Year in Review: 2018

Remember in 2016 when I said things possibly couldn’t get worse? I should have kept my damn mouth shut. I won’t attempt to touch on the fresh individual hell 2018 has been for far too people around the world but I have a tradition. I will do my best to continue on this tradition. Here is my Year in Review for 2018.

January: The year started off with hope and promise. Amber and I went to an exotic animal park in Johnson City after trying to visit a few LBJ-based historical sites. We got to feed camels and reflect on the nature of keeping animals in captivity. Oh, and a goat ate a hole in Amber’s purse. Over on the blog I celebrated 200 Blog Posts and I’m happy to continue working towards 300!

Apparently, this was the nicer of the two camels.

February: The month began with a visit to a local gin distillery that was a delight. I also did the revolutionary thing of seeing a show by myself. I saw a bunch of my favorite drag queens be mean to each other for an hour and I am so happy I did that for myself. There’s nothing like getting all made up and seeing a show alone after dark. The month wrapped up with me and my friend also named Amanda seeing The Black Panther.

A local gin cocktail is the best cocktail. 
Told y’all I got dolled up for a drag show.
The Haters Roast! So much fun! 

March: Over here on the blog I celebrated two milestones: 3,000 Visitors and my 5 Year Anniversary . The month was relatively quiet as far as my personal life goes. My store did open and I made my first sale in March.

April: April was quiet. I got notice that I was accepted for A-Kon later on in the year and began costume work and prep. I also got to cook a homemade Japanese meal for a friend. I made nikujaga (Japanese Beef Stew), miso soup, there was rice and a cocktail made with sake. I felt like the Japanese housewife I was trained to be.

The Full Spread!
As it boiled! 

May: In May I made my A-Kon cosplay announcement! I worked very hard on my costumes and am proud of them in hindsight. Over on the blog I celebrated 7,000 Views. I also saw Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 with Amber and left the movie violently angry.

June: I went to A-Kon 29! You can read all about that here! I got to present a panel that is close to my heart and I think went over well including a moment that I got to shout during pride month “MAKE AMERICA GAY AGAIN” and receive applause during a panel for it. I did receive (as did the rest of the world) the news that Anthony Bourdain passed away. He was an icon and inspiration and it was a huge gut punch to receive before I started my convention day. A few days later I was off traveling for work in Galveston for the Texas Funeral Directors Association convention and I had a magical time surrounded by caskets and kitchy beach decor. After that was a trip to Fredericksburg with Amber to pick peaches (yes, there is a ton of irony of two black women paying to pick peaches on someone else’s land) and an endeavor to make peach cobbler which ended with me slicing my thumb open. I have a cool scar now and a newfound respect for paring knives. I wrapped up June with a post about Juneteenth and the importance of remembering your history.

Get you a cosplayer who can do both.
Taken at A-Kon 29.
Taken in Galveston! I had a lovely time.
The peach cobbler that almost took my thumb.

July: My birth month! I didn’t do much for my birthday but did get a very special gift in the form of a friend visiting. I really came into my own on a site called Gendou. It’s an anime music site that had a chatroom and one fateful day in my teens, I joined chat. Literally, nearly a decade later some of the best friends I have in real life were people I met on this website. Well, in July, I got to meet one of my Gendou friends. We made it a whole damn thing and a bunch of us Gendou folk got together for a magical evening of Korean BBQ, soju, over the top ice cream and innuendo. It was a magical evening and one I won’t forget. Never give up on meeting your internet friends. What was amazing was picking up a conversation we had started hours before via text and we were able to continue it in real life as if we were lifelong friends: because in so many ways, we are.

I think we’re a handsome bunch. Except for me. I look like a hobgoblin.

August: August sure did start off slow but towards the end of the month, things sure did get interesting. Towards the end of the month, I got a last-minute invitation to visit Virginia for a cousin’s wedding. Never one to turn down a free trip, I boarded a plane to Virginia: America’s birthplace and a state full of mixed feelings for a young black person like me. I had an excellent time visiting Mount Vernon and seeing a part of the country I do not get to see very often. August also featured the terrifying and heartbreaking attack in Jacksonville that saw the loss of innocents at a Madden tournament. I did my best to collect my feelings and my heart honestly still hurts. I also got to write a personal love letter to all my female friends who keep me going.

