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5/20/2006: the Quest is closed to submissions. Thanks to those who participated. You'll get your blessings soon.

I spend a lot of time bitching. I bitch about the gov’mint. About the air that used to be cleaner. About the neighbourhood that isn’t so neighbourly. About the job that I don’t really hate, but wish that it gave me more than a paycheck. About how the private schools cost far more than I can afford, and the public schools are underbudgeted hellholes. About how nobody gives a damn.

And I know I’m not the only one bitching.

I spend a lot of time wishing that there was a way out of all this. A place where things were different. Where things were better. Where people cared.

Well, there is such a haven. A place that’s like Rivendell, Babylon 5 and the Shaolin Temple wrapped into one. It is called Everything, Kansas. Unfortunately, it’s only a dream right now, and a somewhat neglected dream at that. For those of you who weren’t around, the E2KS concept was first floated at one of the gatherings out on the West Coast. It was an idea that struck home for a lot of people – Slashdot posted a link to one of the E2KS writeups, a usergroup was started, and for a brief period it was all people could talk about – but after a while it just sort of faded away.

Or did it?

I believe that we simply weren’t ready for E2KS, and we still aren’t. I think most of us underestimated the amount of talking and thinking and planning that a venture like this requires. So let me reemphasize, E2KS isn’t going to happen tomorrow or next year. Hell, it might never happen. But we’ll never know if we don’t start investigating the possibilities and thinking about our dream in a somewhat realistic fashion. Because, honestly, whether we do this or not a lot of us are going to keep dreaming about it.

To this end, I’m happy to announce a Quest (and Memorial Potluck) to explore multiple aspects of intentional communities, cooperative living, pioneering and business ventures that E2KS might be able to use. The best submissions from this Quest and those that will hopefully follow will become part of the handbook that we will eventually use to plan Everything.

LESS JAWIN’, MORE DIGGIN’, GREENHORN!

Okay, the gritty details: the Quest will run from April 19 to May 19. You can submit as many entries as you want. Entries will be reviewed and “graded” by a panel of judges including grundoon, kthejoker, Roninspoon, wertperch, IWhoSawTheFace and myself. Blessings of various sizes will be handed out for every submission, with a minimum 20 XP blessing per submission – and, of course, you still get all the usual XP, chings and shiny things for quality work.

Entries should be posted as usual, and should include a hardlink to this node. Then send a /msg with the w/u title and category to me. All entries must be in by midnight of May 19 (server time, natch). Blessings will be meted out shortly thereafter.

We’re (mostly) looking for entries in the following categories:

Microsocieties: Studies of aspects of small communities, both intentional and organic – politics, sociology, history, economic practices and the works. This doesn’t just mean communes, but all sorts of communities, from logging camps and archeological digs to squats to hunter/gatherer societies to plain old-fashioned small town life.

Moonbase Everything: articles on theoretical variants of the above, the more “out there” the better: O’Neill colonies, underwater cities, Martian settlements, permaculture villages and the like. The Mars Society and other groups of dreamers have been preparing their hypothetical offworld communities for decades. We can learn from them, even if E2KS doesn’t need life support systems and hydroponics.

Open for Business: proposals for the growth and economic development of our community - in other words, making money. These don’t need to be tied in to what has already been proposed for E2KS. If it’s a viable idea, I’d like to hear about it. Further down the road we can decide which ideas work best for us. Sustainability and coolness will score you extra points, but simply surviving is the most important thing.

The Community Library: Reviews of books and resources that have a practical bearing on E2KS. Yes, you can participate in this quest even if you’ve never pitched a tent!

Latrine Duty: Practical advice for living on the land - building a fire camp, sustainable gardening, planting an apple orchard, beekeeping, capturing hydro power, etcetera ad infinitum. Any kind of applicable craft knowledge is welcome here, too, especially if it’s something we can make money from. Note that in this area, I mostly want to hear about actual field experience, not theoretical studies. If you’ve read any of the Foxfire books, that’s exactly it.

War stories: Have you ever been part of a commune, kibbutz or co-housing project? Ever lived off the grid, spent a month at sea, participated in large-scale building or craft projects? Tell us what it was like. Naturally, you’ll get extra geek points for stories about putting down mutinies or eating your dead, but we can appreciate peaceful resolution of conflicts too.

Fiction and Poetry: yes, this is mainly a factual Quest, but inspiration and comic relief are also needed. Fiction and poetry that deal well with relevant subjects will be rewarded. Please make it absolutely clear that these are fiction entries, as they will be judged differently from real anecdotes.

If you can come up with something that doesn’t clearly fall into one of these categories, but you feel might be useful, send me a message about it. Everything, Kansas is all about adaptability! Or homebrew. I’m almost sure it was one of those two.

Also, if you're looking for ideas, grundoon is the lady to talk to. She has a list of interesting topics on her homenode, and will be happy to suggest more if you ask her.

THE PART WHEREIN IT GETS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN

I’ll say it again: Everything, Kansas is an improbable dream. The odds are against us. But I will also say that improbable is not the same as impossible. As Theodor Hertzl said, if you will it, it is no legend, and we have the tools and the skills right here to make this happen.

I believe that the people of Everything are worldbuilders, pioneers, dreamers, poets and scientists. Every goal you can imagine has been achieved by someone with an E2 username. Members of this community have colonized every continent, infiltrated every field of human endeavour, studied the histories of a thousand societies, debunked bunk and built real relationships out of ones and zeros. We know the science, we know the craft, and what we don’t know we know people who know.

We will use this knowledge to find out everything we need to know about Everything. We will use it to build our future.

Questions? Comments? Gremlins?



THE PART WHEREIN LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ARE PROVIDED



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ENOUGH OF MY WORDS, HERE ARE YOURS:

Microsocieties:

Moonbase Everything:

Open for Business:

The Community Library:

Latrine Duty:

War stories:

Fiction and Poetry:

* entries from quest judges, not eligible for blessings

P.S. — just so y'all know, Everything, Kansas will not necessarily be located in the state of Kansas. Keep in mind when /msging me about how Kansas is awful.

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