Monday, April 24, 2006

"Mesmerized by everyday living"

(A quote from ONE p. 102); other terms with a similar connotation might be "caught in the cultural rut" of by the "mind forg'd manacles" (Blake).

Oh my goodness! So sad that that happens to so many of us! Well it's just a poetic expression, but it pushed a button in my mind, so here we go:

Divide society between those who stay home and those who move. Stayers and movers! What's the diff? Let's explore that:

Start at any town in Middle America. Some stayed, others left. Why? many reasons of course; opportunity might be the biggest. Disposition a close second.

Due to the peculiar circumstances of my life (two generations of traveling preachers) I've left literally dozens of small towns scattered over the South. And wondered how it is that some stayed, others didn't.

Mine was a special case; it was "flee to the next town". There are many reasons, but I came to the conclusion that those who stayed, by and large, were "Mesmerized by everyday living". Why else would anyone stay in such a dreary place, I thought.

Another way of looking at it: the mesmerized are those for whom their cultural rut is all they can handle. Or maybe everyday living suddenly turned ugly, in trouble; the geographical cure is an option.

A case in point: my cousin lives in a little town in rural Louisiana. La Tech was the usual fount of education in that neighborhood, and there he went after high school. But it was too much for him, he told me. He went home and has scarcely left since. He's not stupid; he can show unusual intelligence, but the great outer world is not for him.

In contrast many friends are inveterate travellers. Judith, from Washington (state) and Washington D.C. had promised to visit us, but instead she flew off to London with Paul. Our Paul, after living in Winston-Salem most of his life has bought a sail boat and has plans for some extensive traveling. He's also made a couple of trips to the Northwest and thought of moving out there. He's well situated where he is, and happy, but maybe he's finally contracted his old man's itchy foot.

Are you inclined to move around? Hurrah for you. Are you rooted? It is well, but don't get caught by 'everyday living'.


xianchick said...

Every night and every morn, some to misery are born... every morn and every night, some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night.

-- auguries of innocence (Blake quote from Agatha Christie's book "Endless Night")


Ever have one of those days when it seems like everyone is on LSD? I was meeting with some people earlier, and the topic of whether or not it is appropriate to say amen at the end of a prayer came up.

Out of the blue, this totally straight laced looking guy threw out the fact that at the end of his prayers he says "yogurt". He had a totally straight expression, and kind of blushed a little bit after he said it. All roads pointed to the fact that he was dead serious... it shut everyone up (except me and my husband: we got a fantastic case of the giggles).

How does this all add up you ask? Just pointing out that dame Agatha Christie was famous for reminding us that sometimes life is best lived in sleepy little towns, and that our worlds are as big as our minds allow them to be.

Cheers to you Larry!

Can't wait to meet you in heaven some day.

anonymous julie said...

And what lovely stuff came out when that button was pushed!

The conversation with Peter (my boss) circled around the same notions all afternoon... as well as some with my friend Peishan the other day.

Because it seems that many, many people want... life to be fun, working to be fun, on and on with the ideals... some people follow through and make it happen. Most people don't.

So, I think a related division/continuum about disposition might be: those who let fear hold them back... and those who don't.

Xianchick, I know just what you mean about the LSD... (cough, meetings with bureaucrats, cough.)

Larry said...

Thanks, girls (I hope you don't mind). Xianchick, William Blake! Oh my. I'm just about at the point of starting another blog with my Blake book (as if I had time for the four I already presume).

Re Yogurt and reaction. Reminds me of a similar incident: In D.C. in 1973; a friend and I got into cab with two other riders (strangers). As we drove along one of them made a sad comment about what a dreary day. I jumped in: "Don't you know the whole earth is full of the glory of God?" Dead silence! no more conversation for the rest of that ride. I wasn't on LSD; I was on the Church of the Savior.

xianchick said...

giggle... cute story. I find myself putting my foot in my mouth (or at least others putting their foots in) quite often.

Maybe we should change our names to psychadelic chick and Timothy Larry.

p.s. I know Agatha chopped up and rewrote auguries, but it's like one of those rap remixes, and it opened my eyes to Blake at the tender age of 16.

isaiah said...

Really interesting site you have here Larry-

Great post & great (Verrrrry funny) replies!

