When I read a beautiful line, kindness settles on me. This happened recently when a read Langston Hughes on James Baldwin.
“He uses words as the sea uses waves, to flow and beat, advance and retreat, rise and take a bow in disappearing.”
A wavey, sea-like sentence itself, full of confidence and drama — the kind of confidence and drama of a movie character walking away from an explosion in the background without looking back. Hughes walks away from this sentences as he jumps headlong into the next half-paragraph-long sentence about the strengths of Baldwin’s book Notes of a Native Son.
Hughes believes that this book shows Baldwin has potential, which, in retrospect, seems quaint, because… James Baldwin.
I haven’t read this book, but this line inspires me to do so. This line just totally sold me on it.
Elegant art and deft craft placate me — I feel comfortable and at home in some abrupt sense — and inspire me — I feel energized and immediately want to chase this softly powerful moment as it breezes past.
I almost feel swaddled. Yet, also excited to jump in the chaotic arena of creative ideas.
It’s a “flow” moment that pumps a mini flood of blood. I’m awake. It’s a satisfying blanket in a comfortable bed. I relax. It’s a crisp new button-down shirt. I stand taller.
It’s the ocean’s horizon, pulled close.