Steampunk is no longer a mainstream genre not like ten years ago. It isn’t referenced in mainstream shows like NCIS or Castle (and NCIS is still going!), nor are there the flood of Steampunk genre books that we all enjoyed when it was at the height of its popularity. There are still outposts of enthusiasts, but even some of the long-term fans have fallen to the wayside.
How do I know Steampunk has lost some steam? On Facebook, many of the Steampunk sites I followed have ceased posting – many haven’t posted anything for years. It’s harder to source Steampunk genre movies and literature. Strangely, this trend hasn’t effected Steampunk cosplay and it is still as popular as ever. Well, you can’t argue that the Steampunk Aesthetic isn’t a great looks for everyone.
So, where does this leave the Steampunk Enthusiast in 2022?
Steampunk isn’t dead. It will never be completely forgotten, just because the subculture is no longer top of the pop culture. You just have to dig harder to find it. You can still find books and anthologies in the genre, and the recent animated series, Arcane, was certainly leaning hard into the Steampunk Aesthetic. Arcane has a second season coming post-2022. Professor Elemental is still singing and writing. The Girl Genius Comic still updates three times a week. I’m still getting Steampunk stories accepted.
The fires may have subsided, but the coals are still red hot.
I was asked today why I had posted an article on modern feminism on my Facebook Steampunk community page. What makes this comment even harder to understand is that today is International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates the achievements of that half of the human race that spent a lot of history being ignored and suppressed. Some things never change, such as the studied ignorance of how the Suffragettes and Suffragists fought for women’s rights. It wasn’t until I was at university that this historical topic was discussed.
The Australian school curriculum doesn’t like to delve into the stickier and nastier parts of history. Take my schooling. If you studied Modern History in your senior years of high school, it was all about the the Great Depression and the Two World Wars of the Twentieth Century. If you studied Ancient History, its all about the Greeks and Romans, with…
Usually I post observation journalpages chronologically, which is why I’m still working through last year. These three pages, however, are very current. (I’ll scan them eventually).
I am editing a draft of a story this month. This means I am confronted by words I regularly overuse. Sometimes this is simply because I think they’re neat, or get in a habit. But some words I use because I like them and they mean something to me. When I use the word “green” it’s less about description than about trying to invoke some nebulous, numinous green-ness.
So I finally sat down to work out what I actually *mean* when I use some of my most overused words.
Here is “green”:
This approach is a work-in-progress, but it has already been useful both for edits and for clarifying my thoughts on a story.
Talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I’m here if you should call to me
You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away
From ‘Words’ by The Bee Gees
I have previously written about different types of symbolism of mourning jewellery, how pearls represented tears; and ivy represented fidelity; locks of hair from the deceased were incorporated into jewellery; painted miniatures of single eye surrounded by clouds and tears were symbols of a lost love; and – of course – there was jet carved into glittering brooches and beads for mourning jewellery. I haven’t even touched on the meanings of urns, angels, anchors and acorns (another day, perhaps). However, not every piece of mourning jewellery had to have a masked meaning. Some came right out…
Turquoise and diamonds in the form of two hands clasping, circa 1835
In the Victorian era, jewellery was worn not just for ornamentation, it was often worn because it meant something to both the wearer and/or the people who saw her wearing the piece. Hands were a popular symbol. They could be clasped in love or friendship, or clasping items with their own symbology.
The ring below is an early Victorian-era Betrothal Ring, circa 1840. The Clasped Hands, which have a male and female cuff, open to reveal a gold heart on the central band.
Flowers had a whole range of meanings, depending on the the types of flowers.
Ivory hand clasping roses – symbols of love – and forget-me-nots.
Ivory earrings clasping roses and forget-me-nots.
Snakes represented eternal love or wisdom.
Coral and gold pin
A hand grasping a rod was seeking guidance or comfort in time of need.
Yes, I am something of a cliché, an author with cats. I generally avoid mentioning my cats (and my family) when I write my author’s bio. But my furry family has been undergoing a change. We have a third cat who visits on a daily basis, and yesterday Bruce spent the entire day with us. I’m putting that down to the rain – it rained all day.
And yet, no Bruce today (so far).
Bruce is a black tom cat with lovely manners; his nickname is the ‘Soot Sprite’. He always asked politely to come inside. He is taller than my girls, but much skinnier. He doesn’t seem to have another family, because he was neglected and too thin when he first started turning up. He isn’t our cat, but he is always welcome to visit. He has a deep and croaky voice and he always says ‘goodbye’ when he is leaving. He is called Bruce because his full name is Bruce Man Bat Wayne – his expression resembles the Batman’s mask.
Then there is Tilly Mint, who we adopted when her original owner tragically passed away. We didn’t change her name, to avoid confusing her. Tilly is sweet-natured and polite; she taps ankles and mews when she wants attention or bikkies. It sounds like she is saying ‘ma’am’. She also uses her lush tail to signal her mood. She loves being brushed and petted, but isn’t too keen on being picked up or sitting on laps. She gets lost in the backyard, so I’m not sure she is terribly bright. She is often the target of Bean’s temper; she hides on a dining room chair under the tablecloth – but her tail always hangs down. Her voice is soft and sweet, just like her, and she is chatty. Tilly is also quite timid.
Both Bean and Tilly hate strangers at the door and storms. They were terrified during October’s massive hail storm – it sounded like the world was ending – and since then heavy rain or hail sends them into hiding. When Bruce turns up, Bean gets territorial, particularly if he decides to have a snooze on my bed (her territory). Tilly sniffs Bruce’s nose and since he is nicer to her than Bean, I think she likes him quite a bit.