A Better Brand of Fishbowl

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– On the Genie’s absence, the changing state of the blog/vlogosphere and those all-important New Beginnings

Dear readers,

That I have you reading this still, even after being MIA with no reviews for so long, is an honor I’m nowhere sure I deserve. Therefore, I’ll start with the Big One:

Thank you from the bottom of my black and overflowing heart.

Yet for the longest time, it seemed my life was expanding in all sorts of ways that left no room for perfumes, for contemplation, or indeed for any kind of sensual appreciation involving words, bottled genies or meandering musings in the intersections of all three. I seemed to live in one mode only: pedal to the metal and predilections as well as perfumes be damned. Somehow, some way, there was simply Too Much To Do between waking at godless hours and sleeping, and perfume writing became yet another guilt trip I could beat myself over the head with for not doing, or I could just dump it altogether. (Trust me, I thought of it!)

But at a time when my writing is going other, more noticed places alongside other, far more noted writers, I came to realize a rather startling fact:

My life was missing a dimension, and maybe even all my writing, too. I still wore perfumes daily, still found myself almost automatically searching for context, for story, for texture and association, even as I now wore it solely for my own pleasure, and even focused on the perfumes I loved without reservations or inhibitions, the ones that felt like a second-skin extension of my own self on different days.

I rarely posted my SoTD on Instagram or Twitter (I gave up on Twitter for a time), I didn’t participate in the myriad Facebook groups of Planet Perfume, and in fact, simply removed myself from the conversation altogether. It wasn’t a conscious decision at all, it just happened that way. Lemming new releases, participating in splits and conversations about this or that creation, Keeping Up With the Hi’s and L’Eaus – all failed to fill me with even a sliver of excitement when I had other and weightier things on my mind.

This might have had something to do with certain emails and PMs I received castigating me for non-conformity, sucking up to brands and/or my particular brand of fragrant iconoclasm/bs. It was a knife straight in the aorta of all the cardinal sins a writer may be guilty of; vanity, narcissism or simply a sense of relevancy. Most of you are well aware I subscribe to the Room For Everyone School of Writing, but apparently, there wasn’t, if … ‘there shouldn’t even be room for crappy, hysterically overwrought writers like you who can’t just tell it like it is.’

Well … no. I can’t do that. I tried. I failed. I also for no reason at all forgot or overlooked emails I should have answered, and in general behaved like a massive, unprofessional flake. Maybe I should have been just a short-lived blip on the radar of Planet Perfume, here one year, gone and forgotten all these years later?

I also tried to ignore that small voice at the very bottom of my existential soup bowl that said and certainly felt I had failed YOU – for really, what – or even where? – would I be without you? As an individual, as a perfumoholic or as a writer?

Each and every one of you readers has made me the writer I am today. I say this without so much as a smidge of irony and my hand on my heart. Not only have you made me a better writer, you have made me a better, more well-rounded, less stuck-in-the-mud person. By not writing, by not reviewing, by not and by knots (the ones I tied myself into), I felt I had somehow failed everyone who had ever believed in me, in my idiosyncratic/weirdo approach to perfume writing that kept insisting on context, on texture, or on story.

For, as a job counselor stated recently in an unrelated context, the storyteller in me will o-u-t, even in situations it might not be entirely appropriate.

So far as I’m aware, that’s the hallmark of a writer, which indeed is how I choose to define myself above almost all things else. A writer of stories (mostly horror, for reasons best explained elsewhere), a lover of history, and a perfumaniac diehard who misplaced her iconoclastic/idiosyncratic/oddball/weirdo brand of magick trying to chase all sorts of dragons who would much rather roast me than revere me. That, too, has Got To Change.

As of this moment – noon on a chilly Easter Sunday that is gray, overcast and with a lot of rain promised later – I stand before you on the edge of a precipice called Reinvention. Over the course of the next few months, my life will be turned entirely upside down. Hinging on an upcoming interview, I hope to be accepted into a new and shinier career four years from now. I’m in the process of re-evaluating my living situation, my bad habits and even my wardrobe.

If that were all, that would be plenty, yet the headstrong Reinvention Tour doesn’t stop there, for two scant weeks ago, I submitted my first short story to my editor/publisher/fellow iconoclast friend to debut in a Danish horror/weird fiction anthology called ‘Project 1900’, which for me is a Really Big Deal. Ten writers – of which I’m one – were each given a brief and a decade of the 20th century, and instructions to capture as best we could the temporal flavor of our chosen time.

I chose the 1970s and disco, chose to completely divorce myself from my own self-created mythos of God and Dev(il), and proceeded to go all-out in a brand-new direction. I don’t know how it will be/was received, and really, that’s none of my business anyway. The Dude is the only one who has had the story read aloud, and his first reaction was unprintable. His second – which followed the first – was an indication that maybe I didn’t suck as hard as I thought I did.

I fully intend to translate it into English and make it available as a short story to publish on Amazon later this year. And just to be clear: an under-the-radar perfume features in the story, as well as a super-famous (for 1978) one. Now, you know!

You can take the writer away from perfume, but …

Thanks to that Reinvention Tour, there will also be changes to TAG. (You might have noticed the new logo/header above). I’ll still write about my dearly beloved indies, the other iconoclasts and weirdos and non-conformists I so adore, but I’d also and very much like to continue into new, uncharted territory with other under-the-radar perfumes, the ones that don’t get a lot of free PR, the ones not even you sophisticats have heard about and the ones I’ve never even considered before. Two reviews for three smash hits (at least on my part) are currently underway in terms of research, since these will be stories, and all I can do is hope I rise to the occasions these perfumes have inspired.

Every once in a while, I’ll also add a short video summation of a review, not to give any of the perfume review bigwigs on YouTube sleepless nights (which won’t happen), but more as a bottom line reference. Or irreverence, I’m still not entirely sure!

Most of all, it’s time for an upgrade. Because you’re worth it. And because the importance of a better brand of fishbowl can never be underestimated!

Yours always,

The Alembicated Genie