Mount Vernon was stunning and beautiful and I can’t wait to go back.

September: In September I started working on my Halloween costume! I decided to work on Dr. Facilier for Halloween and it was an adventure in self-doubt and hot glue that you can learn about here. I also managed to find a beautiful little Korean garden down the street from my apartment and I did my best to take some photos of a place that looked like it was pulled from an anime.

October: October was a loss heavy month. Not only did I deal with both of my parents’ birthday, I suffered a few personal losses. My great-uncle passed away after a long battle with cancer. I also lost my senpai, Cris. Now, when I say senpai I mean the person who helped me be who I am today. Cris helped form the anime club I took over when I was in college. She was the one who encouraged me to panel, helped me figure out ideas and showed me how to market myself better. She was one of the best cosplayers I’ve ever known and one of the most talented writers I’ve ever known. Losing her hurt me deeply and I’m still not entirely over her loss. I just found out I was accepted to another convention to panel and I went to message her about it only to remember she’s no longer here. I never wanted to think of a world where one of my senpais was no longer with me and I am better having known her. I miss her but I will do all I can to make her proud. October also featured me having Dim Sum with Carlos and me having a mental breakdown over Devilman Crybaby.

Me and two of my senpais:
Cris in the center and Pat on the right. 

November:  November has been so far quiet except for the ungodly amount of time and resources playing Pokemon Let’s Go: Eevee. I also got to spend a quiet Thanksgiving with Amber at an Italian chain restaurant, because of course we did. Victoria and I went to the Austin Oddities and Curiosities Expo, because of course we did and I picked up a new necklace courtesy of The Austin Seance Society (the most on brand thing I have ever done in my life). The world lost Stan Lee and you can read me trying to form a coherent phrase about losing the creator of one of my favorite comic book companies of all time. Another family trip brought me to Virginia once more. I saw the Edgar Allan Poe museum (you can read about that adventure here) and enjoyed a part of the nation I don’t get to see often. I did all the the tourist things like see The White House and The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which made me so giddy I nearly cried. I learned a lot about myself and my family during this trip including the fact that I may be more Type-A than I give myself credit for and living alone has really dulled my ability to cope with stressors beyond my control.

Thank you, Austin Seance Society, for letting me be goth forever.

December: Technically, all the tourist Virginia stuff happened in December, but it flowed better up there with the rest of November. December is still going on as I write this post and there’s some cool things on the horizon: another con or two perhaps, time with friends, time with family. 

A Shrine to Poe at The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
The REAL Hope Diamond
I know this is The White House but that won’t stop me from making an old Vlogbrothers Joke: Lone Bird, Perched Atop the Department of Agriculture, Thanks For Watching Over Our Nation’s Grain.

I’d like to take a moment to bring up a pin that I left up in the start all the horrible things that have happened this year: hate crimes, terrorism, national and international chaos and natural disasters; all of it is a lot and I still grieve a great deal of many of these things, it’s why I didn’t mention them earlier. But I do acknowledge them and they hurt me, but not enough to shut me down: no, in fact, I am simply more energized to continue to do the right thing for as long as I am able.

This year I also cut out as many of the toxic forces I could in my life. I removed people in my life that I swore would be with me to the very end. I’m growing as a person and I have no time for people who aren’t in it for the long haul. I’ve made new friends that I’m sure will last a lifetime and I feel better and stronger than ever.

I want to thank all of you for joining me here for another year. I’m grateful to each and every single one of you.

Thank you.

 

The Unexpected Horror of The Little Match Girl

It’s the holiday season and while I promised a month of Disney December I wanted to tell a story that’s personal to me and still is a fairy tale of some kind. I want to talk about The Little Match Girl and how it nearly ruined my childhood before the actual specter of Death could finish the job. This Christmas story was given to me in the form of a picture book as a child and its story still haunts me to this day.

