Wednesday, May 4, 2011

the fictional girl and her mouse bones.



a while back i got a note from one of my favorite fiction writers, stacey levine, about a possible collaboration between her words & my jewels. ( besides having one of my 'super fan' freak outs) i thought of possible ways to turn her strange, visceral, surreal words (all the things i love best in a writer) & of the story of 'the girl' which is a story within her new book of tales & stories 'the girl with brown fur' into a piece of bloodmilk.

in the story, a feral girl is leashed to a man within the hallway of a hotel. the narrator watches the girl from his/her room and decides to steal her. in the odd descriptions of the girl, we find she is wearing a necklace of mouse shaped beads and later on, we see that she has a strange X shaped scar on her body.
this was the starting point for me, which resulted in this subtle/ slight necklace made of mouse bones cast immortal in sterling silver, sourced from an owl pellet.

for me, stacey's writings have always been a great inspiration. her tales are odd and always strike me on a personal level, i've been reading her work for years (as a fiction student in my mfa program). her words put you in a trance & yet reveal something hidden about yourself. for me, i identified with the scar on the body of the girl as a childhood surgery has left me with an ugly scar in the worst of places. this necklace emulates that feeling of unconscious strangeness within the body while emulating stacey's writings. the choice of mouse bones reflects how small we can feel sometimes as well as the image of the feral girl 'swatting' at her mouse shaped beads.

as part of a special give a way, i'm offering one reader the first, original version of this necklace & stacey is offering a signed copy of her new book 'the girl with brown fur.'

 to enter, take a peek at the description of the book here.
or read this recent review of the book over here at bookslut.
 & leave comment to this post on what about the book interests you, why you would read it.
 a winner will be chosen at random on friday the 13th.



dietonite4love said...

i read in your earlier post that you were going to have a giveaway in collaboration with Stacey Levine so i looked up her book & ordered it (working in university library has its perks). when i read that "it won't be everyone's cup of tea", i knew for sure i would want to read it. as for your mouse bones necklace, it is so delicate & so very bloodmilk. i don't have a X shaped scar, but i do have sort of a crescent moon shapped one just above my collarbone from when i had my thyroid removed years ago. i don't know about the girl in the book, since i haven't read the story yet, but over time, i've come to like my scar. its a part of my past.
its late & i'm babbling. the book sounds interesting & your necklace is beautiful. the end.

Ashley said...

I have to admit, I have always been very interested and even obsessed with anything dark and macabre from a very young age. I think it all started with my mother getting me into Poe and horror movies from the time I was just 3-4 years old. This book sounds like my cup of tea and I would love to win a copy of Stacey's new book.

Your jewelry designs are my favorite on all of etsy. I wish I could buy every single one of your pieces. They appeal to me in every way possible. I own 2 of your pieces so far and would be honored to win this necklace so that I can expand my collection.

rachael said...

the necklace is gorgeous (and so delicate)...this author seems so interesting. i love unusual writing and this collection of stories seem as though they would strike a chord with me. as the previous commenter said, anything described as "it won't be everyone's cup of tea" is just what i look for in books. thanks for a chance to win this lovely tome and necklace!

Niko said...

I took a series of self-portraits as a feral girl for my colour photo class a few years ago--they turned out to be some of my more successful work that year. And I used to be a zooarchaeologist, before I studied art, and bones keep finding their way back into my art, my fiction, and my house. I've added The Girl With Brown Fur to my to-read list, so I'll read it even if I don't win it, but how much better to win the book and one of your lovely necklaces of mouse bones!

JessyeMenace said...

Stacey's writing seems to be right up my alley. The plot of the story is deeply intriguing and I have actually ordered the book my Kindle, to read right away.
Jess's necklace in inspiration to this text is stunning.
xx Jessye

RaLoup said...

The books appeals to me on many levels; anything to do with feeling small often strikes a chord with me (people constantly comment on my lack of height - and even when they try to be kind and call me "petite" it can sometimes get to me). I would also be interested in reading it because anything to do with surrealism and anthropomorphism fascinates me. And on another more basic level, I love collections of short stories and tales because I believe they're on of the most difficult literary forms to truly excel in - less space for character and theme development, so when it's done well it's all the more impressive.
The necklace gives me the same eerie curiosity as the book does. xo

c said...

