Sunday, April 28, 2013

The pleasure of reading

I don't read blogs as a general rule so it's ironic that I am now writing one, but I'm doing so because I can see a benefit for me. And no, I'm not going to apologise for my 'selfishness'; too many people live their life for others, and have lost sight of how to make themselves happy. That's not me.
London-born to Jamaican parents,
Zadie Smith wrote the best-selling
White Teeth at the age of 22
The pursuit of happiness is, in any case, a cliched, trite exercise that typically ends up making you feel worse rather than better. Far better to cultivate small everyday pleasures, as Zadie Smith (right) puts it in an exquisite piece of writing I read recently in the New York Review of Books.
       In her essay, Smith makes the distinction between pleasure and joy. Joy, she points out, is often more trouble than its worth and exacts its pound of flesh. Pleasure, on the other hand, is subtler and sweeter... an infinite source of unspeakable delights. Smith goes on to mention myriad sources of pleasure like food (ditto); canine companionship (ditto); or the company of a life partner that is as reassuring as a pair of well-worn slippers (ditto). She also mentions music. Ditto, again.
Ubertalented Ed Sheeran was nominated
for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammys
Take this morning, for example. I was listening to singer/songwriter and guitarist Ed Sheeran on my iPhone when I was suddenly inspired by his lyrics and riffs to boogie right then and there in Centennial Park. My friend Merle, there to meet me for our weekly exercise a deux, caught me mid-rapture and grinned in recognition. The sheer pleasure of the moment barely lasted a couple of minutes, but oh man, I felt GREAT.
      Autumn days. A leafy park. A kind, wise friend. My dog, a water bottle and my fluorescent, super-cushioning Nikes. They're life's simple pleasures and in these following posts, I look forward to sharing more with you, not least on the subject of one of my great passions, books. >>>

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