Preach it, Al
“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
“There are some words that once spoken will split the world in two. There would be the life before you breathed them and then the altered life after they’d been said. They take a long time to find, words like that. They make you hesitate. Choose with care. Hold on to them unspoken for as long as you can just so your world will stay intact.”
-Andrea Levy, Small Island
We are back from our trek through the Midwest, which was beautiful and striking and hot. But the most lovely of all things was spending time with my sweet family. I have been reading Meera Syal’s “Anita and Me” and this quote seemed like the refrain for my past week’s trip:
“Maybe that’s what love meant, both people thinking they were the lucky one.”
Meera is a fierce and independent female writer whose strong sense of self comes across in her writing. This line comes from the main character’s reflection on her mother and father’s marriage; it’s meant to refer to husbands and wives. But I think it refers to any love, especially family love. For me, real, sacrificial love is often blessedly accompanied by the impression that I am just so lucky to have these people in my life!
I took a small hiatus from my resolution blog for the past few weeks. Consider the hiatus kaput. However, we do leave for our Arizona road trip tomorrow, so I may initiate Hiatus Numba Two. But, for now, I’m going to take a beat to childishly and semi-autobiographically enjoy this Silverstein rhyme.
“But the problem with readers, the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principle is, “I should sit here and I should be entertained.” And the more classical model, which has been completely taken away, is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know, who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and that the artist gives you. That’s the incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true.”
- Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth
"Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name.
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”
-T.S. Eliot, ‘Four Quartets’
"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"
One of the great beauties of words is how we can mold and flex them to express specific emotions and ideas. This beauty, however, is what also makes words dangerous. It is what allows humanity the capacity to create misbelief and illusion.