Zadie Smith | on fittingness

study sesh.
"She spoke often in her poetry of the idea of ‘fittingness’ : that is, when your chosen pursuit and your ability to achieve it - no matter how small or insignificant both might be - are matched exactly, are fitting. This is when we become truly human, fully ourselves, beautiful.

To swim when your body is made for swimming. To kneel when you feel humble. To drink water when you are thirsty. Or - if one wishes to be grand about it - to write [the words] that are the fitting receptacle of the feeling or thought that you hoped to convey."

Zadie Smith, On Beauty 

this sounds something like Aristotle's idea of arete, or "excellence." To him (and Zadie) excellence is not a scale. Not a grade, not a number, not a yearly review. We are most excellent when we fulfill our purpose, to the best of our abilities.

A good thing to keep in mind, I think. And now ... back to the books.

(photos) on film with pentax k1000 | study sesh at Sip Cafe in Northampton


  1. I loved that book.


  2. Obsessed with this. Just wrote it down twice, once for home and once for my work desk. XO

  3. Famous, by Naomi Shihab Nye

    The river is famous to the fish.

    The loud voice is famous to silence,
    which knew it would inherit the earth
    before anybody said so.

    The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
    watching him from the birdhouse.

    The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

    The idea you carry close to your bosom
    is famous to your bosom.

    The boot is famous to the earth,
    more famous than the dress shoe,
    which is famous only to floors.

    The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
    and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

    I want to be famous to shuffling men
    who smile while crossing streets,
    sticky children in grocery lines,
    famous as the one who smiled back.

    I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
    or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
    but because it never forgot what it could do.

    1. thank you for sharing this! It really says something about how enormously important these small things are. They're not insignificant to the people (and things) who need them.

      I love the line " the bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it and not at all famous to the one who is pictured."

  4. Sam, you always post the most beautiful quotes and reflections. I haven't commented in a while because I've been on a blogging hiatus for a few years, but I have been following your blog for years. Thanks for continuing your blog and for taking the time to reflect and share.

    1. It's great to hear from you, Hilary! I'm happy to see you're back to blogging too, and thanks for reading for so long.

  5. this is beautiful. thank you for this. x ten.

    also, what lens are you using on this pentax? is that a 35 or a 50mm? is it an interchangeable lens?

    1. Cara, It's a 50mm and it rocks! I say that acknowledging that I know very little about lenses. Based purely on experience and blatant favoritism.


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