Best of Both Worlds
Steampunk Hands Around the World: Our Playground
Today I have more freedom in my life choices, than in almost any other era. We can follow our dreams. Whatever our sex or societal rank, we can exercise hard earned rights, such as the vote, opportunities for education and equality. I am a farmer’s daughter; I studied at university, worked in a profession – because I was born in the second half of the 20th century. In the 21st century, we have almost instantaneous, worldwide communication, the ability to travel around the world and into space. The world is our playground.
The Victorian era, of the 19th century, had a wonder and enthusiasm that was contagious – expanding Empires, new places to explore, exciting things to discover. Science was just beginning to give up its secrets. The Victorian mind was open to the possibilities, not yet too jaded to entertain the possibilities of new worlds, unseen entities and unknown wonders. It was a world without boundaries. The world was their playground.
Steampunk is an enabler: It rekindled my passion for writing, allowing me freedom to create new worlds to play in. I can enjoy historical re-enactment, but with the freedom to imagine an alternate history with endless possibilities – and really cool clothes!
Steampunk is fun. It allows me to borrow from a time where there was a strong optimism for the future. It promotes the etiquette and manners of a past time. We get to play, relax, socialise, create and share a common passion. We all have our own visions of what steampunk means. The diversity is celebrated and encouraged. I have found acceptance, friendship and solace, providing a refuge from the fast pace of modern life and allowing me to enjoy myself with friends – both old and new.
Groups such as Steampunk SA, Australian Costumer’s Guild and Cosplay for a Cause run local steampunk events. We have explored the zoo (Steampunk Safari at the Zoo), had picnics in the park, relived the glory of steam trains (Steampunk Expo) and had charity afternoon teas (Teananigans). This year we are planning a Steampunk Charity Ball (possibly late September).
Did I mention the really cool clothes?
I have met wonderful writers and costumers who I now consider friends. They are helpful, supportive. Just this week, I received a card in the mail. Old fashioned maybe, but there is something so heart-warmingly personal about an actual letter in the mail box. Emails are just not the same.
The world of steampunk embodies an alternative future. It is like being a child in a lolly shop. Do we choose to recreate elements from future or the past? Why not have the best of both worlds?
And in doing so, we can try to make our little patch of the world just that bit friendlier, happier, welcoming. The alternative future is so bright, we gotta wear shades.
Welcome to my Playground.