James Baldwin is a huge inspiration to me always - because of his great compassion - because of his ability to maintain a ruthlessly steady gaze - piercing right through the beauty and ugliness - into the heart of what it means to be human.
There are no shortcuts. It's a way of living, to cut yourself no breaks, to live with an expanded heart, to pursue - personally and creatively - what's true instead of what's easy. To see beyond the daily transactions of our own needs into who we are and who others really are. To not edit the complexity and the mess, but to embrace it instead. Whenever I start feeling a bit too excited about myself, I read some Baldwin and get a dose of humility. :-D ("You thought you were getting good, is it? Ha!") ("How did he learn so much in his normal-sized life? Mystery!")
Love you, James.