I journeyed through my childhood and youth as an eager believer, resolute in my conviction that the sort of magic I encountered in any number of obscure juvenile fantasy novels would manifest in my ordinary life one day.
Now, I wouldn’t say that a glimmering portal to another realm awaited me on Mt. Pollux one iridescent October morning – but three weeks ago, I came as close to real-life enchantment as a decidedly, disappointingly non-magical girl could hope.
As my life has quickly become a wonderfully ceaseless cycle of Emily Dickinson research, I anticipate that all posts for the foreseeable future may include references to her verse or letters. In any case, I’m happy to hide myself within these flowers (and trees, and sea creatures)–all kindly sent to me in recent pen pal letters!
In praise of her beloved conservatory, Dickinson wrote “My flowers are near and foreign, and I have but to cross the floor to stand in the Spice Isles.” The letters I receive from my pen pals fulfill the same lovely function: I have but to cross the road to my mailbox to stand in Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, and Nevada, in this case!
It’s been a while since my last regular snail mail post – so here is an extra-resplendent pen pal roundup to compensate for lost time!
Over the past few weeks, a weird chronic pain issue has kept me from my usual bad-posture-requisite activities like blogging and making envelopes. You might have noticed that my posts are terser than usual: there’s only so much time I can spend typing until I get better!
Still, mail carries on, and I have some beautiful letters to which I can reply as soon as I become a little more limber again.
I’d like to think that my #2 childhood writer/illustrator inspiration, Cicely Mary Barker, would approve of this ensemble. I haven’t discussed Barker nearly as frequently as some of my other favorites (if I had my way, this blog would be nothing more than an extensive panegyric to Arthur Rackham and Beatrix Potter)–so it’s time to show the Flower Fairies aesthetic some love.
(Incidentally, if I had my way, I would’ve worn this dress to the GRE last weekend. Everything about it makes me so blissfully confident, like I’m an ethereal yet powerful being of clouds and lace and vaguely immature outfit choices: but it’s short, thin, and quite tight in the bodice, which are altogether awful qualities when you’re hunched over a computer for four hours straight. I’ll save it for tea parties or, if I must involve it in academic pursuits, tea parties specifically hosted for the purpose of distracting my weary mind as I navigate the world of PhD applications.)
Like many children growing up in the late 90s and early 00s, I spent a good portion of my youth dreaming about American Girl Dolls. I’ve loved historical fiction since before I was old enough to go to school, and the idea of a vaguely historical book series accompanied by matching dolls and outfits was absolute heaven to me.
The thing about American Girl Dolls, though? In 2001 or so, they were about the cost equivalent of buying your kid an iPhone would be today. High prices beyond belief!
Enter the Stardust Classic Dolls by the company “Just Pretend,” the more budget-friendly 18-inch dolls I received as a child instead of the costlier American Girls. The Stardust Classics were off-brand variant of the American Girl style–but with more time travel and all-female species of woodfairies who are born out of flowers (?!?) and utopian princess kingdoms.
To be honest, that sounds more like my kind of thing than American Girl, doesn’t it?
Of all the fairies featured in the pages of Cecily Mary Barker’s various turn-of-the-century publications, my favorites as a child were only two: the Rose Fairy and the Lavender Fairy. As a little girl growing up in Hawai’i–where any botanical fey were most likely to be creatures like “the tree fern fairy,” “the ‘ohi’a lehua fairy,” or “the terrible invasive species fairies”–I found Barker’s magical recreations of the flora and fauna of the English countryside to be wildly exotic, and I imagined these two fairies would be my particular friends.
After last week’s rather rose-tinted celebration of my pastel wardrobe, I thought it would be perfect to follow up with a outfit that’s a little more on the purple side. Hey, if I can’t actually hang out with flower fairies, perhaps dressing like one is the next best thing?