Monday, 11 November 2013

The fifth of November

Remember, Remember, the fifth of November“, the words that traditional 17th century English rhyme starts with. People of England know of no reason to forget the gunpowder treason and my parents, even if they wanted to, couldn't forget the event from November 5, 27 years ago, the birth of their first born child a.k.a. me. Rumor has it my Dad thought I was redhead first time he went to see me at a hospital, few hours after I was born. You see, I actually had no hair but I got all red from crying (as newborns tend to do) including my vertex so it must have seemed to my newly father who was only 23 at the time that, even both Mum and him are dark-haired, I turned out to be redhead. Fortunately for him, I turned out to be blonde in childhood, brunette during my preadolescence and redhead now, but only thanks to hair dying industry.


I've read somewhere that people born on November 5 tend to hide themselves behind masks created for outer world, fearing to expose too much, fearing to fail, fearing to lose... The statement is correct even though, growing as a person made me realize the irrelevancy of the masks. Fear of failure and fear of loss are now substituted by the fear of lethargy and giving up as those two things are what'd make me feel dead while still alive. But, during those sensitive, adolescent years, a mask has been created. Not only a mask but a whole alter-ego, stronger and braver then me at the time, more ready to stand up for itself and more ready to write, as writing was always my passion. But there were times when I thought it wasn't good enough to be shared with the world. Why am I sharing this with you now, you probably wonder? My alter-ego, my braver version of myself...she was also my favorite book character.

Have you ever felt like the book you are currently reading is just a waste of your precious time, like it is just a pile of letters and you'll be no wiser or fullfilled if you just leave it on the bookshelf or return it to the library? I can see you nodding your heads right now; it happened to you at least once but what does it matter? I agree. It doesn't. Not until a perfect character, you could easily rely to and you feel absolutely comfortable about is trapped inside such a book. It happened to me some 10 years ago. The crime scene is inside the covers of Kai Meyer's „The Alchemist“ (or „The Alchemist's Daughter“, depending on translator's interpretation of the original title „Die Alchemistin“) and her name is, as you can guess if you have read the book, Aura Institoris.

Kai Meyer, as well as his famous namesaker Stephenie, chose a career of YA writer, at a time when YA fiction was still just fiction, not a way of life. Obviously, the world of alchemy is not as popular as the world of vampires so Meyer (Kai) was left on the genre's margins. When asked to desribe „The Alchemist“ in only one sentence, he'd say it is a family saga, thriller and a love story combined with some fantasy elements. Don't get me wrong, I love a touch of fantasy in my reading but there are times when I'd like to say „Oh, come on!“ even to G.R.R.Martin. To cut the long story short, The Alchemist starts at the end of the 19th century, in an old, dark castle at the island in the middle of Baltic sea where 15-year old Aura lives with her father, famous alchemist Nestor Nepomuk, mother Charlotte, younger sister Sylvette and two adopted brothers, Daniel and Crhistopher. They are living a normal, family life (at least as normal as it can be when your father is an alchemist and the six of you are living all alone, miles away from civilization) untill Aura's beloved father gets killed by the hand of his arch enemy Lysander. This is vwhere the sane part ends. Afterwards, Aura has been sent to boarding school for girls which turns out to be a cover for white slave traffic with a headmisstress turning out to be a headmaster. A beautiful  hermaphrodite Gillian (who eventually turns out to be her father's assasin and, later on, the love of her life) helps her avoid the fate of other boarding girls and accompanies her on her way to find Lysander and avenge her father's  death.

