Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fashion designers and writing

I recently went to see an exhibition of Jean-Paul Gaultier clothing and designs at the Barbican here in London, so today I thought I’d treat you to some photos of his fantastic creations.  And it really is a treat as everything on display was truly amazing!  Outrageous sometimes, but definitely amazing.

Apart from the purely aesthetic pleasure of looking at his creations, they made me think about writing, which is kind of weird.  But I realised that fashion designers are not that different from authors and other creative types.  They take old ideas, turn them on their heads, scramble them a bit, and come up with something new.  That’s what we do too, isn’t it?

We’re always being told there are only so many story lines/plots in the world (I’ve heard seven, ten and twelve – not sure who’s right?) and that everything we write is just a variation on an old, familiar tale.  It’s the same with fashion – there are only so many types of hemline, sleeve design etc you can have.  It’s how you put them together into a whole that makes the difference for all of us.

Monsieur Gaultier is obviously a genius – a bit mad sometimes (in the best possible way), it would seem, but still, a genius.  His collections were not so much wearable clothes, as works of art, although I did actually fancy owning some of the outfits.  I would probably have to be an extra in a remake of Mad Max to be able to carry it off though, but it would be worth it! 

And although I don’t write steampunk, sci-fi or fantasy, after seeing this exhibition I had a sudden yearning to do so.  You can obviously have a lot of fun thinking up fantastic outfits for your characters and ‘fun’ was a word that sprang to mind constantly when seeing the Jean-Paul Gaultier stuff.  The sheer exuberance of some of the clothes on display made you smile and you could tell this was a designer who really enjoys his work.  It was inspiring on so many levels.

Would I feel the same way if I wrote something totally different to my normal genres?  I guess there’s only one way to find out ...  Now all I need are some extra hours in the day!

Really, really wanted this coat!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ghosts and Dreams

Musing at Beaver Run

Living in a place that you have visited off and on over the years gets you to thinking about how you change over time.

I first visited Breckenridge as an eleven year old, day trips up on occasion from where we lived down in Denver. Then I though that I could do anything or be anything I wanted. Mostly I dreamed of being a ski instructing acting vet who wrote on the side.

The next time I visited Breck was as a nineteen year old student. Fresh from my first term at Imperial studying Physics, I think I had already worked out that a life in academia wasn't for me. That Christmas break here in Breck was probably the first time I realised that maybe you couldn't do everything. I also remember it as being incredibly painful as I had an infected wisdom tooth. By the next Christmas I would've moved to Leeds Uni to study Material Science and Engineering and be lighter four wisdom teeth.

It was another fifteen years before I returned to Breckenridge. Older, maybe not wiser. I was thirty four and heart battered and beaten. I was in the verge of starting my self employed period where I juggled radio presenting, voice overs, and writing with project management. And after that holiday I never thought I'd be back.

Yet here I am.

Forty two and actually living here until July. I pass the condo I stayed in back when I was nineteen and wonder if I can see the ghost of me standing at the window. What would she think of me now? My life has taken such twists and turns that I don't think she would ever have guessed I'd be here.

And then I pass the restaurants I ate and drank in eight years ago. It isn't so long but there are still big changes. I catch myself looking for that sad woman out the corner of my eye, I want to hug her and tell her she gets the guy. And she gets to write.

Every so often when I ride the chair lifts, I can see eleven year old me swinging her skis. She is yearning to throw herself down the mountain as fast as possible because nothing matters but the skis and the snow.

I wonder if I squint a bit whether I'll start to see a future me wandering down Main Street... what would she think?