Books written by James Baldwin have always had a special place in my heart. They helped me to overcome many struggles that I faced as a young immigrant earlier in my life. I cannot express with words how much Baldwin’s writings mean to me. I especially like this quotation below from one of his interviews as it reflects my very own thoughts and it shows one of the reasons why storytelling is so important as a carrier of our shared humanity.
“(…) You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discovered it happened one hundred years ago to Dostoyevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important. Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important”.James Baldwin, 29 December 1961, interviewed by Studs Terkel, Almanac, WFMT, Chicago
“For history, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely or even principally to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, we are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”James Baldwin ” Unnameable Objects, Unspeakable Crimes”
These words resonate with me in such a profound way, especially if you come from the part of the world ravaged by war, regimes, influenced by foreign countries, Baldwin’s words offer clarity which is unmatchable to anything else I have ever read.
I highly recommend non-fiction essays by James Baldwin and documentary on his life by Raoul Peck.
I love you, Jimmy. . .