Three days later, we had moved into a two-room shack with a wood stove and an outhouse on a farm with a hundred and fifty other people in the Smoky Mountains. It was Mendocino without the weed and with a purpose, in this case, a little Utopia for its inhabitants. Buckets full of brown rice replaced politics, thanks to Red Bird, who'd also fled the west coast after Ernest's suicide.
By the time we arrived, she’d already affiliated with David, the farmer whom the community had bought its land from, and, who, most astonishingly, was unmarried, not even divorced. “I think he might be the last one,” she said by way of introduction. “You’ve gotta tell me honestly what you think.”
As fussy as Red Bird was about where she bought her clothes and which brand of marinated artichoke hearts was acceptable, she could be startlingly easy-going when it came to her day-to-day activities. She found it satisfying to plant and pick and cook. Tonin and I meanwhile scavenged everyone’s bookshelves for something more substantial to read than Mother Planet News and early drafts of Spiritual Adulting. Our communards in Tennessee were equally concerned about the appalling state of global affairs but their approach was considerably grainier than ours.
Respite came a month later with a call from my grammar school friend, Teddy. I’d just come back from a day at the local newspaper in town near where I had a part-time job, wedging fillers into lines of lead that the typesetter missed.
—“The Persuasion,” p. 72