When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of CS Lewis and Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). I had a fondness for Mark Twain’s sharp wit as well as his customary linen suit, Panama hat, and pipe. I enjoyed the character of the Uncle in the CS Lewis’s Magician’s nephew. I started collecting magazine cutouts of my ideal, romanticized life. I wanted to learn Greek and Latin and be versed in Greek and Renaissance scholarship. I wanted to be able to mix my own pigments and to paint and to know the sciences like Leonardo Di Vinci.
It was as if I had the uncle’s attic study somewhere in the attic of my head. I would have proper tea at tea time, just like Jean Luc Picard. There would be a full tea service on some side table next to my red leather wingback chair. A great, gentle beast of a dog, an Irish wolfhound would sit at my feet next to a fireplace while I studied or wrote with a fountain pen in a leather bound journal of fine, creamy paper. Surrounding me would be insects pinned in frames, and large mineral and fossil specimens, among the shelves of oh so many classical books with gilded pages. There would be an Indian rug underfoot. Much of the furniture would be dark, ornately carved feet holding crystal balls in their talons and cherubs and mythological creatures winding up scrolling bookcases. The room would have the earthy smells of tea, wood burning in the fireplace, leather, books, and a smoldering pipe.
The house itself would be a small, Tudor style cottage surrounded by walls of roses and a proper English cottage garden. A bicycle, canoe, and kayak would be waiting in the shed for the next outing.
I always wanted to wear a white linen suit and matching white Panama hat and white loafers with a classic, neat leather bag for plein aire excursions.
The last time I thought about this particular dream, I had mentioned to David that his house with prized Irises and many bookshelves adorned in such a classic, lush style reminded me of that Renaissance man I had wished to be. He told me then, “What’s keeping you from being that person now?” I’m not sure what my excuse was then, but I think that I feared some of those qualities were just too much of an expression of classy masculinity and I would not be able to express these things without being a clownish characterization of those things that made my sense of esthetics sing.
Why am I bringing this up? Because after the Fair, I feel that I could express myself in such a way that is uniquely my own, rich, and appealing all in its own way. It might wind up seeming idiosyncratic or eccentric, but maybe, since Steampunk is showing me there is a place for everyone’s romantic whimsy, I might be able to find a way to express the essence of these things in a genuine way.