Monday, April 23, 2007

The Magic of Suburbia

I have never been able to understand why the fact of living in the suburbs should be funny or contemptible. Indeed I have been trying on and off for years to complete a poem which (like so many of my poems) has never got beyond the first two lines--
Who damned suburbia?
"I", said Superbia.

[....]It was early evening when my journey began. The train was full, but not yet uncomfortably full, of people going home. It is important to insist--you will see why in a moment--that I was under no illusion about them. If anyone had asked me whether I supposed them to be specially good people or specially happy or specially clever, I should have replied with a perfectly truthful No. I knew quite well that perhaps not ten percent of the homes they were returning to would be free, even for that one night, from ill temper, jealousy, weariness, sorrow or anxiety, and yet--I could not help it--the clicking of all those garden gates, the opening of all those front doors, the unanalysable home smell in all those little halls, the hanging up of all those hats, came over my imagination with all the caress of a half-remembered bit of music. There is an extraordinary charm in other people's domesticities. Every lighted house, seen from the road, is magical: every pram or lawn-mower in someone else's garden: all smells or stirs of cookery from the windows of alien kitchens.
~C.S. Lewis, Present Concerns, "Hedonics", 1986 (1st published in Time and Tide, 16 June 1945)

2 Comment(s):

At Wed Nov 07, 05:36:00 PM EST, Blogger batgirl said...

sigh. oh what we would have missed out on if this man chose to lay bricks or something and not put his thoughts onto paper. but then he was a writer; he HAD to put his thoughts on paper...

At Tue Oct 27, 11:19:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

That is so apt, and quite brilliant. It's one of those things I've thought and thought about, but never articulated. Now to find that Lewis thought so similarly, and articulated it so well!

Thanks for your site, btw. I've just come across it and am enjoying it.


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