Swoony Right to My Marrow

Dear Darling Ones,

When Sister #2 was here in August I complained a little bit about the library. I do feel like a bit of a hypocrite about this, because I really do love the library more than any other institution on the planet.

However, within the last year or so, my teeny local Scott County Library eBook/audiobook app joined up with the larger Twin Cities Metro Library app. This has vastly expanded my book checking out options, which I appreciate. But it also means I have to compete with a vastly larger number of smarty pants to get the books I want. It was easier when I was only competing with a small pool of Scott County smarties to get the books.

Because of this I had to wait 159 days (thanks, Libby) to check out Hanif Abdurraqib’s A Little Devil in America: Notes on Praise of Black Performance. When I finished it today, I promptly ordered a hard copy because I need to own this book.

Okay, it wasn’t that prompt. A few paragraphs from the end of the book I had to put it down and spend sevenish minutes sitting on the edge of my bed, elbows on knees, head in hands crying. Like legit, full-on, can’t catch your breath crying. The tears came swiftly and unexpectedly.

I even said, out loud to my empty bedroom, “Oh boy, I didn’t expect this.”

This is what, in a book full of just lovely, lovely sentences and ideas, put me over the edge.

“I am thankful for what it is to grow up with a life fastened to another life. Even as you both age upward and outward from whatever paths you began on. I am thankful for how the fastening of those lives creates a type of understanding of the unspoken. And I am thankful for how the fastening of those lives creates a type of urgency around that unspoken.”

This passage makes me cry because Abdurraqib has eloquently put into words how I feel about Sister #2. I often think about how, and maybe I have written about it, Sister #2 is my tether to Earth. Without her I am sure I would have floated away a long, long time ago. She is, without a doubt, the person who cares about me the most.

Reading Abdurraqib’s writing describing that sibling bond was overwhelming not just because I could relate on a cellular level, but because it came in an essay where he was writing about gratitude, specifically the gratitude he had about still being alive and the people who kept him from the abyss.

This book has wrecked me in the best possible way art can wreck a person. It is joyful and poignant and filled with the very best kind of music writing that makes my pulse race and my heart zoom.

I can’t wait to get my physical copy so I can re-read “Nine Considerations of Black People in Space.” There is a bunch of Star Wars bullshit in it that I don’t care about, but there is also the way he writes about the moon that made me feel swoony right to my marrow. I want everyone to read it so I have someone to talk about it with.

Read the book and when you need someone to send heart-eye emojis to, I’ll be here for you.


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