Even while putting the text together in my head, this didn't seem like something I'd take home from a library now. Still, the book is standing proudly at one of my bookshelves. Why Aura? I have never been so impressed by the character's persona as I was with Aura's. So young, yet so strong, faced first with a loss of her father, the only support she has ever had, followed by the notion he wasn't really the man Aura took him for and finally, with the fight for her own survival. Despite all that, she stood up and shown she really is her father's daughter.  Looking back on it, my belief is that, at the age of 17, that was the only thing I really wanted; to find my own way trough life and to be the person my parents would be proud of.
Aura, depicted in my head, was always kind of me. So, when I decided to create this post as some sort of DIY birthday present for myself, my first idea was to organize a shooting on a cliff or somewhere near the sea (it is raining for days so the water is rather wild and stormy) but I've cut my hair few weeks ago and the only thing Aura can't have is chin length hair. It had to be long and a bit wild, as in the book and as in my imagination. So I have managed to find one picture from my „Aura period“ and would like to share it with you. It was taken on June 4, 2006., after Apocalyptica's concert in Zagreb. I was wearing a „no name“ jacket, and a Skandal corsage and skirt. The brand was pretty popular at the time but untill I sat down to write this post, it wasn't quite clear to me what happenned to it. Oh, of course, and the shoes, I bought them few weeks before the concert, in Paprika store in Italy. They were black with violet pattern and a charming ribbon on the toes. And with 2,5 cm „high“ heel. It might seem funny but to me, wearing sneakers and Dr.Martens only, it was a big deal.

Surprisingly, I've never depicted Gillian as someone I'd fall for, he was one of the things from the book I didn't like. An assasin paid to kill a girl who falls for her, saves her, seduces her, leaves her with child and surprisingly shows up few years later. Cliché. OK, with a twist as Gillian is a hermaphrodite, the product of alchemy and another mythical creature, as he is referred to in a book. When thinking of Gillian's inpersonation the only person coming to my mind was Justin Hawkins, singer of The Darkness. It may be because of his thin voice or because of his long, blond hair. Perhaps his gentle face lines are to blame but, if I was the director, Julian would most certainly play the role of a hermaphrodite.

Of course, I'd be the one portraying Aura. Her strenght and her devotion to everything she does or even tries to do have inspired me so many times and, through me being her, I managed to be me, to create myself to be the person I'm proud of, a strong, hard-willed person, accepting no obstacles in life, giving herself completely to what I do and to whom I love. Being Aura helped me realize there will be times or events in life I won't like, won't feel happy about or I'll even hate them but no matter what, it is necesary to find a fullfillment even if it is just a single, little thing. As with „The Alchemist“, I didn't like the book but I really enjoyed Aura. As with my life at the moment; it is killing me I can't get a job but, on the other hand, I started this blog and it made me feel so alive and filled me with energy I wasn't even aware still exists. So now, at the age of 27, I can say I'm pretty proud of what this Aura has become. Don't know what happens to Meyer's girl (as I found out recently, there are 2 more books, sequels to „The Alchemist“ but not yet translated to Croatian) but am quite certain, no matter how inpredictable the future is, it will bring me joy and even more passion for the things I love.
Have you read „The Alchemist“? If you did, did you like it? If not, and you love „Twilight“ and other YA successes, you should try it, you may love a main female character with a strong personalit  and some other desires in life except being immortal. And, moreover, have you ever found yourself in a situation similar to this, to love a character so much you were able to identify yourself with them?

Looking forward to your comments! 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The spoiled one?

            The March sisters' journey is near its ending, and the saying is that's when the sugar comes. Is it the case now? I'll leave it to your judgment. Because the last of the sisters is the youngest one, Amy March, „family's pet“ and „baby of the family“, cared and cuddled but very stubborn and capricious young girl.

            If Jo is the one that readers love the most, and like to identify with, then Amy is, by the opinion of literature theoretics as well as the reading audience, the one readers love to hate. The two the sisters are, besides taking completely opposite sides in the readers' hearts, bonded by one of the most controversial  relations in the book. They both are very talented and artistic, Jo in the written word and Amy in all kinds of arts. Contrary to what you might think, that line brings them apart rather then bringing them together. Being the youngest, Amy was craving her sisters' acceptance , which was missing very often, leading to unpleasent situations caused by her anger and concocted reactions. Just remember how she burnt her sister's manuscript as a punishment for one such „disobedience“. Still, bear in mind Amy's fragile age of only 12 at the time the „crime“ was executed, and no one really wants to be remembered as a twelve years old version of themselves, don't they?