Let’s first go over the story. Is it possible to spoil a beloved children’s book? Well, soft spoiler alert, I suppose.

The book goes a little something like this. A little girl in old-timey England is shivering in the cold. She looks like a genderbent Oliver Twist and she is desperately selling matches to pay for food. She is, unfortunately, down to her final three matches and winter’s chill is quickly setting in. She’s cold, hungry and miserable.

She decides to light the remaining matches she has for much needed warmth. She lights the first match and in the flame’s dancing light, she sees a warm house: family, friends, mirth, the whole shebang; but the fire goes out.

She lights the second match and in its flame she sees a Christmas feast: there’s goose and potatoes and an entire Noah’s Ark worth of other meals. She stays in that fantasy for a while before that match does go out.

On her final match, she makes the fateful choice to use it for warmth and in its light, she sees her grandmother (who we assume has passed away). She can feel her grandmother’s arms around her; they’re so warm and she feels so at home and safe.

The next page of the book is blank, absolutely black and the final page is that of a crowd of more Oliver Twist extras surrounding the little match girl. She is still and smiling, three burned out matches scattered round her: she died, frozen in the cold but did so happy having seen a vision of something warm, light and freeing from the cruel, cold world that let a little girl freeze to death in the streets.

Now, keep in mind that I read this as a child. I didn’t have the tools to process Charmander getting his tail wet in Pokemon yet alone a little girl dying alone in the cold.

There are different retellings of the story; apparently, in some versions she survives and in others, she’s sort of just spirited away into heaven all rapture-style by her flame-based hallucination Grandmother so she doesn’t per say die but sort of does.

I never understood why this story was told to children. What was the moral: don’t be poor so you don’t die? I never understood what this story was trying to tell me but as an adult, I have trivia which tells me a simple fact: fairy tales are meant to help explain and prepare little girls and boys for things they my face. Beauty and the Beast helped prepare girls for marriages to people who to them likely seemed beastly. Cinderella taught us patience in the face of cruel family. Snow White taught us to not trust strangers and most importantly, Sleeping Beauty taught us the important lesson of not shunning the village goth because she’ll come to your party uninvited and curse your child.

The lesson of The Little Match Girl can likely be seen two ways: one is the capriciousness and cruelty of the real world; poverty is real and having a story not end neatly with a bow is an important lesson even for children. The second I think is more interesting: I think this story is really about humility and what matters most. Sure, the girl sees food and fire but she also sees a lost loved one and that is the image that allows her to slip into darkness and sleep peacefully for eternity. She found physical comfort in fire light and spiritual comfort in the warm love of her grandmother.

This book stands in such stark contrast to Disney’s brand of sanitized stories. Disney as a brand and person were great at taking the original darker endings of famous stories and making them “more family-friendly” also known as, boring and safe. In the movie, you don’t get to see Cinderella’s step-sisters get their eyes pecked out by birds or Ariel’s legs cut off or any of the horror Sleeping Beauty faces. Instead we get “the lamp shacks up with a prince of some kind” in lieu of actual conflict or drama.

Sure, this does make things easier to digest for children but there’s something unfortunate about that. I faced death young as a child and nothing in media prepared me for that. These stories used to prepare children for things, not necessarily well, but they did try by at least talking about the darker parts of growing up and being a human person on this planet.

We’ve continued to sanitize children’s media and now there are even few things aimed at children that challenge them in any way. Children aren’t dumb, they simply lack experience. It isn’t that a child couldn’t understand death it’s that nothing would prepare them for that without prompting or experience.

I’m not advocating that The Little Match Girl go on every family bookshelf. It’s a tough read and I know I didn’t process that book, I just sort of sealed it away. It wasn’t until I talked about it with others that I realized how messed up it was as a premise. The story has the roots of a gritty live-action historical movie with a muted fiter over the film and probably staring Anne Hathaway in some capacity. However, teaching kids important lessons is part of the reason we have stories to begin with and even if the meaning isn’t figured out fully until that child is damn near thirty and still a goth, it’s a vital lesson to learn.

