Voluntary Peasants Trilogy Tells The Story of S.F.'s Monday Night Class and The Farm
When a ragtag band of hippies set out in a 20-bus caravan from San Francisco in 1970 looking to reinvent society, they rode into the history books with a psychedelic, very weird yet very American tale of idealism and do-it-yourself utopia.
And right there in the midst of things was young writer Melvyn Stiriss. Tom Brokaw once said of himself, "In the sixties, I was a young up-and-coming reporter, and I came right up to the edge of what was happening, and I backed away."
"At that time, I too was a rising young journalist," Stiriss said. "I came up to that same edge as Tom, only I went Wheeee! Over. And that has made all the difference."
"The Farm collective was a grand, 24/7 peace project and demonstration, involving voluntary peasants, who dared to get out of 'the box' and experiment with their own lives to change the world," Stiriss said. "The Farm collective was our attempt to create a utopia."
The planned trilogy is made up of the already-available Book 1, Enlightenment: What's It Good For, the soon-available Book 2, Holy Hippies, which Stiriss tells me should be available online in mid-January 2011; and Book 3, The Farm: A Bold Experiment and Labor Of Love.
Voluntary Peasants offers a revealing look into the "guru trip" as a modern American attempt at a deeply personal, spiritual teacher-student relationship, with its unique challenges, rewards and cautions.