Mary Jo Malo
Happening As a Life
AsEverWas: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor
by Hammond Guthrie, 2005
SAF Publishing, $25
Hammond Guthrie's memoir, AsEverWas, begins in a motel room on the threshold of an efficiently planned suicide. He allows us to flash back with him to the beginning of his remembered life when his parents divorced in 1952. Guthrie was abandoned by Sonya, his artistic mother, but dutifully maintained and directed by C. Robert, his concerned father, then a novice criminologist. Thus began the undiplomatic shuttle of the young boy -- from his father, to his father's parents, back to his father and new stepmother with their homemade "aquatic mobile home"; and finally off to a high-school Army-Navy military academy to complete his education. From his early sensitivity about not having "on site parents" and cultivating a prankster proclivity in his wild teendom, Guthrie was already in the pattern of his emergent adulthood -- travel, escape and adventure. Upon graduation he adamantly rejected the opportunity to attend either West Point or Annapolis. Nevertheless, his father, by now an expert security consultant to our country's highest intelligence agencies, let him go with a generous $225 monthly stipend. Guthrie took the money and ran.
When he turned eighteen years old he not-so-deftly danced the draft issue, armed with a bum knee and a Benzedrine-enhanced psychosis. Guthrie says, "I knew beforehand that being a soon-to-be-ex-cadet and the only son of a former O.S.S. operative and Criminologist turned Political Scientist would not increase my chances for simple deferment." The hilarious anecdote, titled Very Selective Services, is a quintessential example of Hippie history. It details his manic maneuvers in the short-lived protection of two colleges in Costa Mesa, meeting David Harris (activist husband of Joan Baez), hanging with radical political groups, crashing a George Wallace for President rally with playful panache, and inevitably encountering the local draft board.
Guthrie would meet his beautiful soon-to-be bride, Wendy, in the Student Union of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. Her photographs included in the book demonstrate his passionate bias. There are other illuminating illustrations of home, travel destinations, friends, family, and his work.
During his first twenty years of life in California, Guthrie temporarily inhabited Dinuba, Bolinas, Orinda, Oakland, South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, Terminal Island, Carlsbad, and the Camp Pacific/Army Navy Academy Military School. He vacationed at Bass Lake, visited Barstow, lived in Costa Mesa, raunchily excursioned into Tijuana, played in Laguna Beach and Hollywood, and finally explored San Francisco, his last stop before heading to Europe and more "far out" adventures.
His typical Los Angeles day while "spelunking the Underground" went something like this:"After inhaling a 99 cent breakfast, freshly combed and sufficiently wired, I strolled up the boulevard, zig-zaging in the general direction of La Cienega. Without detours, this is an easy walk that would take just about anyone thirty minutes -- but due to the interactive nature of benzedrine and the curious-sparkle of the weird, it took me nearly six hours of outside-down work on the captivating up-streets, heading specifically in the direction of lord knows what. I persistently distracted myself with the fascinating diatribes of the many other victims and pheromonic interventionists typical of Hollywood Boulevard and its immediate environs. To quell the increasing frenzy building up inside my nervous system, I meticulously scanned the directory listings in the lobbies of anonymous buildings before entering the offices of the probably transient and curiously titled. My scattered attentions focused on places such as: Bzerpt's Induction, 1st Temple of Zymphonic Transference, The Process Church of the Final Judgment, Grand Templar of the O.T.O., Fula Vita-Vita Vita, Silva Mind Control, Scientology and Overnight Squilbitz Removal. 'Hi there! Can I have a brochure?'"
