"It takes wit and courage to make our way while our way is making us, with no consolation to count on but art and the summer lightning of personal happiness."
Alexander Herzen, 1812-1870
Saw the Shotgun Players production of Salvage the third play in Tom Stoppard's trilogy The Coast of Utopia. They produced all three plays over the past few years, a tremendously ambitious undertaking because all of them are meaty and long and require many actors. A theatrical feast. A few months ago, prompted by the plays and a friend who kept recommending them, I read the first two parts of Herzen's autobiography, about his early life in Russia and his six-year Siberian exile. Also saw the American Masters portrait of James Baldwin on TV, which prompted me to return to his essays. Both literary/political men who lived abroad, Herzen in exile, Baldwin by choice, and eventually found themselves displaced by younger revolutionaries. Their chunks of history are easier to digest because they write so well.
"But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand--and one is, after all, emboldened by the spectacle of human history in general, and American Negro history in particular, for it testifies to nothing less than the perpetual achievement of the impossible."
James Baldwin, 1924-1987