The Place in Which I’ll Fit Will Not Exist Until I Make It

James Baldwin? Sol Stein? Claudia Roth Pierpont? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: There are powerful pressures to conform and follow the conventions of one’s society. But the renegade does not fit into a pre-existing slot. A prominent literary figure once said:

The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.

Essayist and novelist James Baldwin has received credit for this statement. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Reply from Quote Investigator: In 2004 author and editor Sol Stein published a book about his close association with James Baldwin titled “Native Sons: A Friendship That Created One of the Greatest Works of the 20th Century: Notes of a Native Son”. Stein reprinted a letter he received from Baldwin near the beginning of 1957. This letter contained the quotation. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]2004 Native Sons: A Friendship That Created One of the Greatest Works of the 20th Century: Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin and Sol Stein, Section: The Correspondence, Letter From: James … Continue reading

Please get over the notion, Sol, that there’s some place I’ll fit when I’ve made some ‘real peace’ with myself : the place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it. You know and I know that the ‘peace’ of most people is nothing but torpor . . .

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Place in Which I’ll Fit Will Not Exist Until I Make It

References

References
1 2004 Native Sons: A Friendship That Created One of the Greatest Works of the 20th Century: Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin and Sol Stein, Section: The Correspondence, Letter From: James Baldwin, Letter To: Sol Stein, (Reply to a letter dated December 7, 1956), Date: 1957, Quote Page 96 and 97, One World: Ballantine Books, New York. (Verified with scans)