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tendering the sacred heart
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There is a tradition extending from some origins of Goth, though the origins number countless, and this tradition is similar to certain abrasive elements that developed in the underground Transvestism. These traditions, unspoken though they are, generate a competitive tension which leads to the use of deprecative gossip and other acts meant to sabotage a comrade competitor's status. Such tactics, common where supply of goths is greater than available club space, function to winnow out the dilettante and forge emotional strength in the serious neophyte. Unpleasant though it seems, it works when there is a taut camaraderie existent even between competitors that wouldn't allow the play to go beyond chasing out newcomers and keeping the experienced in their jockeyed positions. It also works to annoy the fuck out of any potentially wonderful people who might otherwise be invaluable but decide instead that we're bloated ticks. Stop annoying people! Behave.
Now the Scene grows more populous and popular, and a few who would once have been disinterested to the Scene either join or harass Ours. Some who join refuse to change in order to preserve the Scene. This in itself can kill the Scene, which was divisive already and largely unconscious of its changing nature, but if alterations are made in cautious respect of the Scene's nature, it's just a change like any other. All this is perfectly natural and no one should scream bloody terror even as September has in the past. September writes this passage knowing that change and disappointment are avoidable but at times worthwhile. He hopes for a smooth change of old patterns into new. He hopes the old will be honored.
The following is just good common sense. If it sounds like I'm talking down to you, cheer up. Some people would like this information, and maybe it will give you an idea of what to say to those who would.
We are seeking a certain order, not only gentle but genteel, so we should be polite to one another. This means treating others as if we were waiting on them. Call strangers "friend" and friends "darling" and lovers "best beloved", unless they are not Gothic, in which case "you there" should suffice, but still try to be polite. More than polite, we must be tolerant. You needn't actually _use_ these terms, but consider treating people a tad more gently and with respect.
And know people with a certain restrained love, understanding as best you can without allowing violations to occur, of yourself or of them.
If one Scene breaks away from the aesthetic you love and you see no way to bind together those who have dissipated, or win the Scene back to where their passions once lay, draw aside your friends and in a quiescent fashion, tell them what you fear and what measures you wish to undertake to preserve what might be lost.
To draw people together, advertise widely something that the masses do not love but the few who once were together did. Only the masses of Dream Children hold Ours apart. All one need do is find a new name and draw the olden together with any new who might love the same as you. Network these people and do not provide rules and punishment; rather, avoid the evil and keep vigil over those who love as you do.
Do not fear the Dream Children but pity them, for no doubt they have forgotten that they will die, and they do not see the need for beauty or horror. They neither dread nor love nor know their limits. Surely, they are worse than the worms that eat us. The masses could arise into angellic companies but remain as they are.
They will exist forever when we die, in the Hearts of those who sacrifice themselves. This shall be spoken of briefly in this text and to a greater depth within the Gothic Bible.
If they like the music, they're Gothic? Not quite. There's a written and oral exam, followed by a physical and then there's a yearlong training program offered by most major universities, but only the ones built around cathedrals. Moreover to be a Goth one must desire first to be Gothic, secondly to have a tragic soul and nature which seeks refinement.
There is a required mental capability within the Gothic Scene; one must have the ability to enjoy the arts, both visual and literary, and to be familiar with various artists akin to our Scene. Right now these writers are Poppy Z Brite, Storm Constantine, Tanith Lee, Anne Rice, and Neil Gaiman. Of these only Poppy and Storm are Goths. Otherwise we will refuse to sign your license and you'll have to sit in the back of the nightclub.
All humour aside, and the above two paragraphs were of humorous intent with a slightly serious message, it has been mentioned to me that I should emphasize the syzygy between culture and music. The Gothic Scene and its attendant music are intimately related, of course, and even more of course, the music and the Scene mutually support each other but only if we comprehend the lyrics and the ambience of the music as well as the aesthetic that is traditional to the Gothic Scene. Otherwise, we shall degenerate and the purity of the music will die. This is the aim of the Casuals: to degenerate the Scene simply because it is not their own.
Also, strive to affect an androgynous appearance and behaviour, wear black to this funeral, and dream lovely dreams.
