Defining Parameters

The inspiration for and (loose) model of this project is Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, whose seemingly effortless prose dances and sparkles, enticing us to join and, with open arms, makes us feel welcome.

I’ll quote his preface at length to delight in the various ways that this undertaking departs from his, while still (I hope) retaining a sort of kinship, or spiritship. 

Ross: “I came up with a handful of rules: write a delight every day for a year; begin and end on my birthday, August 1; draft them quickly; and write them by hand. The rules made it a discipline for me. A practice. Spend time thinking about and writing about delight every day.”

Me: While there was perhaps an instant in time when I sustained the fantasy of writing these on a daily basis, that certainly hasn’t panned out. I tend to draft by hand when I’m in the nursery and Lucas is safely engrossed in a book or with some of his toys. These oases don’t tend to last particularly long, so I don’t usually finish drafts in one sitting, but will come back to them in snatches of time until they’re finished. Sometimes I flag a delight and find the time to draft it only after a few days have already gone by. Scandalous, I know. I write these quickly, edit once, and make peace with their being the product of these parameters.

I know almost none of Ross’s poetry (yet, and also scandalous), but his essay, Some Thoughts on Mercy, from 2013, makes me beyond excited to read his upcoming book of prose that turns over and delves into many of the same social issues.