Thursday, March 24, 2011

Changing My Mind

It was a belated Christmas gift: $20 for Sephora and $15 for Barnes and Noble. That day in January, I had plans to hang with my long lost friend (who has shuffled off to Buffalo now) and after lunch - after I spilled my guts about my personal storm - we found a little happiness: shopping. That day I bought 1 tube of red lipstick, and Zadie Smith's Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays for a combined total of $3. Lucky me.

It's March now, and I'm still reading. Taking my time, skipping around, indulging in each chapter one at a time. Each essay is like eating a piece of decadent dark chocolate.

By Zadie Smith: Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

Like in "That Crafty Feeling," in which she describes in detail her creative process for writing a novel. But it's not just delineating the "how" of the thing; she delineates the emotional essence of being creative - when you are so deeply enthralled in a project and it consumes your whole being.

Or in "Smith Family Christmas" where she delves into the reality of family on a dream day like Christmas. No matter what the imperfect truth is amongst the people, for one day only families are happy, together, under one roof, sharing the holiday.

One of my favorites is her chapter on Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God: What Does Soulful Mean?." Here as a teenager she learns that she can enjoy good writing because the form and content is crafted well, and because she can personally and emotionally identify with it. It's good writing because it has soul; it connects with her soul.

There are some essays that I feel I need a little more background information to truly get (have read the book, seen the movie), but overall it's been a little happiness that I can take out of my bag whenever I have a moment. You know, for all those long train rides to Brooklyn.

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