Stamps and stencils

I know, I know; it’s been too long. I’ve been meaning to write for more than a week, but there’s just so much going on. Last week I made these awesome communitywalkabout shirts, which we’re planning on using for rewards when we launch our IndieGoGo campaign. Aren’t they sweet? All hand stenciled and stamped.

Indie GoGo is a fundraiser tool, which we’re going to try to use to get some money together for our trip. We’ve hired consulatants, Mindy and Ryan from WithinReach, partially because they’ve successfully run fundraising campaigns before and partially because we think they’re super awesome. They did a community tour a few years ago, on bicycles, with the intent on visiting over a hundred different sustainable communities. They went into debt to make their sustainable community documentary and we’re excited about the idea that we can help them out and help us out at the same time. They’re starting a consulting firm connecting people with communities and helping them out with fundraising.

For the fundraiser we’re going to make a video, hopefully after I get new glasses. I lost mine two weeks ago and have been wearing my sunglasses ever since, which has been really annoying. I ordered new ones from Zenni Optical because it was two hundred seventy dollars cheaper than getting them made here (there’s totally a glasses prescription monopoly thing going on in this country) but it does take them a little bit longer to come in. (My glasses usually cost three hundred dollars because my eyes are so bad they tell me it costs an extra two hundred dollars to get the special plastic the lenses are made out of. And yet it only costs Zenni an extra ten dollars. Suspicious?). Everything’s been a little dark. It’s been surprising, though, how few people have asked me why I’m wearing sunglasses inside. No one has, actually. At night, in the dark, inside on a dull, rainy day, no one has addressed the fact that my eyes are covered with half an inch of brown plastic.


Thinking about the video we’re going to make has led me to thinking a lot about intentional communities. Why people live in them- what they are. I picture the average American dream- which really works for the average American person. Your own house, your children, your pets, your husband or wife. Having lived in a community, with thirty other people, it seems so empty now. No- it always seemed empty, to me. It’s harder and emptier. Harder cooking good meals with only two people, harder cleaning up with only three. Emptier living without children running about underfoot, without good friends you can find when you’re lonely. Harder to live with two other people being always in each other’s faces. I’m not complaining- I love my life as it is, right now. But the future I imagine is more populated.

Intentional communities are an alternative to conventional life. They allow more people to live with less resources; three people cooking for fifty is more conservative than fifty people cooking for fifty. At Ionia there were two cars for thirty people. And Intentional communities support the residents; parenting is shared, taking the burden out of a twenty-four/seven job. Household tasks are made easier and more fun when everyone takes part. When you live in a community you don’t have to be alone, or to face anything alone when you don’t want to. If you can’t handle something, you find someone to help you.

Individualism is the American Ideal, and it really works for some people. But it really doesn’t work for others. Some people get lost in a world they have to face all by themselves. Some people live in neighborhoods or towns where everyone knows each other and helps each other, and some people live in apartment complexes or suburbs where they’ve never spoken to any of their neighbors. Some people want their own house, their own yard, their own car, their own life, and to some people it just seems like a waste. When I found out that intentional communities were a real thing- not just something that failed in the sixties because everyone smoked pot and slept around – I felt as if I’d finally figured out the answer to a question. And when I lived in Ionia, a community that really worked, I couldn’t believe my luck. Since then I’ve talked to other people about intentional communities and I’ve seen a similar thing happen inside them; suddenly the realization that they can live differently. That’s one of the things I hope will come from this; that people will see that there is a different way to live and that people are out there living it. That we can reach people, with this blog, or the book we plan to write, or maybe if we pull off giving presentations. We can reach them and tell them that they don’t have to live in same way other people do. That they can be different. You can be different too.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Nora on June 30, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I love you and miss you. I wish the bast


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