Saturday, August 20, 2011

the september issue

The September Issue arrived today. Yes, That September Issue. All 758 pages of it. Thicker than 5 Washington County phonebooks, the new plastic-wrapped issue of Vogue was delivered to a 6.5 acre farm on the side of a mountain. Sheep watched it slide inside the snowplow-dented mailbox. The person who pulled it out has holes in her cheap, black, t-shirt covered in hay flakes and sweat. I couldn't wait to open it.

Vogue arrives at the farm every month because my mother loves fashion, and loves me, and therefore she subscribes to it for me. She's certainly the one who practices what this book preaches, but I still read the gospel.

She doesn't know how I pour through every issue, that I love that magazine. I love the clothes, the people, the articles, the history of Anna Wintour and her empire. It is as foreign and exotic to me as Atlantis. Absolutely nothing I own could even be used to wash the windows at that Times Square office, but I am enthralled. I own eight pairs of shoes and one handbag. Two of those shoes are work boots and the handbag was made by a friend. I am not their target audience, but I still page through the tome. It is enchanting.

I love Vogue. I didn't always, but I do now. The people who put this magazine together do it with such diligence and careful thought I can't avoid respecting it. It is living sculpture, social comment, and moving art. We can knock fashion all we want as homesteaders and small farmers, but we can not deny these people are living their dream. Well, living their fantasy, really. To push so hard for a creative life like that is rare. I have no doubt that the people who run Vogue, if they had to, could run an amazing farm. Might be a steep learning curve, but no one that organized and on top of their game couldn't adapt. That farm would sing.

I'm still Jenna though, even when I'm sitting there on the daybed paging through the glossies. Ralph Lauren placed an ad right on the inside cover and it shows a pair of beautiful people kissing on horses in shoulder-high hay. I have ridden a horse through shoulder-high hay alongside my riding instructor at one of the best hunter schools in the country and it took both of us intense effort to keep our mounts from stopping mid-stride to snack. I moved up and down at a fast posting trot, reins ready, body tense as we moved across the field. These models were making out. Their horses placid. I try to tell if they are moving? Is the hay fake? How the hell is it fair a person can look that good and control a horse that well? Are they on cat tranqs? Inquiring minds want to know.

I sometimes wonder if there are people in those tall buildings in big cities reading this blog. Is there someone at Vogue who wishes he or she was on a farm? Does anyone at that Ralph Lauren cover shoot wish they could ride off on that fake horse? Probably not, they wouldn't be there if they weren't as in love with that scene as I am with mine. I read The September Issue, but I have no desire to wear the clothes or go to Paris. It doesn't mean we can't appreciate the other side of things. And it certainly doesn't mean a girl in Muck Boots can't wish she had somewhere to take a handbag and heels every once in a while.

And Mom, I might not own any new party dresses, but I don't even mow the lawn without mascara on.

You did good.


Blogger Lee Ann said...

Ha! I also have a Mom to assure that I don't leave the house without makeup! I just hope she never catches me gardening in my pajamas (which is, of course, my most favorite clothing for gardening!) ;)!!

August 20, 2011 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Joleen said...

I just finished my September issue of Bazaar and gave it to my daughter yesterday. Still waiting for my big Vogue. I'll never be able to afford anything in those magazines or be thin enough to wear anything in there 'if' I could afford it so I just enjoy looking at it as art and design.

August 20, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Hey CAF! I found your blog two wks ago and just got caught up to 'real' time! You are living the dream Jenna. We have backyard chickens for now but hopefully adding more farm animals soon. Keep pounding away up there...the girls in Tennessee are pulling for ya!

August 20, 2011 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger DaShannon said...

Your posts never cease to surprise me... Waiting for my issue to be delivered to the middle of Ohio cornfields and lakes

August 20, 2011 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger joie said...

Waiting for MY issue on a small family farm (Willow Hill) in S.W. Montana.....
Way to "shake it up" Jenna!!!!

August 20, 2011 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one that relishes that issue, and reads it with dirt under my finger nails, sitting on the step of the barn. :)

August 20, 2011 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

Thank you.
I am happy to know that I am not alone in my thinking.
Maybe my September Vogue will arrive here in the rabbit hole on Monday :)
While mudboots are always my preferred shoe of choice (my fashion forward friend gave me a striped pair for my birthday!) I do love to check out what's "in" for Fall...even tho I couldn't give a rats-hind-end to own any of it ;)
Been there...done that...but buy me a new snow shovel and wheelbarrow and I'm yours for life!

August 20, 2011 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger leafonatree said...

I love this post!
I would rather wear my hiking boots and jeans any day, but that doesn't stop me from flirting with thoughts of tutus and ridiculously sparkly shoes.
Variety is the spice of life!

August 20, 2011 at 11:41 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

The only soft spot I have for the fashion world is this right here: Mad, mad love.

August 21, 2011 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger Cottage Times said...

Well Done!!!
I remember living in Chicago, taking the El to work wearing my thrifty business clothes and sneakers, wishing I was anywhere but there. Standing shoulder to shoulder in packed subway cars with folks I may have seen a hundred times or none always reminded me of how much I wanted to move back to the country.
I have a feeling you have more than one reader from the likes of Vogue and they are wishing they could be right where you are tonight.

August 21, 2011 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger Cottage Times said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 21, 2011 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger Charlene said...

great post! haven't cracked the cover of a Vogue in years! just had a flashback of those glossy, perfume scented pages of pure fantasy!

August 21, 2011 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Sweetie, I think that hunnerd-dollar Muck Boots make their own fashion statement....