The author attended the legendary "Gathering of the Tribes" at L.A.'s Elysian Fields where Barry McGuire's famously public under-the-blanket private gathering for two was photographed for posterity. Guthrie schooled and partied with kids of celebrities and near celebrities of television and screen. He met Zorro and Sonny Barger of Oakland's Hell Angels, who brotherly bestowed upon him a calling card good for one favor anywhere, anytime. He met Neal Cassady and assorted Merry Pranksters at the Acid Test. He hung with the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Buffalo Springfield, Spencer Dryden, Neil Young, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, and Richie Havens. What Los Angeles and San Francisco clubs didn't he visit, and what bands didn't he hear?"Hollywood Boulevard has most likely always been a safe haven for the disenfranchised factions of an otherwise sunny Southern California lifestyle. Ever curious on my weekly trips up and down this historic Boulevard, I would come to meet other nomadic experimentalists who turned me on to the hot spots for diverse weirding. Places such as the soon-to-be-closed Coffee House of the Rising Sun, The Blue Grotto, The Bizarre Bazaar, Ben Frank's Café, and the berserkian Fred C. Dobbs, where I met an astonishing array of oddly framed yet wonderful people, including Bunk Gardner, one of the multi-instrumentalists in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. On the whole they referred to themselves as 'Freaks' and belonged to a vague something-or-other they satirically called The United Mutation Front. (I immediately applied for membership.) One of the more mystically-apparent non-leaders of this unwinding group was a Beat elder and studied sculptor turned bizzarro dance-guru by the name of Vito Paulekas."At the time, Vito held court within a tangle of wildly attractive lithe-bodied acid-bunny proto-groupies, and a smaller group of polymorphic male impresarios known collectively as the Fraternity of Man. The Frat-family and their gossamer clad women, who looked like the psychedelic brides of Dr. Frankincense, sported some of the most colorful clothing this side of the Munchkin Wardrobe from the Wizard of Oz…"
During an interview while discussing AsEverWas, Guthrie said, "I want the guy who never lived a life like mine to be interested enough to read my book." So I was very eager to read his story of altered consciousness, alternative lifestyle, and the genuine attempt to put a serious dent in the inherent alterity of human relationships and society. But I believe that readers who lived a life similar to his will find this book a fantastic and frenetic nostalgia.
I view his story as the portrait of an artist on a road less traveled; because despite the media's focus on the peace and love children of the sixties as typical of my generation, they really were an anomaly in postwar booming America. It took the Vietnam war and the draft to fertilize a nascent and necessary revolution towards our country's comfortable and widely unquestioned value systems.
So while Guthrie was meeting bikers, taking the acid test, deeply imbibing the music scene, and haunting the underground cinema with strange new films and peculiar documentaries; I was at the drive-in with my boyfriend, watching cheesy Hollywood B-movies to entertain, stimulate and apprise me of the dangers in walking on that wild side. You know, the formula films complete with bad trips, biker kidnappings and rapes, with restaurants and bars demolished at the cliché dropping of an innocent off-hand remark. It wasn't until the independent film Billy Jack1 that mainstream movies began to treat contemporary issues from a less reactionary approach. Many people claim that Easy Rider (1969) is a better candidate for that distinction, but I have to agree with Guthrie that it was an "oxymoronic biker film."
Very early in the book, it was so very tempting to accuse the author of merely name dropping about his Herculean druggy glory days; touting others' achievements and success by associations. But I was soon dissuaded of this criticism. Well, maybe not about his pharmacopial prowess. Memories by nature are filled with anecdotes, and this reviewer merely scratches the surface of his book's generous and appropriate surfeit. And when you consider he was physically present when the Beat movement was morphing into the Hippie movement, his recollections are historically important, a necessary insider's point of view. The constant of travel endlessly energized the art, philosophy and politics of these two movements. There was opportunity and ability to simply pick up and leave one locale for another. Like Kerouac and Cassady, he knew it was all open road, and there was always somebody significant to warmly meet.
In the early years of the memoir, Hammond Guthrie as a writer and artist was yet unmanifested. At this point his interest in art was strict observation and absorption. He freely admits that during the early blossoming LA art/rock scene he was too absorbed in his own self-absorbed spirit quest and possessed no obvious skills other than ingesting death defying quantities of drugs. But Guthrie was in the chrysalis stage of becoming a multimedia artist, long before the expression became popular. His "happenings" in the sixties were events which combined poetry, music, art, film, dance, dress, health food and drugs; fueled and infused with Hippie philosophies borrowed, amped up, and expanded from their predecessors: the Beats, Surrealists and Existentialists. Guthrie's writing would be influenced by Joyce, Beckett, Burroughs, Hemingway and Kerouac. His multimedia productions would combine jazz, painting, multi-layered film, spoken word, and various other musical/sound tracks.
