• July 1, 2010
  • Georgia Keighery
  • Blog

Recently, I was bored. Seriously lacking in inspiration. Given my inflated sense of my own intelligence I took to trawling through dense publications on modern philosophy to try and kick-start some stimulating ideas. “I want witty, with depth” I kept thinking, “big ideas with a humorous kick … meaningful stuff”. Smart.

As I read and re-read Descartes’ opening paragraph I found myself fidgeting. I’d sideways-glance out the window and indulge in another fantasy about a nobel prize win and the to-die-for frock I’d wear to the ceremony. “Who should I thank? … Well, Descartes obviously, because I’m about to paraphrase his brilliance in a new and profound way …”. Smart. Yes. “Now, where was I up to in Principia philosophiae?”. Paragraph one. Still. I felt dumb.

As I realised that this path to inspiration wasn’t working I decided to spend some time watching other people being interested in stuff. Yes. I’d watch the inspired!

As far as inspired goes, I don’t think you can go past Carl Sagan. It’s not just his kermit-the-frog-sounding voice and gargantuan intellect that keep me enthralled, it’s something more. There’s a charisma about him that defies taste, I think. Just like with Brad Pitt – it doesn’t matter what you’re into, you’ve gotta love him.

As I sat down and began to watch his “Cosmos” series on DVD I came to understand that the charisma of Carl Sagan is due to his utter fascination with absolutely everything. He’s one of those people who can express their sincere enthusiasm for something so clearly that you feel you’ve wasted your life not pursuing the object of their interest. As I watched I wanted to be Carl. Yes. Smart like Carl.

Of course, at this point, I wasn’t able to think of a single thing that I was even mildly enthusiastic about (except Carl). I stopped the DVD so that I could slip into utter despair that I wasn’t even smart enough to find inspiration, let alone smart enough to be smart with it.

No more than 10 minutes later a package arrived in the mail. It was addressed “to Georgia Keighery the Columnist”. Opening it I found it was a birthday present from my darling Uncle Marco. In his infinite wisdom he had sent me a copy of a hard-back Disney book entitled “World of Princesses: A glittering guide to being a princess”. The target audience for this publication would be between the ages of 2 and 8.

Contained within the big, pink, sparkling book a girl can find gems of wisdom on everything from how to use ribbons or flowers in your hair if you want a “simpler look” than your tiara, to which fabrics are best for your ball-gown. I poured over the pages advising you not to worry if your portion-size at a royal banquet is too small (there’s probably more courses on the way apparently) and informing you on how to pin your hair back if you’re a princess who likes to read. There are pop-ups of castles, cut-out princesses with a variety of paper princess frocks to dress them in, your very own Royal Ball Dance Card … And, the creme de la creme: instructions oh how to braid your pony’s mane (without the stern caution against leaving my horse’s hair in braids overnight, I would never have known).

I spent a solid 2 hours completely engrossed.

In one of my favourite quotes of all time, G. K. Chesterton said, “We are perishing for a want of wonder, not a want of wonders”. So very true. I’d like to add “a want of tiaras” to that. The truth is, when I get caught up in lofty ideas of “intellectual engagement” I generally forget to pay attention to to my enthusiasms (doused in glitter though they may be). I get so caught up in wanting to be “smart” it becomes positively slapstick and I become utterly bored.

As Jalal ad-Din Rumi so fabulously put it: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment”. Well I’d happily trade what little cleverness I have for a copy of “World of Princesses” any day of the week … Did I mention that there was a paper tiara that you could tear out of the book and fold into a headpiece? … Well there was. And I’m wearing it now. I have never felt more full of wonder. And I have to say, I look very smart in it!

7 comments on “Smart Princess

  1. ah, GK Chesterton (he’s got your initials!), he’s in the book I’m reading now.

    “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is the happiness doubled by wonder”.

    There you go. Good story tiny, Dad told me to pass on some message about ponies last night and I forgot, I guess that’s what it was about. Although I misheard him and thought the instruction was to not leave ponies’ hair in FLATS overnight. Of course I was confused and thought – but what if it’s cold and you don’t have a house? And why only their hair? Poor pony 🙁

  2. I loved this one Georgie. It’s one of the reasons I love teaching kids so much. The wonder and excitement they show in everyday life reminds you that sometimes the important things are really simple. I’m happy to leave the “higher thinking” to others.

  3. Why can’t one be an authentic princess and still relish Bordieu? In his theory of habitas, I would be running true to form, as you are Georgia, in that we have been born to royalty, and in royalty we will continue to entrench ourselves. We will ferociously defend our right to be princesses. We will insist on wearing the tiaras and braiding the pony’s mane. We will prevail. Maybe try Foucault? He had a way with majestic things.

  4. Chet this book was always you. The author had you in mind in every para. So did I when I read it. I hope it’s OK to admit that you read your gifts before you send them. I always listen to the CD’s and rewrap them in Glad. I tried on Tom’s new birthday shirt, it fits me perfectly. I’m really pleased he didn’t like it, although I said that I was heartbroken. It was a lie. The wine is a problem. It’s harder to get the cork back in the bottle after just a little sip, so I usually just have it all. Next day I go and buy a CD instead, unwrap, listen, have a glass and then waddle to the Post Office. No wonder there’s no money for Liff’s inheritance! Heaven knows what they think about how badly wrapped things get, and you can possible picture the struggle with the sticky tape. Last Christmas I used four rolls of holly covered sticky. Someone was going to get a bottle of Drambuie, but they got a toothbrush.That took pretty much one whole roll of the holly tape. Couldn’t get the red leady stuff back on the Drambuie at all. Not even three days later. That’s why Scottish men wear skirts. The Drambuie makes it very hard to manage zippers. I’m getting one of those handle things for sticky tape that make a loud ripping noise before the next festive season. Or maybe screw-tops, or possibly just books. If I buy them now I’ll have read them all, and I’ll know a lot more about life. Especially about being a princess. It’s one of the most important skills, being a princess. I’m just going home to put on my taffeta safari suit and plait my pony’s mane

  5. @ Uncle Marco … it sounds like your means of intervention arrived at just the right time to avoid Miss Georgia slipping into a state of utter despair. Good job!

    …* where can one find this so called ‘World of Princesses’ book? It sounds like it has some invaluable tips to life within its hard backed glittering cover. *

  6. Oh good work Georgia! Wonderful! Now everyone will want tiaras! Out with the tongue studs and on with the tiaras! They’ll be swanning along King St Newtown wearing the Doc Martens, jeans with holes, black string vests and every kind of tiaras. Wooden ones, leather ones, metal ones, cardboard ones with texta colour writing, ones made out of plastic patio furniture with spray-on glitter, edible ones made of pizza dough and weldable cheeses, sporty ones made out of Spandex all sweaty and greasy from the gym. Ones with national flags on little spaghetti flagpoles. Sustainable ones with bits of fur from endangered species and radioactive waste. AAAARGH. Fashion is out of control! Ermenegilda Zegno will be having them mass-produced in China, Louis Vuitton will have the label and handles. Keep the tiara in the walk-in-wardrobe, where it deserves to be! Or in the scullery! Off the street, please

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