Magic of Words

“He let the hours go by lost in the magic of words, shedding his skin and his name, feeling like another person. He allowed himself to be carried away by the dreams of shadowy characters, the only refuge left for him.”

― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Song of the Day: And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop

I’m actually quite surprised at how much I love today’s song of the day. I usually don’t find myself gravitating towards folk/bluegrass music, but something about James Vincent McMorrow’s And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop is infectiously addictive. I first heard it in the background of an episode of the show Parenthood and immediately had to find out what it was.

The lyrics are just so beautiful without the typical overly sweet messages of love. It’s one of those songs that has the ability to make me swoon just listening to the words McMorrow croons. This is one that definitely gets repeated on my playlist.

Bonus points for these lyrics:

and there are times I know when I will have to chase you
the further from my side you go, the longing grows
and though I hate this, I’ll still want you,
I will hate this, but I’ll still want you

Do Stuff

“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.” 

― Susan Sontag

Song of the Day: African Mailman

Nina Simone’s name is once again in the spotlight with a new Netflix series and album to along with it. Her voice felt almost unreal. It has a way of getting under your skin, almost making you uncomfortable. Sometimes that is the best kind of beauty – one that is hard to grasp. However, she wasn’t just her voice. She was a supremely talented arranger and pianist, as is evident in this song of the day: African Mailman. 

It’s beautiful and just about everything I love about groovy, fast-tempo jazz. This is one of those songs that I can have on repeat.

Radikal Readings: The Bluest Eye

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This is probably one the hardest posts I’ve written in relation to books. What can you say about an author as celebrated and revered as Toni Morrison? The last American writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature, Morrison is a living legend. With all that said, oddly enough I had never read a novel by her. So I thought why not start with the very first – The Bluest Eye published in 1970.

The novel is described as : “…the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change – in painful, devastating ways.”

It is devastating in every way I can think of. The rich language and poetic prose tells a horrifying yet all too real story of how Pecola is dehumanized for the color of her skin and her appearance. This particular passage is tragic:

“It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question. The master had said, ‘You are ugly people.’ They had looked about themselves saw nothing to contradict the statement; saw, in fact, support for it leaning at them from every billboard, every movie, every glance. ‘Yes,’ they had said, ‘You are right.’ And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.”

Morrison takes us into a world where a million injustices compete. A vicious cycle of self-loathing combined with violent sexual crime and the loss of humanity prove fatal for Pecola and shed light on the unloved in a way I had never encountered. Morrison writes is best in this haunting passage:

“And now when I see her searching the garbage – for what? The thing we assassinated? I talk about how I did not plant the seeds too deeply, how it was the fault of the earth, the land, of our town. I think now that the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. The soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live. We are wrong, of course, but it doesn’t matter. It’s too late. At least on the edge of my town, among the garbage and the sunflowers of my town, it’s much, much, much too late.”

Song of the Day: Me Voy Enamorando

Google is a beautiful thing. Let me clarify – this past Sunday I met some friends for brunch at a wonderful little Cuban place in Oakland. The food was delicious, but the music was what really caught my attention. They were playing just about every Latin track I love and listen to often. There’s something about those grooves, the voices, and the beautiful language that have me enraptured. The familiar tunes were followed by one that I instantly loved but had never heard of before. The voices were unfamiliar and I couldn’t figure out what is was, but a quick and handy Google search of the word “enamorando” revealed it was Chino y Nacho’s Me Voy Enamorando.

I quickly bought it and have been listening to it ever since, but the music video is apparently causing more of viral sensation than the upbeat song. The video features a teenage couple with the young girl going through cancer treatments and the boy doing anything he can to show his love and support. According to Billboard, the video was shot in a low-income neighborhood in Venezuela that police are hesitant to enter (Chino and Nacho are both from Venezuela). Hard not to love the concept and the locale.

The song which means falling in love is such a sweet and infectious melody that it’s hard not to get hooked.