Journalist/humorist Melvyn Stiriss sheds fresh light on a time when people dared to “get out of the box,” to seek meaning and liberation from old, constricting paradigms. Entertaining, informative nonfiction novel of times that flipped the world on its ear. From beatniks to hippies—Bob Dylan, marijuana, a transcendental dental experience, a Zen joy ride to Greenwich Village, a Gypsy Good Time, Woodstock.
A UPI reporter who covered the Grateful Dead and Vietnam War demonstrations in New York, Stiriss followed the story of the times over the edge to live the story himself. Like Don Draper in TV’s “Mad Man,” the author worked a stint in a Madison Avenue agency as a publicist and underwent a life-altering spiritual/identity crisis launching—
“A soul search and rescue mission for my own soul.” His quest led to an odyssey of far-out adventures—a search for meaning, purpose, love and enlightenment.
Stiriss—“I co-founded and lived thirteen years in America’s biggest commune—not undercover but as a full-fledged member of the hippie collective, living the dream, ‘saving the world.’ The idea of writing about the experience came after when I realized the importance of the 13-year social experiment—a far-out joint venture living in America’s biggest commune and cannabis church—a labor of love to save the planet.
“This is what (James) Joyce called the monomyth: an archetypal story that springs from the collective unconscious. Its motifs can appear not only in myth and literature, but, if you are sensitive to it, in the working out of the plot of your own life. The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life.”—Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss
This story is prequel to Voluntary Peasants Labor of Love—a multilevel inside story of America’s biggest commune—The Farm in Tennessee—a daring social experiment to create a globally-affordable, simple-yet-gracious, sustainable lifestyle. Voluntary Peasants Labor of Love Part 1—Genesis of The Farm Commune, Part 2—Year One; Part 3—Building America’s Biggest Commune; Part 4—Mayan Adventure; Part 5—Utopia Myopia. The whole 5-part book will be in print Spring, 2016.