For me, reading AsEverWas is akin to opening an exploding time capsule, a new big bang with myriad, potential universes manifesting. It was a journey through the fun house of mirrors and tunnels of love. Dabblers, Diggers, and the fully immersed pushed one another to higher inspiration and creative result. Was there ever a time or place in U.S. cultural history when art and activism were automatically expected in a young person's life? The hippie counterculture was a phenomenon like the alchemy of old, which eventually splintered and spawned multiple new areas of endeavor. This was the birth of a star heralding social consciousness heretofore unimagined -- the long-neglected histories of minorities and women, further awareness of civil rights, a recognition of a less than fully realized justice system, the inequity of the draft, a questioning of ideological wars and support for conscientious objection, the advent of health foods, an exploration of loving alternative relationships, environmental concerns, anxiety over proliferation of nuclear weapons and power plants.
I donated cash to enumerable causes, including the feeding, clothing and education of third-world children. I recycled jeans with denim patches and embroidered flowers. I didn't drop out, but I did burn my bra, and was often barefoot and pregnant. I educated myself about gardening and childbirth and paid attention to Dr. Spock who himself protested. I wrote poetry; learned to play the guitar and discovered Thoreau and Gandhi. Some of my generation seriously listened as spiritual leaders preached the civil disobedience of passive resistance. Enlightened leaders envisioned a more just society, and we mourned deeply as they were gunned down one by one -- President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Columbia University and many others, were beaten for passive resistance. Four students at Ohio's Kent State University were killed by National Guardsmen. These concerned young adults, a generation of some of the best educated, were beaten or shot for simply exercising their human and civil rights. After the Kent State shootings they took to the streets in the millions, protesting and nearly defeating rampant political chauvinism, a blind and excessive patriotism.
Guthrie describes the ubiquity of groupies and other "quite beautiful girlfriend-attendants." He writes that "male chauvinism had yet to be clearly defined." During his friendship and collaborative days with Max Crosley he remembers, "Max and I would stay up late into the night getting higher, reading, recording, and over-dubbing our writhings with multiple playback under the influence of William Burroughs, Bill Evans, Charles Mingus and all the cannaboid products we could find. When these enhancements weren't available, Max would simply bring out a bottle of his codeine-laced syrup to treat our nagging minds. Wendy . . . on the other hand would nap, read, sew, bake treats . . ."
The Peter (Hammond) Pan and (Wendy) Darling companionship would lead them across a Neverland of artistic experimentation and marital adventure. Eventually they would settle into their idyllic English cottage. Guthrie remembered that Wendy "plunked away at her surrealist's version of Chop Styx," and he wrote:"All was well at the Cottage Guthrie, where we shared a tranquil ease -- taking long Wellington-booted walks over mist-enchanted loam, purchasing our eggs, potatoes, sprouts, fresh garlic, and measures of honey-sweet mead from the West Milton farmers. It was so refreshing to stroll home, hand-in-hand along the hedgerows, to a fireplace and pipe, a glass of amber spirit, and thin slices of aged Stilton cheese. Our resident peacocks honked about the rose garden, and the brook behind our cottage babbled brookly. Wendy would read, cook, play at the piano or knit something warm, and I worked the work upstairs with my pipe, sitting at my desk beside the bay studio windows until called down to meals. Wonderfully cooked meals, prepared on the cosy kitchen's coal-fueled Aga stove…Rose hip and bud flourished outside our cottage dream, affording Wendy and me a sense of inner security and happiness that we as a couple would never share again. But in that moment, we felt our love for life and each other amid the sheltered environs of West Milton was eternal."
To his credit, Guthrie and his friends from The Committee formed the Men's Auxiliary for Women's Liberation, "a satirically sincere gesture of solidarity" and "unconditional support for the fledgling Woman's Movement." They ended their first M.A.W.L. conference with a "more submissive slogan . . . We'll Give Them Whatever They Want!" Later in Amsterdam, he remembers a telephone conversational "meeting" with Germaine Greer in San Francisco. Disappointed that he was unable to meet her in the flesh, he settles for the reverie of an "erotically charged portrait" of Greer once published in SUCK, "a prurient above-ground journal and unusually literate porn quarterly."
