Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rethink the Big House as a Metaphor for Success

Should success mean owning a big house? Not according to Barbara Kingsolver, well known author of The Bean Trees and Animal Dreams. In her commencement speech at Duke University she stressed the need to "rethink the big, lonely house as a metaphor for success". A short annotated version of her speech follows:

"The rule of 'success' has traditionally meant having boatloads of money. But we are not really supposed to put it in a boat. A house would (be) the customary thing. Ideally it should be large, with a lot of bathrooms … but no more than four people. If two friends come over during approved visiting hours, the two children have to leave. The bathroom-to-resident ratio should at all times remain greater than one. I'm not making this up; I'm just observing, it's more or less my profession. … Rethink the big, lonely house as a metaphor for success. You are in a perfect position to do that. You've probably spent very little of your recent life in a freestanding unit with a bathroom-to-resident ratio of greater than one. … As you leave here, remember what you loved most in this place. … The way you lived, in close and continuous contact. This is an ancient human social construct that once was common in this land. We called it a community."

Until next time!


1 comment:

  1. Excellent speech and so true. As a Realtor I am so tired of hearing people whine about what they "need", but can't afford. OK, I will not get on my soapbox and then I won't have to fear falling off.