Saturday, August 1, 2009
What becomes of the broken-hearted?
Opening of Invisible Life:
“There is something poetic about falling in love. The tingling sensation lingers like the lyrical words of a Langston Hughes poem. There is something romantic about the changing of seasons. A romance reminiscent of an unending summer, or one as fleeting as spring and fall. Whenever I think back on the loves of my life, I am often reminded of the seasons. There are four seasons. I have been in love four times.”
My heart is heavy and I am remiss at the passing of E. Lynn Harris. Through his writings- the rich, varied and conflicted characters, the fast paced plots- I learned more about myself than any “American classic” could ever reveal.
Growing up in rural Mississippi provided few opportunities for exposure to black gay men. It was through Raymond and Kyle and Basil that I was able to see that tomorrow would be better than today. It was the first kiss the Raymond and Kevin shared that let me know that I was not alone. Whenever E. Lynn Harris released a new book, I was always in Barnes and Nobles on the release day, member card in hand, ready to purchase.
I grieved when Kyle died and I grieve now.
There is already a void in canon of black literature and that void just grew immensely. There are few black writers of note contributing to the cannon of American Literature. E. Lynn Harris carried the torch that James Baldwin lit.
Raymond taught me professionalism and Basil taught me passion. Zurich taught me that it was alright to love me for me and Yancy taught me to let go of the past so that I could embrace the future.
My heart is heavy.
Dare I say that E. Lynn Harris was the most well-known black gay man in the United States?
While Keith Boykin’s activism is more recognized within the black gay community and within the nation’s intellectual community, it is E. Lynn Harris’s name that echoes in beauty salons around the nation during the week one of his newest releases hit book shelves.
Today, as I remember this author, this torch-bearer, I cannot help but wonder who will pick up his torch and carry it? I cannot help but wonder if we will become invisible once more.