Johnson, Fenton. “Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays”, Sarabande Books, 2017.
I first came across Fenton Johnson’s writing when I read his “Geography of the Heart” many years ago when I was trying to find a way to reconcile my religious beliefs with my sexuality. He has a way of saying things that put me at ease so I was glad to see that he has a new book out and while not all of the writings are new, each of the essays has something relevant to say. Johnson writes about sexuality, religion, geography, the AIDS crisis, and more and his work is both memoir and a retrospective look at his life and where he has been. He is quite a traveler and we read about the hills of Kentucky and the hills of San Francisco, the streets of Paris and the sidewalks of Calcutta. As he travels, he investigates questions large and small and asks about the relationship between artists and museums and the difference between empiricism and intuition.
As I said, some of these essays have been published but there are also new writings here as well. I am so glad that he has included his writings on the AIDS epidemic and I can’t stress the importance of us never allowing ourselves to forget what it did to our community. Johnson reports from the front lines of the AIDS epidemic as well as from Burning Man, and from monasteries near and far. His subject matter is diverse just as we are.