Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right

Seems like there’s one place no one ever wants to be: the middle. Whether it’s the middle seat, the middle of a conflict, or a mid-life crisis, it’s become apparent to me that we like to celebrate the extremities in life. We’re fascinated with beginnings and ends, births and deaths, the child prodigy or the wizened master. We love young pioneering-radical-Bob-Dylan and we also love old cookie-monster-Bob-Dylan, we just can’t be bothered with all that stuff he did… in the middle.

For better or for worse, the middle is a place I know well. In my family I am one of two middle children, my Dad is also a middle child, and I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland; a city in the middle of a state, in the middle of the East Coast. No one who lives more than 300 miles away even knows where it is, because it’s in the middle!

I lived in New England for a year or so and everyone called me a southerner. Now I live in Georgia and I get called a Yankee from time to time. (FYI, Maryland is below the Mason-Dixon line my southern friends. You know, that line in the middle.)

Even though starts and finishes, ups and downs, and every other sort of polar opposite, are exciting, I’d like to point out that the middle is a great place.

For instance, what would a sandwich be without what you put in the middle? Or a box of chocolates for that matter? The bridge of a song is often my favorite part, and it usually falls somewhere in the late middle. And when we’re feeling good about life, we all want to be “in the middle of the action.”

The middle is the core, the heart, the essence.

Yesterday, Carol left me a comment asking:

When did you move to Atlanta? Why? 

Well, it was about 9 years ago I suppose. I was looking the middle again. I was at the end of a relationship that wasn’t working. I was at the end of making the kind of music I had made up until that point. It was a bit of a random and bold move for me, but I had to get back into balance, get centered, and start a new pursuit.

The advice I’m giving myself these days is to give up on knowing what my life story is. You can’t be the writer of your own screenplay and also be the audience. It’s best not to know too much about the arch of the plot. It’s best assume you’re right in the middle. This moment  is the best possible place to be, it’s where everything is happening.

And if someone comes along, demanding that you defend your decision to live your life unconventionally and free, tell them you’ll have to get back to them… you’re in the middle of something important.

Fare Thee Well,



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1 Response to Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right

  1. A great post today, Eliot. From your heart and clever, yet not because you were trying to be, or because you didn’t know what else to write about. You shared a piece of yourself, of where you sit today, and that made me smile. Maybe there is a song somewhere in what you have shared with us. Somewhere in the middle, perhaps…

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