveniles lurking in our own garden, the most recent a tween scion of the Chatham Island race that is justifying its reputation for faster growth and sturdier constitution in comparison with the classic species. They require no specific soil conditions aside from the usual humus and drainage, but demand shade when young; as is evident in the above image they are a forest species and thrive only where they have the constancy and support of vegetative whanau. That is not to say they will not persist in other situations, but it is our observation that they will reward a bit of empathy. In formal New Zealand gardens they are a stunning coup de théâtre, standing like the pillars of some Atlantean colonnade, often laden with sautoirs of tiny flowers or beaded oxblood fruits. Their huge cast leaves are sculpture in themselves. We look forward to their reptile trunks emerging from amongst their more quotidian companions on our own property. Apparently the sprouting fronds are edible once boiled or macerated, but you'd have to be bloody hungry.
STAR RATING *****
HOUSE Sonoma Scent Studio
STYLE/FLAVOUR amber/ unisex.
DATE OF ISSUE Aug 2008
LISTED NOTES labdanum absolute, amber, rose, olibanum, myrrh, vetiver codistilled with mitti, oakmoss absolute, aged Indian patchouli, Texas cedarwood, sandalwood, clove, castoreum.
ENVIRONMENTAL & ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Recycled packaging elements, synthetic instead of animal musks/civet/castoreum, no sunscreens, preservatives, colourants, parabens. Sources sustainably grown ingredients where possible. Close attention to batch freshness.
Like many of the best things in life, I discovered Sonoma Scent Studio at random via a sample of Ambre Noir, bought stone-cold online. I've been getting into niche-ish fumes for a few years now, gorging on Lutens' epic back catalogue and snuffling around various other houses largely without prejudice, having known nothing of their reputations or the degree to which they were esteemed or execrated, and not really caring about those things anyway.
I do remember gazing at that little gold vial of Ambre Noir and thinking it looked special. But haven't we all thought that as a prelude to disappointment? In my native cynicism I expected something… polite, if not pedestrian, another of the many homely MOR ambers milling about of late, possessing neither the lofty, piercing austerity of Serge Luten's Ambre Sultan nor the lolling, open-robe cornucopia of Parfum d'Empire's Ambre Russe, or even the bitchy smokers' croak of that hoary ashtray amber still padding the shoulders of good old Opium.
Instead it was amber, but not as I knew it, and I was more than happy to be slapped out of my preconceptions. AN's point of difference is both positive and negative; the convex mass of its strengths and its judicious exclusions. I adore it for both. It is polite; it has the perfect manners of a heavily-replete tiger lying with its head in the shade. Always a good thing.
To my nose, labdanum and a dense contralto rose step out together in almost chivalric mutuality. They float patiently over your wrist while you ponder their balance; visually I find them merged into a limpid golden orb, and sliding past this full-blown lustre come the first reports of smoke, muslin-white and humming notes learned in the spice isles, arranging them in the same low key instead of barking them into your face. I was charmed by this restraint; there is something about amber that seems to prompt such shrill excesses from those attempting to kick it in some new direction at the expense of its inherent values. Thankfully AN does not suffer this unlovely syndrome.
At this point I instinctively brace for the banality of synth vanilla, that gloopy moderator, that dimwitted olfactory debutante smothering development with her triple spanx and polyester. (Full disclosure- I love vanilla as it really is, that parasol flower smiling over a twisty, sticky gack that shares its roots with vinegar or cyanide. I own a jar full of primo island pods and I huff it on the regular. But I do not love the 'soft serve curdling in a rum puddle on a hot footpath' accord of say, Spiriteuse Double Vanille. That stuff is whack.) Never mind about the vanille horreur; she never really shows. Instead we are treated to a waft of myrrh and arid cedar, their sere assurance ushering us past the prospect of vulgarity.
Next come a small detachment of those green and bitter creatures crowding A Sultan, turned way down so that they merely twist about your ankles instead of fuming round your ears. Forest-floor allusions, a small black taste of broken marigold and the stringent end of sandalwood. For me, the ride ends here; the tail goes on in the same alluring vein.
Beauty should never pander and AN does not; from unfolding and revealing, it persists without apology or meaningful degradation for the best part of the day- expect 6 hours intact, 12 hours of residual goodness, a good month on your clothing. Presentation is tasteful and utile; a black embossed box and heavy, stable bottle that has so far resisted all my fumblings. If like me you shudder at the fiscal prospect of your next acquisition and wonder how much longer you can defer those boring essential domestic repairs or elective surgeries, you may be pleasantly surprised by AN's price tag.
I will be reviewing Incense Pure from the same house in the near future. Another stunner.
Get it- online outside the US. See site link below for retail outlets.
Sonoma Scent Studio
Posted by Bowery
Chief Hole-In-The-Day the second, 1825-1868,
Bug-o-na-ghe-zhisk of the Sandy Lake Ojibwe.
