R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Tag: Wear It Like You Mean It

Hillside Monday: 12/10/18

“Traveling Shoes, Part 4”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 11/12/18

“True Colors”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2013

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 10/19/18

 

“Traveling Shoes, Part 3”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 9/7/18

“Waiting on a Train, Part 3”
Anniston, Alabama – 2016

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Wednesday Photo: 8/29/18

“Traveling Shoes, Part 2”
Columbus, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 8/13/18

“Brocade, Velvet, Patent Leather”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 6/8/18

“Traveling Shoes, Part 4”
Nashville, Tennessee – May 2018

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 3/14/18

“Tulle, Glorious Tulle”
Columbus, Georgia – 4 January 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

New Year, Same Me

So the end of the year is almost upon us. Everyone’s out having fun tonight, spending time with friends and family. They’re most likely not sitting around reading stuff on the internet. But I’m a writer, and hahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa!!! Tonight finds me sitting in front of a screen because 1) it’s what I do, 2) I enjoy what I do, and 3) something’s been bothering me and it needs putting into words on a page.

Everywhere I go this time of year, I hear the same old saying: “New Year, new me!” It’s a popular sentiment. For the most part, people who say it really do mean it. I can’t blame them, either. The beginning of a new calendar year feels fresh, full of possibilities. It’s a good time to try something new.

But here I am—that one weirdo at the party, the one who’s not buying into all this merriment and isn’t even pretending she’s having “fun.” Yep, that’s me, sitting over here by myself in the corner, not even drunk because up yours, acid reflux, the one muttering under my breath juuuust loud enough for the host’s pets to hear:

“’New year, new me?’ Bullshit. Everybody knows that on January 1, I’m gonna be the same asshole I was on December 31. And everybody knows the only thing that will help 2018 is my trying NOT to be as much of an asshole as I was in 2017.”

Really, y’all: The best thing I can do for 2018 is not to be as much of an asshole as I was in 2017.

Part of me knows all I can do is keep making good work. Well, okay—so that “part of me” is more like 95%. The other 5% sidles up all innocent-looking and asks, “But can’t you do something different?  Maybe push yourself harder? Be more business-like? Be more professional? Be more goals-hardcore-grind-objective-brand-network-leverage-bullshit?” (This is when the weird-but-also-kinda-wise 95% of me gives the sad, secretly-self-hating 5% a cautious side-eye and a pat on the head.)

Some readers may be thinking that by all this, I mean to be some kind of doormat, to let others run right over me however they please. Nope, not at all. Being less assholish means that while I’m actively working to be more kind, I’ve also still got to stand up for others, and for myself. In 2017, I drew some boundaries that some people did not like at all. Protecting myself in this way made these people think I was being mean to them. Too bad, so sad. Predators are not welcome here, no matter what form they take.

What’s more: I know I’m not powerful enough to change everything. I cannot know what’s in store for me next year. All I can really do is good work on my end: my own creative work, and my work for justice and transformation in my community. And then hope for the best from that work. That’s all I can control.

However, one thing I do know is that none of my accomplishments in 2017 happened just because of me. Sure, I was the one who wrote the article or made the photo that got published—but the reason I created these things in the first place? Other people.

People who asked what I was working on. People who read my words, gazed at my pictures, asked to see more. People who urged me to keep going, even when I wanted to give up. People who asked for my help with their own projects. People who reassured me that what I’m doing is worthwhile. People who hugged me. People who prayed for me. People who cared.

Whether it was financial help, encouragement, care packages, letters/emails/texts short and long, spreading the word about my work, or [fill in the blank], whatever I accomplished this year is because other people cared. Because you cared. Yes, YOU.

I’m old enough to know that New Year’s resolutions tend not to last very long. Most often, I do better when I’ve had enough of my own bullshit and decide to do something different. So 2018 will find me the same person, in a lot of ways. But I care enough about you to spend the coming year doing two things: making the best work I can, and being less of an asshole than I was last year.

Thank you, as always, for reading. I love you all.