Kirsten Dunst as Amy March in 1994. adaptation

            We meet a girl who fits the standars of a spoiled brat by every criteria, the youngest sister, the one that always gets her way, or at least so it seems, with beautiful blond hair and deep blue eyes. Her only concern is that her nose isn't sophisticated enough while social climbing and learning difficult, sophisticated words are her only occupation. Amy carries her temper as her biggest burden and her talent for all kinds of visual arts, from sketching to sculpturing, as her greatest treasure.
            Just as well as Beth fits the role of angel in the house Amy fits hers and, being that way, she has probably driven many of the readers crazy to the level when they were rolling their eyes every time she makes a sentence, snorting their noses to her behavior or simply skipping parts of the book with her in charge. I have to admit I wasn't fond of her either, especially when I first read a book as a child, but thinking about it now it made me realize I wasn't quite fair towards Amy as she turns out to be a very nice young lady, both by her appearance and personality. Still, most of us see her as a little spoiled brat whose temper costs Jo her manuscript or who, for temper's sake as well, leaves school after being disciplined by her teacher for the disobedience. Eventually she does change, mostly on her European tour where she meets Laurie, kind neighbour from back home whose proposal Jo recently refused. The two of them fall for each other and decide to get married.

Samantha Mathis and Christian Bale, 1994. adaptation
Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Lawford, 1949. adaptation

There is a lot, in my opinion rather unfair, judgmental criticism towards Amy for accepting the proposal but not many (if any at all) will judge Laurie for proposing. Yes, yes, I agree. I felt terribly sorry Jo didn't end up in Amy's place but it was, in the end, her choice. It was her desire to choose someone on her own, not to end up with a boy everyone was expecting her to end up with. By that choice, again, only in my humble opinion, she lost every right to be mad or resentment for the action of her younger sister who, by then, was mature enough to accept the proposal, not because of money or social position but indeed for true love. Sure thing, Laurie is not poor or without any reputation but remember, just for a moment, how Amy turned down professor from Harvard, a lot more loaded and with better pedigree, in favor of her feelings for Laurie. „Phew“, I hear Amy's haters among you snorting their noses, „should we congratulate her doing  the right thing and showing she's not just a gold digger?“I agree. In a way. On the other hand, is marying for love, or acting towards your feelings, socially accepted today and, moreover, was it socially accepted over 100 years ago?

Would Amy find approval in modern world? Besides Meg, Amy fits social conventions of „Little women“ period the most. Therefore, I see no reason for her to be seen as „social outlaw“ nowdays. It is another question whether each of us like her, but from a general point of view, young and beautiful, nice mannered, rising artist with a lot of friends, married to a beautiful and successful young man would probably be most welcome guest to various social events such as theatre and exhibition openings.
I read somewhere that Amy March, if she was contemporaries with plastic surgery, would surely have her nose done, said in a really bad, mocking tone and context. Very sensitive when it comes to her appearance as she was, I believe she would at least consider that option, but it doesn't make her shallower or worse person then those who are „wearing“ the same nose, ears or any other part of their bodies throughout the life. Amy likes it nice, it is nothing to be ashamed of. She is ambitious and craves for perfection, qualities worth admiration, if you ask me.
Modern Amy, in my imagination, lives in a big, spacious, beautifully decorated house whose interior is her own design, down to the last little detail. There is also a tastefully decorated garden and a small rosary, all located in one of the European capitals, probably Paris. Her home is neither pretentious nor pushy, as some might think, but rather a warm and charming place with heart and soul. As Laurie is a doctor at the Paris hospital, Amy would love to spend more time together, but well aware of the nature of his job she spends her days in painting, sculpting, new exhibitions preparation and care for their only child, little Elizabeth, named after her beloved late sister and very sickly as well. Caring for a sick child, Amy went through even greater change, now even more willingly visiting charity dinners and concedeing some of her artworks for charity auctions.
Untill now, my vision of characters described on this blog was simply mine, created as a part of my imagination, neither inspired or influenced by celebrities or random people, my friends and family. But as soon as I decided to write a post on Amy March, I knew it would be different because there is a person in this blogosphere who reminds me of Amy so much, so lively, I couldn't resist to mention her here. It is my dear friend Arianna from Nymphashion blog. This decision strengthened as Arianna declared herself as always being more like Amy. Arianna's sense for beauty in general, her love towards all kinds of art, her charming and warm  approach, beautiful blond hair and bright eyes made me feel as I have Amy March infront of myself and the decision was made.