Stay warm, dear readership.

Forgiving “Let it Go”

Let it go, let it go And I'll rise like the break of dawn Let it go, let it go That perfect girl is gone! Let It Go, Sung by Idina Menzel, Frozen.png

I didn’t like Frozen. Well, let’s back up. I didn’t like how saturated the market became after the release of the uber popular Disney film Frozen. And that centered around the movie’s super popular song Let it Go. I hated the song, I hated every child who sang the song, I hated every teen on Youtube singing covers of the song.

I hated that it was “the anthem” for the youths.

And if I sound like The Grinch, you are right.

But Frozen didn’t fire on all cylinders for me for more than just the inundation of the song. I wasn’t wowed by the story. Now, mind you, it’s a stunning film and I could have my arm twisted and see some of its appeal. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go over the film. Frozen centers around Princesses Elsa and Anna. Elsa has ice powers and Anna has BenDelaCreme’s terminal delightfulness. Elsa does her best to hide her ice powers and Anna continues to be painfully optimistic. After one party, Elsa’s ice powers are outed, she runs away dramatically and  builds an ice palace (as you do) and Anna has to go on a mission to “save” her sister. There’s a boring subplot about Anna wanting to marry the first man she meets, Hans, and another boring subplot of Anna trying to rationalize her dumb choices to male lamp that carts her around. Hans ends up being an Alex Jones-style false flag villain and Elsa nearly kills Anna with ice magic. Elsa laments this and the moral of the story that the truest love possible is one between sisters despite the fact that Anna still shacks up with the male lamp.  

This movie just dances along the line of being obviously made for children while also being aggressively allegorical for the adults in the room in parts. Disney has recently been very meta with its movies and Frozen really kicked off that trend. Anna’s determination to marry the first man she meets is a staple plot point of the 90s Disney movies and every other character around her is insistent on telling her that her assertion is wrong and is bad and she should feel bad. The abundance of cute sidekicks is also very 90s Disney, so all the terrible ways Olaf is maimed and damaged during the film is an interesting inversion of that trope.

But we’re here to make amends to Let it Go, the breakout anthem of the entire damn film.

It was actually another Idina Menzel song that made me forgive the transgression that was Let it Go.

It’s Defying Gravity from Wicked. Many of you will know I am a huge musical theater person which makes the next statement a little strange: I don’t like the musical Wicked. Now, I do love the music of Wicked. Popular makes me smile, For Good makes me cry and Defying Gravity…let’s get into that.

Defying Gravity is right towards the end of the musical and it’s all about Elphaba breaking free of Glinda and her narrow view of how to do things right. The song is triumphant and beautiful and I do relate to on so many ways. Elphaba uses this song to finally free herself of the expectations set upon her by society, Glinda’s gaslighting and her dead-end relationship with The Wizard. It’s beautifully sung and beautifully performed and it does all the right things for me as a nerd, musical theater person and person who loves Idina Menzel.

My relationship to the song is a little more than just appreciating a damn fine musical number. As someone who felt held down by a hometown littered with ghosts, a family that was prone to gaslighting me into staying in one place and a myriad of societal expectations that only exhaust me, I wanted to defy gravity. I wanted to fly free. I wanted to reconcile all those feelings and be the best me I could be from precisely 278 miles away.

And it was as I belted the lyrics to this song at the bus stop before the sun rose just outside of my tiny apartment, I realized something: this is what the people who so passionately sang Let it Go must feel like. This feeling must be the exact same of finding form to the feelings you’ve had for so long and finding a song that so perfectly illustrates your desire to just break free. Disney has plenty of anthems like that from Part of That World to How Far I’ll Go; every generation of Disney fan has theirs. For me, it was Reflections because of course it was and for a whole generation of children, it’s Let it Go. And the parallels to Wicked and other coming of age narratives don’t stop there. Frozen allegorically can be seen as one of the best metaphors to coming out as LGBT+ put to film.

