Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Painting by Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942)

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

James Baldwin


  1. Yvette,

    Being rather pessimistic about "human progress," I would add "or who will be alive," to Baldwin's quotation.

  2. I never thought my calamities were unique, but I didn't realize I wasn't alone in what I was thinking until I started reading more deeply. Having one other soul who feels the way you do about something important to you makes all the difference.

  3. Fred: I'm not as pessimistic as you, Fred. I think we'll all continue in some form or another. :)

  4. Cathy: You are so right. "Only connect." E.M. Forster said this as well.

    When you come to realize that your problems are not unique, that you're not the ONLY ONE, it helps to sort things out.

  5. Yvette,

    Oh, I think it's possible we'll muddle through, somehow. It's just that I don't think we are going to solve our problems and turn this planet into an Eden where all live peacefully and in harmony with each other.

  6. I sympathize and agree with Baldwin's quote, and surely have had my share of woes, calamities and difficulties.

    However, I can't compare my problems to his. His were such in terms of discrimination and nonacceptance in this society, that he had to move to France to gain acceptance and respect.

    I have never faced anything that would for me to do that, as I can escape into books. He couldn't do that. His problems were too immense.

    He was a great writer and social critic, and this post is reminding me to read his books.

  7. I must give this blog even more praise as I sit and look at posts on J.K. Rowling, James Baldwin, Peter Sellers and Bram Stoker, all within reading distance on one site.

    What an eclectic and wonderful mix.

  8. Fred: I agree. We're too ornery to become extinct. :)

  9. Kathy: I read Baldwin when I was in high school. At the time I thought he was probably very smart to go live in France where life was that much easier for him, in terms of safety, especially.

    But to HAVE to go live abroad because of prejudice at 'home' is a terrible thing. And for Baldwin it was a double prejudice.

    And thank you, m'dear, glad you're enjoying my blog. I must tell you I have a very good time putting it together. :)

  10. Agree fully with your post about Baldwin. He was forced by conditions to flee to France due to double prejudice.

    He was able to have a full life there.

    P.S. And on this blog, we have a very good time reading -- and chuckling, if not outright laughing -- with the reviews.


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