Saturday, April 12

the study of parties

Mrs Dalloway's Party essays by Virginia Woolf collected by Stella McNichol / The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald / Movie by Baz Luhrman,

there's something going on in my life that has made me start studying parties, I recently realised. This past year, I've been reading The Great Gatsby. Among the other stuff I read, this one is a particular work in progress, because of the language. Oh, the language! I have to be in a receptive mood to open that book. Possibly because I feel as if I owe it to Fitzgerald to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate all… the… work, he put into this piece. The thoughtfulness of the words chosen for the sentences can be so exquisitely delicious that one sentence can deserve being read, read and read again. What really draws the process out, is when a sentence deserves that I close the book... Such as the so strikingly captured, basically human, glimpse-like thought process of realising that all other people in the world live different lives from your own, while you are a part and not a part of it all: 

'I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life'
/Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby

but returning to the study of parties, I want to say that I am noticing how the span of different mixtures that parties can be, brings out very different personality traits in people. Brings out the wild and the quiet and the honest. Which the clever collection of Virginia Woolf essays surrounding one specific occasion - Mrs Dalloway's Party - helped me begin to notice, when I am among people.

this is not only fascinating as a step in my own perception of the puzzle that is the world, it is also interesting for my work as an experience designer. The study of the puzzle pieces of parties. How to encourage certain sides of people to appear at certain occations. Like recently, after a great birthday party of a friend, a few of the same people met for dinner, and the connection among us was suddenly what I would describe as magic. Because of the party a few nights before? Because of the particular mixture of that particular evening?

what I essentially want to say is that:
parties say a lot about people. These two books and the movie are great lenses to use for looking closer at people. I like people.

'I like large parties. They're so intimate. At small parties, there isn't any intimacy.'
/Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald  

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