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Saturday, 25 January 2014

James Baldwin

“All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.”


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“People can cry much easier than they can change.”



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“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
― The Fire Next Time -



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“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”



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“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be”

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“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”


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“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― The Fire Next Time -

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“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

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“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.”
― The Fire Next Time -

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“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”


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"Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks".

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"The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him".

- Interviews -







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6 comments:

  1. He was a great author and a great thinker. There used to be a gay bar in Winnipeg called "Giovanni's Room" after his groundbreaking gay novel. In later years, it just got shortened to "Gio's." Younger men no longer understood the literary reference.

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  2. beautiful mind and visionary
    I aim to read more of his work
    I feel as though I've heard his name over the years, and even watched him speak, and yet never really paid attention - or fully 'got him', until now
    All these years later - he has my attention.

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  3. I was given my first James Baldwin book when I was ten. My speech therapist, in trying to find things that would have a calming influence, realized that I liked to read, and she suggested Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and James Baldwin. He makes me want to be a writer. He was so prolific, his delivery so descriptive. It's like you're there, experiencing everything he's writing. Thank you posting this. I wish my son and nephew appreciated writing. I'd definitely recommend James Baldwin.

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  4. Brilliant man.
    At 10 I'm sure I knew nothing of Baldwin., and like you , I liked to read.
    Your speech therapist recommended some great writers!
    I've just purchased two of his books, so looking forward to those arriving.
    I know very little of Langston Hughes Alieux so thank you for mentioning him, I'll check him out

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  5. He's always reminded me of one of my college professors. James Baldwin was a brilliant man. Not that long ago I saw a documentary on his life. He's a fascinating person.

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  6. I would like to see that documentary..

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