Feed a Family of Five, One Week, Fifty Euro.

I have a passion for food and I'm lucky, we've always had a great relationship. I use it to to care for and nourish, to spoil and make well, to show love and friendship, to make sigh and Read more

Blog Awards Ireland & A Catch Up

You may have noticed a shiny new badge on my page to your right there, see? Yes that's right, I've been nominated again this year so thank you Blog Awards Ireland and thank you to everyone who nominated me, Read more

Anyone for a 'Salon' Gathering ?

I really badly want to go to a 'salon', unusual thought for a Monday perhaps but I've been thinking about it a few years now. I realise I may have to host though I'd much rather attend. Since first I Read more

This is War (a food post)

I haven't talked about food in a while but it's never far from my mind. I've talked in the past about my research into nutrition for parkinson's and cancer treatment and prevention (my Dad had cancer/has parkinson's) and how Read more

A Little Rain Never Hurt Anyone

There's the great lesson when your're Irish that you can't wait for good weather. It's possible the sun will shine and you hope it will, but you don't wait, you live as if the sun were shining. This is why Read more

First Chapter of my Novel - Reader Feedback

As you know I'm editing my first novel at the moment, a contemporary mythic fantasy. Even though it's daunting I have to say I'm enjoying it. I've switched my head from writer, not allowed edit, to editor and of Read more

Anyone for a ‘Salon’ Gathering ?

I really badly want to go to a ‘salon’, unusual thought for a Monday perhaps but I’ve been thinking about it a few years now. I realise I may have to host though I’d much rather attend.

Since first I read the book ‘Wild Irish Women’ by Marian Broderick, this tantalising passage about Lady Jane Wilde (mother of Oscar) left me inspired and so filled me with longing, to attend one, to know more, like how is it done for instance?  To have been a fly on the wall then, could you imagine?

‘Every week she held a salon, or ‘At Home’ at No 1, Merrion Square (Dublin) for the literary, the artistic, the scientific and any celebrity she could get her hands on. She made a strong impression on everyone who met her combination of ‘nonsense with a sprinkling of genius’, as one of her guests so eloquently phrased it.’

jane wilde

Lady Jane Wilde, famous writer, hostess, rebel and mother of Oscar and their home, No 1 Merrion Sq, Dublin. Click image for source details.

Wikipedia describes it as follows…

Salon (gathering) ‘A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. (insert audible sigh) These gatherings often consciously followed Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry, “either to please or to educate”. Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were carried on until quite recently in urban settings.’

Women were the centre of the life in the salon and carried a very important role as regulators. They can select their guests and decide about the subjects of their meetings. Those subjects can be social, literary, or political. They also had the role as mediator by directing the discussion.

The salon was really an informal university for women in which women were able to exchange ideas, receive and give criticism, share their own works and hear the works and ideas of other intellectuals. Many ambitious women used the salon to pursue a form of higher education

Source: Wikipedia, click HERE

I always think too of the dinner scene in Howard’s End, do you know it? I want to go to that dinner, or of Gertrude Steins Paris salon attended by Ernest Hemingway and Picasso, before they were famous.

end b

Afternoon tea with the Schlegel girls, Howards End. I couldn’t find an image of their ‘salon’ dinner. Click image for source details. recently I was reading this intensely incredibly article about artist Louise Bourgeois, her home and life when I came to this passage…

Just recently I read this inspiring feature about artist Louise Bourgeois, her life and home…

‘It was in the sitting room that Bourgeois held her famous Sunday salons, for which people would queue around the block. Everyone had to present something – a piece of music, a poem, a painting. It was Gorovoy’s job to get people drunk. “She had a little bar – whisky, ouzo. Sometimes people would bring wine. It was like group therapy. She’d want to know everything– did their father hit them, what was their mother like. We were both interested in psychology. When we argued she would try to say something psychoanalytical and I would just lob it right back.” From ‘Inside artist Louise Bourgeois’ New York Home, read more HERE

I’d love to have been there wouldn’t you? It would be a bit frightening I think but worth it perhaps, to be surrounded by beauty, to feel inspired, that would be my aim. That’s always my aim really.

So is it time to resurrect the ‘salon’ tradition and if so how? It’s not what find on your doorstep is it? We get bills not invitations and who would be interested in say a monthly ‘salon’ gathering?

Who wants to dress up and drink cocktails but also contribute, participate, give a talk, showcase, host, share, discuss?

