Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Am You - Depeche Mode

Zadie Smith is one of my biggest inspirations as I lean towards writing. There are plenty of days when I wake up and think how nice it would be, to be her. (She might beg to differ, but she writes beautiful novels, has a handsome husband and lives in Italy. I think I have enough to stand on for a decent argument). When I lived in North West London for a heartbeat, I had heard that Smith lived in a nearby neighborhood of mine. I had hoped for a chance encounter at our neighborhood Sainsbury. Never happened. Maybe she's more of a Tescos girl.
Magic Molly recently started the discussion among a few of us about the age old pretty vs. charming/funny/interesting argument. I find this to be intriguing as I felt my beauty and charm came at a much later date in life than I would have preferred. I don't consider myself the most prime example of this phenomenon but lemme tell you. . . that which I have, I have worked very hard at, humour and grace. I rarely tell people this but one of the reasons I started dancing ballet is because I am recklessly clumsy. The conclusion among the comments which was nearly reached was that, in order to be both, in most cases you've experienced some amount of indifference or adversity in your life. A crappy upbringing. A natural wallflower. An awkward phase even.

Zadie Smith writes about a lot of what she knows best, growing up as a multiracial English citizen and that formula works very well. I can't help but to think she definitely felt displaced and experienced her own awkward phase to which her shyness is a direct result. Never-the-less, the verdict is clear Smith is beautiful, Smith is smart. The age old story of the Ugly Duckling (or rather the isolated duckling. . . something tells me "awkward" has never been used to describe Smith). But in this case, the swan has the quickest wit of anyone in the pack. She's also a bit of a spitfire , which I find hilarious. (Though I know, had I entered that literary contest, I might be whistling another tune).

Peas and I started reading White Teeth at the same time. But Peas thought it dragged on a bit. Some chapters are a little slow. . . but it all comes together in the latter half of the book. On Beauty however. . . made me feel Smith had properly earned her place in the world of great writers. Smith's strength lies in the fact that she creates characters, we all know. At one point, she describes a disappointing orgasm in words which are unpretentious and so spot on. I actually snickered aloud. I breezed through the book with ease and immediately passed it to my sister, Cornpuddin' who I knew would devour it. And she did.

So Zadie Smith, you may be sour faced and find it hard to get excited for the masses you must speak in front of. . . but regardless, I find you utterly intoxicating and think it would be nice, to be you. Love that yellow dress.


Peas said...

You are really not that clumsy. Sometimes I walk straight into walls in my own home and wonder what the hell is wrong with me. Since when did I think that wall was no longer there?

Smith is beautiful and so are you.

Chubbs said...

2 things:

I have White Teeth on my bookshelf--unread. And you've reminded me that it'd be nice to finally pick up it up, dust it off, and read it.

And, if I can be more like you, my dear, i will sign up for ballet today :-)

p.s. this post put a wide, sappy smile on my face.

Rollergirl said...

Ooh, when did you live in NW London? I'm in Kensal Green!

etoilee8 said...

Peas, have you not seen me trip over my own feet with skill? Either way, lover you. . .

Chubbs, give White Teeth a try. . . if you find it slow, definitely move to On Beauty, and please dance. . . it will make you happy. Speaking of happy, I am constantly trying to work out a trip to nyc. I can't wait to see you again!

Rollergirl, we were quite close! I lived in West Hampstead but only for a short time. . . lovely, lovely house, crazy, nutty roommates. I practically ran out of the place as soon as I arrived. . . back to East London I went, with speed

Emily said...

I love her sad eyes.