The Ghost Daughter 

Photo by Aristotle

Photo by Aristotle

Mauricio Navarro abstract

Mauricio Navarro, untitled, acrylic & resin on canvas, 30″ x 24″

Quick post here… I had a couple of “serious” posts I was working on that I just stuck in the trash. (It wasn’t lack of commitment. I just didn’t really have any good outfit photos!)  Instead, well, I just finished The Ghost Daughter last night, and I am in the glow of it’s awesome ending. One of my favorite people in the world, Maureen O’Leary wrote this glorious work of fiction. Yesterday, I also saw the work of a promising, emerging artist, Mauricio Navarro. I must write about both of them!

But where did the outfit come from? How is it related? As Roy Batty says, “Questions…” My main question is “Do I love something because it is just inherently great or because it reminds me of some personal memory?” Of course, I am conflicted on this answer. I want so badly to say, “Both!”

The Ghost Daughter opens with Mother Nature unleashing her power on a unique and storybook, central Californian town. This fictional earthquake was based on one in 1989 I experienced as “part of” my college education, we might say. The author, my good friend and housemate at the time had to kick her way out from underneath an oak desk at her downtown Santa Cruz place of employment. I think she knew it was an earthquake. On the other hand, I was luckily, sitting in a little field of cabbage painting a watercolor as part of an outdoor landscape painting class. I watched the redwoods “jumping” up and down. I stood up and hopped around, thinking the ground was going to open up any second. It was a long 15 seconds. Still, I didn’t think it was an earthquake. I thought it was the apocalypse – mostly because of what the grand, old trees were doing. And even now, I remember exactly what I was wearing. Black bolero hat on my long dark brown hair, white t shirt, red plaid above the knee prairie skirt, and cowboy boots – perfect outfit for an earthquake in that setting, I think.

Maureen wrote a novel I will definitely read again. It’s one of those books. I don’t think it is just because of the familiar subject matter – or even just because it addresses themes that I’ve been interested in as of late. Maureen’s descriptions capture my imagination. They make me smile, and sometimes they make me squirm. She paints with her words. It’s not just colors and patterns, though. She addresses all of the senses. Clothes have scents that tell so much more about where the character has been. Boots make sounds that express confidence. Maureen, you had me at the outfit descriptions. If you want a teaser (or inspiration for that matter), look at her Pinterest board!

So, back to my outfit above. This is personal, these outfits of The Ghost Daughter, I admit. Back in college I was trying to figure out who the grown up Laura was, and of course, because it was me, I would do it through outfits. Some of the young women who attended UC Santa Cruz at that time (1989) had style similar to Angel, one of The Ghost Daughter‘s main characters. First of all, natural, even wild hair was essential. There was no style ironing to be seen. There was white eyelet like you might see under a 1900 buttoned up dress. There were a lot of crochet fitted tops. Prairie skirts. Oh, the prairie skirts. Cowboy boots, of course. Jeans had to be railroad worker jeans, all worn and distressed. This was one of the looks I experimented with at that time. On other days, I might be 40’s vintage, grunge lover, or sporty girl borrowing from her boyfriend’s closet, but the cowgirl/prairie girl look was one of my favorites. So romantic and strong, this style evoked a love of poetry and the ability to mountain bike for miles over hilly terrain.

So, on this day I was almost finished with The Ghost Daughter, and I was accepting my love for this character, Angel – through my outfit. She reads like a real person I played at being back in those days. It was a revelation to realize that when I imagine my “higher self”, she dresses like Angel. I celebrated all those qualities I love about her as I wore this outfit all day long on my many adventures. Thank you, Maureen for reconnecting me with them.

Okay, and also on that same day I was picking up the older boy from his haircut appointment at Don’s Cutting Edge, and gosh darn it, but if one of the paintings hanging in the current exhibition didn’t just go so perfectly with my skirt! And it reminds me of Big Sur’s Gallery at Ventana – Ooh! And Big Sur plays a role in Ghost Daughter as well! The painting is by hair stylist and artist, Mauricio Navarro. From Mexico City originally, Mauricio grew up inspired by the colors and energy of the diverse metropolis. Now, his paintings, both representational and abstract, express both the city and the quiet moments in nature that Mauricio loves about living on the coast of California.  If you are local to Los Angeles, check out Mauricio’s current showing of his work up through August. You might end up with a ventana to another world on your wall, or at the very least, an new update to your hair.

Hat by Silver Wave, skirt by Everest Handcrafts, top vintage, boots by Hanna Anderson, necklace homemade, Will bag – hand painted and additional silkscreening by me!

 

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2 thoughts on “The Ghost Daughter 

  1. Pingback: The Ghost Daughter  – Maureen O'Leary

  2. maureenoleary

    Reblogged this on Maureen O'Leary and commented:
    My housemate from college, Laura Alvarez, is an important artist and she and her husband will always be in the acknowledgements of every book I ever write because their approach to life and art is an astonishment that never ceases to inspire me. I swear sometimes I don’t know if I’d even be a writer today if it weren’t for their encouragement. Well, Laura loved my novel The Ghost Daughter, and really got what I was trying to do there which is an amazing feeling that truly hardly ever happens. She wrote about it on her amazing fashion, art, and inspiration blog today. Here it is:

    Like

    Reply

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