How and where Arianna buys her clothes is still a mystery to me, but I'm almost 100% certain Amy does it with a plan, after something draws her attention in french edition of Vogue. Sometimes even fashion designers, Amy's good friends, leave for her pieces they think depict her the best. And what kind of items are those? Simple, gentle, romantic, sometimes even brave and corageous but always steadily and chosen with a lot of taste, just the way they should be. Price is not a problem for her, which doesn't mean she'll refuse to step into low cost shops. On the contrary, if a new, still unknown designer drives her attention she'll be more then glad to promote his work by wearing his clothes to any social event she attends, mainly her exhibition openings. Only rule when it comes to clothing is that there are no pants for they are unknown term in her fashion dictionary.

As she is working, I picture Amy at the spacious, attic ateliere with a big roof window behind and a blanc paper put on an easel, with beautiful stories waiting to be depicted, infront of her. Hair is removed from her face, formed in a pony tail or knitted in a braid. Amy is not a pants believer but, since it can be rather cold in the attic, especially during autumn and winter period, she chooses leggings instead, combined with a warm sweater or tunic. High-heeled ankle boots are the only stylish moment of her attic outfits; you see, Amy is not very tall so wearing heels fills her with confidence (and it is much easier to give Laurie a quick kiss if he comes to visit). 

Quite on the contrary is Amy going to her exhibition openings. That is the time she can and wants to be in the centere of attention, truly star of the evening. So she always does her best to shine in her best glow, dressing up for hours, curling her beautiful hair and then leaving it to fall freely on her shoulders. Normally she'd never dare to pick red, but on evenings like this that exact color is what brings a bit of drama and sensuality to her apperanace. Can you honestly think of something more appealing then pale skined, blond haired ice queen in flaming red? I know most of her guests can't. Believing such a beauty needs no jewelery, Amy picks only a pair of really expensive earrings given to her by Laurie as a gift for her graduation and a Tiffany watch, a gift from herself for the same occasion. Still, the most beautiful accessory is the bouquet of red roses Laurie never forgets to send her, with his and Besses name on the card.

Loss of a sister in youthood and illness of an only child caused Amy to enroll more in charity work at the community. Enjoying life, security and all the things financial stability brought didn't make her forget her childhood or the fact that there are people who need money more then her family does. And she is willing to help. Attending such dinners, Amy does not feel like a star and adjusts her clothes to the event; her colors are more neutral, gentle, her hair is combed into a strict hairstyle with a pair of golden earring as her only jewelery. Still, even then she won't say no if asked to take a photo for local news magazine. All to promote an event, of course.

In the end, if you want to know the real Amy, you'll have to catch her surrounded by her loved ones, cause then she feels like her real self, a good wife and a caring mother, enjoying in passing on the thing for art on to her little girl, who is showing more affection for Aunt Jo's work and using Mom's drawings only as a template for her little stories. Girls enjoy walking and playing in the nearby park, especially if Dad is free and willing to join them. Then it becomes irrelevant if the colours match or is the hair up or down, the only thing that matters is to see Bess smile. And, of course, to take all of her favorite toys in Mum's favorite backpack.
I believe many of you think of modern Amy in different ways and, since this is only my vision, I'd love to hear some of yours.
This is where the journey with the March sisters ends. But our journey together continues. I hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing, and I wish to have more such splendid times in the near future. Today is my birthday so I'll try to make my own version of birthday post. For our next regular meeting I've chosen a book that seems trivial, irrelevant and just like another chick-lit but it literally changed my mind and my viewpoint on one very important issue. Because of that, it deserves a special place on my bookshelf and gained a special place in my heart. Do you have a book that changed you as a person in a way?
Until next time a lot of joyful pages from March sisters and


Friday, 18 October 2013

Sounds of silence

Last time we met, I've introduced you to Jo March, my favorite „little woman“ at the moment. I'm saying „at the moment“ cause Jo wasn't always my favorite one. I first met „Little women“ somewhere between the bookshelves at the children's corner of the local public library when I was around 12. Even today I can't actually say what dragged me to that pinkish covered, frugally illustrated book. Probably, as with everything else we care about most later, it was accidentally.
            However, shortly after that first encounter with March sister, I got a school assignment to create an interview with my favorite fictional character. My choice was Elizabeth „Beth“ March, the most silent of the four March sisters, loving caretaker of the family whose time, except in family care, passed by in reading prayer books, joyful playing with her kittens and reproducing beautiful tones on her piano.