As Elsa becomes comfortable with her powers and who she is, she stops concealing and not feeling and lets it go. For many that had to remain in the closet, it’s liberating to live your truth and not have to hide who you are. Many find a family or build one of their own, they find safe places that do not make them compromise and they relish in being who they really are; just as Elsa did when she built her ice castle, built her minions and changed her clothes and let down her hair: she became the most free version of herself and that’s wonderfully powerful to those who have felt that way or are trying to feel that way.

Just because at first it didn’t do anything for me does not mean that I can or will continue to deny the importance of this narrative to a new generation. Just because something isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean I have to demean its importance to others.

And for being a stick in the mud about Frozen for literally years now, I do apologize. It’s not my job in this world to steal someone’s thunder. It’s my job to be understanding, as those have been with me. To be critical without being cruel. To be skeptical without being cynical. To be intelligent without condescension. That is what I am here to do.

Unfortunately, Required Reading Episode 3: The Toxic Masculinity Rises

Greetings! Episode 3 of the pod is love in which we get absinthe drunk and talk about Ernest Hemingway! 


https://anchor.fm/unfortunately-required/episodes/The-Toxic-Masculinity-Also-Rises-e2p855

A Tepid Apology to Beauty and the Beast (1991)

_Children believe what we tell them. They have complete faith in us. They believe that a rose plucked from a garden can plunge a family into conflict. They believe that the hands of a human beast will smoke whe (4).png

I didn’t like Beauty and the Beast when I was little. I loved that movie. I was obsessed with the ballroom scene, the dancing cups and the at the time (and still mostly) fantastic animation. But I was a fickle child and that movie didn’t stay my favorite for long.

Like many of the things I put away in my childhood, I did put away many Disney movies. College brought with it cynicism and cynicism meant that I was, for a moment, too good for Disney movies. I was one of those folks on the internet with all the feminist hot-takes about Disney movies and if I could take those years back, I would. For the longest time, I was convinced that Beauty and the Beast was about Stockholm Syndrome and incredibly anti-feminist and overall, just a poor piece of media.

That was until the live-action remake made me reconsider my feelings.

Now, there are plenty of videos (like this one and this one) that far more eloquently explain the myriad of failures of this movie; so I’ll keep this portion brief. The live-action film calling out the “mistakes” of the animated movie only stand to make the live-action movie seem weaker.

Making Belle more “feminist” simply makes her a lamp of a character. Gaston having PTSD is…insulting. LeFou being gay is…also insulting. None of the changes the live-action film makes to the animated classic help the plot, character or themes of the film.

But this isn’t about the new movie. This is about me falling back in love with the animated classic.

For now, a synopsis: Beauty and the Beast (the Disney animated classic) was released in 1991 and is based off a classic French fairytale. The story surrounds Belle and her desire to find adventure in the great wide somewhere Her father goes off on a fetch quest and ends up in the claws of a Beast, The Beast, in a castle on a mountain that in no way looks scary at all. Belle decides to find her dad, because of course, and goes up to the not scary castle and sees the not at all scary Beast. The Beast bargains with Belle, saying that if she stays in the Enchanted Castle full of living enchanted dinnerware and such with him forever, he’ll let her dad go. Belle agrees, because plot, and magic castle-based bonding ensues. Eventually, Belle has to go back and rescue her dad from the villain I forgot to mention: Gaston. There is a very dramatic castle battle and then The Beast ‘dies’ turns human only after killing Gaston and then the pair can go off.

There’s plenty to love about this movie in hindsight. It has amazing graphics that are still fantastic and whimsical, a soundtrack that is still lovely and voice acting that is still well done.

But I want to talk about what made me like this movie again and it honestly may surprise you.

It was Gaston.

Gaston as far as villains go is pretty special. If you watch the movie, despite all of his scary framing, he makes a lot of sense. He’s a not-so smart hunter who is attractive and has a semi-homoerotic harem. His pursuit of Belle makes sense; she’s the only girl who won’t fall for his charm immediately.

