14 July 2000
It's amazing what happens when you give up
money as a major deal. Of course, you do
what you have to do to take care of your
kids and pay the bills. But when you give
up the Big Windfall, you get free of some
majorly bad karma (listen up, all ye dot-commers).
We have it so good here. We need to make
it good everyplace else. And as a patriot,
I say, export the idea of a democratic republic
at work. And give young people everywhere
something to read besides sacred texts and
wartime rants. Then they are able to triangulate,
you see, and their narrative intelligence
is awakened, and we may have a world that
makes sense again.
When I was young, I had many advantages.
My folks sent me to a private school (DePauw
University) from 1968 to 1972. Talk about
a good time to be in a tight community. It
was righteous. In my junior year at DePauw
I took advantage of the Year Abroad program
to go to Eastern Europe. I studied German
and politics at Karl Marx University in Budapest.
I whipped out my guitar and played "Back
in the USSR" in the Moscow train station.
I saw women in black shrouds at dusk moving
with candles through gravestones on the Day
of the Dead in Russia. I wrote a thesis on
alternative theatre in the Soviet Union.
In the last 25 years, I have been around
the world 2 or 3 times. Hong Kong, Australia
and its many parts, France, Germany, Sweden,
Czechoslovakia, Spain, Polynesia, Japan.
There's more I want to see. This fall I am
going to Chile. All of this because I shoot
my mouth off and something connects. And
also (young folk, take notice), because I
have worked my ass off every day of my life
since junior high. But mostly this has happened
because I have what I like to think is an
open mind and am never afraid to have an
opinion, research it, recast it, and speak
it out when the time and place seem right.
I am a utopian entrepreneur. I've started
two companies that ended in failure. After
losing Purple Moon and licking my wounds,
I wrote a little book about what I had learned.
Truth be told, I was so depressed that I
couldn't write it, actually. What really
happened is that my man, Peter Lunenfeld,
spent a day sifting through my website. "This
is your book," he said. "Do you
want to edit it?" Of course I did and
he did an we came up with something cool.
And we're not dead yet.
I'm 51 years old, almost 52. Surviving my
dear friend Timothy Leary and my reckless
youth. Oldest member of my tribe, if you
don't count my mom with Alzheimer's in her
little wheelchair in Indiana. Three beautiful
children and an astounding mate and my cats
and my garden - not bad for a person who
didn't know what to do when she grew up.
I like to think I know now. I am pledged
to the Earth, to sustainable living and reasonable
food sources, to the prana of all beings.
I am graced with the ability to meet a fresh
crew of trans-global young people every fall
at Art Center, and I get to teach them what
I've learned and see what their amazing minds
do with it all. They do iridescent work.
When I am in Santa Cruz county in my forest
home, I work remotely for Art Center, feed
my long-horned sheep, raise vegetables, play
Tibetan bowls, read, do Tai Ch'i, boogie-board
and get down with my family and my friends.
When I am in Pasadena, I have the honor of
teaching brilliant students. There I have
the pleasure of a sunny little apartment
which is not a hotel room. I learn from my
students and colleagues. We manifest change.
Yet in both places the thing I most enjoy
is folding laundry. Go figure.
I'm out as a Gaian, a monogamous bisexual
(yes, it's hard - go parse it), a thoughtful
person, a good citizen, a patriot, an activist,
and a citizen of Earth. Nobody can mess me
up by accusing me of inhaling because I don't
dispute it. My life so far makes me feel
like I can be me, after all, and also make
So may it be for you.