Paint me a picture of Everything, the place
The crew is wrapping up a day. I spent the day before with the entire community, barnraising. Everyone brought picnic supplies: food from the garden, and we all pounded nails and threw straw bales around, trying not to drop anything on the heads of the kids who were fetching tools for us. The barn is on the outer edge of this town-within-a-town, but the garden has gotten big enough that we needed storage for gear, and the woodworking and metalshop were bursting the seams of the original studio.
At twilight, we all strolled back to the "town square", the original common space we created when we tore all the fences out from the middle of this block. It took a lot of time to see it come alive. we started out with three houses, a few neighbors joined in, realizing over time the value of some of our ideas. The pub, coffee house and bookstore all rolled into one was expecting another nodeslam tonight, all around a central "theme". We all drank a pint of beer. In the corner of the common house are a stack of musical instruments, anywhere from one person to a whole crew was twiddling and jamming at any particular time.
This is such a gorgeous place. The houses definitely express the eclecticism of a group of noders, and the town square looks like a cross between an organic garden (which it is) and Mardi Gras. It's a space that's fairly adaptable, and goes from yoga studio to playground to outdoor stage to gathering space and party zone over the course of a day.
Tomorrow I have a free day - I plan to spend it painting and gardening. Everyone donates about eight hours of their time a week to "maintenance" of the town, but I seem to end up gardening more than my eight hours because I love it. I had missed having my hands in the dirt when I worked in San Francisco more than I can express, and it's always a joy to see our gardens blooming. I'm having a firewood cutting contest with jay bo, we STILL argue about which is a better chainsaw. There is no doubt in MY mind...I might spend part of the morning with the kids - almost every adult "teaches", rotating through the "school" which is really more about figuring out how to include a passle of kids into your work once in a while, then about a formal classroom. These kids seem to absorb ideas in through their skin. We get them banging on computer keyboards, weeding, teach them plumbing, carpentery, music, everything. They don't really seem to separate "school" from "life" much, which was one of the goals of the educational system we set up.
I'm looking forward to hanging out in the studios tomorrow - I'm amazed by how fast the art side of this has grown. Everyone started to pitch in with their own hobbies, arts, crafts, and it has been hugely successful. Fuzzy and blue and I are collaborating on a bookbinding project; we've taught the kids how to use the printing press, and it seems to be running constantly. Oil paints, pottery, fabric, tools, yarn, just about every art and craft possible is available, the space, the supplies, and a local expert (or at least enthusiastic amateur) to look over your shoulder and comment. I'm currently trading oil painting lessons for watercolor, and I mostly make messes but we're having a blast.
Although it's a free day, I'm going to pop my head into the tech workshop and see what's happening. We more or less locked everyone in a room together at the beginning of this, and said, okay, come up with the top five viable ideas that we can market AND that people want to spend their time doing. And it worked. Game development is not my area, but apparently it's going great guns. People definitely don't seem as crabby as they did at my former job, but that's because we're not all locked to our computers all day long - some people do work late or odd hours, but that's more by choice than necessity.
Next week a handful of us are headed to a grant writing workshop - the non-profit continues to flourish. I don't spend too much time actually writing grant requests any more, but again, it's wonderful to see the ideas people in the town walk in with - think we can get money to do THIS? I don't know, but it never hurts to try. And we've funded some great projects along the way...
Three visitors are expected tomorrow. I don't know if they are visiting writers to ideath's writing workshop, or tourists wanting to see how this weird little community runs itself, but they will end up talking to most of us by the end of the day. I'm constantly surprised how people come for a visit, and then take the ideas away, export them, evolve them for their own uses.....but it's still a thrill to go visit a place that I know got some ideas from us - the open source town.
I imagined a day in the life of the e2 community, still evolving from Everything Kansas. What's yours? Paint me a picture from your imagination. Tell me a story about...
Never doubt that a small group of thoughful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.