peace.paz.selam

B is for Books x A Few of My Favorite Things: Toni Morrison & “The Bluest Eye”

In A Few of My Faaaavorite Things, B is for Books on July 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm

reposted from aplaceforpeace.tumblr.com 7.27.11

words cannot even describe how i feel right now except to say that it has been a while since i have so thoroughly loved a piece of work that i almost envied the talent which created that thing that i so dearly have fallen for.

i can name those times, as well as the ones that came close to them in extremity of emotion.

times i’ve fallen so hard i’ve wanted to im(OR)ex-plode (in no particular order):

1. when I saw the Salvador Dali exhibit @LACMA w Sebastian (an experience so good i wrote about it in my transfer application’s college essay)

2. when I watched Radiant Child and Jean-Michel Basquiat fought a very difficult duel w Salvador Dali in my heart for many months and eventually emerged my new favorite artist, before which, before Dali that is, there were none.

3. when I read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and realized, simultaneously, that I had never been so thoroughly defeated by an inanimate object and that it was, and still is, my favorite book.

4. lauryn hill.

5. watching, in awe, alone, high up in the nosebleeds of the Zellerbach Theatre (where my graduation would be held two years later- just rerealized how goodGodis), Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz and Lincoln Center Orchestra. a experience that not only sent me deep, spiritual, unspoken but unmistakeable blessings on the rest of my time at Berkeley, but what is more, had me convinced hip-hop could be saved if we all relearned how to hear music- not even to hear it the way i imagine they can (psh, in.my.dreams) but simply to hear it as they played it. went home and typed my heart out till my fingers gave out- thats not including what i pounded into my phone during the intermission- and promised to see them as many times in my lifetime as i can. a promise i’ve already broken to myself once cause my flakiness makes no exception, even for myself, apparently. but also a promise i’ve every intention to keep.

5. just now, when i finished, for the SECOND time, reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. and realizing that i had missed SOOO much more than i could have imagined, wondered, as i did when I saw Dali at LACMA, what it must feel like for an artist to have created a piece that, i imagined, turned out exactly the way the artist must have intended it to. that is until i read the afterward and upon taking in her own critique of her writing (and feeling excitedly honored that hers of it matched mine! ….groupie much?), as well as her explanations for why she pursued writing it the way she did, i completely fell apart into awe-full praise.

the margins of my copy are LITERALLY filled with the words “wow” and “OMG”: the most profound comment i could muster (OMG isnt even a word!) in the middle ofexperiencing this book. i had to seriously stop myself from underlining every sentence. and on many pages i happily failed. i told myself numerous times in the process that i had to share “this” quote on my blog or twitter or FB because it was too good for everyone not to know…how could there be so many of them in one book?

how could anything be so good?

the last page of my copy reads the following happily silly self-important note to self that only

a. children write in their diaries or

b. adults write in the margins of wonderful books when the sheer near-divinityof something has reduced them to childlike giddiness

verbatum:

“I ❤ Toni Amazing Morrison.

-added to the list of writers I want to BE when i grow up-more-

in no particular order:

Arundhati Roy

Ralph Ellison (w/ more lucidity and accessibility)

Albert Camus

Octavia Butler’s creativity

Toni Morrison

w/ a closing line like Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Insha Allah!”

i then proceeded to tweet

“”The Bluest Eye” is one of the best compilations of words.period. i NEEDED the reread and all the time between the 1st & 2nd.”

and

” Morrison hasjoined Basquiat on thelist of”mydarlings”alist whch exists onlyNmyheart&is as cnsequential2mylife as itis ncnsequential2theworld ”

not caring as i often do (or don’t?) whether or not anyone could even understand that. unable to fit “#GENIUS” into either tweet i had to come here, despite that i’ve really come to loathe tumblr, to share it.

