Sunday, January 4, 2009

People and Places

Perhaps I'm biased, but I think personal names that are also places are very cool. Guys with names like Cleveland and girls with names like Georgia are almost always good people to know.

The idea that people can also be places is captivating. In Neil Gaiman's Sandman series there's a section of landscape named Fiddler's Green that sometimes gets bored, rolls itself into portly human form, and wanders around looking for adventure. I wish I could find it, but there's a Buddhist quote about how landscapes of the world contain mountains and rivers and heavens and hells, and finishes by saying people are the same way.

Lyle Lovett does this song - "Give Back My Heart" - where he sings "I can't be no cowgirl paradise." He was really onto something there. When people really fall under the influence of infatuation, it's because they think they've glimpsed the promised land in somebody else. Carrying such promise for somebody else can be quite a burden.

Here lately I'm starting to realize that promised lands are really a set of conditions which arrive within your own head. This realization doesn't help much because making your head a friendly place for such conditions is much easier said than done.

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