All about appearancespublished: 2010-03-09
I am in a village called Paraty. It is one of the oldest colonial villages in Brazil. It was preserved because people forgot all about it when a new port for the export of gold was built. Now, it is predominantly home to holidaying couples and guest-houses. The historical city center is full of galleries and restaurants. Indeed, it is very pretty. But somehow, I never really warmed up to the artsy, cultural villages in the world. Like Ubud in Bali, Bergen in Holland or Eze in France, I feel strangely uncomfortable walking past ateliers after ateliers and artisan shops. The owners all wear long, flowy dresses, big bracelets, necklaces and colourful hair bands. Some will sport dreads. The particularly wild ones may have shaven their heads in a stylish Sinead O’Connor kind of way. I can’t quite put my finger on what bothers me about it. Perhaps it’s the way creativity is portrayed and subsequently exploited. This is how people like to see their artists. Similarly, people like to see their writers present themselves a particular way: ernest and in black. Preferably a writer should wear glasses and speak in an anti-everything modus when drinking.
I suppose being a diplomat’s daughter has made me a little too sensitive for this kind of outwardly show. Or perhaps I am just frustrated. As my significant other would say: “you simply hate the confrontation with yourself.” True. But isn’t in essence writing (or any art-form for that matter) exactly that?