Monthly Archives: October 2014

Flash Nonfiction: Guts And Glory

   Guts and Glory is a flash nonfiction story I wrote just as a writing exercise. It captures the spirit of childhood summers spent next to the swamp. I hope you enjoy it.
Guts And Glory
 
       “They look like sin dipped in misery,” Mom said. We called them katydids, science calls them Romalea guttata. They invaded our yard in biblical proportions; their bodies shined like freshly cooled lava.

         “I think they’re pretty when they flap their little red wings,” I responded.
The black grasshoppers copulated on our front yard at dusk, sometimes sneaking into the garage like lusty teenagers. One sweat soaked evening me and my brother invented our own pest control with Dad’s golf clubs- katydid hockey.
“Take that, sucker!” Chris yelled as a katydid skidded into the storm drain.
“Yeah, Chris, yeah!” I screeched with delight. Thick yellow guts painted the pavement like a Passover door. We stayed out until the mosquitoes launched an aerial attack, their needle noses drilling the napes of our necks. We were unaware that our game was a grasshopper massacre; our consciouses only existed in those fleeting moments of sunlight. We forgot our insect graveyard, oblivious to it until it was safe to resume our game the next evening. 


katydids
Bastards.
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

Worth the Drive: Tunica Falls

Tunica Hills Campground

Clark Creek Recreational Area
Tunica Falls
Tunica Falls
Tunica Falls
I desperately need to get out of town as much as I can but unfortunately, my schedule dictates that I’m stuck in the city seven days a week. Since I had fall break this week, we threw the dogs in the car, put some extra food out for the cats, and headed to Tunica Falls (aka Tunica Hills aka Clark Creek Natural Area), a two hour drive from New Orleans. Waterfalls, slight changes in elevation (read: not flat like NOLA) and shaded trails make for a quick yet satisfying weekend getaway. I’m not sure who had more fun, us or the girls.
 
 Four dollars gives you access to Tunica Falls’ 1.78 miles of “improved” trails and 2.6 miles of primitive trails. I’d suggest doing a little of both. Be sure to pack shoes appropriate for wading through creeks. You’ll want to splash around and explore. There are six waterfalls marked on the trail but the 700 acre Clark Creek Natural area boasts 50 waterfalls total, ranging in height from 10 to 30 feet. There are bathrooms at the trailhead and a water fountain. Be sure to stop at the Pond Store, located up the road, to stock up on snacks. 
 
If you’re in need of cheap lodging, Tunica Hills Campground is nearby and provides cabins and primitive tent sites. The campground is small, which ensures you’ll be greeted by fellow campers but it’s more private than than some of the larger RV campgrounds that I’ve been to. We opted to spend the night in the A frame cabin; for $52 a night you get a queen sized bed, air conditioning, a microwave and a coffeepot. There’s also a loft to stow your stuff and enough space for the dogs. Just make sure to bring your own bath towels and toiletries; you’ll be sharing a (relatively clean) port-a-potty and outdoor shower with the other guests. 
 
For more pictures of Tunica Falls and Tunica Hills Campground check out my Tumblr: christylorio.tumblr.com. 
Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

Gap’s DressNormal campaign is a cheap attempt to cash in on Normcore

Every time I swear off writing about fashion something happens that sends me rushing to my laptop, fastidiously pounding away on a cat hair covered keyboard instead of starting on my four page paper on British poetry that’s due on Monday. Get your lint rollers and canned air out for this one; Gap’s Dress Normal ad campaign has me feeling all type of ways.  




It’s not a shocker that the Gap has never been considered a fashion forward brand. You’re not going to snag a studded jacket or a minidress with sheer cutouts there, nor would you expect to.  Some might call the brand’s no fuss, simple garments wardrobe staples, or basics, where others might call Gap a snooze fest. 

So what’s the problem with basics? The word basic has taken on negative connotations in our pop culture; “basic” in slang terms means boring and ordinary, not exactly how you want to describe your dark wash jeans and fitted white t-shirt, is it? Enter Gap’s latest ad campaign, Dress Normal, which is riding on the heather gray coattails of normcore. 