August 21, 2011 at 3:34 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

Well shut my mouth! One mag I nevered pictured you reading was Vogue. Will wonders never cease?

August 21, 2011 at 5:37 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

Hooray! A post that really relates to this reader (who was once lucky enough to have a letter published in Vogue about Kate Moss). A devotee of Vogue for over 30 years and a reader of your blog - I love both sides of the coin - wishing I could afford the couture of the one side and the strength and perseverance of the other.

August 21, 2011 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

You crack me up, Jenna. I love your witty humor. While I have never been interested in fashion, or anything even remotely associated with it (My sister-in-law has to bring clothes over and dress me anytime we go anywhere together), I have to admit that I had to squelch a bout of envy the other day. Some neighbors were having DirectTV installed in/on their house. I can't tell you when the last time I sat down and watched tv was. However, we only have basic cable, and how I would LOOVE to sit down when I feel like it and watch the cooking channel or the green planet channel that the Beekman boys are on! I had to have a talk with myself about living simply, the amount of money involved in such luxuries and whatnot. A couple of hours later in the same day, as I was returning to my neighborhood, I still scowled at the pretty little NASA shaped thing on their roof. Oh well, I have fresh eggs, veggies and chickens that lived a happy life in my freezer, not a bad trade.

August 21, 2011 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Too funny!

August 21, 2011 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Margie said...

Vogue? Will wonders never cease! Can't believe it. I don't remember the last time I even thumbed through one. Could be a combination of my lack of fashion sense and rapidly advancing age. Why worry when jeans, t-shirts, and jeans feel so good? Ha!
I hope everyone who has not read your book, Made from Scratch, will order a copy. It's delightful. I got a copy of it earlier this year.
You've got spunk, that's certain. Remember Lou Grant telling Mary Richards that she had spunk, and he hated spunk. Well, I love it.
When I go to Knoxville to visit my son in October, I'm going to find the music store in Townsend and make a visit. I'll think about you when I'm there. I'll take a picture or two; and if my daughter can walk me through how to do it, I'll email them to you.

August 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

How fabulous! You have drawn connection between high fashion and farming grit. To pursue a dream takes something no matter what kind of clothes one is wearing. I love this!

August 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

Well what a surprise Jenna! Actually it reminded me of my mom and me. Here is what I wrote about her on Mother's Day.
Way to be well-rounded!

August 21, 2011 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger the small plate diner said...

RISD ( RI School of Design) had a wonderful exhibit this summer called Cocktail Culture documenting fashion as well as politics from the 20's - the early 1960's. The handsewn vintage dresses including Chanel and the hand built shoes from New York and Paris were breathtaking! But what was fascinating was the section on fashion and the suffragette movement helping to end prohibition.

August 21, 2011 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger damnyankee said...

Have you seen the documentary "September Issue." I enjoyed it. You stay so busy but if you ever have time its worth the watch.

Here's the coming attraction:

August 21, 2011 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

I'm not a fan of the magazine. It reminds of my eating disorder days. I was never fat, but looking at the images of models in Seventeen, Glamour, Cosmo, and Vogue would send me into a tizzy of food denial and wacky, excessive exercising. I was a size 6-8, but felt I should be a zero or at most a 2. I put up pictures of the models (the clothing meant little too me) on the fridge and in the bathroom and felt I could morph into these freaks of nature if I just remained disciplined. As I got older, and wiser, and more self-confident, I realized it was a fantasy and one not worth the price of obtainment.

August 21, 2011 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Great post. Hope I never have to leave our tiny hamlet and the Phoney Farm for the city. Also hope the city people enjoy the city so the country people can remain country.

August 21, 2011 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

You never cease to amaze me Jenna!

August 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger David Shearer said...

Just as you (and other homesteaders, too) read Vogue, there are certainly fashionistas at Vogue, and sister publications, who dream of a farm life amd read your blog.

August 21, 2011 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger New York Autumn said...

I am that girl! I don't work at Vogue, or at a magazine at all, but I do work in publishing in a major corporation in a skyscraper in midtown New York. Every evening I go home to my little apartment in Queens. I walk past Central Park on my daily commute, and the streets where I live are tree-lined, but there's no backyard, or even any roof access, here.

I grew up in a tiny town. We didn't farm ourselves, my mom gardens but doesn't can/preserve, but we did have an acre and a bunch of pets. On a summer evening, we could walk to a neighbor farmer's to buy corn on the cob or to watch his cows in the pasture. Just across the street was another farm where we were allowed to offer crabapples to horses through the fence.

I worked hard as hell to get where I am now; there are so many things about my hometown that I wanted to leave behind, and so many things that I love about my life now. But I do dream of some land and a hobby farm of my own. Right now, that mostly means I read farm blogs, and I pester my mom to get bees or chickens for her backyard. I'm hoping to be able to retire (at least mostly) when I'm 50, and I hope that when I do I'll be in good enough health to manage a small alpaca farm...with a flock of chickens. Oh, and maybe a few goats and sheep. And of course, you need a dog or two around the place...

When life is hard here, my friends and I all joke that we're picking up and moving to our farm. Farm living is definitely not easier, but it's easy to romanticize from here. When the time comes, I hope I'll be up to the real challenge.

August 21, 2011 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Yeah, I love fashion too, but you wouldn't know it to look at me! And I'm totally okay with that.

August 22, 2011 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

I loved this post! I am the quintessential city girl (NYC) with two closets full of clothes, shoes, and handbags that I can't afford. My friends don't believe me, but I dream of chickens and goats.

August 24, 2011 at 6:30 PM  

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