Friday, February 16, 2007

James Baldwin.

I'm reading a biography of James Baldwin, by David Leeming. Baldwin's a favorite of mine, and I've read most of his non-fiction and some of the fiction. There's lots of autobiography in his essays and novels, so I already know quite a bit about his life, but this bio fills in the gaps.

He talked and wrote often about the tension in creating fiction that deals directly with social issues (in his case, racism) without being merely polemical. To really get at the life and soul of the characters and not just lecture. Which is not to say that a writer can't express strong opinions, or that a work of fiction can't make change. That it can't be persuasive.

Baldwin's thoughts on this are good medicine for me right now as I struggle with my little story about men and love and sex. I realize I'm being very timid at both ends of the question. I could stand to get deeper into these characters' souls, and I could stand to have a point of view on the subject.

The first couple days of this study are kind of hectic. We took the drug this morning, and at intervals they take our blood (starting at every 15 minutes, then every 1/2 hour, then 1 hour, 2 hours, etc. decreasing in frequency for the next 3 days) and our urine -- every drop of urine we produce for 72 hours they want. And they check our vital signs. So, except for the couple of days after we dose (which happens twice while we're here), we won't have much on our schedule except meals. I should get some writing done!

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