Gaston’s songs are actually what turned me more towards liking this film again. His main song where a group of men sing his praises is hilarious but also wonderful social commentary on what makes the muscle jock oftentimes so popular in society. But the more interesting song is The Mob Song, lead by Gaston as he whips up a mob to fight against The Beast. The song explicitly encapsulates fear-mongering, paranoia and refusal to listen to reason. That message doesn’t seem so off in this current socio-political climate.

But this is a tepid apology. I do still have issues with this film. It is for sure a kid’s movie and I can admit that but jeez, the tone here is a problem. This film has some seriously dark moments and then Goofy laughs thrown in. Really, most of the 90s Disney films have a tone problem but this film has some pretty awful tone shifts like Gaston literally falling to his literal death.

Which brings us to the part of the film that I still dislike: Belle. And that surprises many people. Folks would assume that me, being a bookish know-it-all, would love Belle. But I’m not a fan. She claims to want adventure and she starts off different and unique but the romance that has to happen between her and The Beast just bores me to tears. For someone who wants more than her small provincial town, she sure does settle down quick. I’m sure for some, she’s just fine, but for me, I’ve been bored with her for over two decades.

And the themes of the film still seem really washy to me, especially now as a critical reader and writer. The themes of wanting more and not judging people by their outsides are the two biggest we’ll tackle here. The theme of being small for your town is very 90s Disney but really, Belle’s wish isn’t met in the end, she moves literally down the street from her childhood home to a castle. The second theme of not judging a book by its cover is also undercut by the fact that The Beast doesn’t remain a beast and while, yes, I cop to the fact that a Disney movie couldn’t be so progressive that it would transcend species getting together, it’s an irk I’ve had even with the original novel: if the theme is that beauty can be found in even in the heart of a beast, it’s undercut by having The Beast be secretly actually hot. Phantom of the Opera handles that a little better because we come to find Eric as inwardly beautiful despite his physical looks (we’re ignoring all the places where Eric is really problematic for now but rest assured I have not forgotten about that).

But all of that aside, the animated classic is a classic for a reason. And while the critical response to the film seems to lose sight of what actually matters, I have one thing to say.

I am sorry.

This movie is still beautiful and full of heart and whimsy that does not need to be explained. The live-action film shows us that in very stark contrast. The logic of an enchanted castle of course falls apart once you think about it but that’s the literal point. It’s an enchanted castle, it isn’t supposed to make sense. Sure, Belle isn’t as self-actualized as we remember but that’s okay. It was the 1990s, the internet hadn’t invented feminism yet. It’s okay that the tone is weird and that Gaston doesn’t feel like a villain. It’s okay that The Beast is a jerk sometimes. It’s all okay.

It won’t take away from the fun, the whimsy and the love put into this film. It won’t take away that Tale as Old as Time may be one of the best animated sequences done ever, it doesn’t take away that the movie can make an entire generation sing Be Our Guest, it won’t take any of that away.

The film is better than I ever gave it credit for, and for that, I am sincerely sorry._Children believe what we tell them. They have complete faith in us. They believe that a rose plucked from a garden can plunge a family into conflict. They believe that the hands of a human beast will smoke when he.png

Thoughts from The Rue Morgue: Thoughts and Musings from The Edgar Allan Poe Museum

It likely surprises no one that I am a high-key goth and that means I love the work of the most famous emo of all time, Edgar Allan Poe. When I was in high school, I fell for his use of rhyme and suspense and fell into a deep and dark love with the moody poet. So when another family trip brought me to Richmond, Virginia and I saw there was THE Edgar Allan Poe museum within a short Uber ride from the hotel; well, dear reader, I am contractually obligated to go: and so I did.

Here’s what I learned while visiting a loving shrine to one of my favorite poets.

First, some history. Poe’s life reads a lot like a comic book: abandoned by parents, trouble with love, did some things that are a little sketch and all the while continued to write poems, short stories and plays that twisted the mind into darker places. His writing has an unfair reputation of being melodramatic and “not really that scary” by people who are wrong and stupid and wrong. Poe’s writing is masterful, emotional and vivid enough to make you fear any black bird that is too large. His use of rhyme means that I can still recite Annabelle Lee with ease (An aside: my great-grandfather on my maternal grandmother’s side was a brilliant man who had a vast library that I got to partially inherit because he learned I was a literature person and voracious reader: me at the time, being a crappy 16 year old couldn’t possibly think the old man in front of me “got me” or “knew what I liked” only then to have him on one visit recite the last stanza of Annabelle Lee. I think nearly a decade later, part of my jaw is still on that living room floor.)

