The tone of a didgeridoo echos through the courtyard, accompianied by the song of the peepers in the pond.  It’s a warm night, and I just walked accross the community after an evening band practice.  The All-Request Dance Band is gearing up for what’s likely our final show in our current configuration.  Three members of the band are taking off for sure in the next few months — our drummer is getting married and moving to Cville, and two more (a singer and a guitarist who became a couple last fall) are leaving the commune to travel cross country and end up working on organic farms in California.  So, this summer’s Anniversary party (celebrating the 38th anniversary of the founding of Twin Oaks) will be our last show together.  We’re putting together a medley of some of our favorite songs we’ve played over the past 2 1/2 years, playing snippets of about 40 songs, with some new ones thrown in and weird new arrangements of some of the old ones.  Yeehaw.  Band practice is at the tedious stage right now, when the musicians are still working out chords and timing, so us backup singers spend a lot of time sitting around.  I brought a sewing project to work on…

It’s been a weird day for me… I woke up feeling dizzy and out of it, and it didn’t really change throughout the day.  I had a meeting in the morning and then spent all afternoon putzing around the courtyard trying to find someone or something to inspire me.  My throat was a bit sore, so I found a big patch of a plant called “cleavers” growing along the path and picked some for tea.  I like that wildcrafting medicinal herbs has become a natural part of my life here; another of Paxus’ partners is a naturopath who has reccomended and helped me identify some specific plants around the farm.    I love that we’re connecting around this shared passion — we went on a walk a few weeks ago to talk about how it’s going sharing a lover together (after a hard winter of struggles last year — it’s so much better now!), and we ended up running around exploring the plant life and sharing about their medicinal uses.

What else to write about?  I’ve decided to go for it and apply to be a planner.  I had my interview with the current planners last week.  Some of the questions were:
How do you feel about current happenings in the community?  I’m frustrated by managers who don’t seem to be taking our economic situation to heart and spending money excessively, and overall I’m happy in the community and have been feeling and enjoying a sense of “group identity” lately.
What role do you see the planners playing in the community?  I see the planners as information collectors and processors… gathering input from community members and our bylaws and policies and stirring it all together and finding ways for it all to fit together.
How do you feel about working with the current group of planners? I gave my attention to each of the three and told them why I’d like to work with them.  One is witty and sharp, one is a friend who I already connect with on a deep level, and one is brilliant and someone I respect a lot.
What issues in the community are you particularly interested in?  I’m very committed to the idea and practice of income sharing and resource sharing.  The ideal of egalitartianism is key for me, too, and I’m delighted by looking at how the ideal plays into “real life” decisions.  On a less general level, I’ve been really interested in following the “kid’s labor” process and watching the kids take ownership of crafting a policy that works for them and the community.
How are you at hearing criticism? Ugh… it’s hard for me.  And it’s an area I’m willing to be challenged on.  If it’s about me personally, I get really self-critical.  If it’s about a decision I make with other people, I can blame it on them 🙂 or just listen to the criticism without taking it personally.

When the questions were done (there were abour 10 in all), then each planner told me what they thought and felt about me as a potential team member with them.  All three gave positive feedback, saying they’d like to work with me.  One acknowledged that he thought I might get frustrated working with him because I’m an idealist and he’s a cynic, and he said he was still excited to work together.   The next step is for an input box to be pu tout to the community, and folks will give their opinion about me being a planner.  After an input period of 10 days, I’ll have a chance to post a letter to respond to the input.  Then a veto box will go out, and 10% of the community can veto me.  If not, I’ll be a “stand-in” planner for 3 months, and then if I want I can apply to be a full planner for 18 months through the same process, when the 18 month term of one of the current planners is complete.

And now I’m going to bed.  Tomorrow morning I’m hanging out with a 92 year old woman named Rose who lives in a nearby town.  Her daughter is an ex-member who has hired Twin Oakers to stay with her mom for a few hours each day.  She plays Scrabble against all her caregivers, and she usually wins.  She’s pretty sharp… so I’m going to need to get some sleep if I have any hope of holding my own in the game tomorrow.

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