When enjoining a friend or fascinating person to don the cerements of black velvet, you should not just tell them they'd make a good goth. Introduce them to a lovely goth (who must be visiting from out of town and not likely to return) of their preferred gender and then delight their wits in conversation on a number of topics they should have a familiarity with or that would intrigue them. This lovely goth must succeed in fascinating the prospective and befriending them without sexual contact or flirtation; if the prospective is without worth, the goth won't want to be friends, and thus the invitation is rendered null.
Once the friendship has been concreted, the goth will give the prospective a list of bands and a freshly made black construction paper heart. The prospective must be told it is their own heart, with instructions to burn it once the goth is gone. The goth must under no circumstances give out their legal name or *any* address or phone number, even a false one. Once the goth leaves, and the goth should leave before the impression can be broken, a while after the heart is burnt (I suggest two weeks), inform the prospective that the goth just met has been diagnosed as having caught a fatal illness and is allowed to see no one, and that a sibling of the same gender sends condolences to all friends. No further information should be admitted to, ever again.
Make a compilation tape for the prospective, buy or loan them a copy of a Gothic magazine. If the prospective seems interested, then after a few weeks, if time has not done the rest, offer to go shopping for clothes with them. After the person is referring to themselves as a Goth (easily inspired by having another stranger ask what the prospective thinks he is, and answering for the prospective, "A Goth." or "A Death Rocker.") then give them a copy of this book. Stay away from them for a month or two.
You could of course, just give them a copy of this book or talk to them about it all -- or even wait to read the Gothic Bible. That's too easy; romance the innocent so that their innocence will burn silvery forever.
Some folk can't get married without cheating; some priests lose faith; some children grow up. Believe in the Heart because as a Goth you have one. It isn't real but exists as much as justice, love, and truth; these qualities exist because we make them real by acting as if they exist.
The Heart is a home for souls. You may let any into your Heart, not knowing their name or their selves. They may decide to leave or return at any time, just as you may bar them entry for a time or receive them once again. If you wish to be tidy, you may keep a list of names of those who are allowed into your Heart though this is not necessary. The Heart is blind but loves. The Heart is large enough for a many, being the size of a dream or a story.
The Dream Children (anyone not a goth) are allowed into a willing Heart but Ours have Hearts and the only Heart we fit inside is that of the World. When we die, our Hearts do not die but we do. Once dead, Ours are dead forever unless we give up our Heart before death, which empties the Heart of all the chambers we've constructed. If we manage somehow to hold onto our Heart til death, the Heart will erupt in silver and become a cenotaph, a home for souls who wish to visit or stay. Remember this is not real, it is only make believe; but our imagination is the most powerful faculty we possess.
A Heart may not be stolen or tricked from us or given against our will; it must be given freely and by a certain simple ritual. We cut out a white paper heart and write our name on it in black ink. Then we give it to someone who we love and would marry but cannot, a person we long after and can never be with. That person burns it or tears it apart, and thus our Heart is emptied and given away. The person who it has been given to gains nothing but the knowledge that they've freed you to become imaginary and live forever after you die.
More on this very subject will be essayed in the Gothic Bible, where we will learn much of the Abysm, the Cenotaph, and more on the nature of the Dream Children, those who are not Gothic, who issued out of Night's Heart, Ours along with them. Ours are real because Ours have Hearts and a responsibility to the neverdying, the imaginary, the Dream Children, those who are not Gothic.
We all change and age and will always have our Hearts until Death bears the Heart away behind the stars. If vampires age, only Percy or any she has told would know. My appearance differs from my youth and I have lost some strengths perhaps in exchange for others, I've incurred ailments that I will find embarrassing, and then die. Beauty? Not in itself but we'll grow old if we're lucky and should set a precedent of realizing that those over fifteen remain worthwhile of respect. Be kind to me, I am twentysix at the hour of this writing. I will be older soon.
Age doesn't exist. Change does, and we all change in similar ways and ne'er cease the change even after our flesh is dust.
