The Spice of Life must Flow

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I would love to sit down and comment on this essay, but my powers of expression, enough to light a candle, would be drowned out by the solar furnace of Zadie Smith’s writing and insight.  I suggest reading it now.

“The first stage in the evolution is contingent and cannot be contrived. In this first stage, the voice, by no fault of its own, finds itself trapped between two poles, two competing belief systems. And so this first stage necessitates the second: the voice learns to be flexible between these two fixed points, even to the point of equivocation. Then the third stage: this native flexibility leads to a sense of being able to “see a thing from both sides.” And then the final stage, which I think of as the mark of a certain kind of genius: the voice relinquishes ownership of itself, develops a creative sense of disassociation in which the claims that are particular to it seem no stronger than anyone else’s. There it is, my little theory—I’d rather call it a story. It is a story about a wonderful voice, occasionally used by citizens, rarely by men of power. Amidst the din of the 2008 culture wars it proved especially hard to hear.”

At the very least it provides vindication for anyone who feels unfocused or too experimental in their work.

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