Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Taking it a too bit far, I'll confess...

I like to play dress-up. Sue me.

I spend a good deal of my free time sewing costumes; specifically costumes for the Regency period, which spans from about 1790-1820, although I do prefer the styles from the earlier half of this period.

It probably stems from my addiction to Jane Austen and the like. My mom got me this big, fat, softcover collection of Jane’s works when I was still in secondary school. It’s one of those books with the very thin pages that make a crinkly noise when you flip them. She saw Pride and Prejudice on my curriculum reading list, and got the whole collection in one book by mistake. I’ve had that book since. It’s dog-eared and a corner of the cover is bent. The spine is irrevocably creased in countless places. It’s now one among many editions of Jane’s works, but it is still my favourite. And I have read and read and read that book.

Then, I stumbled onto my first adaptation on BBC in the eighties. And that was it. I was done-for. Gonzo. Adios. My addiction became incurable after that. There has been no lack of fodder either to keep it aflame. New adaptations, lots of Hollywood versions to lambaste, lots of weird adaptations like Clueless and Brigit Jones’ Diary…

And then I moved to Oregon. And I was doing one of my ‘I’ve-got-cramps-and-I’m-severely-grumpy-so-leave-me-alone-I’m-going-to-lie-here-and-watch-all-five-hours-of-Pride-and-Prejudice-uninterrupted-except-to-pee-and-to-grab-a-comforting-snack-and-make-tea’ weekends; and while I waited for the next episode to spool up, I had a vision of myself, in a regency gown; fan in my hand, leaning in to whisper quiet snark to another regency-costumed individual, while before us, lines of costumed dancers moved in graceful, figures across the floor.

A year later, I was sitting in a regency gown, fan in my hand, leaning in to whisper quiet snark to another regency-costumed individual, while before us, lines of costumed dancers moved in graceful figures across the floor. How did this happen?

Well. I just went ahead and did it, I guess.

Oddly enough, it was as simple as a decision. I got up during a break, and walked to my computer, and bought a domain. That’s all it took to create the monster.

It’s spiraled pretty much out of control ever since. A year later, the society is approaching 200 members now. We have events pretty much every month, some teas, parties, dances, workshops for costumes… and a sumptuous ball each year. So on top of finding low-cost venues, raising funds, soliciting membership, managing and coordinating events, and everything else (not to mention juggling my FT job, writing and goodness knows what else), I have to sew myself new garments constantly. Oh, and I also have forced my husband into this, and I also make costumes for my non-sewing friends.

And I still somehow find time to draw little ditties like the one above.

I’m amazing.


But amazing nonetheless. And some people say I can’t start and maintain a business. If I can do this… I can do anything.

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