Read | 18. Jun 2020

Two Books That Arrived On My Doorstep Today

“Love him,’ said Jacques, with vehemence, ‘love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?"

That sentence has been my favourite line in all the books I ever read about love. It´s from James Baldwin´s "Giovanni´s Room", and I read that story about two white boys struggling with their love for each other in Paris when I was a teenager at college. It did not occur to me that this book was not meant to be for me - neither a gay man, nor black, for that matter - I just fell for Baldwin´s idea of bravery: to express your love to someone else as the most important goal in life.

Overwhelmed with the incidents around the murder of George Floyd, Baldwins´s books came back to me and I realised that I was missing one, so I ordered "Going To Meet The Man", a sample of short stories, a vintage book, online.

It arrived the very day, a friend suprised me with another book, André Leon Talley´s Memoir "The Chiffon Trenches". He used to be one of the most important people in fashion when he was creative director of American Vogue - and the walking exception as he was a man and also quite tall, black and styled in the most extraordinary way.

As I was working in fashion at the same period of time, I watched him now and then, at fashion shows, backstage, at dinners - and I fell for his larger-than-life-attitude, shaking up our somewhat boring accurate cosmos of cool, slim, white, forever-young people.

There have never been two men more different than James Baldwin and André Leon Talley.

Still, both men told me something about living your life with only one responsibility: Following your own rules.

Thank you for that.