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Sparks & Beauties: A Story About Perfume by Jeanette Winterson, Eleanor Whitney’s Book on DIY Business, and My Own Personal Feelings About Generational Limbo

Hello lovelies! I’m writing this in midst of a summer heat wave and it is basically round-the-clock “ugh” in my world right now. But there are wondrous things of beauty to note and fun to be had, and small victories to notch. Anabela at Fieldguided gave a shout-out to my book, and I’m excited that it’s making its slow, poky yet intrepid way around the world. I’ve been heading into Chicago these past few weekends, which has been inspiring (and I’ll probably write about it later.) I’m also putting finishing touches on a mini-zine and drafting a newsletter for early next week — this one’s about love-tumults, so if you’ve ever wanted to read my intimate thoughts on that subject, do sign up. Anyway, these are the lovely, fun sparks and beauties I’ve squirreled away recently…enjoy, and as they used to write in yearbooks, STAY COOL.

A Lovely Short Story by Jeanette Winterson Inspired by an Oscar de la Renta Perfume

If you were somehow able to slice open my spirit, you’d see that Jeanette Winterson books make up a good part of my spiritual DNA, and The Passion remains one of my most beloved books of all time. Truth be told, though, I haven’t read her latest novels. I am not exactly sure why; I’m sure they are wonderful in their way. So stumbling on this short story commissioned by Stylist magazine by her — and about perfume, one of my abiding favorite passions! — was a bit like running into an old friend on vacation in a gorgeous locale and having a zing of a little conversation, and it reminds you of why you loved them in the first place and maybe you should stay in better touch with them again. “Days Like This” feels like a beautiful meditation on scent, love and desire, with sunlit prose and translucently lovely imagery, and a kind of radiant, matter-of-fact sensuality that suffuses so much of Winterson’s early work. And it’s short. Read it!

If You’ve Ever Wanted to Be Your Own Boss or Just “Take It to the Next Level,” You Need to Read Eleanor’s Book


I’ve known Eleanor Whitney for some time; we are both zine folk and bloggers with a fondness for fashion, music and everyday life. Everytime I have a conversation with her, like I did last weekend when she was in Chicago on her book tour for Grow, I always get a million and one ideas in my head about things I want to do and how I want to do them — she must radiate some pheromone of inspiration and energy or something. I promise you’ll get that same spark of endeavor and purpose from reading her book, which of course you need to get right now, especially if you’ve ever harbored ambitions to start your own creative project or business but don’t know exactly where to start. The book is practical, energetic, lively — like the smart, lively, incredibly fun friend Eleanor is in real life. Get it, get it, get it! (Plus her book is carried by Urban Outfitters in their store: how wonderful is that?)

Generational Angst

It’s funny what resonates unexpectedly with you, like this “22 Signs You’re Stuck Between Gen X and Millenials” Buzzfeed post. Buzzfeed is such a weird place in general, because no one really reads a story at Buzzfeed; you just scroll through it, almost like a weird hieroglyphic or Rorschach test. It’s that feeling after you read something and you’re like “THIS IS SO TRUE” and then you feel a little silly that something so superficial resonated with you. I find really odd comfort in knowing I’m in this tiny sliver of generation that is between cynical Gen X and wide-eyed Gen Y; it’s like knowing you have two superpowers to draw upon, weirdly enough. Because my early 20s were like some weird echo of “Reality Bites” and I did get my first e-mail address in college and I did watch “You Can’t Do That on Television” and I had to sneak in to see Nirvana and SOLIDARITY!!! Despite the Internet’s promises of community and connection, I find it really lacking in genuine solidarity sometimes, but then I find it in strange places like this that lasso together the strange detritus of pop culture and fashions a raft of belonging from it. Or something like that. You know what I mean? Maybe?

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Like what you just read? Maybe you'll like my book as well

All Things Glorious and True: Love Letters to Pop Culture, New York, Fashion and Other Objects of Affection is a collection of essays exploring how my crushes on music, dive bars, books, outfits and so much else gave me a braver soul, more open heart and even love. All Things is like a great, stylish mixtape: surprising, kind of punky, fun and often heartfelt.

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31 Responses to “Sparks & Beauties: A Story About Perfume by Jeanette Winterson, Eleanor Whitney’s Book on DIY Business, and My Own Personal Feelings About Generational Limbo”

  1. Eadaoin says:

    Hello Kat! I’m a big Jeanette Winterson fan too, and The Passion will forever be one of my favourites. I have a first edition of it that I’m rather fond of, even though it’s not exactly in the best of shape! I wasn’t aware of this short story, so thank you for sharing the link, I’m off to have a read! x

  2. [...] there are some bright spots on the horizon: Eleanor Whitney, author of Grow, which I big-upped earlier, gave my book a great write-up at her blog, which made me so happy. As a writer, it is always so [...]

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