Many need to work in order to survive and some enjoy it. In America, most feel that work is lousy and the average American does not treat workers well nor think highly of them, although the average American need work. If you need to have a job and you cannot dress or act in a certain way, may I suggest that you regard work as a play you must perform. Parts of the play are strenuous or something you don't like; but to support yourself, you act. This may not work for some jobs and as everything in this book, it's just advice. We're ethereal and we must lift a stone.
If you must wear work clothes and shun makeup, if your boss makes you act and appear as the antithesis of the Gothic Scene, if you must obey your boss lest you starve and die: do not starve and die. Affect a quiet, polite manner and you will go far. Serve as best you can. Those who are Ours will forgive you, because we all fall from grace.
On surviving parents: parents are meant to protect and to love their children. If they break trust and hit you, if they molest you, destroy your possessions, if they mock your every dream and tarnish your Heart, you must extinguish all love you feel for them and *pretend* you love them. Have no honour regarding them, if they will be so evil as to harm and betray their child. Tell the truth, but only those truths that have nothing to do with anything they'd punish you for, or tell of the least of your wrong-doings, that which will draw the most minor punishment. Do not steal unless you need because they will recognize the loss eventually and thievery is addictive.
If they bruise or wound you, report it immediately to the police, to any sympathetic family members, and to your school, any teacher who might like you... and you must find one teacher to like you. A bruise is proof enough in most American courts, I'm told, but you want to plan out your defense before reporting it. Do not get yourself in trouble with your parents, if you can help it but also tell everyone how your parents hurt you. Adults are more powerful than you, they have the property and the size and the years of experience. They should be using this power to help you grow up. If they misuse their power and try to destroy you, they're your enemies but you are forced to live with them unless the law intervenes. Do not break the law in trying to escape: learn what legal rights are yours. Learn how to struggle against the enemy and win. Trust and be loyal to those who are loyal to you. If someone is truly kind and gentle, they're to be honored. If someone uses you, they may not have meant to, but exercise both caution and compassion. Someone out there can be trusted, but it may not be anyone close by you.
If your parents are kind, you have no better resource and no doubt you know it. The children of gentle, friendly parents are always trustworthy and humane people because they've known a life of honesty and compassion. It does not make them weak. Love gives us power, especially the love of nonsexual friends, be they Ours or not.
If your parents disagree with your lifestyle but do not hurt you, then you might hide your lifestyle but make sure you do not *hate* them so much as pity them; anyone who will distance themselves from your love should be pitied. Someday, they will beg for your love and then, if you so desire, accept them into your Heart.
Here are some addresses for those of you living with assinine parents; the books of Alice Miller (For Your Own Good), the Courage to Heal (Ellen Bass, Laura Davis) and Victims No Longer (Mike Lew) and even the Yellow Pages can offer more assistance than The Autumn Cemetary Text. These addresses may change sooner or later, so it is best to check with the Women's Resource Center at your local university or in the references I mentioned or if everything else fails, ask the 800 directory for a counseling service for teens. If someone betrays you, try someone else.
National Child Rights Alliance P.O. Box 61125 Durham, NC 27705 919-479-7130
National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect--Clearinghouse Children's Bureau Department of Health and Human Services PO Box 1182 Washington DC 20013 Phone 800:394-3366
National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse 63 Inverness Drive East Englewood CO 80112-5117 Phone 800:227-5242
Let it be here ascertained that I believe that after pubescence has occurred, human beings are within every right to indulge their sexuality whenever and with whomever is a willing participant -- but there's a difference between willing sex and rape; sex is holy, rape is a mugging for the flesh. Masturbation too is holy. Also, chastity is by no means disgraceful and anyone that can manage to be chaste is a stronger person than I. Enjoy your body; it's only your toy for so long.
Also remember, Ours depend on the mercy and forbearance of other human beings, especially those who hold power. Do not oppose power, do not aggrandize powerful people. Avoid, if necessary. Leave, if you can. Appease and flatter, but do not confront. So long as there is love and so long as there is mercy, there can exist a Gothic Scene. Encourage both love and mercy. Soon there will be others to assist you, if there aren't already. The Hearted will not long be alone.
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