I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
On the first of each month, a guest writer shares how he or she spends the day.
March 1, 2015: Erika Anderson
Erika Anderson studied ecology in the Amazon, Mexico, and Alaska. She was a broadcast journalist for an anarchist radio station in Texas. She taught yoga in London and worked at the United Nations in Geneva. Now she’s a writer living in New York City.
I met Erika at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where we both earned our MFA, and then we worked together at Hunger Mountain, where Erika wrote book reviews–sideways reviews–and a wonderful craft essay, “I Craft, Therefore I am: Creating Persona Through Syntax and Style.”
These days, Erika is busy. She teaches for the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, is a contributing editor for Guernica, and co-hosts the Renegade Reading Series.
Here’s the beginning of a piece she had a piece in The New York Times, titled “On Being Both the Wolf and the Lamb.”
One of the first questions you confront in any five-borough conversation is, “Where do you live?”
“Crown Heights,” I say. Inevitably the next question is: “How do you like it?” You would think this would be straightforward, easy to answer, but it’s not. Not for me.
I mention the literary scene, the Franklin Park Reading Series, Hullabaloo Books and a series I run for emerging writers. I praise the restaurants on Franklin Avenue. And then I say, “But I was sexually assaulted on the street, so there’s that.”
This is the thing I am not supposed to say but cannot stop saying.
Here’s the beginning of her essay in Vanity Fair, entitled “What Life is Like When You’re Born on a Commune.”
My parents spent the 1970s on communes: first, a shared house in Boulder; after that, a “self-realization fellowship” in Paonia, Colorado; then the Spring Hollow farm in Tennessee, with a dozen other couples. They were out to save the world, or at least themselves. Peace, love, and understanding.
After several successful years, my family moved, with Spring Hollow, to the Farm. With a population of about 1,500 at its peak, The Farm was the largest commune in the U.S.. Founded by Stephen Gaskin in 1971, it still hosts a premiere midwifery school run by Stephen’s wife, Ina May Gaskin, whose book Spiritual Midwifery remains a standard for those seeking an alternative to hospital births.
Of my sisters, two of us were born on The Farm. My eldest sister has a snowflake tattooed on the back of her neck—she was born in a blizzard in Colorado. My other sister was born in a tent on The Farm (no tattoo). I’ve said that I should get a trailer inked on the back of my neck, because that’s where I was born—in a mobile home my dad brought from Nashville. As with most Farm babies, a midwife trained by Ina May guided me into this world.
Erika is also the brains, or I should say the heart, behind the Army of Lovers, giving out Valentines to strangers because love is for everyone. You can follow her on Twitter @ErikaOnFire.
Come back on MARCH 1st to read how ERIKA ANDERSON spends her days.