Building up to Halloween I’ve been revealing room in my horror/fantasy inspired dollhouse. If you missed the first ones then start here to see the kitchen and casting room and then go here for the tarot card room. Today I’m showing you the study and the secret room and then we’ll be halfway through.
It’s still unfinished so ignore the rough edges.
Click to embiggen
Behind the potions cabinet is a secret door. (Don’t blink.)
I added five new things to this room this week from your suggestions, including the yellow wallpaper in the secret room. I’m not sure I got the smear quite right. Please keep the suggestions coming because they are brilliant. 10 points to whoever can identify all the allusions in this room.
PS. A video of with the door open and another with the door closed:
This weekend Victor had to work so Hailey and I drove to my parent’s house where my sister and her kids were visiting from California. And it was lovely and funny and weird and exhausting and fabulous – all the things you want when you go home again.
My parents house was busting with eight people sleeping under one roof, but in a good sort of way where everywhere you turn you see people cooking or helping or playing or laughing, and every spare minute was filled with games and exploring caves or camping. My sister Lisa and I had gently laughed at Hailey exclaiming how much better the air was in the country (as we reminded her that we were within smelling distance of a pig farm, a taxidermy studio, and a rendering plant) but at night we’d go out and look at the stars in a sky that is never as big or bright as it is outside the home we grew up in, and we breathed in and reluctantly agreed that there was a sweetness to the air that didn’t exist anywhere else.
Coming back to the home I grew up in is a luxury most people don’t get. My parents are still alive. The land and house has changed over the years but the people in it are still the same. And at night when I stand on their porch and look up at the stars I feel a deep, physical healing. I suspect it’s like other people feel when they go to a spa or take a vacation, but the raw feeling of being there is like having my heart wrapped up in new, tight bandages…pulling back together the parts that have started to fall away.
My family knows that my mental and physical issues cause chronic exhaustion so often I’d have to go to bed just when the night got exciting, but that’s just a part of being me and I’ve come to accept that if I push myself too hard I might end up in a pit too deep to come out of. And it was fine. Disappointing, of course, but fine. Until Easter Sunday when I woke up and realized that I had no spoons left. Hailey and I got dressed in our new Easter dresses and I helped my nieces get ready but already I could tell that I could either go to my uncle’s for Easter and visit with a giant house full of dozens of people I love, or I could safely stay awake for the hours I would be driving back home that day. But not both. So as I helped my family load up into their cars I told them I had to leave. And they understood instantly and supported my decision as only people who truly love you can do. And I felt so lucky. And so unlucky. And sad for Hailey whose Easter dress would go to waste and who was so sad but so instantly understanding when I explained that I just didn’t have it in me to do something that normal people could do without thinking.
My family drove to my uncle’s and Hailey and I drove the opposite way, starting our long drive home. We stopped along the way so I could stay alert and awake. We stopped at family graves. We picked flowers at a rest stop. We ate Easter dinner at the Dairy Queen drive thru. And we stopped at an ancient farm house I’ve seen a million times. We always pass it on the way home and it’s been abandoned since before I was born. I’ve always wondered of its history, imagining the ghosts that cling to it and wondering if I’d lived there in a former life because it was the only way I could ever explain my intense fascination with it. It’s begun a steady decline in the past few years and now part of the roof has collapsed and the old windmill is teetering dangerously.
I realized that this might be the last time I see it so Hailey and I pulled over and stood silently in the shadow of the beautiful decay.
I was pleased to see that Hailey was just as drawn to the place, and although we couldn’t get too close (because it wasn’t stable enough to safely explore) we talked about how strange it was that a broken, ruined thing could be so beautiful. That sometimes ruin beckons you more than magnificence, telling a story more interesting and important and provocative than you could imagine. That sometimes broken can be lovely, and that the collapsed roof could be seen as ugly, but it also let the light in in such a fragile and brilliant way, allowing doves to build nests in the unexpected skylight.
