- To see the article Larry wrote for the National Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi, in which he describes his fascination for New York City, click here: Why NYC?
- To read in outline form why Larry thinks words are the ultimate power trip, go to his Credo.
- To learn how others see Larry, read Accolades.
Larry Ray Garland is a writer and editor living in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. To clarify that tagline in the heading of this site, Larry was born in Tennessee, not Kansas. However, he certainly can relate to Judy Garland’s Dorothy. Like her, he was picked up by a whirlwind—in his case, a whirlwind of desire to be in a better place for his talents and interests—and transported to a vivid world of variety, creativity, and opportunity.
Flashback. Larry was born in time to witness, in rural Tennessee, the effects of segregation and the moral power of determined, peaceful civil resistance. From childhood memories of separate water fountains—including the one for “Colored” that always seemed to have an “Out of Order” sign—to the casual use of that “N” word, he was there. He was too young to intervene but at just the right age to absorb the lessons of the era.
Larry was fortunate to have loving parents who sacrificed greatly to provide him with access to education—an opportunity absent for them. His memories begin with a childhood in which he dared not ask his father for a nickel candy bar—because he knew the money was not there, literally, for such an unnecessary expense.
Education in the rural south of the 1960s was not far removed from the one-room schoolhouse. Larry’s elementary school—Center Elementary, still standing but now remodeled and converted into a single-family home—comprised four classrooms, two bathrooms, a partial basement, and an adjoining lunchroom that was accessed via a portico. It was a little red-clay brick schoolhouse, outstanding in the community because it was the largest building in the area and the only one not of weatherboard construction.
Center Elementary confined Larry for eight years. Each fall, he found himself in a classroom consisting of two or three grades subject to one teacher. There was no library, either in the school or the community. During the summer recesses of his youth, he begged his parents to let him “live” at the nearest library—almost 20 miles away in Lawrenceburg, the county seat. His mother took on a part-time job involving housekeeping and caring for the elderly to help pay for a car and gasoline to get him there.
Summertown High School was only a bit better. But near the end of his senior year there, Larry won a locally coveted C.W. Hannon Scholarship, which was awarded annually by the region’s largest industrial company. The selection process called for examining a combination of a student’s grades, a written essay assignment, an interview, and teacher recommendations.
With that scholarship, Larry was able to enroll and eventually graduate from two schools within the region. While not Ivy League, they did open opportunity’s door. Higher education was the real beginning of Larry’s basic education; that was when he finally had access to information and gained the critical-thinking skills necessary to independently seek knowledge and understanding.
Larry graduated Salutatorian from Martin Methodist College, a two-year private liberal arts school. He then attained his undergraduate degree, majoring in English and completing some graduate-level work for a Masters in Business Administration, at the University of North Alabama.
With his basic education behind him, Larry then began applying his learned skills and curiosity about the world to a philosophy of continuing education. He continues to seek answers—often finding hidden meaning, ironically, through a study of the world via analogy, metaphor, irony, and symbolism.
Larry wanted to learn about the world beyond Center Elementary. His journey eventually took him to New York City, where he now resides happily. In that world, he has been known to hobnob with the Ivy League liberal sort of fellow, both at work and at play. In fact, in the esoteric world of strategic financial consulting, Larry has—quite literally—put words into the mouths of CEOs at some of the world’s most powerful, global business leaders. Names you’d know, if only Larry would tell. (He won’t.)
Between the two worlds of backwoods boy and big-city word broker exist the forces that created the person Larry is now—and still is becoming. His writing, while not specific to issues of civil rights or societal unrest, reflects the ethos of that journey. Through his writing, he now hopes to stray a bit from the well-worn paths of other authors; for great as their paths may be, he wants to explore a bit off all beaten paths, to find his own way.
Larry is Chief Copy Editor (yes, that’s actually his title) and a writer for the global wealth division of one of the world’s largest banks, headquartered in Manhattan. His published works include poetry, essays, and short stories. His mid-term desire, as with countless other Americans, is to get his work—especially his novels—published, read, appreciated. Unlike most wannabe-published authors with a similar dream, he actually moved to the big city to pursue his passion.
- What drives Larry? He says that many works of literary merit still await creation, that the best is yet to be. He’s quick to add that he’s not implying his talent matches that of the traditional writers and poets that he admires—like Faulkner, Frost, and Dickinson—but he doesn’t mind if you infer that he aspires to that level. He knows that once creativity conceives, it demands birth—and he understands that such birthing requires hard labor.
- Alchemy, beyond allusion. However, Larry prefers a different metaphor to explain his fascination with, and his dedication to, the written word. Word crafting, he says, meets the full definition of alchemy—for it turns the ordinary into gold (with the right combination of words), dissolves all differences among peoples (through application of universal themes), and is the true elixir of life (because words created in excellence make the creator immortal).