Re: Through the looking glass, #6
From: PattyMara (
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 22:33:18 -0600
In a message dated 98-11-23 18:22:00 EST, Michael Donovan writes:

<< Patty,
 I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that I have particularly
 enjoyed your descriptive messages to the cohousing-L list about life at
 Tierra Nuevo. Those of us much earlier in the process of developing a
 cohousing community (i.e., pre-site selection) often find the road ahead
 daunting, as I am sure you well remember. 

Oh, indeed I do.  We had such a long road, full of disappointments and
discouragements.  Pre-site selection is a time of particular stress, but
potentially bonding, as you get to know one another on very real terms.
Hopefully your group has done the difficult work of revealing the economic
status of each prospective member, and factored that in to what you can
afford.  And your collective vision can determine which site speaks to your
group heart and group mind.  We lost several families when we decided that we
could not afford to build in San Luis Obispo proper, and needed instead to
choose a less costly and more rural site, away from the city.

>>Your letters from the other side  give us a taste of what is coming, warts
and all. 

I am committed to exposing the warts.  It isn't all roses, this living in
community...and there is such a variety of personalities and ages in our group
of 28 households. Half of us haven't moved in yet, so I expect some big
changes when that happens.  There will always be a balance of joys and
frustrations, I reckon.  Our theme song could be "The Days of Warts and

>>The messages are wry,warm and funny, exactly what I hope living in our
community will be like.  (the note about your "Santos-key" was especially
touching and funny at thesame time, I shared it with my working group

Thank you, Michael.  It is really wonderful to watch Santo at work.  After
shimmeying through a very narrow transom window, he hangs from the light
soffet, stretches out his foot to the door bar, swings his body to exert
pressure and pops open the door from his suspended position.   Fortunately we
all have keys now, the small metal kind, and we never lock the place anyway.
So Santo is off duty, having a great time playing pool in the game room.    

>>Hope your  Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks are fun, festive, satisfying, and
full of
 collective bootie-shaking!

Me too.  You know, it isn't a guaranteed slam dunk that we will all like each
other, all of the time.  After so many years of dreaming about shared meals
and celebrations, I'm finding that some of the gatherings are fun and cohesive
and sparkling, and some just aren't. The alchemy of fellowship is illusive and
whimsical.  Hopefully, we'll hit the mark more often than not, and be gentle
with ourselves when the events fall short of expectations.  

It all boils down to the difficult work of relationships.  Which will be with
us all, day in and day out, through all phases of development, construction,
move in and the accumulating years of living in community.  

<<Michael Donovan
 Village in the City
 St. Louis MO >>

I like your name, Village in the City.  It says exactly what it is.  Without
using the C word, which for us has raised many questions.  Perhaps in time the
term cohousing will be recognized as a familiar, household term, but for us
pioneers it has required many hours of education and explanation to media
folk, neighbors and the general population.  The next cohousing community to
form in this area will have a much easier job of marketing, thanks to our

Getting ready to turkey trot,

Patty Mara Gourley
Tierra Nueva Cohousing
Oceano, CA

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