Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quote Sunday

As we well know my now, I have a small, healthy obsession with Toni Morrison.  Consequently, I read lots of Toni Morrison interviews and watch Youtube videos of her commencement addresses.This week I also wrote the letter to invite her to Commencement. I also entered this contest with a letter about Beloved (yes, there is overlap between the two letters). The woman oozes brilliance, but more importantly and more impressively, authenticity. She never seems like she's putting on airs or saying what sounds profound. She's sharing her experience. I love her for that. The following is from an interview with Pam Houston.

"I feel more friendly when I am writing, nicer to people, much more generous, also wiser. I am full of a kind of tenderness toward people and all they have to hide, all they have to construct. Not pity, not sympathy, just tenderness. Knowing that the job of being a human is so hard, and it is the only job there is left—though we keep on pretending otherwise. If I am in that good place and I run into someone I dislike, I feel more human and they seem more human."'

I love this for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. I think a big part of it is that it's so personal Toni Morrison kindness,  not vague recognizing common humanity and living with compassion. And I think it's more powerful because her writing's beauty lies in it's deep humanity. I guess her understanding of being human is what makes her so talented, and this is a wonderful representation of what that understanding means to her. But it's beautiful beyond talent. This kind of understanding and kindness is one of those qualities that makes someone a really fine human being.

I want to be Toni Morrison when I grow up.

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