Waistcoats, Jumper and 100 Poems
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
100 poems over 100 days.
In March 2020, just at the start of New York’s Shelter-in-Place order, Rebecca Faulkner began sharing her poetry on Instagram – snapshots of her life penned and posted first thing in the morning. The annoyingly preening magnolia tree outside her window, the Black Lives Matter protests, the television shows and books she was watching and reading – the mundane and beautiful and horrific aspects of our Covid world captured in verse.
Becca and I have known each other for twenty years; she is a friend whose warmth, intelligence and political activism has always inspired me. I loved her daily posts and knew she would be an early All Dressed subject.
We met outside her home in Park Slope and walked together through Prospect Park to the Grand Army Greenmarket where we got apple cider and sugared apple donuts. It was cold but beautiful.
On our walk, Becca described how being furloughed from her job as Executive Director of play:groundnyc gave her both the time and mental space to write. Her daily ritual was very much a response to the sadness and loneliness she was feeling during this time. As for so many of us, it has been particularly difficult not being able to see her older parents who live in England.
Becca would write in the morning before her daughters, who are 15 and 12, were awake.
She’s stopped sharing the poems daily, but even though she’s now working at play:groundnyc again, she is very much still writing. Her work has been published in Into the Void Magazine, Passengers Journal and other publications, and this June she’ll be doing a residency at the Saltonstall Foundation where she hopes to finish her manuscript.
Like me, Becca is a believer in wearing clothing with history. Her outfit for our outing was case in point: The bright orange jacket and safety pin are from Portobello Road and the jumper (sweater in American-speak) is from her adolescent wardrobe; as a teenager she would haunt the outdoor markets and great vintage shops of London. She’s also a lover of mixing the new with the old, and her floral pants which invoke the coming spring are a favorite find from Wildfang. The Doc Martens finish the look and are quite significant – she started wearing Doc Martens when she was sixteen and wanted to look tough and punk. Mission accomplished! Wearing them now recalls that feeling of being a fierce, kick-ass woman, with the added layer of memory. Her daughters wear them, too!
I wore menswear in honor of Becca’s daughters who have been known to rock suits and waistcoats (British-speak for vests); my derby, tie and waistcoat are all from my father. Very Clockwork Orange.
One last tip: For lovers of clothing that tells a story, I recommend highly this Guardian article that Becca sent me on fashion designer Orsola de Castro. It's ostensibly an expert guide to making your clothing last forever (and it does tell you how to do that!). But even more inspiring is de Castro's philosophy of "radical keeping, not decluttering.” Something of an anti-Marie Kondo, she believes clothing can be as worthy of preservation as any historic object or building. That's a sensibility I one-hundred percent endorse.
What has kept you going during Covid?
My writing, my family and friends, and Prospect Park which is just outside my front door.