Monday, 11 March 2013

Neither 100 Years of Solitude nor a Beehive;using our initiative

Two books marked my adolescence; "100 years of solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and "The Beehive" by Camilo Jose Cela. Both Nobel prize winners, had an idiosyncratic vision of contemporary life in the 50s and 60s.
 In "The Beehive", action is not required of the characters as they hum round in an apartment complex which seems like a beehive in post civil war Spain. Dreary with no seemingly hopeful future, burdened down by ordinary life and a struggle for survival for the lower middle classes of Franco's  Spain. It decided me against conforming and narrow mindedness,  principles I still adhere to. As you read the novel, which is beautifully written in crystal clear and concise objectivity (at first glance!), a huge irritation creeps on you with the characters as they do not seem to get out of their situations, with a deep ingrained fatalism.That, I said, is not going to happen to me!
The second novel, "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is written in the magic realism style so well done by the author. it describes 100 years of the history of a fictitious small town called Macondo in the heartland of Columbia. Characters of the Buendia family retain a sense of genealogical linkage and the weight of forefathers with their namesakes. The absurdity of political smokescreens give a different reality, add pathos to the characters as they wander through their lives not fully knowing what is really happening. The reader does neither, which adds to the mysticism.This too impacted me by the vivid language  written in beautiful Spanish prose. The style takes you along into the story as it unfolds  but in the end you remain mystified. I certainly did not want to walk my path in life in this smoggy mystic environment
Both books showed me the other side of reality and imaginative reality, so the real thing to do was to use one's initiative in trying to move the way you want, in spite of the bigger picture of society, political and economical environments which can constrain you. Initiative is positive:  if the outcome is negative, you fall and sit up again,; if the experience is positive  the wind of fortune leads you! So in this time of crisis in Europe, initiative is even more important for all of us. Don't be afraid to use it, don't be calcified into a set way of life, we only have one and must live it to the full!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Fake or Real? Do it Chanel's way!

Do you like me face an eternal conundrum when choosing accessories;  discreet or flashy?! I was carefully brought up, to appreciate real stones and how elegance was linked to being discreet, ladylike and definitely not over the top. My own style has evolved from my Paris years into jewelry which can make a statement and reflect my eclectic, vintage taste.

I think Coco Chanel had the right approach when she stated:" jewelry is not meant to make you look rich, it is meant to adorn you". Especially if you are not rich, it is better to choose a vintage cocktail ring of semiprecious stones, and failing that a gorgeous plastic design, than a small 'real'stone which fades into significance and adds nothing to your outfit. Coco also advised, to mix freely between costume and real jewelry as the look was all that mattered.

However there is one caveat on costume jewelry, it should be as well made as  real jewelry. So go for the best in each category.Taking a flower adornment, if you wear a real flower, it will fade after several hours, so wearing a beautiful 'real' silk one can enhance a spring outfit. Especially if  you take care, to coordinate your perfume with your look (another time I will explore that topic!)