James Baldwin: The First Next Time

The Fire Next Time book cover - Rik Rawling

Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

I’ve used my 2015 drawing inspired by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, to mock-up a book cover. Baldwin, as the above quote surely illustrates, was a great writer, and if ever his home country needed his passion and wisdom, it’s right now.

James Baldwin, 1963 interview

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