The Longest Night: Pagans on Christmas and the Winter Solstice in Quail Bell Magazine

Some fantastic interviews with Pagans on the Solstice and the Christmas season, a little history, and my favorite pomander meditation! Thanks, QB!


Image from by Jing Sue


Take me to the London Burlesque!


Manifest destiny,” says Maria Bamford, patron saint of lady artists. “It’s kind of already mine. 

Listen, I didn’t need another reason to go to London– I’ve already been pining since I was invited to write with friends during the summer. Obviously, the only thing keeping me from it is money. What else? And now this fantastic post by Charlotte Lennon on the London burlesque scene with pictures, like the one above, has moved me to wonder about The Secret.  I’m super good at making shit up and obsessing about it, so it seems like I’m already a pro.


Fashion Terms and Styles for Women’s Garments

Fashion Terms and Styles for Women’s Garments

I like knowing the specific word for a thing, so guides, dictionaries, and strange little encyclopedias have became my most trusted acquaintances. As much as I enjoy writing about fashion, I realize that I know too little about it. Maybe part of growing up is realizing that you know too little about all things. Or maybe too much about one thing. Hm. I only meant to post some fashion terms.

It all started with a chickadee


Click the chickadee to read The Poet Time origin myth in Quail Bell Magazine, myth by William Leith and chickadee by Leonard Reidy. It’s ridic cute. We think she’s so cute in fact that we’ve asked chickadee to be our new mascot. She’s agreed, but she demands a very high salary of millet and fine wine. Kind of a diva, this one.

If you’re into it, like The Poet Time and Quail Bell Magazine on Facebook. Thanks!


Gypsy Soul: Romani Fashion and the Politics of Dressing “Gypsy” in Quail Bell Magazine

I’m so thankful to have my article published in Quail Bell Magazine!

I’ve had a lot of fun writing about Romani culture in QBM and I’m looking forward to being a regular contributor. This article is the culmination of flipping through countless magazines, many tumblrs, pinterest pins, fashion blogs, and saying “THIS ISN’T GYPSY FASHION!” aloud to myself in various humors of rage and hilarity. It’s also the culmination of endlessly reading people who do know what they’re talking about, like Dr. Ian Hancock, Oksana Marafioti, and others;  talking with intelligent friends about the topic at length (thanks, guys) at parties and in class; working with my bright bunch of students; and staring at the photo of great-great grandmother Mathilde, the last dancer in the family, unless you count me (and usually I don’t). Basically, it’s a whole lot of love for Erika Varga, real Romani fashion, and a desire to create a dialogue about the politics of “dressing Gypsy” and the harm that comes from perpetuating stereotypes through fashion and popular culture. The next time magazines like Vogue or Cosmopolitan feature a “Gypsy” photoset, I hope that they talk about Romani fashion and culture, because frankly, all moral questions aside (although they are frightfully important), it’s a lot more interesting than the usual nonsense that passes for “Gypsy” style.

Here are some of Varga’s Romani Design creations for you to get excited about:

varga4              varga3

varga1          ROMANI-DESIGN-WOMAN-Helena-Varga



If I’m going to write about “Minor Swing,” I should probably listen to it on repeat for hours until I reach a state of transcendent jazz-bliss

I first heard Django Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing” when I saw the film Chocolat as a kid, and though I haven’t seen it in years (so I won’t vouch for it one way or another), I remember at the time I loved it and it made very proud to be Romani, what with Johnny Depp being so outspoken and handsome on that steel-string guitar and drinking his hot chocolate. It also kicked off a deep love of Reinhardt, Lagrene, and other Manouche Jazz stars.

“Minor Swing,” one of Reinhardt’s most popular compositions and a Manouche jazz standard, just came up in the novel. It’s one of my favorite songs ever so I’m happy to “work” for my art (if work can be listening to a song on repeat for hours). Writing requires that I experience everything fully and presently in order to even come close to evoking a true essence. It’s like practicing yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. Ideally, I’d like to be in that state of compassionate awareness all the time, but for now, I will listen the hell out of this 3 minute song, only think a little bit about Johnny Depp, and then I’ll write a thing, and that’s wonderful.


“Art doesn’t happen….

“Art doesn’t happen when we try to create a feeling for other people; it happens when we reach into the cosmos and experience it for ourselves…. And our artwork only comes alive for others when we, as artists, lose ourselves irretrievably in it.”

My chickadee Len, a musician and composer, on art and the artistic process. As a deadline looms, I don’t need to think about the audience or my ego when I’m delving into the alchemical process.There’s simply no room.