Words to live by
The dignity business

Narrative is radical

Wild words series 1

From Toni Morrison:

''Is there no context for our lives? No song, no literature, no poem full of vitamins, no history connected to experience that you can pass along to help us start strong? You are an adult. The old one, the wise one. Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created.''

The Lion in Love by Charles Robinson

''This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn't matter to me what your position is. You've got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you've got.'' 

Wild Words series 2

Words: The quotes above and in the picture captions are from Toni Morrison's Nobel Lecture (1993), O Magazine (November, 2003), The Nation (March, 2015), Word Magazine (March, 2016), and Morrison's Commencement Address at Wellesley College (May, 2004). Pictures: Two photographs from my Wild Words series, and a drawing by Charles Robinson (1870-1937).


Waking up amazed
Gravity is still here
I’ve been without last night

Have to do all kinds of bed moves
Like a baby does at random
To fit me in this body again

Oh maybe, had a bath last night
Back to water womb world
Only nostrils out above

Lurking like some foetal lungfish
And stand up quickly to feel
Twice as heavy till the floaty falls off

Wake up to the squash of myself
In my own Big Crunch, all of us
Everyone, wanting his turn in the sun

To be the one, the only one
Like any cuckoo, teaching his parents
‘Feed me: there’s a long journey ahead’

He’s gone South: sitting still in my chair
That gravity might ignore
But new moon fluctuates in my ear

A passing phase, only part shows
Then throws its weight double tide
‘The sun mother, give me the sun’*

She serenely sails on to disappear in day
Leaves me lumpy in my skin
Like an old duvet to flounce about

Amazing how a glass of water restores
Washes away those chemical selves
Kaleidoscope patterns, mind made of myself

Yeah, yeah, do or die brain is back on it,
Busy stuff all day long, in case
Nothing happens and don’t know who I am

OK, gimme breakfast first
And a promise of coffee later
Sell me a dream as good as flying

Breakfast muesli banana fruit and nuts, boiling water
See a slug is floating, worse day for him, yes
Carefully check every cashew for soft chew

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