Friday, January 16, 2015
A SAFE AND WELCOMING SPACE FOR MISFITS---GOOD IDEA? BAD IDEA?
WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH ODD, WITH (SOMETIMES)TROUBLESOME PEOPLE?? I will go wander among a community of mavericks and see what I think---
And I will take 40 of my friends with me. These are fellow WIN (wandering individuals network)
members----many of whom have never been to the infamous SLABS.
Every day I lead them to one or more of its distinctive areas. The SLABS community is likely the "most free" (least governed) place in the US---which is both good news and bad for its inhabitants.
Good news because misfits such as Leonard Knight can express their creativity publicly. Where else can you--on public land--build a monument such as this? Salvation Mountain took 25 years to build--and is now on the National Registry of Folk Art.
The Slabs are perhaps the only permanent, free campground in the world. You can go there and stake out a homestead and build yourself a home like this?
Or create your own personal museum and art colony like this?
Turning junk into art.
This very creative (he built that glass wall on the right) and articulate guy is a relative newcomer to a community of artist who live and do their art here in a place they call East Jesus
Sometimes pretty good art. (yes, that's a bus they partially buried just for the effect)
At the Slabs--misfits say whatever they wish-- to the world.
Or build their own religious sanctuary?
You can start your own business--paying no rent?
Or build your own theater. I am standing where a scene was shot in the movie INTO THE WILD.
You can start your own community. This is a well established one with about 50 members.
These facilities are owned by the largest community there--the LOWs (Loners On Wheels)-- a chapter of a thriving national organization.
A warm pool---104 or so degrees---free and open to all.
The Lows welcomed us into their space for our visit here---threw a party and a dance for us.
Complete with a professional DJ
As you leave the Slabs--after what will likely be a surrealistic visit--this sign warns you that conventional reality is just ahead.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I APPROVE---I APPROVE---I TOAST---I CELEBRATE--THIS SERENDIPITOUS SQUARE MILE. Started as a quirky accident on the remains of an abandoned Marine base---it has endured for 40 plus years---evolved---adapted---achieved national fame.
It serves hundreds as a PLACE TO BE. (the existential minimum)
LET US SET ASIDE A HUNDRED MORE OF THESE SQUARE MILE SANCTUARIES---GIVE THE MAVERICKS AND MISFITS OF OUR NATION A PLACE TO BE---AND BE FREE.
I say we can afford to give everyone a place to BE. It is SOCIAL SAVAGERY to squeeze blood rent from everyone. A fair percentage of us cannot and will not live "respectable" lives.
Like Thoreau, we "hear a different drummer" and "march to the music we hear".