Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Pursuit of Joy

Joy: It’s perfume, it’s dishwashing liquid, it’s rapture.

It’s also the title and subject of Zadie Smith’s essay in the New York Review of Books.

I won’t attempt to retell it—you can read “Joy” for yourself (please do). Until then, here’s a snippet:

“…I experience at least a little pleasure every day. I wonder if this is more than the usual amount?…I don’t think this is because so many wonderful things happen to me but rather that the small things go a long way.”

I feel exactly the same—“the small things go a long way”—and sometimes I’m embarrassed at how easy it is for me to experience pleasure in a world frayed by madness and thoughtlessness. Yet I’m grateful that I can, for it knits one day to the next and eases my path from the past to the future.

As the New Year unfolds, may you, too, find pleasure in the small of Life.

[Hand-carved ivory netsuke pictured is part of Edmund de Waal’s inherited collection, which he writes about in The Hare with Amber Eyes.]

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