! I love strange, almost-otherworldly fiction, and was just talking with a friend who recommended Stacey Levine (I suggested she read stuff by Angela Carter, who, coincidentally, also wrote really good stories about feral/wild girls).
Anyway, I've been wanting to read something of hers for the last week or two, since it seems just up my alley, and it would be amazing if I could win your contest and get not only a fantastic-sounding book, but also one of your beautiful necklaces. Your shop is one of my favorites to visit on Etsy, though I am poor and have not yet had the chance to buy anything!

katya said...

I've already added this book to my Goodreads to-read list! All descriptions of her writing make it sound like it would be right up my alley. Dark humor, absurd/bizarre imagery and surrealist situations sound exactly like the sort of writing I'd like to lose myself in. Taking the mundane and turning it into something darkly magical is what good literature should be all about. And your endorsement just solidifies my desire to get my hands on that little book!

Brae said...

Terri is my wee Mouse Bone. She is oh-so delicate and she bends and deviates and jams herself into pocket-sized hidden places in her psyche. A mouse through a peephole. She is 18-years-old, and quite a regular kid on the outside ... on the inside, too, if I must speak the truth.

Angelic and acidic; dark and white; imperfect precision. She just sort of suits Mouse Bones.

kore said...

i've been waiting for this book! i loved her 'francis johnson' & this book was supposed to be out long ago from a different publisher... that's so interesting how she asked you to make this necklace.

ashley said...

I will read this book because it contains a lot of different tales and stories's so much better than buying many books. I like one of the story in it "the cat"-that revolves around cats - I love cats! And the woman in the story actually wants to clone her cat, which the ending isn't pretty. I like Stacey Lavine work as she creates characters who are unique, almost spooky, extraoridnary and weird in a kind of way.
I loved your necklace too!-it's gorgeous.

RavenWolf said...

I'm very anxious to read this book, as I have always been a misfit, and I have always identified with animals. I essentially raised myself as a child, and lost most of my family in a very tragic manner. I found solace and comfort in the woods, with my constant companion, my dog--the wild canines howling and watching us from a distance. I truly feel I was raised by wolves!

I continue to find comfort and strength being in the woods-with my dogs and the other wild creatures who live there.

Last year at this time, we had a freak snowstorm, and I went for a run in the woods with one of my dogs. I slipped and fell, sliding down a cliff, and a broken tree branch completely tore my upper lip in half. A piece of the tree remained within my flesh when the stitches were put in, resulting in a severe infection and later, surgery. I have a prominent scar above my lip as a permanent reminder of my need to be in the woods--where I continue to go almost every day.

Jess, I love your jewellery--it feels sacred and magical to me. I love its dark beauty and the connection I feel to nature when I wear it. I cherish the pieces I own, and I currently have one on order.

Thank you for the post about this book--I am going to order it right now!

Anonymous said...

x marks the spot
where the bones are collected
a meeting in the dark
a long lost sister
the pack can be whole again
continuing the story
of our lives
our universe

Real or not? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Real or not? said...

Stacey Levine's book contains (according to Laura Tharp's article) alienation, perversion and delusion. All that I love !
So I'm curious to read this book that seems to be very great (even if english is not my first language (it's french), but I try to get better).
Concerning your work, I'm a fan so the necklace would be a real treasure.
That's all :)
Have a nice day,
Greetings from Belgium

Lullahby said...

To start with, I've always adored and admired your work. This piece as well resonates with my own tastes. I love how delicate yet dark the bones are and the necklace I think will illicit some intrigue.

Stacey's book has also peeked my interests, I've been reading through two other sets of short stories and I've found I really enjoy them just as much as full-on novels. I read through the first few pages of "Uppsala" via Amazon and I'm now hooked. Whether or not I win this giveaway I'll be purchasing this book on my own at some point. I'm a huge fan of strange fiction and have loved almost any literary suggestion you've made in the past on your blog.

xo. Andrea.

Anonymous said...

