Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Other Side of Providence (1914)

Alban uncovered some incredible images of Providence on shorpy. (Link embedded in title above). Thanks, Alban!

This one is from November 1914. Lovecraft was 24 years old, and had he been walking down the street and saw this would have no doubt been incensed. Children pitching for pennies! When the universe was so vast as to be undefinable and indescribable, immigrant children were in the gutters of HIS Providence comitting petty vagrancy???

Yet, Mr. Lovecraft, these were people. Individuals. They had their hopes and dreams, and had you had the patience to listen past their accents - or learned Italian and Portuguese - what new friendships might you have had to ease your intense and bitter loneliness? That hoi poloi was now doing the majority of living and dieing in YOUR Providence.

And might we not say to ourselves, look around. Those "new" people living in your town, village, or city who strike you so odd and unnerving, are also now part of the community and struggling to understand and be a part of their new and terrifying environment.

It's easy to make THEM the OTHER and talk past each other rather than communicating. It is essentially what Mr. Lovecraft's fiction was about - a search for a new path in the face of an onslaught of change.

In his honor, perhpas try an act of random kindness this week.


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