When the newly married Guthries relocated to San Francisco, Guthrie encountered Del Close, the legendary director of the "satirical review/ensemble" or improvisational troupe known as The Committee. While attending a performance the quite unprepared Guthrie was thrust onto stage where he had to improvise, because he didn't have his poetry with him. When did he begin writing? Where are the samples? Apparently, he was writing all along but never tells us when he began. I would have enjoyed reading his early attempts. In fact throughout the book this lacunae was quite frustrating for me. It might also be the case that his words were typically part of larger multimedia productions. I enjoyed the explanation of his various techniques, but I wanted to see them for myself.
Guthrie and Crosley met "a group of woodshedding Jazz musicians, also living on the Mesa, who collectively referred to themselves as The FreeArts Workshop. We got together regularly to jam and mix up our WordSkramblings with the band's FreeArt sound. Their music was (for the time) a unique blend . . . The resulting tone poems came from the eclectic group's arsenal of bar room pianos, flutes, contra-bass, alto-tenor sax, vibraphone, trombone, clarinet, trap set and percussionist's everything referred to as 'The Eternal Machine.' Spread over two picnic tables, the spontaneous machine harbored a sonic obscura produced by ten penny nails, pocket combs, serving spoons, baby doll squawkers, castanets, red rubber enema bags, Tibetan gongs, Japanese chimes, noise-making wind-up toys and a variety of woodwind reeds attached to industrial grade garden hoses."
Crosley, Guthrie, jazz composer Eddy Sears and the FreeArts Workshop also performed their ". . . Event Rituals within the hallowed walls of the old church which we renamed Intersection For The Arts . . . and to preserve the ritual aspect of our production we served up a home cooked meal to the audience after every show." In the aftermath of one of their happenings, the irate pastor called to ask about "the ungodly smell" emanating from the church. Guthrie's media for one performance included pigs' blood, hooves as brushes, and "over a mile of semi-toxic tin foil for a solo event titled Pig-Nailleon." Guthrie and the FreeArts Workshop were temporarily banned from the church as he was a "demented artist with distinctly Pagan tendencies." The Cement Mixer was one of several participation events and involved a basement, a fully functional cement mixer, and audience reaction.
Another of Guthrie's groups, PoetUnity, held open readings in his "newly rented railroad flat" on Tuesdays, no critique, for writers only, and included regulars Richard Brautigan and Liam O'Gallagher. And oh yes, the occasional Gregory Corso begging cash from everyone.
Hammond Guthrie formed several lifelong friendships in the above and underground world of the arts. In addition to his opportunities to meet, work with, and receive advice from many of the Beats, he met prominent inventors, activist writers, and political figures. Along with Crosley he befriended inventor and designer Philo T. Farnsworth III, who was the son of Philo T. Farnsworth II. Philo T. Farnsworth II invented television, among many other things, and also dabbled in cold fusion experiments.
Guthrie also met Frank Oppenheimer, brother of Robert Oppenheimer. Frank was a physicist, visionary and personal absinthe distiller who designed the first geodesic dome-home. At the time, he was in the process of designing his "Sense Museum . . . a Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception." The FreeArts Workshop performed at his now well-established Exploratorium. Oppenheimer so loved their work he invited them to perform at the opening of the museum's theatre. Guthrie and Crosley produced The San Francisco International Video Festival for the event.
But Guthrie was seeing the deterioration of the Haight Ashbury district, via heroine, meth, paranoia and a "parasitic breed of psychedelic doggerel." Elsewhere, American Hippiedom was leaving its origins as an artistic, political, and philosophical counterpoint to traditional values. This open door to vast social change was becoming a shallow product of the media, a haunt of marketing vultures who had also mainstreamed the Beats and Existentialists into banal novelty, replete with artifacts for consumer exploitation.2 Guthrie makes some unflattering remarks about "The plagiaristic counter-theatrics and self-promoting acts of the late quasi-activist Abby Hoffman" and legendary rock concert promoter Bill Graham. In his own unique verbiage, Guthrie basically describes Graham as Shakespeare's merchant of Venice. Local artists and activists began to plan for The Wild West Festival, an event of the century which "was to include every neo-Beat/post-Hippie band, poet and organization known to man. The festival idea was actually born of out necessity, and was to serve as the venue for The Rolling Stones who had offered to perform a free concert in the City." The event was canceled because the artists and organizers couldn't agree about anything. "The cancellation of this historic event, aside from embarrassing the festival's organizers, gave the Rolling Stones and the remainder of the West Coast counterculture another kind of party. They called it Altamont."