            It's funny how memories of the most silent of the sisters evoke the most sounds; voices of beggar children gathered around her window, meowing of her kittens, beautiful music created on her piano and, at last, sound of silence. You must wonder where did this leap from Beth to Jo come from. Sparkling older sister, turned to books and reading; and younger, unobtrusive sister, sheltered in her own, family-centered, small and humble world, have a little in common. Still, I believe we develop sympathies, as well as hostility, towards people or fiction characters reciprocaly to the size of piece of ourselves we find in it. Twelve-year old girl, a litle bit introverted, always with a book in her hand and suspicion to the outter world on her mind, felt comfortable „being Beth“ but a young woman that girl formed into is full of life and energy, creating her place on this world and doesn't believe in obstacles, just the way Jo didn't. If you wonder what kind of person Beth grew up in, the sad answer is she didn't. As „Little women“ readers, as well as TV-show Friends fans among you remember, Beth leaves this world at very young age (and Joey, as always when he is scared, puts the book in the freezer).

                                   Beth is really, really sick :(

            What would Beth be like if she had a chance to create an adult version of herself? Maybe she'd become famous pianist or her dreams would take her to fashion and design industry. First, and most important question is if she'd even leave her parents' house or would her decision be to stay and take care of her mother and father, loyally and until the very end. Young Beth March, the way we meet her at Alcott's novel, is a representative of femininity concept, highly popular in 19th century literature, known under the term angel in the house, a perfect woman, patient and mildly tempered, simple and self-effacing nature, good house ghost in feminine form. Some of their main characteristics are strong feeling for family needs, especially husband's and, proportionally to that, supressing their own needs.

            Some might think (I admit I have at first) that those women pay no attention to their clothes, physical appearance or what they're wearing. But we'd be wrong. Their devotion to please their husbands and families, as well as their self-effacing characters, overflow to the selection of clothes they're wearing, pleasing for the eye, harmonious but never showy or impressive. Since most of their time angels in the house are occupied by housekeeping and family caring, one of the questions is when do they find the time to renew their wardrobes? In Beth's time it was much simpler, when the need for a new gown occured, you could visit a tailoring salon, probably the one nearest to your home and order it. Or, for the lack of time or finances, visit the local store with premade dresses and pick one. But nowdays...In my imagination, angel in the house is hidden in one of the nicely dressed madams who walk around the mall, hand in hand with their husbands or joyfully chatting with their daughters wile they are window shopping. Those women never pick clothes on their own; how would they know what would fit the needs and ideas of their beloved ones? „Angels“ living outside the big town centers and without mall at their sight have probably discovered and experienced the joys, secrets and traps of internet shopping. That is one of the reasons „angels“ bloomed in  Croatia after it entered European Union, since now there is a wider range of possibilities infront of them, sometimes even at lower rates. Last but not the least, brand chosing. Honestly, I don't think they care about it as long as the clothes are nice, fit and make a good cost-benefit effect.
            I know you'll find this combination stereotypical (I was aware of it even as I created it) but I can't help it. In my imagination, perfect angel in the house wears exactly something like this, inconspicious A-cut dress, always with a collar and pearl or similar necklace. Her hair is left down but perfectly combed with pulled out ends. Entire hairstyle is perfectly smooth and fixed with a riboon in matching, inconspicious color.

