“In a noisy, confusing world where so many people love to constantly scream their opinions as loudly and as quickly as they can on social media, I am drawn to longer works that take their time. Ideas and situations that give me room to think. Characters and plots that require my patience and pay off in real, satisfying ways. I don’t like to be shocked or surprised on every page when I’m reading. I don’t necessarily need a big twist or reveal to be entertained. Don’t get me wrong: I love a good story—I’m not defending the boring and pointless—but I will always believe there is treasure to be found in small, quiet moments. In the rambling half-asleep conversations right before bed. The hushed confessionals on the way home from the awkward dinner party. A silent glance between lifelong partners. The whisper. “
I listened to “Just Like You” by Keb’ Mo’ over and over again the same way I did when I was working at a coffee shop when I was in college. Keb’ is singing, “I feel just like you and I cry just like you and I heal just like you and I break down just like you,” and I’m wondering if people would actually live their lives differently if they listened to that song every morning before they went out into the world or interacted with other people. The realist in me knows this is absolutely not true, but my heart, I don’t know, thinks maybe it could change the world or something. Even the smallest mercies matter, the revolutions in miniature.
In this penultimate installment of my Oxford American The By and By column, I write abt Donnie Darko and revolutions in miniature. Read it here!
Exciting! I wrote an essay called IN PRAISE OF QUIET BOOKS for the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. It's avail only in print! And you can read my convo w/Silas House (one of my v fave writers) online here! You can also listen to me read the opening section of my essay on the Ampersand podcast!
And so many lovely and kind bookstagrammers have been taking the prettiest pics of WHISKEY & RIBBONS! You can follow me in IG @leesacrosssmith and I try to keep up w/posting them bc they're beautiful and I love seeing them!
Dig the EVENTS page for where I'll be for the rest of April and May! SOKY book fest, Arkansas Lit Fest, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Quail Ridge and Flyleaf and Greensboro Bound in NC! If y're in or around these places, come say Hi! <3
I wrote abt my crush on Matthias Schoenaerts and crushes in gen over @ Lenny Letter. Such a beautiful illustration by Chrissy Curtin! And thank you to Jessica Grose and Jack Jones Literary Arts and Hub City Press and my super-agent, Kerry D'Agostino for making magic happen! <3
Though I was blown away by Cotillard’s performance, in truth, I only watched Rust and Bone originally because of Matthias Schoenaerts, the actor who works alongside her. I have a crush on him. My celebrity crushes are emotional rescue when the world is too much. Like a security blanket or a warm mug of tea, they serve a right, proper, selfish purpose — one piece of the puzzle to your girl’s chill, emotional well-being.
I think often of escaping from noise. Wherever I am, I like to sit by windows, doors. I like knowing how to get away when I need to get away. I’m easily startled and I hate loud sounds. I don’t mind natural loud noises like thunder or rain or wind; I love the deep rattle of a summer storm, the drip and birdsongs afterward in rainbow light. There is a cocky rooster a couple houses down from us and I love hearing him—that’s a Kentucky, country kind of quiet I love. Can I find the away-from-the-city, Kentucky quiet I’m used to when I’m in a busy urban area like Atlanta? Virginia? North Carolina? South Carolina? Arkansas? Tennessee? Anywhere? Everywhere?
I wrote TO LOOK FOR AMERICA: A ROAD TRIP, A SOUNDTRACK over @ The Rumpus abt driving cross country w/my fam this summer!
South Dakota severe thunderstorm warnings and Culver’s. Minnesota car snacks and coffees. Wisconsin cheeses and my Green Bay Packers shirt. Arizona heat, the Milky Way and billions of stars above the Grand Canyon, one of the treasured “dark skies” in the country. The Pacific Coast Highway, California mornings, perfect Utah nights, Rocky Mountain Colorado, my favorite pungent Nevada sage, and lakes. Chicago traffic, etc. Miles and miles and miles. Train whistles and church bells. America.