I swore I was going to make this week's post a positive one as my most recent bloggy offerings have been devoted to whining and navel gazing about hair issues. You've all been patient and very kind and deserve better.
Then a record breaking ice storm hit us here in MidNowhere, knocking out power to thousands here in our part of the world, and we were part of the mess. Couldn't get out to the restaurant, but then no one else could either. We woke up Friday morning to no heat or light, and ... AAAACCCKK! ...
no Internet (!!!) No matter where you are, these big and inconvenient-but-survivable weather interruptions to our fairly easy lives are a massive pain in the ass. But unlike the quick devastation of our frequent tornadoes, we saw this mess coming, and were able to prepare at least a little. We've been pretty lucky so far, as our power was restored late Saturday evening. Wine was opened in celebration and layers shed as the heat came back on. As of Sunday afternoon there were still 10,000 out of power on the third day in, and as of Monday, there had been over 60,000 in Arkansas affected, and I'm pretty sure they're not done counting.
Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International famously advised the world that we'd all "better light a candle than curse the darkness." He was referencing other circumstances; a world much more horrific than ours, but the advice is well taken and practical. At our house, there certainly was some cursing, but candles were lit and we got by.
The Positive Part ...
Even without Internet access, I had some hours of completely absorbing entertainment because the friendship and generosity of two bloggers who live approximately 4,404 miles away from me.
Some weeks ago, the fabulous Curtise of her lovely blog, The Secondhand Years , sent me a much appreciated care-package that included a book she though I would enjoy: Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser. She was so right! Curtise had been given it by the equally fabulous Vix, who brings us her luxuriant and lively blog, The Vintage Vixen . Not sure where she got it, but my thanks go out to both of these generous women for passing this book around and sharing the wisdom!
Because I knew instantly that I would love it, I had been saving it for a time when I needed some serious fun. No time like a power outage to guiltlessly indulge in some serious goofing-off, so I grabbed the book, wrapped up in a big blanket (closely accompanied by the shorter haired dogs and cats) and camped near a big window. I read into the night with the help of my "Itty Bitty Book Light" until I'd finished it. I closed it reluctantly about midnight, and I'm sorry it's done. As soon as I'm in funds again, I'll be haunting Amazon, looking for more of her books. Thank you so much again, Curtise ... bet you didn't know you were doing such a grand and comforting thing when you posted this book off to me!
Ms. Grant is one of those women that you just know you'd love to death if you knew her in real life. She's only a year younger than I am, and although she grew up in England, lots of her experiences are like mine and will be appreciated by our whole generation. Younger readers will get it, too, because we all wear clothes, and the love of them is pan-generational. She takes on the subject that so many of us dabble around the edges of; why we care about what we wear. Then, she treats our favorite guilty pleasure with a refreshing respect that is completely without apology.
She often elevates the discussion to the near-poetic. As in a lot of wonderful nonfiction, the bibliography alone is a tiny treasure, a road sign pointing to other sources of reading pleasure!
The fundamental act of dressing is her subject, too. Not a how-to or book of style suggestions, The Thoughtful Dresser is a sometimes funny and occasionally heartbreaking group of connected essays and stories about what has often been regarded as a purely a feminine pastime and our weakness . She reminds us that our love of the pleasures of dressing is, besides being one of our most effective tool of seduction, an effective and time-honored tool used to gain and maintain sovereignty over our own lives. She writes with the incisive insight of personal experience and passion about our lust for handbags and shoes, and why they are aspirational objects of desire and pleasure instead of just functional items that keep our feet dry and our stuff organized.
What style or fashion blogger doesn't want to know more about the pleasures we take in our dressing rituals and why they are so important in our lives? Because I interrupted Dan's own reading so often during that snowy day, insistent that he hear a particular bon mot or concept I thought his sociological heart might like, even he wants to read The Thoughtful Dresser now. It's that good, 'cause he's a picky and serious reader.
A Possible Bloggy-Friend Project:
Because this book seems destined to be passed on, if anyone wants it I'll be happy to send it on. What I'd like to do is keep it going. What if we all swear a pinky-oath to send it on and keep it moving?
Let me know via Comments if you're interested, please.