This one is about the in-betweeners. Those of us who simply cannot decide where we belong and what we want to do. Those who cannot be boxed. It’s also about days. The in-between days. When we’re neither deliriously happy, nor painfully sad. The days when we could be better, but the emotional peace and other little victories keep us grateful.
Days like today. When a work of fiction makes us notice the present- the smell of exposed garbage and pee in NY, our heart beat, the flowers in full bloom. This very moment in time which we’ll never get back again. This very moment when we’re ridiculously in love with the human mind- its diverse capacity and inexplicable beauty.
This day when we’ll appreciate fiction, and the power to wield the pen. We will appreciate that power to make sense and articulately convey thoughts, which we crave intensely. Let no one deceive you, we’re obsessed with those can make us feel their feelings, and emote their emotions. Those who take us on a journey into their minds, and leave us shattered, whole, or yearning. We’re jealous of those who have mastered this sacred art, and secretly condescending towards those who cannot appreciate it.
Today is one of those in-between days. Days which remind us that we ourselves, are in-betweeners. We love and appreciate art, have a penchant for the performance, but also have very strong leaning towards less (or more) abstract things. We have a streak that’s interested in law, and politics, and governance.
We remind ourselves that some of our greatest artists have also been political commentators, and political prisoners- Chris Abani, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe. We will remind ourselves that one can appreciate, adore and love art without being a creator of art. You can be a connoisseur of art without being a creator.
There are days when you’re not physically strong enough to express the joy that bursting inside of you because it’s given and giving much, more than you ever can imagine. There are days when your spirit and your mind align and all your faculties are present to soak up beauty. There are days when you want to be fed. You want to be nurtured. Challenged. Pruned.
That’s what good art does.
As I sit in my Manhattan office this afternoon, I’m stealing glances at Teju Cole’s latest book- “Known and Strange Things,” and it’s making me deliriously happy. This afternoon during my lunch break, a friend and I visited a Barnes and Noble bookstore close to the office. It, too, made me deliriously happy.
Today started out as an in-between day. I was neither excited nor upset. I just wanted to make it through the day and head home for a nap. But as I began to read the magic that are Teju Cole’s words, and as I walked through the aisles and aisles of books at the bookstore, my happiness grew into this big fat ball that engulfed me and made me fall in love all over again with art. With expression, with creation, with love.
The best days are the ones where you don’t have the physical energy for adulting, but the small redemptions of life come your way and remind you why life is beautiful. Because, Teju Cole. And because, art.
This is the end of these ramblings.
I’m attending a free event tonight where Teju Cole will be reading and speaking about his new book. In my mind, I’m so excited, I’m doing cart-wheels. But physically, I want to sleep.
Here’s to a wonderful evening.
Till I come by again, please find something that makes you deliriously happy even when your physical faculties want to shut down and head to bed!
Featured image from here.