I’ve been reading an amazing book recently; one I picked up in a hostel in Costa Rica at the very end of my Central America trip last year, then put back on the bookshelf as it was too thick to carry home (my backpack was 100% full of things collected over the course of 2.5 months; souvenirs, textiles and the most beautiful hammock you’ll ever see (and which I haven’t seen in a while, since England is not the ideal hamaca-hanging arena).
I spend an indecent amount of time on amazon.co.uk, buying new CDs most weeks and occasionally treating myself to new books too… and I bounced through ‘recommendations’ a few weeks ago until the same book caught my eye again. And it could get to me without me carrying it!
I will admit that one of the reasons I initially was drawn to this book in San Jose was the cover. I think the most discerning readers always judge a book by its cover… And I have always been drawn to wolves. Here it is:
‘Women who Run with the Wolves: Contacting the power of the wild woman’, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
Unknown to me at the time, this is apparently a real classic, a bit like ‘The Artist’s Way’ and all that other good stuff. I’m learning a lot from it, and it’s also interesting to consider it in the context of my modelling work (tenuous link ahoy!!). My images often portray what I’m told is a very feminine, soft and sensual ‘prettiness’, and this book explores the other side of that womanly coin; the intuition, power, primal animal attributes and wisdom of women. When you’re feeling a bit too simpering and primped, it’s a good slap in the face. Women should be strong, powerful and deeply creative, not overly passive, girlish and naive; they are deeply knowing, instinctive and in touch with the vital, if they let themselves be.
I’m about a third of the way through, but I’m finding the author’s writing style so beautiful and poetic; so mad, funny and academic all at once. So this is a big fat recommendation. She weaves mythological fairy tales and folklore from all over the world with psychoanalysis and explorations of the unconscious, paradigms, roles and archetypes that can help us know what to do and who is who and who has what intention… and how to stay true to yourself. Cool huh?
I love a word which comes up frequently in the book: ‘criatura’ (creature). I think the following shots compliment the theme, being quite different from straightforward ‘pretty’ or ‘perfect’ representations of femininity, so they are well worth an appearance on my blog; they show flesh and bone, the workings of the body, and are real and mysterious at once. I also think they are beautifully lit, which never hurts. 🙂
By Shane Lewis, shot in Dublin:
On another bookish note, what an amazing idea this is, at a time when libraries here in England are dying/being closed due to cuts and land-line public phones aren’t really very necessary. Apparently these book exchanges are cropping up in rural villages; I imagine my American followers will find this very quaint. 😉