I get so mesmerized by everyday living it drives others into fits of's hard to contain myself at times and the strangest things come out of my mouth too!

Isn't it great?

Small town- large town.... wherever you go, there you are!
I'll take little old Hot Springs and old day (with my copter pad in the back yeard to whisk me off to the big city!)

crystal said...

Larry, my sister and I are opposites - she has moved all around and lived in Arizona, Oregon, here in Californai and in Japan. Since I was a little kid, though, I've been homesick even when I was just on vacation :-)

xianchick said...

For a silent religion, you quakers sure have great conversations!

SinnaLuvva said...

When he travelled
His thoughts remained
At home.

He often felt
Estranged from all
He saw

But seldom
Dwelt upon
His own shortcomings.

Sometimes his thoughts
Took flight, but then he felt
Unable to depart

From his fixed
Well travelled,

He discovered
The value
Of remaining here.

Malcolm Evison

Lorcan said...

The old ways are changing, ye cannot deny

the ways of the travellers' over

there's a by-law to say ye must be on yer way
and another to say, y'can't wander.

Well, Larry, ol'friend... I must admit, I miss the days of my youth when I knocked about with Pavees ( Irish "Gypsies") in the horse drawn days... that certainly was a new wonder every day... I even miss the worst of it, and there was a lot of that as well...

I don't think the music would have died in my heart if I still had access to that world... well, more access, I still knock about with Travellers and Romany people, but that world, then was... oh my, how can I find a word for it...

Fairwell to the bessons o'heather and broom

fairwell to the creal and the basket,

folks o'today they'd much sooner pay

for some yoke tha's been made oot t'plastic.

Larry said...

what have I dont to deserve so many great and wonderful friends?

Xian, I'm glad you mentioned conversational Quakers. I could write a post about that. In brief Quakers make the best conversationalists I know, and that's in very large part the reason I wound up a quaker. Go to a Methodist Church: benediction, hand shake, glad to meet you, go home.
A Quaker meeting, "I'm so and so, noticed such and such about you; let me introduce you to some friends." First time I attended a Quaker meeting the first greeter stayed with me the whole time, introduced me to a dozen or more friends, etal.

Finally I can go to any town in good old USA and find a Quaker; we will have an immediate intimate relationship. I mean innocent intimacy of course. Good conversationalists? Yes!!!

Julie: fun and fear? another post. Perfect love casts out fear. Growing into perfection we begin to transcend our fears, and able to love better, which is the most fun there is.

Of course there's lots of pseudo fun, like pseudo happiness. 1968: standing in the judge's chambers with the operators of the court. An old pirate who had battened off the poor for forty years 'representing' them was about to retire. Summing up his career he said, Well I've had fun. Yes, indeed.

Isaiah, I'm really delighted that you appreciate our humor. I especially love dry humor. Trouble is, too often the people I direct dry humor to think I'm being serious. I feel like Bob Hope, telling a great story, but nobody laughed.

Crystal, I'm the opposite of my sister, too, probably in reverse. She fled to CA at 18, found a nice boy, married him, got him to build a house for her about a mile above San Berdu, then retire at 42, have kids and grow peaches. Been there for over 50 years. In such a life I would go ape, never lived anywhere over ten years.

And the two poets: bless you fellows; you enrich my life enormously.

Lorcan said...

Ah Larry... in this case I'm not the poet, the words are from the dear late and very great Euan McCall... it has one of the great verses, once so close to my heart... "farewell to the signs and the knock on the door, farewell to the Romany talking, the buying and selling, the old fortune telling, the caint and the fairs and the hawkin'" somethin' like that...

oh the days, Larry.

PS Good news from New York, the Granies against the war were aquited of all charges... grandmum and apple pie forever!

xianchick said...

I've noticed that nomads throughout history are always seen in an ugly light.

The jews, the gypsies, the homeless... what is that all about?

I think the saying goes that "not all who wander are lost."

It's one of my favorite things to think about that I haven't quite figured out the results yet...

(but I did figure out why men have nipples -- other than the obvious fact that they are mammals -- not quite ready to reveal it to the world yet, but maybe my official publication will be here on Timothy Larry's blog).

anonymous julie said...

I used to meditate on "perfect love casts out fear" but never understood it. Now I haven't thought of it in ages but read it again and wonder when I learned to know it.

Drink from that well and never thirst again...