I’ve even broken from my usual practice of partitioning my posts so they’re not super long because, well, this is MY place for peace and who cares whats user friendly on a page that belongs to me and that ive come to dislike anyway!!!

in conclusion, before i formulate the list of “times that came close to the earth-shattering-AND-building love of a peice of work that both inspires and intimidates your (my) own pursuit–cause im actually quite interested to realize whats on this list cause i think its only partially formed in my head and im getting more excited at the thought of living to add to it (God willing)–damn i forgot my “in conclusion”….but im pretty positive it was GO READ THE BLUEST EYE. (i’d add “NOW” but like has taught me that we are not always ready for good things and that Life, if we allow it, is divinely awesome at presenting things to us when we have baked to the perfection of of needing that thing at that time…nah mean?? like i bought Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth a while ago- and its not like i’ve only heard about how good it is, I’ve read excerpts for a class so i’ve, partially, experienced the goodness. still, its been sitting on my shelf for well over half a year, and up until a week ago- when i gave up trying to force it onto myself, was even in my purse. it’s just not time yet. i finally read the Alchemist (thats one that i’ll put on the list below but is def in a limbo between that and the list above) a few weeks ago after years of meaning to read it after Giddy suggested it to me, offered to lend it to me, then retracted cause her brother- was like 11 or something!- was reading it at the time. babygenius. i couldnt even be mad though cause it wasnt the time. just like i finally reread The Bluest Eye after after nearly 8 years of knowing I’d have to reread it. YESSIR i knew as SOON as i put the book down that i had missed most of it cause it had flown light years above my head and that, eventually, i’d have to retackle. I feel pretty successful about this re-tackle actually. im PRAY that one day, hopefully not too long from now, i will find myself on the other side of Invisible Man with as much clarity about it as i feel i have about The Bluest Eye. to “conquer” that book has been my dream since i read it, and it kicked me in the teeth American History X style. then again when I had to reread the introduction in Daniel Walker’s AMAZING intro to afroam class my sophomore year and in finally understanding that little chunk realized i had not even understood, the first time, what i thought i had- but at least was given hope that i am now capable.or would be. I prob wont muster up the courage to even try again in a while tho.

on a not so separate note, before i get to said list (longest “in conclusion” EVER!), ishould shall mention that i put on hold today (but did not pick up cause im a flake and cause i know i’ll want to purchase something new and fun and beautiful this weekend anyway cause i -as well as my bank account-have just found out that is how my body reacts to sun light coming through my window on saturday AND sunday mornings so i might as well wait and plan around my new accepted shopaholism) a copy of Doestoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, another book i have been meaning to read since it was introduced to me in Anaya Roy’s highly-contested-but-still-adored-and-appreciated-heavily-by-me Global Poverty and Practice 115 “Challenges and Hopes in the New Millennium” course two years ago. everything i’ve heard about it makes my mouth water at…actually im not going to mention why i cant wait to read it, why i know im not yet ready for it but why i feel it may profoundly change my academic life.

two things have just occured to me:

1.perhaps i’ve said to much here where anyone can read me and should have written this as another “lost page” to myself. my blogs not really a place for people to be all up in my head.

2. perhaps, and this is related to the above, it’s too late and as often happens when i write my thoughts this late, ive far surpassed the point of human lucidity.

3. the third second thing: im starving

4. fourthly secondly, it’s time for that list and the end of this post.

without further ado

times that came close to the earth-shattering-AND-building love of a peice of work that both inspires and intimidates my own pursuit (in no particular order):

a. two weeks ago when i was reading Paulo Cohelo’s The Alchemist (and was like “OMG must blog immediately about how amazing this is”- post soon to come. it really was that good, though, i just got busy aaaannnddd then immediately started bluest eye which obvi overshadowed)

1. sophomore year in high school when i read Albert Camus’ The Stranger and wished i could capture human thought that effectively and write, speak, even think, with that kind of genius clarity. a clarity so thorough it seems simple and is every bit as refreshing as simplicity, straight up cold water as it courses through a feverish body refreshing. like that son.

2. when i watched Spike Lee’s Bamboozled – no, more specifically, when i saw the shot of the entire audience in black face and genuinely did.not.know.what.i.was.feeling.

3. this specific version of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight

4. this version of Miles Davis’ Blue in Green

5. so much other good stuff i can’t even share it cause im so thoroughly filled with gratitude for the goodness in my life i’ve no choice but to down this jar of water close my comp and curl up into bed with my thoughts and this blessedawarenessofmyblessings… and the copy of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower that i got last week when i got the bluest eye-just cause im bold and never know, rather never heed, my limit.

goodnight, much love, and so many blessings.

bethel

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