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Sparks & Beauties: Sunday Autumn Equinox Leisure Reading Edition

Hello beauties! Happy Autumn Equinox Day! The sun is crossing the equator, and today is equal amounts day and night. Nature is in balance, and hopefully you’re harvesting what fruits and victories you’ve been sowing all year so far. From here on out, the days are getting shorter. Yes, I’m excited, actually: it’s cozy-making time!

Celtic-y pagans celebrate the equinox as Mabon, but as a good little secret Midwestern pagan, I had my own little “rituals” to “celebrate” — Neil Young’s on the turntable, I cleared out and changed over my wardrobe to all my fall/winter clothes, and after a weekend of pretty rich feasting, I’m taking today to eat simply and lightly, looking to balance out all the delicious gourmandizing. I’m going out riding right after I finish writing this post, too…I can’t think of a better way to end the summer and usher in the fall than trotting away in an open field. The insights from my little mini-retreat are sinking in and mulling all around, and I’m taking the first steps towards some of my upcoming plans and projects: I started a novel-writing class at a local college last week, which I’m excited about! I haven’t taken a legit writing class since grad school, and it feels good to be exercising those muscles again in a structured, group setting.

Anyway, this Sparks & Beauties is dedicated to a few things I’ve really enjoyed reading on the Internet — and have really lingered with me, which is often not the case with a lot of stuff you read online. Some of them are a bit on the heavier side, but substantial. Light some candles, fire up the iPad or computer, curl up with a blanket and a mug of something warm and delicious, and enjoy!

+ Why Unwound is the best band of the ’90s — It’s been nice to see a resurgence of interesting and activity around Unwound. I saw Unwound about a million times when I was in college, so for me, they are definitely of an era — but I’ve been listening to their discography in the car as I drive lately, and hearing their music roaring over the car speakers has been like hearing them for the first time all over again. They are noisy and punky, owing lots to post-hardcore and Sonic Youth and such, but they definitely became their own beast, with a strange beauty and elegiac feel. Now I’m dying to get all their records on vinyl again.

+ Mulberry’s Industrial Revolution — As part of my fashion nerdist tendencies, I love reading and learning about manufacturing, especially of luxury goods. It fascinates me in a kind of love/hate way. I mean, I’m the first to admit that a fancy bag is a good investment, if well-chosen — my first fancy bag purchase has lasted me over ten years at this point, and it still looks beautiful. But it irks a little to think that the fancy LV bags are still made or at least put together in China and the like. Ugh, fashion! Yay, fashion! Sigh, I just can’t decide. But I did enjoy reading about Mulberry’s efforts to move more of their production to their Somerset base. I do think their bags are generally well-made and beautiful; I have fond memories of popping into their shop in London and seeing how beautifully crafted they are. Even though the saleswoman knew I wasn’t going to buy, she took a lot of pride in showing me the bags, pointing out the craftsmanship. It is a very lovely heritage feeling to know something you’re making or selling will last a long time and could likely be passed down in the family. That, to me, is a genuinely lovely thing.

+ This story by far is one of the best things I’ve read about the savage, horrendous gang rape in India that shocked the whole world. Most of the world initially saw it as an aberration, but this Guardian piece explains the complex socioeconomic dynamics that make you realize such an act was in fact not as abnormal and out of place as it seems. Warning: it gets really, really hard to read in parts, so if you are going to be triggered by it, you might best avoid this.

+ Finally, on the lighter side: sometimes you just need to read something funny, like when a Toronto film festival photo slideshow caption writer gets bored and just completely fangirls out about Benedict Cumberbatch.

Like what you just read? Maybe you'll like my book as well

All Things Glorious and True: Love Letters to Pop Culture, New York, Fashion and Other Objects of Affection is a collection of essays exploring how my crushes on music, dive bars, books, outfits and so much else gave me a braver soul, more open heart and even love. All Things is like a great, stylish mixtape: surprising, kind of punky, fun and often heartfelt.


Tags: Benedict Cumberbatch, equinox, India, Mabon, Mulberry, paganism, , Unwound