Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Little Crazier

"If you enjoy seeing things from a different angle, then this is the book for you -- or the perfect gift for a friend who likes to discuss life's larger questions: living and dying, love, work and play, religion, science, health and manners..."


A few months ago, I came across the following quotation, on A Word A Day, and thought it was so good that I just had to post it on facebook:

"Everyone, in some small sacred sanctuary of the self,
is nuts."

~ Leo Rosten ~

My facebook friend, artist and author of distilled wisdom,
Michael Lipsey
wrote back:

"Crazy people are only a little crazier."
see I Thought So (shown above, p 24)

This, in turn, brought to mind a couple of memorable passages from my previous reading:

1. The description given by David Sedaris of his job as one of Santa's Elves in a big department store. He deals with many visitors -- crying babies, excited and / or disappointed children, prejudiced parents, exhausted shoppers, and one day:

"At noon a huge crowd of retarded people came to visit Santa and passed me on my little island. These people were profoundly retarded. They were rolling their eyes and wagging their tongues and staggering toward Santa. It was a large group of retarded people and after watching them for a few minutes I could not begin to guess where the retarded people ended and the regular New Yorkers began.

"Everyone looks retarded once you set your mind to it."

from Holidays on Ice (p 15)
by David Sedaris


2. The description Margaret Drabble gives of her character Shirley's visit to a "Welcome Break" rest stop somewhere near London on the ring road. I had the good fortune to hear Drabble read aloud this very passage when she visited Purdue in 1991:

"The room is full of waifs, witches, grotesques. Shirley has never seen such a miserable of collection of people, such a gallery of unfortunates. What has gone wrong? Is this some outing for the disadvantaged, the disabled? No, it is Britain, round about Budget Day, March 1987. Shirley is appalled. An immensely obese woman . . . Two thin tall lanky youths . . . A young couple with a baby, pale like convicts . . . an old man on crutches . . . A young red-haired scruffy Irish girl with a back-pack . . . A grim - faced middle - aged couple . . . A four - foot dwarf . . . Is this the prosperous south, the land of the microchip? Everybody looks half dead, ill from the ill wind. Their faces are white, pink, grey, chapped, washed - out, ill nourished, unhealthy, sickly, sickening. . . . Shirley does not know whether she feels sorry for these tramps, these refugees, these motorway wanderers, or whether she feels she has nothing to do with them at all. Is she still part of the human race? Is this the human race, or are these shadows, ghosts, lingering afterthoughts? This cannot be what is meant.

"I am delirious, thinks Shirley. This is a dream, and these are apparitions. Perhaps, thinks Shirley, I died back there on the motorway. . . .

from A Natural Curiosity (p 128 - 29)
by Margaret Drabble

1 comment:

  1. "The man who arrives at the doors of artistic creation with none of the madness of the Muses would be convinced that technical ability alone was enough to make an artist... what that man creates by means of reason will pale before the art of inspired beings." - Plato

    My favorite madman artist, altho I have many, will always be Artaud. And who was crazier than Van Gogh?