1931 32 Art Deco Evening Dress

And I’ll wear this 1931 32 Art Deco Evening Dress, swoon

The catch is that as much as I would love to be a guest, to find mentors, to watch from the sidelines, even one time, just to get an idea, I also know this is the kind of world, the kind of experience you have to create yourself out of air if you want it and I do want it, I do.

Who knows, maybe I will start a salon one of these days, after all I have a history of creating my world as I want it and so far so good.

So when the time comes who’s with me? Is this your idea of absolute heaven as it is mine? Even if it is frightening, even if you’d much prefer hide in a corner and watch it unfold from a bottle of wine.

Or perhaps you’d see yourself as a host or performer and wouldn’t be phased in the least? Perhaps artists, poets, musicians will vy to showcase their work at it and all the time I’ll pretend to be a modern day Jane Wilde with a dash of Gertrude Stein.

And out of interest, seeing as we’re imagining the scene, how would you run it? How structured or loose, what kind of format? How would you soothe others fears, swallow your own and keep the night flowing? It’s a bit of a mystery isn’t it?  It has more mystery and room for interpretation than a straightforward party or dinner.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas…I may use them too. Have a great, great week out there. Talk to you soon.

chat

To illustrate the mystery of the ‘salon’ I couldn’t find any really suitable illustrations! Here instead is a fabulous dinner party one. Source link in image

 

Posted on by Jane in I WAS JUST THINKING, We Can Do It - Tips for Creative Living 13 Comments

Openness

Hello and welcome August 1st, the Gaelic Harvest Festival of Lughnasa.

I’ve been meaning for some time to share a few thoughts on openness, the opposite of secrecy, a release of ego, honesty, acceptance of experience.

It’s always been my nature to be open and I’ve always been that way with those close to me but like lots of people I learned secrecy as an idea of protection, a wrong idea as it turns out.

I think we all do that to some extent especially if like me you’ve experienced bullying, but something clicked and in recent years I said to myself that I didn’t want to be anything other than completely open anymore.

I started to see the inherent poison that is secrecy, the freedom openness would bring not just for me but for society as a whole and well, you know how I feel about freedom.

Starting a blog was a perfect opportunity to practice openness. It was scary, putting myself out there because I knew once I started I couldn’t pretend, the blog would be me. So that and then turning 40, which by the way why didn’t anyone tell me getting older would be so great? I absolutely love it, though don’t hold me to that. I reserve the right to change my mind down the road but no one ever says when your’re 20, ‘Oh you think your’re happy now but wait till your 40,’ do they?

People who don’t know me sometimes say, ‘You don’t really dress like that, eat like that all the time?’ ‘You can’t be this positive?’ Well I do and I am, that is the real me but I find it funny when people are negative about positivity and what they perceive as an image. There’s a widely held idea that if your presenting this way it’s fake but by moaning and wearing a hoodie your’re somehow more real.

mask

W.T Benda for Life Magazine 1923

 

When it comes down to it I think we all know when someone is being their authentic self, and there really is no substitute for the ‘real’ thing, no matter what it is. I know when I read a blog post or an article or just talk to someone open it makes me feel better about me and my life, don’t you find that? When I talk to someone who is closed, who is wearing a mask I tend to shut down too.

Writing the blog has made me more free. Openness is contagious, when you open up you give others permission to say they feel the same or just be who they are. There’s less judgement, connections are made, you learn your’re not crazy, well no crazier than anyone else.

For a long time in Ireland we lived in a closed society and as we know only too well the repercussions of that are secrecy, loneliness, depression, mis-understanding, judgement, malignant shame, protection for abusers, for those in positions of power. This is why I believe in openness, it lifts veils of secrecy, thwarts misplaced protections.

The truth is we can’t hide. By wearing a mask we’re not fooling or helping anyone and most likely we’re hurting ourselves because deep down we’re all the same, we’re all crazy and we’re all wonderful.

I think it goes back to knowing and understanding yourself so you can move forward, beat bullies, heal if you need to, forgive if you need to, let go, change, MOVE and if your’re not being true to yourself what are you teaching your children? At the end of the day the danger with wearing a mask long enough is you risk losing the person behind it.

If you haven’t already why not give it a whirl this weekend, let yourself say/do what you really think/want to. Let the anxiety and exhilaration of that hit you. Look silly, feel silly, feel embarrassed, risk not being cool, say sorry or don’t, say no, say yes! Say it out loud and feel the release, the freedom that comes of it.

and live

Click image for source link

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please feel free to share in comments. Have a fabulous weekend out there :)

Disclaimer: No hoodie’s were harmed in the making of this blog post

Posted on by Jane in I WAS JUST THINKING 10 Comments
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