RSW

Photo: “Self-Portrait with Western Shirt and Dark Roots” (LaGrange, Georgia – 10 August 2015)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 11/27/17

“Traveling Shoes, Part 4”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 21 August 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 11/1/17


“Traveling Shoes, Part 3”
LaGrange, Georgia – 13 September 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 10/18/17

“Fuchsia Thumbnail with Gold-Flecked Countertop”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2 August 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 8/30/17

“Traveling Shoes, Part 2”
Columbus, Georgia – 13 August 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 8/25/17

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“Michael’s Fine Clothes for Men”
Kansas City, Missouri – 16 June 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 8/21/17

“Lonely Blue Grosgrain”
LaGrange, Georgia – 9 July 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 8/14/17

“Brocade, Velvet, Patent Leather”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 8 July 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 5/10/17

“Biker Jacket and Bag”
LaGrange, Georgia – 27 March 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 3/1/17

“Boots and Autumn Leaves”
Heard County, Georgia – 12 November 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 2/10/17

“Lace Skirt and Wall”
LaGrange, Georgia – 17 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 2/1/17

“Some Strings Attached”
LaGrange, Georgia – 11 July 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 1/6/17

“Red Brocade, 4:30 PM”
Heard County, Georgia – 30 December 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Waiting, with Graphic Patterns

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Nashville, Tennessee – 18 September 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

True Colors

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LaGrange, Georgia – 11 May 2013

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

A Night on the Town, Part 2

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Columbus, Georgia – 27 August 2016

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

A Night on the Town, Part 1

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Columbus, Georgia – 27 August 2016

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 7/4/16

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“Traveling Shoes”
LaGrange, Georgia – 5 June 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

At the fabric store with my dressmaker mother

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A warm summer morning at the fabric store…

ME: Ooooh, look! 60″ wide rayon challis!
MOM: No, no, NO.
ME: It’s feathers! Brightly colored feathers of different shapes and sizes!
MOM: And tacky.
ME: Awww! Come on, Mom.
MOM: What the hell would you do with that?
ME: It’d be a Diane Von Furstenburg-style wrap dress. What else?
MOM: Ugh. Just—ugh! [shudders]
ME: You don’t like it?
MOM: Not only no, but hell no.
ME: Look, you should be happy that at least one of your children is making a bold fashion choice.
MOM: Bold, yes. Fashion, no.

A few minutes later, at the cutting table…

ME: [sliding the bolt across the table] There’s not much left on here…
MOM: Thank you, Jesus.
EMPLOYEE: This print’s really been popular.
MOM: You mean to tell me there are people around here with taste as bad as my daughter’s?

Fifteen minutes later, at the thread display…

ME: Just think, Mom—if I were wearing a dress made out of that feather print, you’d never lose me in the fabric store ever again.
MOM: But I would try!

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 6/1/16

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“Flame-Orange Silk Douppioni”
Carrollton, Georgia – 16 May 2013

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Just another conversation with my dressmaker mother

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ME:  Val and I went in together on this one. It was kind of expensive. Looks like it’s from the late ’30s or early ’40s.
MOM: 
Yeah, probably so.
ME: 
Whaddya think?
MOM:  So you’re going for the Joan Crawford look.
ME:  [heavy sigh]
MOM:  Wait, no—Buck Rogers! That’s it!
ME:  Dammit, Mom.

Text © R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Still another conversation with my dressmaker mother

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ME:  Check out what I bought on Etsy.
MOM:  What?
ME:  [handing her the pattern] Total badassery, à la 1959.
MOM:  Have you lost your mind?
ME:  Awwwww, Mom! How can you say no to sewing something this awesome?
MOM:  Easy. “NO.” See there?

