Monday, January 7, 2008

a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

a few thoughts on tonight's reading at the 92nd st. y:
  1. chimamanda ngozi adichie is as beautiful as she is talented as she is well-spoken as she is thoughtful. all around admirable soul. when norman rush asked her about the "african village" in "the african novel," she told him that the words of the question were meaningless, and she therefore had no answer. when he asked her how she felt about dave eggers, as a white man, writing the story of a black african one, she said that when she first read the book she was annoyed with herself for liking it as much as she did (ummm, can i get an amen?), and that in the end the worth of a novel lies in how the story is told, not who is telling it. in sum, she was WONDERFUL.
  2. dave eggers was a bit of a bumbler, which i guess at the end of the day isn't really that much of a surprise. but he's humbler than i thought he would be too, and more thoughtful. and he called rush on the "africa" versus a specific african country commentary on more than one occasion. gotta love that.
  3. quote from tonight's discussion that makes me want to go back and read "half of a yellow sun" all over again: "this is not my story to tell."
if you're wondering to whose novel the title refers, i'll say that dave eggers is more brilliant than i thought in coming up with that phrase. he and chimamanda both have something that makes me stagger, just a little bit.

the only words that i really loved from rush's mouth tonight:
"both novels stand for memory and knowing the truth."

there are just some things that are worth reading.

in other news, the talk with the boss went better than expected today. not wonderfully, mind you, but i think she heard me and the message that lurked behind my words. i cannot be tethered to my chair at work. i will not be there until 7:30 or 8:00 at night when i can have a life outside of that office. i want to live, and living at work doesn't do that.

i know that as a twenty-something i have to pay my dues. i know that. even if i knew what i wanted, i'm not necessarily empowered to make "that" happen. but i do think i have the right to feel like my hard work is taking me somewhere, and that's just not the feeling i get at my current job. it feels like a lot of hard work for nothing. and that's not how i want to feel/what i want to be.

my boss told me that sometimes what is needed is time. i told her that i don't have the kind of time she's looking for. and i told her i need alternate ways to make money this summer that are going to make my time of the absolute essence. the next few months are going to kick my butt.
a little additional reading:
c.n.a. in the morning news, oct. 2006
"half of a yellow sun" as a short story in literary potpourri

uzodinma iweala, my favorite young black author whom i've actually met on more than one occasion, and with whom it might be said i've had a conversation, in the morning news, march 2006.


nsekuye said...

oh man. that must have been amazing. i am thinking a lot these days about "telling a different story." i don't know what that means yet but that's my start.

anyway i am at home trying to regain my balance and get back on track. will be back all ready to hobnob with poco alumni...!

havestrength said...

have fun at home, my friend. sometimes balance is absolutely necessary.