            Would modern Beth become angel in the house or would life take her elsewhere? In the world of Little women she never grew up and formed completely, but in my imagination Beth became strong and self-concious young woman, not entirely in her sister Jo's manner but confident enough to make her own choices and to stand up for helself. Even though all of the sisters have already left home, Beth decides to stay for a while and take care of her parents, but in time starts feeling the need for independence and self-realization and, with parents' encouragement and blessing, decides to create a place of her own. Her first decision is to continue her education and she starts taking evening courses in sewing (let's not forget Beth was the first one among the sisters to leave school and committs completely to caretaking for the family). Sewing is, alongside playing the piano, one of the passions marking Beth's new life. Behind sewing machine she feels relaxed and calm, especially while creating the clothes for the others (naturally, sometimes she creates something nice for herself but it is in her nature to take care for the others first) and playing the piano helps her get rid of her shyness and collect the courage to show her real self to the world.            
            Her wardrobe follows that order. During the day Beth prefers neutral,  brown and warm, earthy tones, trying not to pop-up in the mass. I was lucky enough to find the original costume, the dress that Jean Parker wore in 1935. version of „Little women“  and to create this outfit around it, the outfit which stars „Vintage Visetos“ school bag as well. I imagine Beth got it during one of her walks trough the flea market, a place that probably inspires her for some of the clothes she creates. I believe bag was a gift to herself after a well-done job or, perhaps, a very profitable order. All of her daily combinations are probably in the same tone, I can't picture Beth as being a person who shops with a plan but rather doing it when she finds something she likes or finds appropriate for her wardrobe.

            Evening combinations are quite the opposite, still pretty „vintage-y“ but much bolder. She wears those only for occasional visits to the theater with Jo, or in occasions like those when she sits infront of her piano and leaves selected company of her friends and family breathless with beautiful tones that slip so easily from her fingers to the piano keys. Lately she has almost completely overcome her shyness and performing in public is not causing her headache, dizziness or that weird and ackward feeling in the stomach but she rather dresses herself up and causes astonishment, not only by her music. When asked, she'll often say that music is the screen she can leave all her fears and uncertainities behind and present herself to the world in the way she really is, beuatiful and talented young woman. Her evening outfits evoke romance and times passed, combining beautiful, mostly satin, dresses, her hair lifted in a bun or combed and fixed with vintage combs, with small, tasteful earrings as only piece of jewellery.

            Would Beth form like this in Alcott's world as well? I'm not very convinced but it can't stop me (and neither should it stop you) to create her a world and destiny fitting my ideas. In my world she is brave enough to try out in what she likes but remaining humble, self-effacing and devoted to her family. I don't see her as a married woman and a mother of two, but I do feel like, by caring for her parents and remaining in good realtions with her sisters (and later with love she felt for her nephews) what could have been a big whole became a place full of joy and that Beth had a successfull and fullfilled life.
            And what about you? Have you ever wondered what would happen to Beth if she got the chance and, if you had, what was your ending? I'm looking forward to reading your comments, wish you a lot of interesting pages and, with a promise I'll soon write again, I leave you in (I hope) the best possible company.


P.S."Sounds of silence" is dedicated to my beloved grandmother, we laid her to eternal rest yesterday but I'll keep her in my mind and heart forever. Alongside this post, I'd like to dedicate to her this beautiful song

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The one who loved books more...

Dear booklovers,
            I haven't been here much lately, mainly because I was reassessing this whole blogging idea, triggered by critiques concerning Croatian version of this blog which all claimed the blog is boring, uninspiring and not adjusted to blog as a media or to its readers. Only one thought stopped me from ending this whole story; how much joy and happiness writing brings to me. And I decided to stay, because of myself and because of you, my readers (and future readers) with whom I'm hoping to establish nice and strong relationship in near future.

            That is probably the advice our newest guide, Josephine „Jo“ March would give you. In my humble opinion I consider myself to be the most Jo, with some influences from Meg and Beth so please don't mind if this post gets a bit biased (it surely will have some autobiographic elements).
            When thinking about Jo, I have always pictured her with a book in her hand, by the window, while the rest of the house is still asleep. After reading few pages, she leaves a book on the table and takes a pen, puts a notebook on her knees and starts writing. Wrapped in simple, greyish blanket made from wool, she is working on a play for her sisters to perform at Crhistmas Eve's party. Her beloved sisters...Even Jo was rebellious, somewhat wild and ready to disobey the rules whenever it's possible, the love and devotion she had for her sisters were even stronger then the love she had for books and reading.
            The play was made for them, but Jo refused to put any signs of romantic love in it as she was opposing to it as strongly in her plays as she was in her life. The truth was Jo always wanted to be a boy, her messy braid reminded her how much she wanted her hair short. The comfortable, blue, cotton pajama and nice cosy pair of slippers were what she felt the most comfortable in so it always made her edgy when she had to go and put her „girlish“ clothes on.

