better late?

before my hiatus, the lovely carleen brice of the pajama gardener tagged me for a book meme:

total number of books: i haven't counted, but am guessing 200+
last book read: song for night (chris abani)
last book bought: brother, i'm dying (edwidge danticat)
five meaningful books (in no particular order):

1. if beale street could talk (james baldwin): i read this on a greyhound bus ride from upstate new york to washington, dc, on my way home for the holidays; a superb love story, painfully and honestly written; the beginning of my admiration for james baldwin's works.
2. so long a letter (mariama ba): i read this during college, in my first post-colonial african literature course, which was taught by the brilliant biodun jeyifo; here, i share why this book means so much.
3. nervous conditions (tsitsi dangarembga): i read this in 2005, while trying to decide whether to leave new orleans; the first time i read something akin to my own movement between african (nigerian) and western worlds.
4. the beautyful ones are not yet born (ayi kwei armah): i also read this in the post-colonial literature course; journeying with the central character, known only as "the man," was maddening, but at times, hilarious; to this day, i remember the eloquently described "wet fart" and remain in love with the title.
5. graceland (chris abani): i read this shortly after nervous conditions and became so, so excited about the possibilities for literature by nigerian writers; this is a book that must be read--simple.

tagged: olumide of loomnie and anyone else who would like to participate!


as we mean

yesterday morning, i'd spent nearly a half hour composing what should have been a quick, straightforward business email. so, i took a break, reassessed, and came back to it. the time away helped me realize i wasn't asking the question i truly wanted to ask; the question i'd asked didn't quite reach the heart of the matter at hand.

i learned some time ago to simply ask for what i want; if i don't get it, it certainly won't be because i never asked. and in line with this, i remember that my words should always reflect my truest intentions.


in time

"patience is the art of hoping."--luc de vauvenargues

in all things

blessings sometimes come not in the form we'd hoped, but in the form that actually most serves our chosen path. and every once in a while, should we be so fortunate, we are met with gifts that far exceed anything we'd ever imagined. this year, more than the material things that sustain me, i've been blessed in the form of people--some, i met through this space; others, through leaps of faith like this. then, there are those angels in human form whose warmth and grace encourage me to keep onward, however uncertain the path.

i am thankful for each good thing, in whatever form it arrives.



only several pages into edwidge danticat's memoir, brother, i'm dying i'd become scared--for the children who are left behind when mothers and fathers emigrate to another country to prepare a better life of which they hope their children can soon become a part; for those same parents whose only communication with their children become formal monthly letters, money orders, and static-filled phone calls riddled with awkward, painful pauses; again, for those children who themselves will become immigrants and must then reconcile longing for the old world with demands of the new one, in those tender years when pleasing parents who have suffered seems the only way; and still, for those children who, as they become older, become like parents to their own parents, as the dynamics of the new world require a re-imagining of familial traditions; and finally, for the realization that when a loved one is dying, whether here or abroad, there is little we can do but love, and wait.

then on page 249: "of the many ways that death might transform the love that the living had experienced, one of them should not be fear." edwidge danticat, brother, i'm dying.


to come and go

every now and then, i deviate from my morning rituals (which themselves aren't at all consistent) so i can witness how the day might unfold from a different angle. so, this early sunday morning, i am here with the coffee crowd (at that ubiquitous, well-branded chain we all know and love), tucked into the southeast corner of the shop, flanked by floor-length windows on one side, and on the other, fidgety college students preparing for final exams.

in the company of my laptop, and brother, i'm dying (edwidge danticat), i am especially grateful to be in a place and time that allow me the freedom to move about as i please.


are we really?

a recent conversation with a friend reminds me of the fallacy of 'all or nothing thinking,' not only as relates to the things we want and our ability to obtain them, but also in our assuming that a person must be either one thing or another. experience continues to teach me that who people are--and in turn, who i am--is often an untidy mixture that changes form over time. i also remember that my willingness to accept (or at least tolerate) these complexities in others allows me to do the same with myself.