“He (the human being) is... something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves - we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves.”
In case you haven’t heard! (Ha!) - my parents were married in April of 1955 even though my father was gay and my mother knew it. And this little paradox has made me pretty fascinated by what our world was like in 1955: What was possible then? What was our emotional-cultural-sexual landscape like? In my meanderings through images and words that could be said that year, I came across Baldwin’s collection of essays, with this quote; so cutting and true and such a crazily articulate critique of our overwhelming tendency to simplify and sentimentalize humans as they become written characters.