Village Books in Bellingham

I should have been prepared, given the people I met around Bellingham during my stay. Take Mela's friend Serene, for example, who is campaigning for "Us for Precedent." What she means is that citizens can determine to improve society through individual example, and meet in circles of friends to implement positive change on a local level. We visited her at her colorfully painted Victorian house, towhich young people come for inspiration, celebration and refuge; some rent rooms, and others gather for discussion and activities. Herewith, her Proclamation of Commitments, more fully illucidated on her web site at

1. Love as a basis for all of my actions.
2. Give myself permission to have a creative, passionate and joyful life.
3. Act to insure that each child in my community has food, shelter, and equal opportunity for creative learning and recreation.
4. Take responsibility for my own health and well being.
5. Settle conflicts peacefully with solutions that are mutually beneficial.
6. Heal my part of family hurts and grudges.
7. Share my resources to help others meet their needs.
8. Care for the Earth as our personal home.
9. Support self-sufficient local communities.
10. Help secure the safety and well being of those endangered by violence, domestic abuse or neglect.
11. Participate in the lives of elders and honor their right to grow old with dignity and respect.
12. Acknowledge the Oneness of all human beings.
13. Form a Circle of Friends to implement the Us for Precedent Commitments.

Serene in her parlor

The entry to Serene's house, with meditation room and hot tub pavilion behind

Frank Eventoff is another. He wants everyone to experience the joy of making music, and invents instruments that make playing music accessable to people who might otherwise be intimidated. I tried out The Key, which is shaped like a guitar, but has keys up the neck instead of frets, and includes a remarkable variety of sampled sounds including Brazilian percussion. A tonedeaf elementary school teacher could lead a class in song with this instrument with ease. Children who play with it could find themselves wanting to attempt more difficult instruments later, have discovered the pleasure of making songs easily with this one.

Frank Eventoff holds the Syn-Tar, one of his electronic
instruments for new and learning musicians.

Even so, I was not prepared for the intensely loving and supportive audience I encountered at Village Books in Bellingham.

The storefront, on Eleventh Street in the charming Fairhaven section of Bellingham

Village Books functions as a friendly community center, complete with downstairs cafe...

...and room upon room of wonderful books.

Robert Gruen coordinated the event for the store.
He knew my book in its original edition and
gave me an enthusiastic welcome.

Mela, on the left, and Dudley Evenson, co-owner with her husband, Earth Wizard
Dean Evenson, of Soundings of the Planet a company which produces CDs that celebrate
Peace Through Music, including a Sound Healing Series ("good medicine...great side effects!")
The radiant redhead on the left, who I wish would email me her name, greeted me with
an engaging smile, two original editions, and the words: "You changed my life!"
Dudley spent the whole evening helping me every way she could--setting up and packing up my
sound system, selling my art and CDs, bringing me water to drink, taking a photo of me, and
then gifted me with two CDs from her company catalog, one of which, Prayer, featured my dear friend Sophia.

As I told my story, they laughed and cheered me on like family, like old friends,
and, I think, that is how they see me, for many had lived with and loved
Living On The Earth during a significiant period of their lives.

Dudley Evenson's photograph of me, embraced by my family of friends in Bellingham.
I will be back!