James Baldwin

"Don't describe a purple sunset, make me see that it is purple."
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James Baldwin - Words On Honest Prose (Pictured: Black and white photograph of James Baldwin.) James Baldwin is one of the most important writers of the 1960's. The man was somewhat of a walking archive - He was reading Balzac at the New York Public Library by the age of 13. Following his father's footsteps, Baldwin was a preacher in his teens, but later fled and spent many of his writing years in Paris. At first poor, he now joins the same list of many classic novelists he grew up reading. #1 Don't Cheat The Truth: Baldwin emphasized truth-telling in writing, citing that a book must be an exploration into one's psyche. "The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don't want to know, But something forces you to anyway." #2 Clean Up Your Work: Baldwin described all his first drafts as overwritten, and insisted on editing many times until it was right. "It becomes difficult because you have to strip yourself of all your disguises, some of which you didn't know you had. You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal." #3 Master Minor Characters:"Minor characters are the subtext, illustrations of whatever it is you're trying to convey. The minor characters have a certain freedom which the major ones don't. They can make comments, they can move, yet they haven't got the same weight, or intensity." #4 Talent is Insignificant: "I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance." - Now Try This! A Writing Prompt: Imagine something terrible has happened and you need a fresh start. You have a one-way ticket and $40 in your pocket. Where are you going? What happens when you get there? (Pictured: Mini Cut Refillable Leather Journal)
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Author: Colin Murdy
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