Sometimes, I run away and lie around in the park all afternoon, reading books and listening to music and taking photographs. Sometimes, I even skip around on my jump-rope (but I discovered early on that that works better on concrete than on grass), and my new goal in life is to buy hula-hoops. Somehow, I’ve convinced myself that if I could get back into hula-hooping – as I did when I was a kid – I’d be much more coordinated and comfortable in moving my body, and then I’d even learn how to dance. It’d be amazing!
Last week, I did cartwheels in the park for the first time since childhood. Needless to say, I completely sucked (that part about extending your legs in the air is kinda tricky), but I couldn’t stop laughing along with Princess Pretty Pants and Beanay, and I didn’t even feel ridiculous for attempting something at which I knew I would fail. That’s progress.
(PPP captured all the laughter and cheering and my attempted cartwheels on camera, and they just might be coming your way soon via facebook-video, if we’re friends over there on that addictive, timesuck of a social-networking site. Also, via wikipedia, I found a nice little tutorial on cartwheeling. You didn’t doubt me, did you, when I mentioned “reading something on wikipedia once”? I look up everything.)
Speaking of parks and lounging around and reading on the grass, I just posted this on flickr, and then I remember how much you Blogistan folks love books, too, so I’m sharing this here as well:
I’m currently almost done reading Jason Elliot’s An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan, quite possibly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. It’s nonfiction (as are most of the books I like).
An Unexpected Light is poignant, and unexpectedly funny, and perceptive. There are lots of references to chapli kabob and chai and Pathans and Sufi parables and open-armed unconditional hospitality, for those of you who are fans of such things. (As well as an equal number of references to guns and landmines and destruction and the mujahideen and Taliban and meddling/useless foreign nations, for that matter.)
What struck me most as I was reading this was Elliot’s respect and compassion for the Afghans. "He just has so much love and compassion for the people," I told [K] recently. "I love how he writes about them. Everyone is handsome or beautiful to him, I noticed. He never mentions people being ugly." Yet the Afghans are never exoticized or Other-ized here. Elliot sees them as dignified and beautiful, inside and out, because, for him, they are first and foremost profoundly human.
I don’t often make book recommendations (to each his own, eh?), and I’m too lazy to write books reviews.
But you should read this one.
That is all.
K and I had a lovely conversation about this book weeks (months?) ago, and it made me so happy to know someone else had read it. You can check out an excerpt of the Prologue on amazon.