Thank God there is finally a word for something I’ve been trying to talk about for 30 years while people gave me bored or irritated looks:
David’s theory is that the phenomenon has its roots in “paracosms,” the “detailed imaginary worlds” that children create, “sometimes complete with beasts, heroes and laws.” Paracosms “help us orient ourselves in reality,” he writes.
“They are structured mental communities that help us understand the wider world … We carry this need for paracosms into adulthood,” David continues, adding:
“It’s a paradox that the artists who have the widest global purchase are also the ones who have created the most local and distinctive story landscapes.”
This would apply to Bruce Springsteen, who has made a career of digging into a paracosm “of tramps, factory closings, tortured Catholic overtones and moments of rapturous escape.”
This speaks to “the tremendous power of particularity,” of an identity “formed by hard boundaries … from a specific place.”