Charles Blow at the Texas Book Festival

Charles Blow, author of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” discussed his searing memoir about the abuse he suffered as a child and college student and said that he was driven to write the book after reading about two 11-year-olds who hanged themselves after suffering bullying by homophobes.

“Children don’t have the language to explain their feelings, and I have that language,” said the New York Times columnist. “So the book could be seen as their swan song, their eulogy. … If they can’t say it, maybe I can.”

Blow said that suicides were “the kind of thing that will never die unless someone shines a light on it.” Still, he said he was initially fearful about making his life an open book and revealing his sexual history.

The title of Blow’s book comes from a passage in the Bible, where Jeremiah complains that he suffers reproach for his beliefs. In the King James version of the Bible, the appropriate passage is: “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”


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