I’m also obligation to take a moment to discuss Poe’s death and “mental illness”. Poe’s death could have an entire other blog dedicated to it because of the mystery that surrounds it. Poe was meant to take a trip to Baltimore but never boarded the ship and was found eight days later in someone else’s clothes: he died in hospital days later of “brain fever” because thank you, Victorian medicine. And since Poe’s poems and works talk about death, bird hallucinations, murder and more: many are more concerned with what mental illness or illnesses that Poe had. As a writer that has struggled with the shadow of mental illness, let’s be frank: mental illness and sad childhoods do not a good writer make. Anyone can challenge their energy into a passion, Poe turned his pain into something that helped other cope with their burdens and I am eternally grateful to him for doing so. It’s easy to romanticize the mentally ill artist and I hate it and it makes it angry.

Now, then, normally my thoughts and musings posts are bulleted but this one will be a little different. Upon my visit to the museum, it was closing early so I really only had about an hour to do all of it: realistically, if the museum had normal hours: I’d still be there. So my trip was shorter than I wanted it to be. Regardless, let’s tell the story of how I got to The Edgar Allan Poe Museum and what I learned and loved about it.

The Uber trip there wasn’t bad, my driver was a little daft. He complained about the distance and I told him that I was from Texas where 20 minutes is a bare minimum to get anywhere good. The museum is nestled in a fun part of Richmond and is in the oldest house in Virginia. Poe’s family was of means, so they got a bomb-ass nice house. The museum starts with a trip into the gift shop to purchase my ticket in: immediately, I was greeted by two beautiful and loving black cats named Edgar and Pluto and I love them equally and wanted to take them.

I don’t remember which cat this was but I love him and wanted to put him in my purse.

First stop: the early days of Poe and his family. I saw his childhood bed, the parents that abandoned him and his new more strict family that did love him but just didn’t “get” him: all things I felt in my life. Religion was important to his new family and thus it mattered very little to Poe and seeing old bibles that were well-worn reminded me of all the days I sat in Catholic masses thinking that the demons clearly had more fun.


Yes, the bed’s caption says “Unwanted”. 

Next up: Poe as an adult and his working life! We see images of his first and questionable wife who he was related to and seemed to care about a little too much and his work in the literary scene in Virginia. Including what may be one of the best things I have ever seen, one of Poe’s chairs from work. Story goes his boss filed down the back of his chair to make sure that he worked and I admit, I one day do aspire to be that petty. There were plenty of items dedicated to his most famous poem, The Raven and even a model of his grave monument that I got to worship.

The pettiest chair in human history. 

Third room tackles the poet’s death. Now, Poe’s death could be its own blog so here’s the long and short. He was meant to go to Baltimore, didn’t make it, appeared drunk and in a stupor 8 days later wearing some other dude’s clothes. Many lamented the death of the artist and to this day, I lament his death. I lament that we could have gotten more from him but he was an incredibly prolific creator. In the museum, there was a little place to write a note to him and so I did; I wrote:

Thank you for making the darkness in my heart seem a little less dark.


Outside was a shrine to Poe and I was greeted by one of the black cats from earlier. I said a little prayer and moved on. I went to the gift shop, spent more money than I should and left the museum feeling a certain sort of joy. I felt proud of myself for going somewhere alone. I felt proud of myself for standing up to one of the men in the museum who had the straight up balls to call Poe melodramatic. I felt proud that I stuck to my guns and did a thing I wanted to do.

I’d like to thank Poe for existing, for creating, for being himself. For showing me that being morose was not a sin and that darkness can breed light. For showing others that fear is vital, sadness is needed and even death can be beautiful.

Thank you, Mr. Poe.

Goodnight.