Maggie Nelson's astonishing and lovely Bluets in one sitting on the dreary rainy cold Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Bluets is what I give thanks for. A sweet, smart and sorrowful book. It is a true gift.
Deep and precise reflections on the color blue merge with the experience of personal romantic loss and the writing process in a way that comes together as a glimmering memoir and exploration of human experience. Suffering. Desire. Memory.
"203. I remember, in the eighties, when crack first hit the scene, hearing all kinds of horror stories about how if you smoked it even once, the memory of its unbelievable high would live on in your system forever, and you would thus never again be able to be content without it. I have no idea if this is true, but I will admit that it scared me off the drug. In the years since, I have sometimes found myself wondering if the same principle applies in other realms -- if seeing a particularly astonishing shade of blue, for example, or letting a particularly potent person inside you, could alter you irrevocably, just to have seen or felt it. In which case, how does one know when, or how, to refuse? How to recover?"
"228. My injured friend is now able to write letters via voice-recognition software to keep her friends abreast of changes in her condition, of which there have been many. 'My life can change, does change,' she asserts -- and it has, and does, often in astonishing ways. Nonetheless, near the end of these letters, she includes a short paragraph that acknowledges her ongoing physical pain, and her intense grief for all she has lost, a grief she describes as bottomless. 'If I did not write of the difficulties under which I labor, I would fear to be misrepresenting the grinding reality of quadriplegia and spinal cord injury,' she says. "So here it is, the paragraph that roundly asserts that I continue to suffer.'"