The Book of Delights: Essays

Simply a delight. Ross Gay tries his hand at a daily essay-ette about something delightful, written by hand, drafted quickly. Themes crop up quickly: he travels a lot reading his poems to classes, groups; he writes in cafes; his mother is on his mind; so is racism, and kindness, and books, and politics, and food, and his garden. It is impossible to get through a few pages without smiling and wanting to do a similar project. Turning a daily gratitude into a writing exercise. As with all great books, there are endless breadcrumbs of other books and movies and poets I need to investigate that he mentions. He even dedicates one meditation of delight to discussing Toto, the band, and how amazing it was that they were just average looking dudes, how much the world has shifted to being much more image conscious than just focused on music.

There are too many good entries here, about the joys of carports (amen!), eating berries, bombing downhill on a bike to a vegan bakery, etc etc, but I particularly loved 87. Loitering:

The Webster’s definition of loiter reads thus: “to stand or wait around idly without apparent purpose,” and “to travel indolently with frequent pauses.” Among the synonyms for this behavior are linger, loaf, laze, lounge, lollygag, dawdle, amble, saunter, meander, putter, dillydally, and mosey. Any one of these words, in the wrong frame of mind, might be considered a critique or, when nouned, an epithet (“Lollygagger!” or “Loafer!”). Indeed, lollygag was one of the words my mom would use to cajole us while jingling her keys when she was waiting on us, which, judging from the visceral response I had while writing that memory, must’ve been not quite infrequent. All of these words to me imply having a nice day. They imply having the best day. They also imply being unproductive. Which leads to being, even if only temporarily, nonconsumptive, and this is a crime in America, and more explicitly criminal depending upon any number of quickly apprehended visual cues.

The more stuff you love, the happier you will be.