Besides her clothes and hair, Jo feels miserable about the fact that her beloved Papa is fighting in a war and, as strong as her desire is, she can't fight by his side. All of the above, combined with her tendency to play boyish games and wear male clothes make her a prefect example of a tomboy, a girl who exhibits characteristics or behaviors considered typical of the gender role of a boy, including wearing masculine clothing and engaging game and activities that are physical in nature. At the time she couldn't do much about the clothing but she used every moment available to play with her friend Laurie.


We met Alcott's Jo March. But what about modern Jos, their behavior, their passions, their styles?
In my personal opinion, modern Jo is still in love with books and as a grown up, she is probably engaged in writing and publishing industry, maybe as a freelancer, due to her free spirit. She is still wild and restless which is probably the best shown in her teenage years, while she tries to create her own identity. She probably cuts her hair, infront of the eyes of her shocked parents, wears no make-up and puts a little (if any) effort in her clothing. As long as it is comfortable, she doesn't care about the price, brand or the fabric it's made from.            
Young Jo probably goes shopping for new clothes when the one she has becomes unwearable, probably at the local mall. Since she gives away most of her allowance at the bookstore, brands she prefers are probably low-end, offering youthful clothes, unisex, maybe a bit more masculine but still  with a feminine touch (as she is flirting with her newly born sexuality).

                       Growing up makes her become more and more aware of her feminine side and her clothing becomes more appropriate for her gender role. Every Jo March sooner or later finds love (or a partner with whom she's able to share her passion towards writing), starts a family and/or starts contemplating on her career. Most of her earnings still go towards purchasing the books but now she has more of it left over to be spent on clothes.
                       Even though she is still a frequent visitor of the local mall stores, web shopping is no mystery for her, now she checks up boohoo and asos almost as frequently as she visites amazon to check up for newest interesting titles. She still picks cosy over faddy but, in her new wardrobe, jeans have been replaced with classic cuts pants and skirts, she prefers trenchs and coats over baggy sweaters and her sneakers are now only for long walks over the weekends. For her everyday shoes she'll pick any with the flat outsoles. As I see her, the most important item of modern Jo's style would be a big, vast bag where a pen and a notebook would fit perfectly. Or maybe an iPad and ebook reader, one for noting new ideas and the other for reading ideas of others, anyplace, anytime.

                       Alcott's Jo at the end turned into a truly fulfilled woman; she was beloved by her husband whom she admired and respected, they had two sons to whom Jo proved to be a caring mother and she developed her writing career to an admirable point, which resulted in publishing several works ( Alcott's Jo's Boys were shown to be Jo's novel).
                       And modern Jo? Though it may seem hard at the beginning, I believe she'll find her way through. Now is not the time for rebellious girls, maybe even not the time for various ideas but all she can do, without betraying what she is, is to be herself and to believe in what she's doing. A wise man once said that those who win are those who dare.
                       With this wise thought, I wish you pleasant reading.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Literary catwalk no 1

Dear booklovers,
  I hope you are ready for first steps on our literary catwalk. Even though I didn't get a lot of feedback from you, I still hope it is due to my lousy promotion of this literary corner, and not because you didn't like the idea. So now we have Facebook and Twitter sites for promotion, and I'm planning to create Pinterest as well, but if you have any other ideas or social services to recommend I'll be more then happy to include them as well. But first things first - let's do what we are here for...our first journey.

  And that journey will take us to (back then not so much) United States of America, in the Civil war period. Some of you can probably guess that our first voyage will be provided by an excellent novel by Louisa May Alcott that never gets old - Little women - and our first tour guide will be the oldest of four March sisters, Margaret “Meg” March.

  You may wonder why I chose this particular story among many others, which would be more in the spirit of our time. Beside the obvious, that it is probably one of my favorite novels of all time, the answer is that, when I first came to think about starting this blog, I've asked myself which story would be the best frame for presentation of nice and stylish but still affordable clothes and answer just popped out. Story of four sisters, four characters different enough that every one of us can find at least a piece of ourselves in each of them. Their snug lives were brutally interrupted by the Civil war in which their father fought and girls, together with their mother and one loyal servant, had to abandon the comfort of a big house and move to a smaller, ruinous house and struggle for their existence. But even in the given circumstances girls are managing to keep alive that which is the most important, love and fellowship inside the family.