Chief HOLE IN THE DAY
This image is from an original Brady/Handy print made pre 1933, taken in 1864.
Unlike the Library of Congress version it is the right way round and has had an intensive and agonizing digital renovation. (By me :-)
What a guy, sharp as a tack, nerves of steel during the Dakota uprising of 1862.
He successfully bridged the chasm of prejudice between native and european worlds to become wealthy and influential yet still exerted himself on behalf of his people to obtain reservation land that he reportedly swore never to set foot on.
It seems that he knew a ghetto when he saw it. Part of his story can be found with the link at the top of this post and it serves to illustrate the idea that no good deed goes unpunished as well as any you are ever likely to encounter.
His people are still actively fighting for proper federal recognition and fiercely oppose wolf hunting in Minnesota. That is righteous, and we wish them all the best.
(Warning- we have a pretty wide and random sphere of interests and will discuss them ad nauseum with very little prompting so you might want to brace yourself for Grandpa Simpson-styles digression.)
On the horticultural front, the Yulan Magnolia is a tough customer, enduring hail and horrible spring weather to produce this display. It is (in my experience) far more indifferent to shade, dry, crap soil and general hardship (ie our garden) than the rest of its ilk, with the exception of the cultivar magnolia x 'black tulip', which we have admired for the same reasons.
But if it was some wilting princess requiring round the clock punkah and feather pillows I would still try to grow it. What could be more primavera than this luminous, dove-white profusion, doused in those faint, reserved magnolia spices and champaca sweetness, all poised on the bare (hence denudata) trellis of its silky black branches? It is unbelievably elegant, to the point of appearing almost mannered, holding its blooms cupped like an offering to loftier beings unless you are lucky enough to find a low branch, in which case you might share in such sacred largesse.
I can stand under this tree and stare through its blooms and hear 'Undo' by Björk and weep tears of embarrassing joy.
Angus Stud Bull, Middlemarch, Otago New Zealand
Where do archetypes end and your own created entities begin? Erm... this is a question I don't remember asking myself too many times, to be completely honest. I never got the godhead thing but I hoovered up Classical myth, fables and folklore like they were going out of fashion (they were) as a young person and have poked and scraped beneath that mouldy old monotheistic rug ever since.
As an animist and inveterate feral, I always thought classical, universally-understood pagan deities would be something that would incorporate organically within my work and that I would possibly not be conscious of those inclusions. It hasn't turned out that way. I am somewhat surprised by this lack of overt reference but then again my characters don't really worship, per se. They've either locked themselves into the stationery cupboard or are fighting in the carpark. A shady meta-Mother lurks behind the landmarks and is prophylactically namechecked and perhaps knelt before in dreams, but she is forced into a series of ill-fitting outfits before she garners that much attention, really. If you know what to look out for you might see her more often than is initially obvious.
I think of Sachiin/William and see the Dionysian complex lurking amid the vodka and the strumpets, the accessible romanticism, the magpie laugh. In Edward I see both Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Orpheus and Hades, but perhaps most of all Prometheus (though I always thought him an emo dick and never paid him much attention) in disastrous reverse, gouging out his own internals and gifting ice instead of embers.
Lilian is Shamhat and Lakshmi to Helaine's Isis and Athena, the sacred whore and remote, acetic virgin (in the most nominal sense possible- she's as partial to sullen white meat as they come, obviously). I have always enjoyed the thought of all the furrowed brows and uneasy intimate adjustments this hilarious dichotomy must have generated throughout the ages. Helaine is the worst bogey femme of all, behind her learning and composure; the Kali, the Lilit, possessed of will and alluring vagine and cerebral cortex, whereas Rana is the Lilit sans allure. She is Rangda, dragging the graveyard after her. Writing her engages my salivary response, but I don't enjoy her; I perhaps enjoy Helaine the most. Except for Susan.
In holding the mirror glass to that particular Ms Christabel I'm forced to wipe it with my sleeve and squint really unattractively. While several archetypes seem hyperlinked to the personas already mentioned, she always draws a blank for me. Her gender gives few clues. Is she something freshly de-pantsed, formerly bearded? Something once 'independent of an ounce of rouge' as someone Georgian once implied? Odysseus? We don't share that much beyond our bullshit allergy and grumpy face. Everyone thinks you're writing yourself into your heroes but that's really not the case. Is she a grumpy Persephone? Stuck in a crap job in particularly shitty part of Elysium... didn't fancy doing laundry for extra-human wastrels? Prefers cornchips and Japanese porn to pomegranate seeds?
She may be a modern thing. But I suspect not. The Susans amongst us have always worn the pants, even back when pants were skirts and it was difficult to tell. She tells demigods what the hell to do and when to do it and they just hope they're doing it right by the end of the story. I think that changes in the second book, but we'll see.