The Perils of Persephone, the Cataclysms of Khlari……a (non) Victorian Gothic Horror Story, or How I was Born in the Wrong Century

Well, what brings me here…as I've said it is a very long, convoluted and bizarre story, involving lots of moving around and a plot worthy of Ann Radcliffe……….

I haven't written for so long, so forgive me if I am a little out of practice, not since I did a Creative Writing course in 1991 in Manchester…..then life kind of intervened….

Until I was about 25 or 26, writing was something as essential to me as breathing, it was something I did every day, both in a diary form and also in poetry and prose, some more successful, some not. if you had told me that I couldn't write any more I think I would have preferred giving up eating rather than writing.

From childhood I have always expressed myself much more easily on the page than in other ways. Sometimes if I have something difficult to say I even write it rather than say it. I was a wordy, nerdy child with my head perpetually in a book. Sport was (um, and still is,) anathema, other people were punished by being sent to the library, I used to try and be sent there, yea I begged and pleaded. If I were a character in Buffy….I'd have to be Willow……

I had catholic and eclectic taste, anything from heavy Victorian tearjerker novels through to C.S. Lewis and First World War Poetry. well after that I had to do a degree in English and Art History, natch. As a child I then imagined that I would one day use this vast and bizarre knowledge to some ultimate advantage, that I would be the Doyenne of a literary circle, painting a little, writing, having brilliant tea parties in my Bloomsbury drawing room, surrounded by like minded aesthetes…….a Virginia Woolf, a Vita Sackville-West haring across Europe on mad adventures……..

But alas, as the subtitle of my piece proves, I was…Born in the Wrong Century. This one does not value the literary types……far from being an advantage it is somehow seen as symbolic of some kind of inner weirdness. Eccentricity is just not fashionable, blandness is the norm. I wanted to be some kind of dramatic beturbanned Ottoline Morrell, or Sarah Bernhardt dressed in emerald velvet, reposing on a crimson chaise longue….. I don't actually want to dress in FCUK and Gap and look just the same as everyone else….why? I wanted the looks of a Pre-Raphaelite Janey Morris, I never longed for the beach-blondeness of Farah Fawcett and her ilk. While my friends were getting suntans, I was preserving my deathly pallor with my nose in a book.

But apparently I HAVE A PROBLEM. THIS IS NOT 'NORMAL'. When I left the heady and inspiring world of academia, this posed a problem to everyone I met……I don't 'go to the gym' (yeuch), I like Vampires (sure sign of inner strangeness), team games make me want to vomit. But outside, we were more interested in whether I could type than whether I had read the entire works of Zola in French, or whether I had an opinion on whether Gauguin was superior to Matisse. They just don't care……what was once seen as the sign of education and wide knowledge is now seen as at the least inconvenient, and generally as 'rather peculiar'.

I say BRING IT BACK!!!! I still want to be the centre of a heady circle of artists, a Mme de Stael with her Salon, Suzanne Valadon surrounded by Impressionists. I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Where is the value in ordinariness? Why should I have to pretend to be ordinary when I don't feel it inside? I don't ask the ordinary ones to be me, chacun a son gout, so why can't they respect my right to be me. It's all about the way society values skills, and some of us just have skills that according to everyone else are not right for the 21st century, they don't fit into narrow societal norms…..we can't change our nature, I am not going to suddenly begin to love Arsenal and Accountancy…..But I don't see why they should be more of a cardinal value than art, and beauty……I don't want to be an identikit drone either…….I don't like the uniform any more than I like the values, I'd rather be pretty peculiar than ugly dowdy just to look the same as everyone else…..hell that's me…told you I wasn't normal! But who decided on 'normal' anyway? Nobody asked me.

I can still have my fantasies though……..and I still quite fancy a chaise longue……whoops…sorry, didn't mean to offend you…was I being 'abnormal' again? Hmm, will just go and get a sensible job and buy some neutral beige clothes……or maybe I would rather chop my own head of with a butter knife….it would be a mercy killing. I'm sure one of my abnormal friends would oblige. I'm not the only weirdo you know. You see I see my skills weird as they may seem, as valuable, and my individuality as an essential part of me…..so if you kill those…….well you might as well kill me.

now, about that chaise longue……..

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One Response to “The Perils of Persephone, the Cataclysms of Khlari……a (non) Victorian Gothic Horror Story, or How I was Born in the Wrong Century”

  1. Hello, Khlari. I came upon your site through Andy’s. I look forward to your posts. You have an energetic style, enjoyable.

    I too have always wanted a Salon, a cirle of artists and avant-gards, activists and writers. I imagine myself surrounded by all that energy, exploring truth, beauty, faith. I’m not that creative myself, but would love so much to be able to bring together others who could challenge each other, feed off each other, grow. Be witness to their stories.

    Anyway, welcome to Blogger!

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