The Value of Marginal Places In the essay “In Praise of Margins” by Ian Frazier, Frazier mentions that the world is a place where adults tend to get caught up in. They do not realize that what they need is that place to breath. He says that marginal places and activities, when he was a kid, were a waste of time, but once he was older and saw his child have their marginal “moment” playing, in the steam instead of fishing, he realizes the importance as an adult. He mentions that we all have a place as a child that we would like to go back and let go of all our responsibilities.
Frazier uses the word margin, this word that Frazier uses, has a negative and positive tone and he explains the time spent in the woods. Frazier states that the definition of margin is a blank space around a body of type or border of a piece of ground. It’s adjective meaning has a negative tone to it; minimal for requirements, almost insufficient. As Frazier uses marginal to describe what he did in the woods as a child, he grew up to realize how important these “marginal” places had so much value.
As a young boy Frazier, mentions “the woods” as places where he and his friends would play at all day. Exploring and possibly be lost in the hours of fun they would have ad most importantly, no worries. Exploring things as they go playing along the trees, maybe even being some sort of character or action hero from his time. As Frazier got a little bit older he one day realized that his time spent in the woods was becoming childish and foolish. He eventually stopped going to this place, that as a child was almost like a sanctuary or a place of acceptance to be him-self freely.
When Frazier was in the seventh grade he came to asked himself “What are you doing? ” or maybe “why we are here? ” He notices that some of his friends started to not dress appropriately to climb trees and play because of the penny loafers the wore. I am sure this was for the girls they were trying to impress as they get older. As they had other things happening in life that bounded them from going in to the woods, and somehow forgot about it they really never decided to go back and play.
But from my understanding, in high school they went back to the woods one day, where they had this sense of ‘’there is nothing here for us anymore” or “why did we waste our time here as kids”. I am sure high school, girls and school dances had the memories of “the woods” faded deep in their memory. They realized that they are all grown up and have no need to be there. Frazier must have thought of all the childish senseless things they did being in the woods for hours, just wasting time that they did not know of or care for because they were children.
I mean they didn’t have responsibilities as children they didn’t have to work and take of others. I guess that was the good thing about marginal places. For Frazier, when we took his children to go fishing, they sort of did not want to go fishing and instead played in a ditch. Frazier did not have a heart to tell them to stop; instead he realized that this was a marginal place his children will one day grow up turned this ditch in into a marginal place. Just like when Frazier was a child and did not know this was a marginal place he sees that with his kids, and realizes the value of having a marginal getaway.
In my opinion, I agree with Frazier’s ideas that “marginal” activities and places are valuable. Marginal places are also a way of making oneself a better person. It’s a place to think and relax from the worlds’ needs and wants. Of all the places in the world everybody has their own marginal area. Mine so happens to be at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana. As a child my parents would pack up the car and head over across the lake every Saturday if the weather permitted.
This place had a pool, walking trail, barbeque pits and most importantly a beach, not a five star beach but to a 6 year old it was. I would walk along the shore where the water would meet the trees and I would pretend it was undiscovered land. I still go back to this day, monthly and it’s still the same feeling I get, a breath of fresh air. This is what Frazier wants people to know about having marginal places and doing activities, they are not bad places, everyone needs a break from the a world that moves at fast pace.
In Conclusion Frazier wants people to know that having a bit of time to youself is okay. Everyone has an escape, whether if it is an old place as a kid, a cartoon you use to watch or even the music you use to listen to. Marginal does not have to be in a negative use. In some cases like Frazier it was a good thing, sort of almost like a re-evaluation of life and I am sure he doesn’t regret playing in the woods as a child at all. Ian Frazier looks to the woods as a safe and happy place. I am sure he wants us to remember the marginal place we had as children also.