Letters From a Librarian: An Introduction

Literature and Fashion.

I've always thought of myself as a creature of disparity (disp- not to be confused with desp- as in desparation) and one of the most obvious manifestations of this is my strange love for both the fleeting world of fashion and the endurance of great literature. Of course there is much analysis to be done regarding the truth on both sides of that statement, but I'll settle for their intersection.
Because, yes, there is fashion in literature. Quite a bit. I like finding it, noticing little statements that give me a strange feeling of excitement...it's the feeling of opposites coming together and appearing, for a moment, to be not so different after all.

Literature encourages us to think of other ways of seeing. Great literature helps us to do this; we read through the pages of Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, Thomas Mann, or Marcel Proust and our hearts are stirred by the beauty of the words, the images conveyed by the words, and the philosophy present in the total text. But our heart is also stirred by a sense of recognition when one finds a book that truly speaks out. It is as if a string inside of us has been plucked and left to reverberate, ringing out the as-yet undefined tones of some part of who we are.

If you have ever felt this sort of resonance, you have felt a consciousness of similarity. You have felt something that seems to be simultaneously outside/other and inside/personal. The formation of this consciousness is what forms the oft-spoken-of “personal style.” No one should be told what to wear any more than they should be told what books to enjoy or what music to listen to. We are drawn to certain things naturally, and are indifferent to other things just as naturally. Forcing ourselves to like something because it is trendy, or because we feel we ought to, is the fastest way to impede any development of personal style. However, we do like to discover new things, and it is frequently through a discussion or conversation that we are turned on to new sources of inspiration and excitement.

I call this blog "Letters from a Librarian," but I'd like for them to be more than letters, something closer to a discussion or conversation about what it means to read and engage the mind; what it means to fashion an exterior by drawing on your interior; what it means to explore who you are and then to translate what you've found into a visual aesthetic; I'd like to explore what "personal style" really signifies.