  As some of you probably know, woman fashion during the Civil war left a little, if any, space for personal influence. Monochrome dresses, head covers and gloves which, as our Meg once said to her younger sister Josephine, every dignified young lady should always wear, suited Meg perfectly and she decided to wear them without any question. Because of her fair complexion, big, brown eyes and densely brown hair she preferred pigeon gray tones, perfect companions to her beauty. Meg was the oldest sister but the role of a leader was often left to her younger sister Jo, whom filled the role much better. Along with her three younger sisters, Meg found company in children from the King family, for whom she worked as a governess and used that money to help supporting the family.

  As an oldest child, her memories of comfortable and happier times were the strongest, as was the repulsion for poverty and the way of life her family was forced to live now. Despite all that, she was always the first one to help the family in the moments when her help was needed the most.

  Meg grew up in time when women started coming out of their social frames, fight for their rights and stand side by side with men, especially due to wartime but she didn't manage to stand up for herself and at the end of a story we leave her as a married woman, mother of twins, dependent of her spouse. By getting married in a wealthy family, Meg thought all of her dreams fulfilled but, as story reaches the end, it becomes clear that it may not be exactly what she imagined her life to be.

  Does it make her a tragic character? Perhaps a little bit because living in the past made her let the present pass her by and, therefore, she lost an opportunity to discover what her potentials are....All of that only for a dose of secured life.

  So, who are the modern Megs March and what would they, due to their characteristics, wear today? Reading the book, I've always pictured Meg as a beautifl young woman, dressed as good as it gets due to the given circumstances but with no personal detail to discover something about her. My picture of her hasn't changed a bit since then. She is a girl aware of the situation and, as much as she'd want to, she'll never spend unreasonable amount of money on clothes, but she'll try to hide it by her overall outfit. Colors of her preference are unadventurous and even though her outfits look good and she know how to wear them, they are missing a final touch of some kind.

  This is how I see Meg March today. This may be her working outfit, or maybe something she'd wear for an afternoon window shopping. What do you think, do you like it or have you imagined it in a completey different way?

  Would you like me to post more different combinations for every presented character, is this the way you imagined my stories or has this came as a disappointment? All of your comments are welcome, especially since this is only my first post and I'd like this blog to become our meeting point, a place where both you and me will meet and have a good time.

Till next time,


Friday, 30 August 2013

Literary corner of virtual universe

  Do you enjoy reading? Does the smell of a brand new book provoke something special in you or did you switch from thumbing through the pages to scrolling the screens of your e-readers, tablets or smartphones, small enough to fit any purse but still large enough to hold all of your favourite books and stories? Whatever the answer to the above question is, I'll assume that you read a lot, that you read often and that reading gives you nothing but pleasure.

  As much as you enjoy reading, I'm sure you find certain pleasure in window shopping as well...standing infront of beautifully decorated shopwindow, daydreaming about all of the possible outfits you could make from those items. But, did it ever cross your mind what would your favourite novel character wear?

  I have to admit it crossed mine more then once. Even though I am fashion lover, still I'm not brave enough to wear different styles or to try out something new every now and then, so I often used my imagination to dress my favourite characters in those styles, based on characteristics given in the book but also based on my idea of what they were and what they represented.

  And that is how Bookworn has been born, literary corner of virtual universe where the main question is not "what I wore today" but "what would they wear" and, by answering that question, through fashion and life stories of its characters, you would get a closer and deeper look on the novel itself. I will always try to provide you with interesting facts and details to evoke the story as authentically as possible and with hope that it will encourage you to read a novel, or if you already read it, to enter discussion.

  It is often said that one can not judge the man by his clothes and, moreover, to never judge a book by its cover but it somehow feels like we can't escape our, mostly visual, nature after all.

  How do you feel about this idea? Do you like it, would you like to read about something like that, share your opinions and, maybe in time, even suggest the titles you'd like to find here? Every feedback from your side is extremely important to me, I'm looking forward to every comment and, 'till next time and posting the first story, I wish you good reading :)