Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"these socks, those earrings"

Glenda Adams, late 1980s, Sydney, Australia
My mother, Glenda Adams, died five years ago today. I am her only child, and she was an amazing mother. While our tastes are different, she and I shared a love of clothing and a sense of personal style. She is a well-known Australian writer; I keep a blog about reading her writing here.

In an interview she had with Jan Hutchinson in the October 1988 issue of the journal Fine Line, they talk about whether her writing is autobiographical, morality in her writing, whether writing is political, women and writing, and my mother's two novels (at the time) Games of the Strong and Dancing on Coral.

But my mother also gets a chance to talk about clothing (because Games of the Strong includes a conflict about shorts and petticoats):

"Well, that's in a lot of my stories. What you wear. Nothing much has changed. We take as much care throwing together something casual. We choose quite carefully our tops and bottoms. These socks, those earrings. I feel that to think happily about clothes is quite a wonderful thing and it's been mistaken for -- given the fifties and sixties and the women's movement -- a sign of low self-esteem that you have to doll yourself up. You can also see it as a sign of extraordinary self-esteem. To decorate yourself with some confidence seems to me to be a wonderful urge. And not one that was encouraged in us young Australian women, especially if you were supposed to be good at your school work, which is sad for girls."

Of the many lessons she taught me? Play with and enjoy your clothing.