An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian. His role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are. He has to tell, because nobody else in the world can tell, what it is like to be alive. All I’ve ever wanted to do is tell that, I’m not trying to solve anybody’s problems, not even my own. I’m just trying to outline what the problems are.
I want to be stretched, shook up, to overreach myself, and to make you feel that way too.
― James Baldwin, “Telling Talk from a Negro Writer,” LIFE Magazine, May 24, 1963