A quiet and somber evening in West Africa. (at Monrovia, Liberia)

A quiet and somber evening in West Africa. (at Monrovia, Liberia)

L I B E R I A (at Liberia West Africa)

L I B E R I A (at Liberia West Africa)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you,
pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photographs by Jeremy Snell

It has been a minute. Three years to be exact. PTSD was so bad I couldn’t set foot in the hood for all the flashbacks. Would get numb, nervous, agitated. Would feel my hands get clammy and my throat go dry and my heart start to pound. Got to be that I felt like I was a little insane, I mean, PTSD for an entire neighborhood? Yea, well, maybe when the hood is three blocks long.

But then I was on the N train going over the Manhattan Bridge and I looked upon Brooklyn Bridge Park and it looked .. different. The carousel was installed. The land was scaped. And all these memories of my time giggling on the grass came back to me. And I thought, mmmmaybe. And then I remembered one of my favorite spots, P.S. Bookshop, home of all kinds of whatnot.

I’m a lil obsessed with books. In the nicest possible way. There is something infinitely compelling about all those words on the printed page. Books I’ve read a thousand times, books I’ve never read, books I’ve always wanted to read, books I would rather forget. Books with pictures. Books with text. Books with stories, essays, poems, ideas… And so I went. To P.S. Bookshop, which is now located in a huge new space and the walls are lined with volumes new and old, in print and not so much. And I did my thing as I cruised the shelves and I had a stack in my hand, and then I edited through it. And then, without thinking, I found myself with Emerson’s Nature in my paw.

Self Reliance! I’d been thinking of this, thinking of an essay I hadn’t read since I was in college but somehow remembered it the other day. And I’d meant to read it, but the Internet is not suited to contemplation so much as it is good for short bursts of focus. And so I bought the book, three dollars at that, and I started reading it and I thought, This Emerson is something else.

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,—that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost—and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. “

Ahh, do go on…


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