Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Big Love for Baldwin

James Baldwin is one of our household favorites. He is so clear, so precise, full of what in Sanskrit is called Prajna: sharp wisdom, clear-seeing and often painful clarity.

This is a quote from his essay "The Artist's Struggle for Integrity." Thanks to Whatsupsmiley for featuring it. 

"…But then one has got to understand—that is, I and all my tribe (I mean artists now)—that it is hard for me.  If I spend weeks and months avoiding my typewriter—and I do, sharpening pencils, trying to avoid going where I know I’ve got to go—then one has got to use this to learn humility.  After all, there is kind of a saving egotism too, a cruel and dangerous but also saving egotism, about the artist’s condition, which is this:  I know that if I survive it, when the tears have stopped flowing or when the blood had dried, when the storm has settled, I do have a typewriter that is my torment but is also my work.  If I can survive it, I can always go back there, and if I’ve not turned into a total liar, then I can use it and prepare myself in this way for the next inevitable and possibly fatal disaster.  But if I find that hard to do—and I have a weapon which most people don’t have—then one must understand how hard it is for almost anybody else to do it all…"

For her own thoughts about survival and prioritizing the creative process from recent Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, please see my most recent Memoir Mind post...

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