Hammond and Wendy finally grew weary of San Francisco and moved to England, first to Kensington then Dorset. Guthrie fought hard to win his three year temporary work visa, so he didn't waste anytime. Television personality, journalist and environmentalist Kenneth Allsop rented his quaint country cottage to Hammond and Wendy and encouraged Guthrie's writings (or writhings as he called them) while in England.
He continued work with the ArtsLab and his lifelong friend, John "Hoppy" Hopkins who had also left San Francisco for England. It was Hoppy who introduced Guthrie to Harvey Matusow. Hoppy and Matusow were looking for someone to design the logo for the International Carnival of Experimental Sounds to be held in London.
Matusow was Sen. Joe McCarthy's paid HUAC informant/witness whose conscience began to bother him. He turned to a priest, who convinced him to confess his sins of bearing false witness. The government "rewarded" his testimony of truth by sentencing him to Danbury Federal Prison. He was a prisoner of conscience and fellow inmate with none other than Wilhelm Reich who served as prison librarian. Reich's was the last known incident of the U.S. government burning the books and inventions of an author-inventor.
Guthrie's work in London included his Letra Set images which also served as cover art for his small improvisational acetates. These "WorksUnderGround. . . were little 45 rpm jobs that I made in rustic coin-operated booths located in some of the older tube stations around London. For 50p I could record three-minute snippets of my work against the muffled sound of London's Underground whoosh-clanging and swoosh-buckling away behind me."
"Publisher John Mills had produced a soft bound edition of some of my earlier writings and illustrated the text with examples of my new work. I called the collection (long out of print) Urban Disintegration (codex), and soon after it hit the seemingly minor racks, London University invited me to read from the work." The university must have assumed it would be a traditional performance. Instead the audience was treated to a raucous multimedia performance -- a colorful quasi-light show composed of close-up transparencies of shattered glass patterns; a fragmented road sign collection and expressive sidewalk stains; and loaded tape decks with Mobius tape of pre-recorded noise from the underground railway. He quoted snippets of poetic abstract as he moved from one microphone to another. The audience responded with enthusiasm and a short encore ovation.
While in Dorset Guthrie wrote a short activist editorial for a small newspaper. In it he alerted locals as to how U.S. petrochemical companies were now also polluting English soil. But instead of publishing the editorial, the newspaper had converted it to a full front page article. Friend and landlord Kenneth Allsop generously praised it. However, when in combination with the London University reading and his nebulous status as foreign writer in-residence at an underground magazine, he decided his status as ex-patriot American artist might be drawing too much attention. He certainly didn't want his three year visa revoked. So he decided to cool it and lowered his visibility. He'd heard fun things about Magic Amsterdam, so he took a brief vacation to check out the scene. True to his expectations he met Kees Hoekert3) on his canal boat home; had a wonderful time; and the Guthries decided to move to Amsterdam.
Back in London, on the way to Amsterdam, Guthrie had the "formidable honor" of some meetings with William Burroughs whose "routines and courageous adventures into the largely uncharted frontiers of experience were then important agents of influence on my own humble attempts to rearrange the written world." His time with Burroughs is delightfully recorded. "I wanted to get his take on my improvisations for a reader's pedagogic of the cut/up technique, which I called 'Belfast Insert.' Cut/up writing is an extension of Tristan Tzara's early Dada prose taken to a painter's point of view and then reapplied to the written word. The resulting texts of combined structure and newly formed contents offer an unusual approach to written space/time continuum." And to my great satisfaction, Guthrie actually quotes from his writing.
The amazing postscript to Guthrie's meeting with Burroughs is that unbeknownst to Guthrie, Burroughs thought enough of "Belfast Insert" to arrange for its publication. While the Guthries were living in Amsterdam aboard the Alcina, their ninety foot woonschip4, Burroughs sent one of his own publishers to retrieve Guthrie's manuscript and asked if a sizeable edition with a German translation would be acceptable! . . . "At first I imagined that I would never hear from the mysterious publisher again, but six to eight weeks later I received a package in the mail containing twenty-five limited copies for my signature. Udo (Breger) arrived a few days later to hand deliver fifty copies of "Belfast Insert." And while he was there, this publisher also asked him to design the jacket cover for an edition of Burroughs's selected readings, Call Me Burroughs.