Normcore is a “new” way of dressing for the fashion elite- think Adidas slides with tube socks- that rebels against the recent fashion trends of dressing extraordinary- more on that in a moment. Normcore is rebelling against rebelling, but you have to rebel in the first place in order for normcore to make sense. 

The problem with normcore is that it doesn’t take into account what people are wearing in cities that aren’t fashion hubs.  In other words, your average dude from Kenner wearing Adidas slides with socks and a grey sweatshirt and a baseball cap is unintentionally participating in normcore. It’s plain dressing with irony, yet excludes that guy that doesn’t dress hipster cool from the inside joke. 

Over the past few years the outrageous has been considered fashionable; the peacocks showing up at fashion weeks around the globe is a good example of this. Wearing a calf grazing tutu is the new norm, so how does one stand out in a sea of kookiness? The answer, apparently, is to dress “normal”. 

Look, I kind of get it. Fashion celebrates the over the top, the glitzy and the downright bizarre. Iris Apfel is a household name for fashion insiders and Lady GaGa has given everyone carte blanche to dress outside of their comfort zone. When everyone wants to be a rare bird, however, this unique sense of individuality isn’t quite so individual anymore, is it? 

But what is normal? That’s a subjective, potentially damaging word. What Gap really means is to dress simple, a bon chic, bon genre mentality (I’m giving them too much credit, really) that’s seeing a resurgence, albeit a resurgence through the hipster lens. According to Gap’s global chief marketing officer Seth Farbman, “Finding your own version of ‘Dress normal’ is an art. My normal is different from your normal, and that’s the essence of the campaign.” 
Confused? That makes about as much sense to me as trying to explain what normcore is in the first place. 

 The problem with the Dress Normal campaign is that it indicates that anything besides normal is abnormal. It’s a backlash against creative dressing which, let’s face it, has put the hurt on Gap in the past few years, as well as other ubiquitous mall brands. It’s not cool anymore to be average, to fit in, but when everyone is trying to stand out from the crowd, where does that leave us? The best thing you can do for yourself is avoid the pitfalls of trendy dressing altogether and wear whatever the hell you want. Fashion is in a flux right now; I’d rather sit out and just focus on doing me, which is the best, most normal thing I can do.

Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style

It’s a little quiet ’round these parts


I’ve been neglecting Slow Southern Style like she’s an old high school friend. You pinky swear you’ll never lose touch but BFFs inevitably drift apart for a variety of reasons: you don’t see each other on the daily after graduation, someone moves across the country, you always liked Mazzy Star more than Courtney Love but were too sheepish to tell her, and of course, boys. 


 Ever since I went back to college I’ve been treading water. Juggling homework, occasional freelance writing gigs, a part-time job and maintaining a modicum of a social life* has been a challenge. My husband jokes that I don’t iron his underwear anymore (pffft! as if I ever did) but the demands of adulthood, coupled with homework, can be overwhelming.  

It’s not that classes are overly demanding- I’m an English and film major, not a neuroscience student- it’s finding time to fit everything in and maintain my mental health. This semester I decided to enroll full-time and accepted the role of Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper. I deeply question wtf am I doing some days. Did I take on too much? Is getting 5 hours of sleep a night wrecking havoc on my sanity? I know my academic efforts aren’t in vain, but I can’t help but wonder if all this will all pay off. That said, being an older student has its advantages: I have perspective and a sense of purpose that I lacked when I was in my early 20s. I’m finally able to forgive myself for dropping out of school in the first place. I was 21 when my dad died, then my paternal grandma died the next year. Working a full-time job, sitting on a full course load and dealing with the most traumatic event of my life wasn’t easy. I look back 13 years later and think “Damn, girl. Give yourself a break.”

Where am I going with this? I’m not abandoning Slow Southern Style, just trying not to spread myself too thin. This blog is really just “small potatoes” so I’m genuinely surprised it still maintains a decent audience despite the sparse updates.I’ll step off the wambulance now. Thanks for listening. 
Blue Ridge Mountains just outside Asheville, North Carolina

*And by social life I mean walking the dogs and pushing my cats off my pillow at night. 

Twitter: slowsouthstyle Facebook: Slow Southern Style