Ordinary Light PDF Free Download

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Ordinary Light: A Memoir
AuthorTracy K. Smith
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
April 2, 2015
Media typePrint, Ebook
AwardsFinalist, National Book Award for Nonfiction
ISBN978-0-307-96266-9 (hardcover)
WebsiteOrdinary Light at Penguin Random House

Ordinary Light: A Memoir is a 2015 book by poet Tracy K. Smith. It was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Development and publication history[edit]

Smith described the process of writing the memoir as becoming 'an investigator of [her] own life,' comparing recollections with her siblings and finding memory to be a 'flawed lens.'[1] She began writing Ordinary Light in 2009, though had long wanted to write the memoir, born of a desire to write about her mother who passed away in 1994 as Smith was graduating from college; Smith made initial efforts beginning in 1999 but found the pieces difficult to finish.[2] Later, working with German writer Hans Manus Enzensberger in the context of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, Smith found the structure of exchanging work as well as Enzensberger's feedback helped move the project forward.[2] Smith has also said becoming a parent herself—her daughter was an infant when Smith was writing the book--gave her insight necessary to writing about her mother: 'Not only did I have access to my own feelings and recollections but suddenly I had a way of imagining what my mother, as a parent, might have been thinking and worrying about, and weighing in her mind.'[2]


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  1. Free charges in rod to move, creating excess charges at opposite ends. The excess charges generate an electric field (from a to b) and electric force (F = q E) opposite to magnetic force. Charge continues accumulating until F E compensates F B and charges are in equilibrium q E = q v B - If rod slides along stationary U-shaped.
  2. Feb 27, 2017 I love oil-free salad dressing recipes. While some oils may be healthier than store bought commercial salad dressing, oil-free salad dressing can provide just as much flavor without all the fat. There is no nutritional value in oils, and vegetable oils contain no fiber, no minerals and are 100% fat calories.

The 368-page book was published by Alfred A. Knopf on April 2, 2015.[3]

Content and style[edit]


Writing in Slate, Stacia L. Brown says 'most of the time', Ordinary Light is 'a coming-of-age story about a middle-class black girl with a relatively idyllic life...the story of the healthy, nurturing bond between a black mother and daughter.' However, Brown found the book 'most powerful when it returns to the subject' with which Smith opens the narrative: 'her mother’s illness and Smith’s slow-dawning realization that she will not recover'—Smith's mother died shortly after Smith graduated from college.[4]

Smith, whose first books were poetry, has said that in retrospect, the move to writing in prose was a necessity for her to engage the story of her relationship with her mother. 'I had found a way of exploring my own private material in poems. I knew the kinds of answers—that’s not the right noun because I don't think a poem solves things—but I knew the kind of encounter I was capable of creating in a poem. I realized that if I wanted to get something new out of that material I needed to shift languages.'[2]


Ordinary Light received widely favorable reviews[5][6][7] and was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction.[8][9][10]


  1. ^Beretto, Holly (February 17, 2016). 'Ordinary Light by Pulitzer Prize Winner Tracy K. Smith Looks at the Extraordinary of the Everyday'. Houston Press. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  2. ^ abcdNguyen, Sophia (April 9, 2015). 'A Conversation with Tracy K. Smith '94'. Harvard Magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  3. ^'ORDINARY LIGHT by Tracy K. Smith'. Kirkus Reviews. December 7, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  4. ^Brown, Stacia L. (May 8, 2015). 'An Everyday Transcendence'. Slate. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  5. ^Lozada, Carlos (April 30, 2015). ''Did I ever wonder who my mother used to be, before she belonged to me?''. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  6. ^Chee, Alexander (April 3, 2015). 'Ordinary Light by Tracy K Smith review - powerful meditation on daughters and mothers'. The Guardian. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  7. ^Pinckney, Darryl (April 28, 2015). ''Ordinary Light: A Memoir,' by Tracy K. Smith'. The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  8. ^'2015 National Book Awards'. nationalbook.org. National Book Foundation. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  9. ^Halperin, Moze (October 14, 2015). ''Between the World and Me' and 'A Little Life' Lead the National Book Awards Finalists'. Flavorwire. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  10. ^Dwyer, Colin (October 14, 2015). 'Finalists Unveiled For This Year's National Book Awards'. NPR. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ordinary_Light&oldid=1006565469'

Laser light has four unique characteristics that differentiate it from ordinary light: these are

  • Coherence
  • Directionality
  • Monochromatic
  • High intensity

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We know that visible light is emitted when excited electrons (electrons in higher energy level) jumped into the lower energy level (ground state). The process of electrons moving from higher energy level to lower energy level or lower energy level to higher energy level is called electron transition.

In ordinary light sources (lamp, sodium lamp and torch light), the electron transition occurs naturally. In other words, electron transition in ordinary light sources is random in time. The photons emitted from ordinary light sources have different energies, frequencies, wavelengths, or colors. Hence, the light waves of ordinary light sources have many wavelengths. Therefore, photons emitted by an ordinary light source are out of phase.


In laser, the electron transition occurs artificially. In other words, in laser, electron transition occurs in specific time. All the photons emitted in laser have the same energy, frequency, or wavelength. Hence, the light waves of laser light have single wavelength or color. Therefore, the wavelengths of the laser light are in phase in space and time. In laser, a technique called stimulated emission is used to produce light.

Thus, light generated by laser is highly coherent. Because of this coherence, a large amount of power can be concentrated in a narrow space.


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Inconventional light sources (lamp, sodium lamp and torchlight), photons will travel in random direction. Therefore, these light sources emit light in all directions.

On the other hand, in laser, all photons will travel in same direction. Therefore, laser emits light only in one direction. This is called directionality of laser light. The width of a laser beam is extremely narrow. Hence, a laser beam can travel to long distances without spreading.

If an ordinary light travels a distance of 2 km, it spreads to about 2 km in diameter. On the other hand, if a laser light travels a distance of 2 km, it spreads to a diameter less than 2 cm.


Monochromaticlight means a light containing a single color or wavelength. The photons emitted from ordinary light sources have different energies, frequencies, wavelengths, or colors. Hence, the light waves of ordinary light sources have many wavelengths or colors. Therefore, ordinary light is a mixture of waves having different frequencies or wavelengths.

On the other hand, in laser, all the emitted photons have the same energy, frequency, or wavelength. Hence, the light waves of laser have single wavelength or color. Therefore, laser light covers a very narrow range of frequencies or wavelengths.

High Intensity

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You know that the intensity of a wave is the energy per unit time flowing through a unit normal area. In an ordinary light source, the light spreads out uniformly in all directions.

If you look at a 100 Watt lamp filament from a distance of 30 cm, the power entering your eye is less than 1/1000 of a watt.

In laser, the light spreads in small region of space and in a small wavelength range. Hence, laser light has greater intensity when compared to the ordinary light.

If you look directly along the beam from a laser (caution: don’t do it), then all the power in the laser would enter your eye. Thus, even a 1 Watt laser would appear many thousand times more intense than 100 Watt ordinary lamp.

Thus, these four properties of laser beam enable us to cut a huge block of steel by melting. They are also used for recording and reproducing large information on a compact disc (CD).