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dwelling place as a marker of ... ?

To: alt.magick,
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: dwelling place as a marker of ... ?
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 22:04:16 GMT

I had a dream last night that siva and i were visiting some
folks we know from the art car world (we have never been to
their home in real life, only met them at various Bay Area
art car events over the past several years). In the dream i
was disappointed that they lived in a suburban style tract
home in the South Bay (i have no idea where they live in
real life, of course). 

In describing the dream to siva this morning, i realized
that this sense of confused disappointment over where
creative people live has occured to me several times in real
life in relation to people i know through the comic book
industry, through art and artisanry connections, and through
the magical community. 

In every case the people in question projected a complex and
fascinating print / screen / art / party persona as comic
book creators or art car artisans or magicians but were
either found to live in a dull, nondescript tract house on a
block of similar homes in an area with few mature trees or
in an apartment block in the midst of many other apartment
blocks with no access to nature. The flatness of the land
may be a factor too -- The South Bay tract home flats are my
prime local example, but you can fill in the blank as you
please, considering your locale -- the flats around Queens
and Brooklyn with those endless rows of apartment block
fulfill the same criterion. The effect is one of a
"Matrix"-like vista of endless small, niche-like human

My disappointment has nothing to do with the presumed
financial status or economic attainment of the comics
creators or mages who live in these places, for i have been
vastly inspired by visiting folks who live in
poverty-blighted inner city walk-ups or in rural farm
squalor -- no, it is the deadly dullness, the cubicle-like
regularity of the housing plan, with the postage-stamp front
lawn and the inevitably fenced back yard that disappoints.
How could an anrtist, mage, conscious being select such a
middle-of-the-road neighborhood, cut off from the best that
nature offers (vistas, wildness, beauty) and the best that
human invention offers (elaborate architecture, parks,

I realize that this viewpoint springs from my own intensely
aesthetic orientation. I realize that it is neither
transferrable as a meme nor will it be easily understood by
many. Those who know where and how i live will understand
better than others what i am taling about. Some whom i have
visited, like Poke Runyon, probably even share my feelings
in the matter, if i may judge by how and where they live. 

I bring this forward today because there has been some
recent talk about what exactly constitutes magical
attainment. The trolls perpetually ask, "If magic works, why
aren't you all rich?" This is not about wealth, though.
Wealth is only a marker of one kind of aspiration. Realizing
that riches may not be everyone's goal, i am asking "If
someone is a creative person -- script-writer, artist,
screenwriter, magician, author, lecturer, teacher, magister
templi, art car artist, root doctor -- why would he or she
dwell in the prefabricated, repetitive housing units of the

cat yronwode

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