February 24, 2016

Girlie

February 25, 2016 (055/366)

"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. 
When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." ~ Edgar Degas 

The same could be said for books. This week, I read The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Set in Paris during la Belle Epoque, the novel commingles the stories of the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the same era. I enjoy historical fiction -- novels such as Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland (the story behind Renoir's Le déjeuner des canotiersand The Paris Wife by Paula McLean (recounting the life of Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, in Paris in the 1920s). Yet this novel seemed go too far -- taking too many liberties, focusing more on the seedy side of the Belle Epoque, and trying to tie too many artistic, literary, and historical events. Perhaps Ms. Buchanan is emulating the naturalism of Zola's L'Assommoir, also featured in the book; or perhaps I just hoped for the softer focus of a Degas painting -- "a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy."

I would argue that the same could be said about a woman, but OK, I'll confess. Beneath my classic predominantly-black uniform, beats the heart of a "girlie girl." You may recognize the subtle signs -- feminine details, signature jewelry, and bows on my shoes (almost all of them!). Although I'd never wear a pink tutu, I secretly love this pretty, pale shade. Maybe I can channel my inner ballerina with a pair of pale pink ballet flats (with bows, of course!) or maybe I'll just keep projecting my girlie sensibilities on Miss Piper!