Book Club, Current Sensibility

February Books: Dorothy Draper and Wyoming’s Red Desert

  1. Dorothy Draper:  A few years ago my mom gave me a first edition of Dorothy Draper’s 1939 book “Decorating is Fun!”  I’m just now diving into it and it’s a fantastic read.  Lines like: “Doors are usually orphans – nobody pays any attention to them,” and dramatic statements about color:  “It is the rock on which your house is built” read like they were written 10 minutes ago, not 78 years ago. There’s also an excellent introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt that deserves a blog post all by itself.
    My vintage Draper book

    I was thinking recently about what it means to work and be a mother and how lucky I am in my job in that I get to meet all these other women who care about their homes, work hard (either outside or inside of the home), and have multiple varieties of children and pets or none at all.  It’s inspiring for me to meet so many different archetypes of femininity and to understand that they’re not archetypes at all.  They each have crazy and wonderful ways of approaching life that work well for them, or don’t work well for them and that’s just the way it is.  There are no “secrets” on how to do it all; you just do what you can do or you don’t.  Life will just keep moving on.

    A Dorothy Draper designed bedroom in the Presidential Suite at The Greenbrier (Source)

    I found this quote recently from Dorothy Draper that meshed with my own feelings about working and mothering: “A great deal of superfluous nonsense is talked about women combining careers with a normal home life. The way to combine the two is to combine the two and not dramatize them.” – Dorothy Draper interview 1941

    2. Wyoming’s Red Desert:

    A beautiful photo by Wyoming photographer Ken Driese of an abandoned home in Wyoming’s Red Desert (Source)

    I love the paths that books open up to me.  I recently finished Off The Grid by Wyoming author C.J. Box.  It’s a riveting thriller set in Wyoming’s Red Desert.  I’ve lived in Colorado for over 10 years and I’ve never heard of it before.  In addition to wild horses (!) and splendid isolation – it is the largest living dune system in the United States.    I found freelance photographer and professor Ken Driese’s blog after looking at images and articles on the Red Desert and fell in love with his work.

    “Murphy bed and peeling paint” Jawbone Ranch, Red Desert (Photo by Ken Driese)

    Check out Ken’s photography site – his work is gorgeous! Contact him for more information on how to purchase a print.  Here’s another photo of his that I love that is not from Wyoming.  Ken is on the board of Colorado based One School at a Time – a non-profit that is partnered with six Ugandan Schools and focuses on keeping children in school to fight the cycle of poverty.

    Beautiful image of an African girl from Wyoming photographer Ken Driese. (Source)

    Let girls learn: because girls belong in school, not early marriages.” from One School at a Time.




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