I swore I would blog everyday- even if just a sentence or two- and I did! For two days.
In my defense it was a busy week, my boys’ birthdays are April 20th and 21st and there were many festivities to manage, but I can’t honestly say I never got a moment to write because , well…
I did however finally finish the book I was reading ; Just Above My Head by James Baldwin. It took me a little longer to read then some – it was more of a meal than a light snack. It’s a book that had been on my to -read list for ages and I just snagged a copy from paperback swap.
I really loved this book. I rate it 5 stars-even though it isn’t perfect. The narrator rambles- a lot, gets sidetracked from his point, takes the long , scenic route around and doesn’t always make it where he was going. But he does it so beautifully, so poetically. I was sucked in. Several times while reading i would look up and realize I had read several pages and had no idea what I had just read- only the lingering feeling that I had enjoyed it very much!
The story, when he does get around to it, is a moving one. It’s about a man’s love for his brother and his sort of bird’s eye view of his trials as a gay black gospel singer amid the racisim of the 60’s and 70’s. It’s a journey I as a white woman shouldn’t be able to understand, and maybe I can’t really, but Baldwin almost makes me feel like I can. I can certainly empathize and feel the passion and pain.
The book may seem to lose it’s focus at times (although perhaps that was intentional as a part of Hall, the narrator’s personality?) but it was so worth it for me. If only for passages like this:
When someone you love is happy, you have been given a great gift; you are the honored guest at a rare celebration. If you are burdened, the joy of your brother lightens your burden, if you are crawling on your belly, his joy brings you to your feet. It’s true:my soul is a witness. After days , or weeks, of despair and inertia, you are given the force to go out and contend for the rent money, and to get your watch out of the pawnshop. the happiness of someone you love proves that life is possible. Your own horrors, whatever they may be, must simply await your return from the celebration- there can be no question of your taking them with you. And there they sit, indeed, in your room, when you return, looking baleful and neglected, and you realize that some horrors need you far more than you need them and , mercilessly, you begin to clean house.