Somehow Melinda got sent an invite to the Tacoma Free Skool’s first organizing meeting. Since unschooling does not give our girls much social life, we went. Melinda also needed to report back to other homeschoolers on whether it looked like it might be a good resource.
So, after looking at their first informational pamphlet, I said to a redhaired young woman, whose name turned out to be SAM, “I bet it would be dumb to ask who’s in charge here.”
She replied, “Well, yeah, we’re sort of all in charge.”
I said, “It’s nice to run into people who have even heard of Kropotkin.”
Melinda had thought we’d be there for only an hour. Stayed for three, during which I made a deal with Onaim (sp?), partner in the Nearsighted Narwhal, the new bookstore where we were meeting—it reminds me greatly of the Communist bookstore that was in a small mall off Telegraph in Berkeley—for him to carry my books on consignment. Also found out about some open-mike poetry readings. Bella (age 12) also, entirely on her own, made a deal with him to carry her art; I didn’t even eavesdrop.
So, the actual organizing meeting happened last, after Melinda and the girls had worked on crafts stuff. There was, of course, a lot of young idealism: resisting the oppressive establishment; how to conduct this experiment on a totally nonmonetary basis; offering and taking classes as a fair exchange. I wrote on their survey-of-resources questionnaire, “Our leaders are bit trusted servants; they do not govern. The wise ones also avoid burnout.”
So I mentioned a poetry workshop, and showing kids and adults how to use MuseScore to compose music, and put a lot of ideas for other possible classes on the bulletin board. One young man is involved in the Seattle Free University. I mentioned I had been involved with the free universities in San Francisco in the 1970s. It was one such class, through the NROOGD’s Orpheus Free U, from which Alta and I recruited the members for our first outer-court study group, which evolved into the Spiral Dance coven.
Melinda says they were looking at me as a grandfather who had answers for them. I didn’t notice. Oy veh. Maybe I have a few. Mainly like an AA sponsor, warning them where the major potholes are, because I’ve already been down that path, but still letting them learn for themselves. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life throwing energy into lost causes. I don’t have such energy now. Earning enough money to survive and getting my revelation of gnosis down on paper—no. No, into memory—are the top priorities. If it’s good for the girls, reason enough to go.
I suppose the crucial concept here is “fair energy exchange,” lack of which is what burns out volunteers and leaders. I can’t count how many burnt-out High Priestesses I’ve know (hi, Janey). That’s a practical consequence of the necessary Craft Law that forbids taking money for initiations, necessary because it has kept the Craft from being corrupted, as the New Age movement was, and why those who do charge anyway are pariahs.
I’m guessing I’ll be posting updates on this. We’ll see.