Text © R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)
Pattern and envelope design/illustrations © McCall Pattern Company

 

Wednesday Photo: 4/20/16

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“Gold Brocade Jacket Detail”
LaGrange, Georgia – 12 July 2014
(Jacket sewn by Gina Adamson-Taylor, December 1969)

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 8/12/15

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“Fuchsia Satin Is a Girl’s Best Friend”
LaGrange, Georgia – 29 July 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Some Strings Attached

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LaGrange, Georgia – 11 July 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 6/22/15

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“Traveling Shoes”
LaGrange, Georgia – 5 June 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 5/13/15

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The best way to ensure your crème hair color mixes completely with your 20-lift developer? Use a stainless steel kitchen whisk. Don’t worry—the mixture darkens to deep red after a few minutes. Mom’s hair turned out fine.

“Whipped Pink”
LaGrange, Georgia – 18 March 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Biker Jacket and Bag

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LaGrange, Georgia – 27 March 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 3/4/15

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“Lace Skirt and Wall”
LaGrange, Georgia – 17 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 1/14/15

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“Fuchsia and Gunmetal”
LaGrange, Georgia – 14 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Yet another conversation with my dressmaker mother

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Me:  Check this out: Simplicity, from 1941.
Mom:  Ooooh. Now that’s impressive.
Me:  People knew how to dress back then. I mean—this thing is fabulous, and it’s just a housecoat.
Mom:  Housecoat, my ass. You’re wearing this to work.

 

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)
Pattern and envelope illustrations © 1941 Simplicity Corporation

Wednesday Photo: 7/30/14

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Detail of gold brocade jacket, handmade by my mother in 1969
LaGrange, Georgia – 12 July 2014

 

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Another conversation with my dressmaker mother

EPSON MFP image

Me:  Look what showed up in the mail yesterday. 
Mom: 
Good God. What now?
Me:  A Vogue dress pattern, from the ’30s.
Mom:  [deep sigh]
Me:  Aww, Mom. Where’s your sense of adventure?
Mom:  In the ’60s—where it belongs.

 

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)
Pattern and envelope illustrations © Vogue Patterns

 

A conversation with my dressmaker mother

EPSON MFP image

Me:  This is the old pattern I was telling you about, the one I bought on Etsy.
Mom:  [deep sigh]
Me:  What? It’s 1950s fabulous!
Mom:  Not if you’re the one who has to sew it.
Me:  Aww, Mom.
Mom:  How many pieces are in this thing, anyway?
Me:  Let’s see… [checks envelope] Ah—12 pieces.
Mom:  Jesus.
Me:  Could be worse.
Mom:  I don’t see how.

 

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)
Pattern envelope © Simplicity Corporation

 

Christmas Past & Present

Mom in Her Christmas Dress (Battle Creek, Michigan - December 1969)

Mom wears the Christmas dress she just finished sewing for herself
Battle Creek, Michigan—24 December 1969

 

Gold Brocade Jacket (Formerly Mom's Brocade Christmas Dress) - Heard County, Georgia - 25 December 2012

My Christmas jacket, formerly known as Mom’s Christmas dress
Heard County, Georgia—25 December 2012

Embroidered beauty

Close-up of the lapel of a “Nudie suit” worn by country music legend Marty Robbins. On display at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Nashville, TN (5 June 2008)

In June 2008, I took a research trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. This exquisitely embroidered jacket lapel belongs to a “Nudie suit” lent to the CMHOF for “Marty Robbins: Among My Souvenirs,” a special exhibition on Robbins’ life and work. (It’s also the title of one of his best-known songs.)

This lapel—like the rest of the suit—was embroidered and studded with rhinestones completely by hand, and made in the late 1960s or early 1970s. If I’m not mistaken, the flowers and leaves on this suit are those found in and around Maricopa County, Arizona, where Robbins was born and raised.

Skull-and-crossbones brocade. Why not?

Fabric addicts should keep well away from eBay.

A few years ago, I bought five yards of this black-and-silver brocade on eBay. My mother is a professional dressmaker, and I figured she’d come up with something that would do it justice. After all, she has two full-sized filing cabinets full of patterns from the 1930s to today, plus 50 years of sewing experience.

Fast forward three years later.  Continue reading

© 2018 R.S. Williams

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