I took a few pictures to capture it in case it’s gone the next time I pass it and I whispered a thanks to whoever had built it and to whoever still watches over it. It’s still important and breathtaking, even if it’s come undone. It’s just a shell, but with the right eyes it’s so much more.
I think we’re all that way sometimes.
We got back in the car and drove on, and I felt the familiar crack I always get in my chest when I’m driving away from my childhood town. It always hurts. It’s always the same. But the pain – while almost unbearable for a second – is less than the healing I get from returning. I wish I could do it backward…have the pain first and the healing after…but that’s not how life works, and I remind myself that I still leave with more than I came with.
I am broken. I am healed. I am ruined. I am beautiful. I am abandoned. I am beloved. I am a house that is no longer a house. I am better and worse all at the same time. I breathe deeply and smile at my daughter, who smiles back at me. She tells me that this is a very strange Easter, but she likes it.
A dove flies out of the collapsed roof and catches the sunlight, unaware that its home is anything other than perfect.
Without getting into the weird details, I can feel things. Like, things that aren’t there. I’m not psychic and I’m not gifted but I can tell when I’m not alone. It doesn’t bother me and I end up doing lots of ghost-hunting and staying in haunted hotels but I almost never see anything.
That being said, I think we have a ghost dog in our house. I realize that sounds insane but we’ve all seen it so often that we’re used to it. (Not a full dog or noises…just the shadow of a dog passing by you, usually upstairs or on the stairs.) It’s not a bad thing and we usually just say “Good dog” and leave it at that but this morning I was taking videos of Hunter S. Thomcat and Ferris Mewler playing with their toys on the stairs and when I watched the video I saw a ton of weird little light artifacts. I’m sure it’s just camera crap but it’s weird so I thought I’d share it.
Also, I took this with my shitty, outdated iPhone and uploaded it to youtube. If you see nothing then you’re probably more sane than I am.
Around the 14 second mark there’s a bluish glow near the cat toy. At the 25 second mark you can hear me talking over me. I don’t know how that happened but I don’t think a ghost dog is involved so it probably speaks more to how unreliable videos are. At the 36 second mark a light moves from Ferris’ back foot up the stairs. At the 50 second mark a half-moon moves from where the toy is to the right of the screen. 1:08 mark. Same weird blue glow on the cat toy. 1:15 orb moves up the wall near the hot air balloon painting. 1:23 When I move on the stairs the lighting changes to a foggy white for a second. 1:33 almost imperceptible but something flashes before the camera in a downward motion. 1:45 Cat’s eyes glow because they are possessed by Sata-oh hang on. That’s just normal cat stuff.
Also, I used youtube to slow it down so you could see it better and I’m not sure if it’s really that helpful but it’s creepy as shit starting around the 40-second mark. Like if that “It-puts-the-lotion-on-it’s-skin-or-else-it-gets-the-hose-again” guy made cat videos.
Is there a point to this? Not really. Just wanted to share what is almost certainly nothing at all. Blogging at it’s best, y’all.
Couple of screen shots:
Glowing ball. Probably just contrast against shadow.
Click to embiggen. Traveling semi-circle across the cat’s butt.
Glow in left corner. Not in next frame.
Orb on wall. Dust?
Click to embiggen. Light traveling across bottom.
White spot moving for a split second across the TARDIS. Probably some sort of tear in the time/space continuum, or maybe a moth.
If you read this blog, then you know Laura even if you don’t know Laura.
She’s the girl who insisted I buy a giant metal rooster, and who named it Beyonce. She’s the girl who helped me dig up my dead dog, and who once took me on a porn barge. She keeps me sane, is my best friend, and has absolutely no idea how amazing she is. This is the same girl who is certain she’s normal and boring, and then offhandedly mentions that her family owns several giant barns filled with old parade floats her great-uncle (P.J.) made decades ago (after he returned from a broadway run, performing with Ethel Mermen). Barns filled with 10-foot George Washington heads, and life-sized matadors, and dozens of elephants and seals and half-naked women and golden dragon-heads, and so many other things that have been packed into the rafters for so long that no one alive has any idea what exactly is in there.