Serious about selling his art, Guthrie nonetheless wanted to remain outside any galleries, groups or "collective identity structures." Through a series of connections he met Dr. Willem Sandberg5, designer and eighteen-year director of the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. "Growing close to Sandberg would finally offer me 'the unconditional forum for pedagogic exchange' that I had so stubbornly sought, and over the next three-and-a-half years he would become my benefactor, my collaborator, my mentor, and most importantly, my friend." Guthrie's art climbed onto higher planes, culminating upon a layer of success he once could only dream of. He writes, "A few Dutch artists began referring to me as 'the American with the golden arm,' with respect to my increasing ability to open almost any door in Amsterdam, 'armed' as I was with a word or letter of introduction from Sandberg." Sandberg also sent him to the Alpbach Forum in Austria as representative of the Netherlands, and generously provided him with letters of introduction to several influential contacts in Paris.
Guthrie was riding the trade winds of artistic success, but a maelstrom would soon threaten his relationship with Wendy. While living in Amsterdam he and his wife honored the request of her best friend from San Francisco to have the friend's daughter meet her "terminally estranged father." The child's father was now living in Amsterdam, and the Guthries merely considered him "a well-seasoned miscreant and drug smuggler on the hard lam from America."
Life for Guthrie became ridiculously complicated and abruptly necessitated temporary residences in Asilah and Tangier, Morocco, a transition through the Canary Islands, a hiatus in Norway to build a boat, and a last trip back to Amsterdam. From this point in the story until the book's closing paragraphs, there ensue twists of fate and further adventures that ultimately return us to that "desperate motel room near the beach in Oxnard, California." The concluding chapters dramatically mark the two most significant events of Hammond Guthrie's life, and are every bit as rich with luscious details of people and circumstances as the first chapters. His life had suddenly become as laden with difficulties as the smugglers' cargo. I won't reveal anymore. It goes where it goes.
Despite the revelations of his uninhibited youth, the author writes with a ripened perspective. He tenderly conveyed his carefree path as well as its attendant sadness and epitomized for me the sweetly genuine camaraderie and creativity often discovered by fortunate adventurers. The names and places herein are actually only an infinitesimal slice of Guthrie's memoir. And although this book is full and forthright, I can only speculate how many happenings have been omitted. Besides the lack of writing samples, my other complaints with this book are the publisher's failure to properly edit and their somewhat deceptive marketing of this book as the memoirs of a Beat survivor. Hammond Guthrie was the quintessential Hippie. AsEverWas is well organized and properly paced, exuding personal and artistic joy. For the hungry nostalgic there should be a wealth of common reminiscence.
1 Billy Jack (1971) was the anti-hero movie about a heroic Native American Vietnam veteran. The then-controversial film was written, directed, and produced by actor Tom Laughlin, Dolores Taylor, and the National Student Film Corporation. Howard Hesseman and The Committee contributed improvisational scenes which created the film's amateur real-time aura.
2 In the U.S. Jean-Paul Sartre's leftist politics were undoubtedly more widely influential than his Existential philosophy; but it certainly didn't promote the latter when he dismissed his previous views of the philosophy in the introduction to his book, The Critique of Dialectical Reason, as no more than "a past, peripheral cultural fashion, not unlike a particular brand of soap."
3 Kees Hoekert was Amsterdam's cannabis entrepreneur supreme, and his Lowland Weed Company operated on his boat home very near the police department. Hoekert imported weed seed from all over the world, grew the plants, sold them, and provided high tea gratis to customers. After he was interrogated, tortured, and not charged, Hoekert became the first legally sanctioned hemp dealer in Amsterdam. It was Dutch traders who used hemp root and stalk to wrap and keep moisture out of their precious imported spices. The Dutch word for dry is droog, and hence the English word "drug."
4 Living boat.
5 Willem Sandberg's personal and artistic life is fascinating. The sections devoted to him in AsEverWas barely reflect his larger humanitarian achievements and contributions in his fields of expertise. Guthrie's story, however, does express a wonderful portrait of Sandberg's warm and personable involvement in the lives of others.