All celebrities are required to make terrible choices when it comes to naming their children. It's in the celebrity handbook. Beyoncé and Jay-Z's baby, Blue Ivy Carter, has a name that's strange enough to fit the bill. What would be stranger, however, is if the inspiration behind the name came from author and Harper's contributor Rebecca Solnit's masterpiece A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Beyoncé recently posted a passage from the book on her new Tumblr.
"The world is blue at its edges and in its depths," Solnit writes in the passage Bey posted. "This blue is the light that got lost."
It's the opening to "The Blue of Distance," the second chapter. If Beyoncé read past the opening passage, then she understands the depth behind the chapter's name.
For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of emotion, the color of solitude and desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains...Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.
Solnit sees value in cherishing the desire she associates with the color, instead of treating desire as "a problem to be solved." Or in other words, looking into the "blue of distance" without wanting the distance to go away.
Somewhere in this is the mystery of why tragedies are more beautiful than comedies and why we take a huge pleasure in the sadness of certain songs and stories. Something is always far away.
The beauty of Solnit's words might not justify forcing a child to (eventually) walk around with the name Blue Ivy. But if A Field Guide happens to be sitting on Beyoncé and Jay-Z's bookshelf, you have to give them some credit: it's deep. And after the song Jay-Z wrote about his daughter, which contains the lyric, "You're my child of a child from Destiny's Child," we could use a little depth.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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