‘Slowly I came down the east staircase, shoulders back and chin up. The old P&D: poise and decorum. Poise was keeping your knees and your lips together, your eyebrows and your nostrils apart. Decorum was keeping your mouth shut. I needn’t have bothered. There was no one in sight.’ —— Flavia de Luce
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, by Alan Bradley (The most recent installment of the Flavia de Luce series. The first book is titled The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.)
At eleven years of age, living with her eccentric family in the English countryside, Flavia manages to entangle herself in murder cases, utilizing her boundless curiosity and knowledge of chemistry. She is intrepid, inspiring, and causes me to read with a smile on my face.
Ever alert for the pithy quote that speaks to the business of life in a body, I found Flavia’s description of herself to be a humorous example of the directions we often give ourselves, especially when wishing to make a good impression.
These were Mr. Alexander’s Directions with a Capital ‘D’:
I allow my head to move forward and up, that my spine may lengthen and my torso widen.
Next time you find yourself in a ‘shoulders back’ moment, give Mr. A’s Directions a try. And about keeping those nostrils apart, well, I’ll have to get back to you on that!