Anything macabre or strange draws people to it, and I'm no exception. I never heard of this book before I saw your jewlrey, and I think it might be an intresting read. I'm a huge book lover, and I'm curious about the scar on the girls body, and why she's chained to the man, so even if I don't win ,I think I'll still pick it up. I'm also an anthropology major, so I'm drawn tword anything anthrophamorhphic :)

Lolo said...

Her writing style just sounds perfect. After I've posted this I'm going to look at her website and also check her out on amazon.
The necklace you've made looks amazing! I'm so pleased for you that you've had the chance to work with someone that you're a fan of! I hope I get a similar opportunity in the future!

lolo.holmes at

Synesthesia Garden said...

I like this line about it..."she subtly acknowledges that however deluded, poisoned, and impaired we may be, we will continue to tell and cherish tales and stories as we struggle against lies, brutality, and alienation." What I think I'll like about it is the slightly absurd, surreal quality, "edgy humor," and the humanity it might reveal. I think it'll be harsh but also have a kind of tenderness for its subjects, and human fallacy. It reminds me a bit of "There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales" by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, another collection of interesting, dark, and whimsical short stories.

Luo said...

As a real « tales fetichist », Stacey Levin’s book seems very intrigating for me. Stories telling about strong revolt feelings and odd relationships fascinate me. Links between living beings (not just human beings) are very personal and unique to each. For someone who tasted frequently “loneliness” in the past, these tales can only sound familiar to me. And I belong to people enraptured with cats aswell... Then, I’m really interested in reading this “so strange” book.

Warmly, a deep fan of your jewelry.
(I hope my english is understanable, my mother tongue is french but I try to practice english as much as I can)

Anonymous said...

This seems right up my alley, I tend to have a short attention span, and collections of short stories work better with my haphazard brain. I like darker themes with a writing style that is still injected with a little humour, and is all the while strangely relatable. "Sausage" is really sticking out to me. I'd love to win the book, since now that I'm out of school, I can finally read for pleasure again! Also, I'd adore a piece of your work!

ghoulnextdoor said...

I had not previously hear of Ms. Levine but I will tell you I was sold as soon as I read her tales described as"...Magical, funny, and often darkly poetic, these are modern tales that mine the borders between dreams and conscious life"

I think my favourite tale is the one in which you cannot sort out what is real and what is dream and you cannot tell if you hope it is both, or neither.

The mouse bones necklace seems like a perfect accompaniment to these dreamy stories, a tangible reminder of these dreams after the last page has been read and the book has been close.

imwalde said...

What a fascinating idea, to make a piece of jewelry that echoes themes of a story, without being simply a direct reference to it. The necklace really resonates with me, as I have an X-shaped tattoo (of thorny branches, not bones) on my wrist, as well as an inordinate fondness for bones. I'm putting the book on my reading list right away - just the evocative, fairytale like title hooked me! I love short stories, and the one described here sounds too interesting to pass up.

pond_ripple said...

This book sounds so lovely and distant from my own uneventful routine. It does person good to read along someone else's unusual thoughts. I guess refreshing is the word I'm searching for. . .

CINIK said...

huzzah for mouse bones and literature

aleisa said...

dearest bloodmilk

i have been following you for quite some time, and i love
your pieces and the artists you feature here. there is always something narrative and quiet in a scratching way about all the things you write about , so i am excited to read about real fictions in the same vein as your work.

i am most intrigued by the feral girl. you didn't mention the girl's age in the story, but, not having read it, i like to imagine she is somewhere in an in-between state, somehow uncannily between a girl or a maiden and a wholly sensual entity that exists outside of thought or judgement- trapped yet a creature that is untameable.

as for your necklace, it immediately makes me think of the 'x' people in the middle ages would paint on the doors of plague victims. there is something powerful about wearing such a black symbol of warning on top of one's ribcage; and of course the mouse bones are a gentle allusion to the black death as well, and it may be strange, but i find it all incredibly alluring!

thank you for your work and your lovely blog entries <3

rachel said...

I find all things strange and dark intriguing, as far as the book goes I love the idea of a women in love with her cat as I am slightly obsessed with my own and I am quite sure he is in love with me. Rachel