the .moon's. quiet. daughter

h.o.m.e ............s.a.r.a.h...e.l.w.e.l.l ............ e.l.s.e.w.h.e.r.e .............s.e.e.d.s...&...s.t.a.r.s ............d r e a m i n g...t.a.l.e.s

July 16, 2017

for the love of the unbeautiful


I wonder if there are other people like me who can have too much of loveliness. Who need mud and brick words along with the song. I wonder if there are women who find as much comfort in sweeping floors, washing walls, as they do in watching a sunset over lavish meadows, and who love weeds the same as roses.

I told a friend yesterday that one of the most gorgeous books I've read this year was well worth buying and reading for its extraordinary gorgeousness, but when it comes to rereading I tend to want something commonplace, a swept floor, a clumsy relationship, a confused heart that learns long and slow. My favourite poetry is gritty with these things. My favourite poet was a farmer. The books I have to wrap with ribbons because they've been read so much are masterfully written but their characters get colds, say stupid things, misunderstand romance, laugh.

I believe literary art is profoundly valuable, and I admire masterpieces of its kind. But I also believe the more lowbrow books are as valuable, although in a different way. I guess it's like comparing a morning spent in a gallery, drifting with wonder and awe between great works of art, and a morning spent sharing tea and sympathy with a dear friend who is able to bring peace to your heart. Both are blessings to our multi-layered souls. But perhaps some of us would not want to visit the gallery every morning. Perhaps we live closer to the dust, the raucous laughter, the tea leaves, the dirt.

Life is not always sparkling, but I believe we're here in the roughness and the ordinary for a reason, and I want to appreciate it.

art by Lucia Campinoti

ps, I have edited this post because I think it's easy for people to get caught up in the concept of beauty as being a soulful thing, and what I actually meant was prettiness, poetry, sparkle, shine, the picturesque. The opposite of this is not ugliness but plainness, simplicity.


  1. i am greedy for beauty, every kind of beauty...but i do not think a thing is less beautiful because it is commonplace or quotidian. tea and sympathy, and dirt, are very necessary things and life would not be beautiful without them.

    the kind of ugly i cannot bear is ugly behavior. also, in a shallower sense, ugly surroundings like sterile, plastic-y cubicle work environments, or mass-market clothing with screamy brand names or logos all over it. strip malls and strip mines and strip clubs... (why are things with the word "strip" in them all so ugly?!) plastic or styrofoam cups. littered trash. "monster" trucks. politics...goodness, i've gone off on a litany of daily ugliness... i'll stop!

    but the rough and ordinary are fine with me. we do, as you say, need both kinds of blessings.

  2. I got a similar comment on twitter - beauty can be all kinds of things. Yes, but that isn't how I meant the word, so it's my fault for writing badly. Perhaps I should have used prettiness or loveliness or sparkle instead. I might go and edit the post. :-)

    1. no, it's probably my own fault for going off on that tangent about physical and emotional ugliness. (there is so much of those around..) i know what you meant, i think; and i agree that plainness and simplicity are a bedrock of life which we need. prettiness is decoration, is icing. sometimes i think i distract myself too effectively from the less enjoyable aspects of my own life by focussing on the sparkly bits of life...