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Ross Gay


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An everyday task reveals what is made and unmade in small moments. Ross Gay imagines his fingers opening and closing things, like buttons, the eyes of a dead person, relationships. In doing so, the poem asks us to simply pay attention, today, to what we’re doing with our hands — to understand them as intimate pathways into the stories of our bodies and the stories of our lives. 

A question to reflect on after you listen: What have you done with your hands today? What are you opening? What are you closing?

In our world of so much suffering, it can feel hard or wrong to invoke the word “joy.” Yet joy has been one of the most insistent, recurrent rallying cries in almost every life-giving conversation that Krista has had across recent months and years, even and especially with people on the front lines of humanity’s struggles.

Ross Gay helps illuminate this paradox and turn it into a muscle.

We are good at fighting, as he puts it, and not as good at holding in our imaginations what is to be adored and preserved and exalted — advocating for what we love, for what we find beautiful and necessary. But without this, he says, we cannot speak meaningfully even about our longings for a more just world, a more whole existence for all. To understand that we are all suffering — and so to practice tenderness and mercy —  is a quality of what Ross calls “adult joy.” Starting with his cherished essay collection The Book of Delights, he began to accompany many in an everyday spiritual discipline of practicing delight and cultivating joy. Editor’s note: The audio above begins midway through the essay. So writes Zadie Smith toward the end of her beautiful essay “Joy.” She gets there by explaining that she has an almost constitutional proclivity toward being pleased. She is a delight to cook for, she suggests, because your…   Today I was sitting down to a meeting with my friends Dave and Kayte to discuss the excerpt of Kayte’s graphic novel our little press is going to publish. When Kayte pulled the box from her bag that contains all her beautifully drawn pages, her…


July 25, 2019

Loitering   I’m sitting at a café in Detroit where in the door window is the sign with the commands NO SOLICITING NO LOITERING stacked like an anvil. I have a fiscal relationship with this establishment, which I developed by buying a coffee, and which makes…