it’s supposedly winter right now in canada. pshaaaw. some people deal with the weather by reading books about the opposite climate, it’s distracting or something…i’m really talking in a circle that stops at the fact that i can’t remember reading any other frozen tale than a day in a life of ivan denisovich. i read it during a hockey game fifteen years ago, which also goes to show that i’m a bad canadian for being so unamused by hockey that i’d rather be reading about the gulag archipelego. that said, i’m going to a marlies game on saturday with all the knitters in the city-puck and purl, muthafuckas! one chapter into this book, i fell in love. three chapters into this book, i asked for its hand in marriage. its author “favorited” the tweet, so i suppose that is as modern of a way that a father can give his blessing as any. i was kind of sleepy and almost late for work, but when the connections were made between mahalia jackson, the jackson family of gary, indiana, and the late entertainment lawyer, charles mathis in my brain on the subway train, i beamed in the realization that mat johnson is the devil. i mean that in the most affectionate way possible, since all my friends are the devil, and he would fit right in at a dinner party around my way, and that is amazing. i can’t even deal with carleton damon carter and his gay lover jeffree (2-for-1 roc-a-fella fresh prince reference!) and a teeny bully named james baldwin. there are no things lost in the translation of medium here, in fact it feels like a million gained-the gutters are flushed out so effortlessly, bigups. my final comment is that a regular guy buying his own freedom at the price of his comrades with lil’ debbie cakes is a future/past reworking of the reality of comrades selling marcus garvey for rice. even the fact that a completely synthetic “food” with absolutely no culture except that of destruction is substituted for an original food that is the staple of so many civilizations just works so flawlessly. i fucking loved this book, so i put a ring on it.
“Still, even for her the broken grammar she used to tell me this message was exaggerated, and I heard another meaning within it. That I, like her, would have to overcompensate for my pale skin to be accepted. I would have to learn to talk blacker, walk blacker, than even my peers. Or be rejected as other forever.
Going to the library was excellent advice, it turned out. The library was open for another hour after school, the byproduct of an academic initiative long since forgotten. Hiding in the library immediately after dismissal allowed the tsunami of juvenile violence that occurred at the end of each day to ripple on beyond me, clearing the area for a safe retreat to my apartment once it was gone. So I went every afternoon from that day forward. The only one not pleased with my new routine was Mrs. Alexander herself, who’d grown accustomed to leaving in time to watch her stories. But after a week or so of missing General Hospital for my sake, Mrs. Alexander showed me how to turn out the lights and lock the door behind me, and then we were both happy.
Alone there, wasting the hour, I couldn’t bring myself to read the real James Baldwin. I wouldn’t read the man until college, another thing I blame on my abuser.” (136-7)
“That is not to say that at the moment I cut a stunning figure myself, but even in the real world I was known to let myself go for the sake of a good book with more than three hundred pages.” (195)