Wednesday, April 9, 2008

TOAST gigs

"We could contact sociology departments at colleges and get them to pay us to come talk with their classes about Twin Oaks." Kate suggested. "It will never work." i replied. And thus TOAST was born, the Twin Oaks Academic Speaking Tour. Ever defiant, Kate created exactly the thing i said was convinced impossible. Now with some regularity members of the community go to colleges and get paid to talk about the community.

Angie and i are currently at Hampden Sydney College in Farmville, Virginia. A town i had only previously heard of because it is where ex-Oaker Rob Mills robbed a bank.

I have no idea who these people are. But the picture comes from the Hampden Sydney College website and perhaps reflects the student life of this all male college (one of the last two in the US i am told by our lovely host Claire Deal, who teaches rhetoric here).

I love doing TOAST gigs. I love how the professors are amused when i call the written material we bring to the classes "propaganda". I enjoy how the students eyes get wider and wider at lunch as Angie casually drops that she and her former gal lover are now best friends. I am proud of what we have accomplished at Twin Oaks that does have model value to the mainstream. I get to rant about how sharing can end climate change, how communes could save us from peak oil and how there is still hope in a world drenched in pessimism.

And TOAST has been a great escape for me and my lovers. Caroline and i went to East Carolina University, a large mostly Christian college in North Carolina and got to talk about polyamory in the family and marriage class. Caroline, who is a natural at public speaking, had never presented about Twin Oaks before at a college. And she wowed them, despite their inclinations to be dismissive or critical of our radically different belief systems.

Last night here at Hampden Sydney perhaps two dozen students plus a dozen faculty listened as we described the other American Dream. It is unlikely we will recruit any students from this mostly conservative Republican audience, but the conversation was lively and respectful. And dangerous ideas were advanced, just as Kate thought they should be.

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