[Sdpg] asking a favor for communities book I'm writing author Diana Christian

Wesley Roe and Marjorie Lakin Erickson lakinroe at silcom.com
Sat Jun 3 06:06:15 PDT 2006


             This is Diana Christian, writing from Earthaven in North
Carolina, writing to ask a favor.

             I'm in the final stages of writing a book about how to
research, visit, evaluate, and join ecovillages and other sustainable
communities. (It's called Finding the Ecovillage or Sustainable
Community of Your Dreams: A Field Guide. Out next spring from New
Society Publishers.)

             For this book, I'm seeking anecdotes about funny,
delightful, or disturbing things that have happened to communities
when people visited them or were in the new-member process.

             And, abut funny, delightful, or disturbing things that
happened to the people who were visiting or joining the community.

              If you've got an anecdote like this, from your
experiences living in community, or, in visiting communities, I'd
love it if you'd write them up and email them to me.

             I want to let community seekers know what to expect when
they visit and consider communities, and also what to do that is
beneficial for them and the community, and what, Egads, not to do.
(Don't show up with all your dogs in the car. Don't show up without
asking first. Don't show up and expect to have any and all questions
answered by anyone handy, anytime you feel like asking them. etc.)

             Here are some examples of the kind of brief anecdotes
I'm looking for.

             In one small urban community, when the community members
oriented a new person coming in, they forgot to tell the new person
that they routinely walked through the house to their hot tub in
either their underwear, or a towel, or sometimes nude. The new person
was offended by all the naked skin, and told them so. Ooops--the
community forgot to check this out with them at the outset. It was
pretty uncomfortable for the community members to have to put on
clothes just to walk through their own house. They didn't forget to
talk about this with future incoming members. (I don't actually know
what happened to the offended new member.)

             Once at Earthaven at 10:30 on a Tuesday night, a vanload
of community seekers pulled up to our Council Hall as two different
committees who had been meeting there were wrapping up their
meetings.  The 6 visitors, including their spiritual teacher, an
Eastern European woman with a thick accent and a loud, stentorian
voice, burst into the hall, all breathless with excitement to be
there, and so glad to have finally arrived, cause it was dark and
they'd gotten lost. So glad to finally be there and find us at last;
they'd been driving all day and trying to find the place. But they
didn't have much time, as they needed to head out that night. "Ve're
here for da Tour!" announced the Guru-ess. And I, who like to think
I'm funny sometimes, walked up to her and said, deadpan, "Oh, you
mean the Tuesday night at 10:30 tour?"  My friends in the two
committees cracked up, since obviously no community would offer a
tour at near-bedtime on a weeknight. But my chance to make a funny
and not-too-subtle point was lost on the visitors.

             "Yes," boomed their leader. "Ve vould!".

             Once a woman called Earthaven's our kitchen telephone
number and called, and told the young woman who answered that she was
on a communities tour, she was coming over to see Earthaven, and she
wanted directions. "We don't have tours on Wednesday afternoons,"
said the young woman who answered the phone. "And we don't have
camping facilities for visitors after October; it's too cold." (And
how did the visitor get our kitchen phone number anyway?) Then ensued
essentially heated words between our member and the caller, who
insisted that if we were any kind of ecovillage at all, we'd offer
hospitality. We'd be welcoming. We'd go out of our way to help
someone--someone who might join the community and help us!--to get
there, stay there, and take a tour. The young woman, who was busy
trying to cook dinner, tried unsuccessfully various times to get the
caller to understand that we weren't open, didn't have camping,
didn't have a tour that day and wouldn't create one for her
especially, and would she please come on a Saturday morning when we
did have tours. Finally our member got fed up and said heatedly,
"Look, I'm going to look up your address on the Internet and come
over to your house tomorrow afternoon with five of my friends and
open your back door and insist on a tour of your kitchen!"  The point
was taken.

             Once a group of people had finished the Saturday tour
and were wandering around the central Earthaven neighborhood, which
we don't encourage them to do. They happened upon a young man who was
tending his garden out in front of his tiny off-grid timber-framed
earth-plastered cabin, not far from the community's constructed
wetlands. It was so tempting--the visitors couldn't help but barrage
him with questions--his solar panels, his earth plaster, the
constructed wetlands--all so exciting. But he was just trying to weed
his garden in peace. Finally, after he'd answered too many questions
on what was supposed to be his day off, he finally snapped and said,
"Look, this isn't Eco-World!"

             Thanks very much for any help you can send. It will be
much appreciated!

             Diana Christian

Diana Christian <communities at ic.org>

Communities Magazine: www.ic.org; store.ic.org

Diana Leafe Christian: www.DianaLeafeChristian.org

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