Laura has lived with this treasure trove in her family for as long as she’s been alive, so for her it’s old-hat, and she can’t understand my fascination and excitement every time I force her to take me through P.J.’s barns “just one more time”.
me: THERE ARE LIFE-SIZE FAIRIES HANGING FROM THE CEILING.
Laura: Huh. So there are.
me: There’s a box here that says “Monkey hands” on the outside.
Laura: It probably has monkey hands in it.
me: MOTHER OF GOD, THIS IS A BOX FULL OF MONKEY HANDS.
Laura: Do you want them?
me: Do I want a box of monkey hands? Is this a trick question? Of course I want a box of monkey hands. But I’m not going to take all your monkey hands. I’ll just take two.
Laura: OMG, take the box of monkey hands. What am I going to do with monkey hands?
me: What couldn’t you do with monkey hands?
Laura: I…have no response for that.
me: Okay, I’m taking these monkey hands on loan, but they’re yours when you need them.
Laura: I’ve almost never had the need for monkey hands.
me: It’s weird that we’re friends.
Laura: Good weird, or bad wierd?
me: Well, good weird for me. I just got an unexpected box of monkey hands.
Laura: Well then, it’s working out for everyone.
I’ve spent many long hours poring through her great-uncles bizarre art work, his faded ribbons, his boxes of sketches, his enormous paper-machete statues still waiting for a parade that passed by decades ago. It’s magical, but to Laura it’s commonplace. She probably wouldn’t agree, but it’s often struck me how much these barns are a reflection of her. Fascinating and beautiful. Sometimes forgotten. Sometimes celebrated. Always magical, with the right set of eyes. Weird…but good weird. The best kind of weird. And that’s why, several months ago – when I asked her to pose for me in the famous, traveling red dress – I could think of no better backdrop than the brightly cheerful porch of the home her family has lived in for generations, and the dark but magnificent barns of P.J’s parade floats. It remains, to this day, one of my favorite red dress shoots.
In a few weeks, the barns and all their dusty treasures will be sold at auction. When I first heard about it I was heartbroken, already missing a place that seemed full of dark magic and a lifetime of work, but I know that P.J. would probably love to see his pieces find the light of day once more, rather than crumble back into the dust. And I’ll always be grateful that I was able to spend so many long hours wandering through the dusty, magical corners of the mind of a man who never stopped dreaming, even if it was a dream that few people ever completely understood.
And every time I look at my vase of monkey hands, I’ll be reminded of that amazing place, and of the always-underestimated value of being “the good kind of weird”.
Thank you for those memories, Laura and P.J.
And for the monkey hands. Those things are awesome.
The other day I was looking at my pictures I’d posted from when I went ghost hunting at the Stanley Hotel and I noticed that if you enlarged one of the pictures and turned it upside down you could totally see what appears to be the ghostly face of Edward Cullen.
And I realize that it’s unlikely that the ghost of a vampire played by an actor who isn’t even dead yet is showed up in my pictures, but still? Kind of awesome.
Of course, if it was an apparition of Jesus or Justin Bieber people would be shitting themselves but since it’s the vampire from Twilight the responses I got when I posted this on flickr were anticlimactic at best:
In her defense, she's only lived in America for the last 30 years.
For Chookooloonks and the other five people in the world who didn’t read Twilight:
So, yeah. It's pretty fucking obvious.
PS. You know what would suck? If you died and were turned into a vampire and then you got haunted by the ghost of yourself who was pissed off at you for getting yourself killed and she was always there for eternity, laughing at you whenever you fucked something up, or screaming really loud so you’d drop the milk jug, or waiting until you were masturbating and then popping in and be all “WHATCHA DOIN’?” That would totally suck.
PPS. I’m deathly sick and wrote this entire post on massive amounts of cold medication. This is probably obvious.
PPPS. This remind me a lot of the time that Jesus left a boobie on my yard except that people were way more impressed with the lawn boobie. Conclusion: Boobs and/or Jesus are more relevant than Twilight. The tide has shifted, y’all.