The picture is of Jo and me and Eli.
When I didn't have a job last year, we and our friends were talking about starting a college -or a community. We weren't sure which, but we dis- covered (in retrospect) that we'd really liked three years of living in a dorm at Santa Cruz. We wanted more people our own age around, and more children, and some grandparents -but living among crowds of students was great. I didn't have to drive off to work. Jo didn't have to stay at home by herself (or drive off to do something else on her own). Everything was right there, and we could spend huge amounts of time with the students, at all hours, without having other parts of our lives going to hell some- where else.
I had been reading Thomas Merton (and St. Benedict); a new kind of monastery seemed right around the corner. There are lots of problems about new monasteries -accreditation, teaching sciences, computers, etc. But as for money: If all you need is students, space, and books then California resident tuition and a faculty member for each fifteen students equals $10,500 a year for salary and rent. We didn't worry much about curriculum. We thought only our friends would come anyway, and we'd work on what we wanted to, which meant literary interpretation and cultural history for me.
We were, and are still, much more worried about fusing our public and private lives than about what to do inside our professional careers.
I'm interested in working on that at Evergreen too. As an academic resource during this next year, I'd be happy to come talk about some piece of liter- ature other people are reading, or about describing nature and its ecological implications, monasticism and new communities, literature as process, even Chaucer and the l4th century. However, I'd also really like to talk with interested people about humanizing daily life and starting residential communities at Evergreen.
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