Monday, October 22, 2018

A Step Back in Time by Brenda Chapman

This week's question: If you could time travel, which era would you to back to and how long would you stay there?

An intriguing question this week! My first thought was that I'd go back to the Renaissance era in the 14th century and land in Florence, Italy, to be part of the cultural and social revolution underway. Imagine watching Michelangelo at work painting the Sistine Chapel or talking flying machines with Leonardo da Vinci ...

But upon further reflection,  given my druthers, I'd transport myself to Paris during the Roaring Twenties, the brief, exhilarating period of economic prosperity after World War One, before the 1929 stock market crash. Also called the Jazz Age, this was a time of  dance clubs, the Charleston and flapper; Al Capone, prohibition and speakeasies, where illegal booze flowed. The first automobiles were produced as well as moving pictures, although sound wasn't available until the end of the decade.

For women, attitudes were beginning to change with the vote being bestowed and the idea of women working outside the home gaining momentum. Glamour and sexiness became the trend -- sequins and feathers, shorter, loose dresses and bobbed hair, fashion that marked an end to the Victorian era. Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby is a symbol of this changing society and the hedonism of the time.

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

This period of modernity was a time of experimentation in the arts and architecture, and creativity soared. Georgia O'Keefe's paintings are emblematic of this shift, and the Chrysler and Empire State buildings in Chicago and New York City are examples of the Art Deco that flourished in this era with minimalist and streamlined designs.

It was also a fertile time for fiction, and many authors and artists frequented the coffeeshops on the West Bank in Paris. France had adopted much of America's social and cultural changes during this period. Faulkner, D.H. Lawrence, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound are but a few of the writers producing works such as, The Sun Also Rises, The Waste Land, and Lady Chatterley's Lover - all works I've read and thoroughly enjoyed.

“Sex and a cocktail: they both lasted about as long, had the same effect, and amounted to the same thing.” 
― D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

Once I'm done hanging with the writers in the Left Bank cafes and Paris speakeasies, discussing the writing craft with all the luminaries of the time, I'll listen to some great jazz, dance the Charleston in my flapper dress and drink in a speakeasy before transporting home to my life in 2018. As for how long I'd stay in the Roaring Twenties -- a month ought to be enough to soak up the era and give me some whopping good stories to tell my grandchildren.

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”― F. Scott Fitzgerald


Website: www.brendachapman.ca
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2 comments:

Susan C Shea said...

That's a lovely era to transport yourself to. Have you seen "Midnight in Paris" where the protagonist does just that? I would choose it too as long as I could be assured that I'd be in that crowd of astonishingly creative people. With my luck, I'd probably be an impoverished laundress stuck in a dingy, cold place, with chapped hands and no education!

Brenda Chapman said...

I haven't seen 'Midnight in Paris' but have it on my list now :-) Yes, not every era is all wonderful, so would be good to be able to pick our experiences.