Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is UMES’ common reader for the 2021-22 academic year.
These essays are inspired by Gay’s observation: “The more you study delight, the more delight there is to study.”
That might sound like a nightmare to a student – MORE to study – but with “delights,” the exponential joy, the amplification of attention, all of it builds to a mindset of appreciation and reflection, something we need after the Voldemortian year we had.
My Love for the Art of Storytelling
by Camille Greaves
Long before I knew what writing in a journal really was, I was doing it, writing down the things that shouldn’t be spoken, or that people were afraid to tell. Being able to write things down helped me be honest with myself. The way I thought about it was, if you wrote it down, you had to admit it really happened.
Being a writer was such a dream. I lived and slept writing. The first time I wrote a story, it didn’t happen right off the bat. I got the inspiration from one of my favorite TV shows, The Vampire Diaries. The story was cut up like a script. I honestly don’t know how I came up with the idea to write it, but sometimes, I just get these bursts of inspiration, so I have to use them when they happen.
Being able to see my voice written down just makes me so happy. Having the opportunity for someone else to read my work and give me honest feedback makes me happy, too.
As I got older, I started to write less about the happy things and get more into the “real” world. I’ve always tried to stay away from writing about happy things because I find that happy things don’t last; they are just temporary, and I like talking about things people won’t say, so they have to read about them from someone else.
Writing clears my mind and I feel like I can be myself and no one can judge me because they’ll never know it was me. Writing always makes me feel so much better. It honestly makes me happy.
Just knowing that, someday, I will publish a short story, and people besides my friends and family might actually read it, excites me!
by Vanessa Debrosse
Back when COVID-19 first started, I was at home, bored and losing my mind. Everything was closed – restaurants, movies, stores – everything but Amazon.
While scrolling through the feed on Instagram, I saw a famous skateboarder named Tony. I thought to myself, “Wow! I would love to do that!” So I ordered a skateboard immediately, and when it came, I was so excited to ride it.
I remember the day my skateboard arrived. It was raining when FedEx dropped the package in front of my house. My sister yelled my name and told me the skateboard was here! I ran downstairs, so excited to see it. It was a long and gray with wood on the back and a nice grip on the top.
I was in love!
I took my skateboard outside and immediately began riding it. While I was practicing, I fell so many times, my butt was all wet from landing in puddles from the rain.
But I never gave up.
I have a cousin who knew how to skateboard, so I asked him to teach me. He was happy I asked, and we set up a day and time to go. We went to a beach where there was empty pavement (with no obstructions) and rode around until I got comfortable. Then we started to ride around the beach.
I had so much fun that day, and now all I can say is, thanks to COVID-19, a good thing happened, because skateboarding is one of the things that keep me happy now!
by Jaidyn McCullough
I would never consider myself to be the adventurous type who does things impulsively, but I’ve always tried to step out of my comfort zone. It is hard to be open minded and try new things.
A recent Thursday seemed to be a pretty sunny day outside. My normal Thursday consisted of going to my three classes and ending the day at 3:15 p.m. As I was sitting in the car with one of my friends, they randomly spoke up and said, “I want to see the sunset; let’s go follow it,” and that’s exactly what we did.
For half an hour, going down narrow roads in this car with black-tinted windows, eyeing the sun. As we were driving, we came across this pavilion called Raccoon Point. We thought we had ended up at some dump area, but we hadn’t.
We were staring at the beautiful water, with the sandy ground below us, and the sun going down right in front of our eyes. I have never watched the sunset before; I did not even know I had been missing out on something, but the truth was, I had.
My friend had a blanket, so we grabbed it and placed it on the sand while we blasted music and listened to the sounds of the waves. It was a very therapeutic experience.
I advise everybody, once in a while, to stop what they are doing and follow the sunset, because you never know what kind of delight it might bring you.