Well, who'd a thunk it? I've read a lot of psych books, and I've read a lot of self-help books, and I've read a lot of style and design and fashion books and magazines. I do not expect the same sort or the same depth of insight or useful analysis from Vogue as I get from Lenore Thomson or David Kiersey. That would be like expecting the same health benefits from chocolate covered almonds as I could expect from organically grown vegetables with a little bit of chicken for protein accompanied by whole grains. It's not that the chocolate covered almonds are bad - or even useless. It's that they're not complete food. They just are what they are.

But the book I held a contest for? The brand spanking new Style Statement by Carrie McCarthy & Danielle LaPorte? Well, it might be hard for you to believe me, but I really do think this book has found a unique place in the world. In fact, I'd say it would be as useful to an interior designer to use with her customers as it would be for a fashion designer to use ... and for a chef or a nursery school teacher or any CEO. In fact, I think it might be imminently useful for those who do psychological counseling for a living! No kidding.

I know, I know. It seems pretty far fetched to make the claim that analyzing your own affections and tendencies, and doing this analysis in a context of figuring out what's most "true" about your own self ... well, it just seems self-indulgent at best - and perhaps even delusional at worst. But the fact is that once you can say to yourself that your foundational self - 80% of you - is encapsulated in a word, and that your creative edge of expression in your life is another word - your top 20% - your spin - your personalization of your place in the world ... once you have that word and that other word, you really do end up with this oddball experience of being ... um ... well, have you read the Harry Potter books. (This isn't helping the seriousness aspect of my claims, is it?)

There's a scene - the kid has just discovered that he's a wizard and not just really weird, and he's in a wand shop. The startling proprietor claims that the wand chooses the wizard. Harry finds this to be true. There is a wand - a very special wand - that resonates to his touch and he to it. When you know what sort of stuff you're made of - when you find those words - you find yourself in the slightly shocking yet oddly powerful position of a person with powers.

I don't think I can explain it to without music to express it - or a painting. This isn't the "science" of a lab (or, I should say, it isn't merely that). It's an art. I wonder ... is there a painting? Something that shows the beauty and power and delightful confusion of not quite knowing what to do but knowing that you have the powers? Knowing that you will know when you get there? Finally understanding "to thine own self be true" in a way that isn't selfish and narcissistically dangerous?

Yes! Allow me to introduce: John William Waterhouse's The Sorceress (1911). This, I need on my wall. She looks like I feel.

1 comment:

Polly said...

Oooo - I likey. A visual representation of your style statement.