The Witchcraft of Salem Village, by Shirley Jackson
With Haloween this weekend, I thought I would share this short story by Shirley Jackson, about the infamous Salem Village witch trials from 1692. I enjoyed this as an audiobook last year and I believe it was my first proper ‘read’ on the topic. I had some awareness of what had happened but didn’t know the details.
I need to read (a lot) more on the general topic of witchcraft in Europe and the US, but what strikes me most from my anecdotal knowledge is how women that deviated from the societal norm were often the accused and victims of this blind paranoia – single women, independent women, old women, queer women, women from different ethnic backgrounds, learned women or women with certain talents or understanding of nature and science etc. These women are still seen by many as different, misfits and even dangerous in 2021, and they still suffer from acts of violence and other discriminatory practices.
I have never really dressed up for Halloween, but I am starting this year as a fun thing to do with my son, and I will go as a witch, meaning I will wear some of my normal clothes and my normal make-up, and add some accessories, because this is what witches looked and still look like. To celebrate the memory of all the dead and living women that have ever been called a witch as an insult, please know that it is not offensive, it is empowering!
I hope this motivates you to want to read more on the topic, as it did me.
I wrote before about Rupi Kaur and how I appreciate her work. I never thought to question her status as a poet nor her talent, maybe because I don’t know that much about poetry. I’ve never studied it outside the high school curricula, and I’ve never been attracted to it before.
Source (Rupi Kaur)
Last week I came across the Poetry is not a Luxury Instagram account and after browsing through I got curious. I did a bit of research to see if there are any other similar accounts out there and found Poets of Instagram too. But there are probably hundreds of individual poets accounts, like Rupi’s or Atticus, and some of them have, quite unprecedentedly for the field of poetry, successfully transformed their work into a way of earning their livelihood, with the help of social media.
Source (via Poetry is not a Luxury)
I must say, they don’t all appeal to me in the same way Rupi does most of the time and some of the poems feel like, and could actually be, something you’ve read/heard before or just something that didn’t take that much effort or talent to come up with. That being said, I think there is still merit in following some of these accounts for someone like me, at least.
Once in a while, I stumble on a poem that speaks to me, and it makes me want to read more poetry, contemporary but also classic. I don’t know if would have considered this had it not been for Insta Poetry.
That must be a good thing, surely?
Ella Fitzgerald, Just One of Those Things
Ella Fitzgerald’s Cheek to Cheek was the song I listened to dozens of times every day for months while putting my son to sleep. I never tired of it. I tried others but always came back to Ella and her blues and this particular song will always warm my heart.
Despite that, I didn’t know anything about her until this week, when I watched Just One of Those Things, the documentary about her life and career. She didn’t have a happy or even an easy personal life, she seemed to always long to spend more time at home, with her son and a partner she dreamt of finding, but was restless after one week off-stage and spent years on ‘endless tours’ as her colleagues remember, until she was in her seventies and too ill to do it any longer.
As far as her singing goes, she was a pioneer in many respects and became a living legend, respected and revered. Mama Jazz, as she was so fittingly nicknamed, reinvented herself many times to stay with the times and even joked about learning how to rap during one of her last performances.
An amazing story about a passion and talent that was quite simply larger than life!
I have a few lovely brooches (among them, one very Haloween appropriate) and recently I’ve been thinking that this is an under-appreciated accessory that can truly complement clothes, perhaps better than any other accessory, for it’s not meant to be worn on oneself, like all the rest, but on the clothes themselves. Read here a fascinating brief history of the brooch, from functional accessory to work of art.
I wanted to explore some more ways of wearing mine, as I normally just pin these to my blazers or cardigans in the classic fashion you’d expect from an old stylish lady. There are of course many other options, from shirt collars to waistbands on skirts or pockets on trousers, but also on bags, shoes or hats!
I saved plenty of inspiration in this dedicated Pinterest board and I’m very much looking forward to experimenting more, as well as adding new ones to my collection.
Wine and Champagne Stoppers
I’ve come to the moment in my life when I am seriously thinking that I need a wine stopper. I don’t indulge too often in a glass of wine, but I think I’d do it more, particularly as the cold and festive season is upon us, if I had the option to preserve the rest of the bottle for a longer time, instead of thinking I need to have it all in a couple of days!
There are, of course, many options out there and they can vary in price significantly, from under £10 to over £300, as well as in complexity, from basic silicone ones to the ones with an air sucking pump incorporated and the ultimate sophisticated ones that allow you to enjoy some wine without even opening the bottle. Crazy, right?
Now there’s even one designed specifically for champagne, although I believe you need to have a taste and a habit for enjoying the most exquisite bottles to justify the price of the Coravin ‘Sparkling Wine Preservation System’.
As for me, I think the air sucking option, which can be found for decent prices, is the way to go. Do you own a wine stopper?
Water Lilies Harvest
Water lilies harvest in Vietnam in summer is one of those magical yearly spectacles offered to us by nature, like the cherry blossom season in spring, in Japan and other parts of the world. It’s mesmerizing and no staged photoshoots could ever replicate the beauty of these images. Many photographers have found inspiration in this occasion and wanted to pass it on to you.
Looks like the stuff of fairytales, doesn’t it?
Quote of the Week
Source – Brilliant illustration by Sandra Dieckmann
With my mind on the witch trials of Salem Village, I remembered this quote that I stumbled upon years ago. It filled me then and still does, with a strange sense of pride, unjustified by any real connection, but nonetheless powerful. Thinking of some of the brave superior women, so far ahead of their times, that were accused and persecuted or even killed for being ‘witches’ just because they were different, relentless, uncompromising, outspoken – all these incredible qualities that I value enormously.
It motivates me to never be anything less than that myself.
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