But now it's summer and in Portland, the sun's come out to stay, at least for a few months, and has made me want to turn back to this space and make it something new. So, I offer here some links to me chatting about the good changes in my life--a new job, an Oregon Literary Fellowship--and then turn us toward a review! I love reviewing books, and usually do so on Goodreads, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to share these on my blog. But what better account of my days could there be than a reckoning of my reading? So, without further introduction, may I present
Among the delights of this book--not counting Ross Gay's prose, which in many essayettes takes unforeseen turns into parentheticals that maneuver away from the ostensible subject, and that taught me to follow Gay's mind fluttering away and then back, like the brilliant hummingbird that spends its days at my feeder but nevertheless has time to swing through the ever-blooming camellias, making me realize that I am that bird's diversion, not the flowers--are these below, a few of the many that took me by surprise, and that spring up even now that the book is finished:
The moments that made me laugh aloud, like the dream of his mother, which does not sound like a delightful dream at all, but which offered delight in the relief of waking from it, and further, in the strange ways our brains make sense while we sleep, and further still, in callbacks in later essayettes, which made me laugh all over again.
The recognition that what one experiences as delight--napping in public, for instance--may not be a shared delight, or may in fact be a shared delight, but one that other folks, in other bodies, with other genders, might feel less safe partaking in, and so might be a delight limned with worry or fear, but a delight nevertheless.
Having heard Ross Gay read a few times, I then heard each essayette as if read aloud in his voice--not his writerly, on-the-page voice, but the voice that is made by his lungs and larynx, his teeth and tongue and lips and cheeks. If you have not had such luck as to attend a Ross Gay reading, may I recommend Commonplace and Code Switch, both of which are, in their entirety, not just in these episodes--you guessed it--delights.
Not least of which is Ross Gay's presence in the world, his ability to name the moments of his year with such wonder and honesty. During the same time that Gay was writing these Delights--August 2016 to August 2017--I was undertaking my own project of writing poems based on words overused and misused by Trump, and undertaking, though dramatic, sounds right. While Gay was carefully pulling sweet and strangely shaped carrots from the soil to feed us (and by this I mean, metaphorically, these essayettes, but also literal carrots--see the July 4th entry), I was digging a burial plot (and by this I mean, I saw the world as a place of mourning and had forgotten that, one day, grass and flowers might grow again atop that plot). So, delight to know how differently someone experienced that time, and delight to be reminded that I encountered delights then, too, for Gay has reminded me of them, for they are not so unlike his.