The Marginalian on James Baldwin and long distance love

As someone who has experienced love from a long-distance, this retrospective from The Marginalian resonated with me. Maria Popova looked back at some passages from James Baldwin’s book, Nothing Personal:

One discovers the light in darkness, that is what darkness is for; but everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light. It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself, waiting to be found, there is a light.


What a journey this life is! Dependent, entirely, on things unseen. If your lover lives in Hong Kong and cannot get to Chicago, it will be necessary for you to go to Hong Kong. Perhaps you will spend your life there, and never see Chicago again. And you will, I assure you, as long as space and time divide you from anyone you love, discover a great deal about shipping routes, airlines, earth quake, famine, disease, and war. And you will always know what time it is in Hong Kong, for you love someone who lives there. And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time and, furthermore, to win.

And closing words from Maria:

All love bridges the immense expanse between lonelinesses, becomes the telescope that brings another life closer and, in consequence, also magnifies the significance of their entire world.

All love is light’s battle against the entropy continually inclining spacetime toward nothingness, against the hard fact that you will die, and I will die, and everyone we love will die, and what will survive of us are only shoreless seeds and stardust.

More from James Baldwin: Never Aired: Profile on James Baldwin ABC’s 20/20 (1979), James Baldwin on the meaning of liberty, and James Baldwin on the American Negro image

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