Q. How can we get the black people to cool it?
A. It is not for us to cool it.
Q. But aren’t you the ones who are getting hurt the most?
A. No, we are only the ones who are dying fastest.
The questioners: writers and editors at Esquire. The respondent: James Baldwin. The date: 1968.
It is hard not to feel trapped in (or is it by?) history.
I remind myself to be hopeful; people are learning about the reality of the Chinese Exclusion Act; about the imprisonment of Japanese Americans; about the history of Black and Asian solidarity movements.
Will we ever learn these lessons without the preface of death, or is there no learning without suffering? How do we stop this generational exercise in forgetting?
None of this is brand new even if the pain is fresh.
Earlier this year when the move was Pandemic Vision Boarding I wrote down that my focus for 2021 would be to build a resilient legacy. I am thinking about both of those words. About how to sustain and be sustained; about what a legacy means while you are still living. About who all this is for.
Who is your ideal audience? What is your ideal work? Why are these such scary questions?
To live another person’s biography is not the same as to live his or her life. She constructs a story line or cluster of anecdotal details, like clothes around the body, instruments of both defense and expansion, which give meaning to fluctuations, such as in pleasures occurring between herself and you. Her sunglasses swathed in feathers express the contingency of a light and a space, so that the anecdote of a hanging could be utilized as colorist or combinatory data, instead of her instinct for the imaginary in which what she imagines represents what happens, whether or not it misrepresents it. — from Forms of Politeness by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge