White Teeth; Zadie Smith

I just finished reading White Teeth for my class on Narrative Structure. Goodreads is full of mixed reviews. There are those who find it brilliant, and those who find it boring. I am the former. I underlined and circled and notated so much. I was reading four books at the time, (White Teeth, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, and Bird by Bird) but kept coming back to this one.

Here is my favorite passage:

“A neutral place. The chances of finding one these days are slim… The sheer quantity of shit that must be wiped off the slate if we are to start again as new. Race. Land. Ownership. Faith. Theft. Blood. And more blood. And more. And not only must the place be neutral, but the messenger who takes you to the place, and the messenger who sends the messenger. There are no people or places left like that in North London” (378).

I know that this place might be impossible to find. I know that might even be the point of this passage – that such neutrality is beyond our grasp. But I like to work towards the future I envision. I don’t know what I’m trying to say except for this book spoke to me, and made me think, and comforted me, and hurt me, and I know I am late to the Zadie Smith show, but I’m glad I tuned in.

not a review, a meditation

There is a saying: the cure for anything is salt – sweat, tears, or the ocean.

 

The ocean is full of secrets and dreams. it has the power to cleanse, to heal, to pull you under. They say salt – the kind in tears, sweat, and the ocean – is everything. The ocean is beauty. To quote Andre Breton, french surrealist of the twentieth century, beauty will be CONVULSIVE, or not at all. Synonyms for convulsive include, but are not limited to: fiery, hazardous, stormy, raging, perilous, uncontrollable, unstable, bursting, wild, violent… the list goes on and on. Nadja, with it’s dreamy and sometimes nightmareish prose, is certainly convulsive.
I always say love and hate are not opposites. They are twins. The same goes for the above words, and beauty. Nothing beautiful is easy. Nothing beautiful is still or easily controlled. Roses have thorns. The ocean can pull you under. Even the sun burns. You cannot touch a butterfly’s wings or it will die.  “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all” is the truth.  It means that with everything in life, you will have positives and negatives. The most pure example of this is LOVE. Love is patient, love is kind… but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes love is working through pain and hard times. Love can make you feel every emotion. You sometimes could not be happier, sometimes your heart is quite literally broken. Love stinks, love hurts. But for every low, there is an impeccable high. Where dreams are brought to realization. A love for writing, what was once an ideal, is now a fiery passion I fight for each day. The right to exist in this space. The right to worship at the altar of voice and courage and the grotesque beauty that is life, and committing life to record for future civilizations.