Category: Doing Freedom

Some active “humor” for this Independence Day!

I’ve just sent in a resume for a position with a national rural-life organization, and while I was writing the cover letter, I thought of Jefferson and Washington. How they loved their farming pursuits and their lands. (I’m leaving aside the slavery question at the moment, but it’s never far from my mind.)

Jefferson, for instance, with all his legendary bookishness, loved to experiment at Monticello with varieties of peas, his favorite vegetable, to see how well they’d grow in his soil, when they would ripen, how they tasted. He also introduced viticulture to the United States. He kept copious notes over years and must have learned a great deal.

And Washington, who vastly preferred the life of a gentleman farmer over that of a politician, enjoyed using his ingenuity to develop a plow that would cut effectively through his pebbly, tough soil. He also designed a 16-sided threshing barn with a grooved floor through which the grains of wheat would fall after horses’ hooves worked them out of their hulls. In the barn cellar, slaves would then gather and sack the grain.

These two men of the world, of accomplishment and experience, dearly loved the land. I think they had a bond with it that many of us today have never known: Continue reading

This is the unedited, original version of my Washington Post Style section piece from March 2001. It was originally written as part of a tour guide’s memoir/guidebook I was working on at the time! 🙂



by Beth Homicz

Sometime in the early 1960s, when John F. Kennedy was president and his lovely wife set fashion standards with a wave of her hand, a company started up to provide tour guide services to groups visiting the nation’s capital. The guides were ladies, and showed it by wearing white gloves as Mrs. Kennedy was wont to do (the company advertised “white-glove service”), and by each carrying an open umbrella for use as a sort of standard ‘round which the group would rally.

Follow the umbrella,” these ladies would chirp to their charges. Group leaders who returned annually would ask for their favorite “umbrella lady” and gush about how the group had enjoyed the tour the previous year.

Over time, the umbrella became a tradition among guides in the capital, even those who worked for other agencies, and in other cities as well – Montreal, Continue reading

Just a little post, and overdue, for which I apologize. I don’t know why I didn’t think to give thanks and credit to you sooner, my darling friend lewlew!

It’s because of a great conversation with you that I found the right name for this new/renewed blog. You willingly listened to my initial idea for a bloggy name, and you liked it and told me why. It was a name that hummed of doing one’s work daily, of staying practical and focused and simple. I liked it for that reason. I need reminders to keep on keeping on, put my shoulder to the wheel and all that.

But you knew I wasn’t quite certain. And you probed gently, wondering why not. In doing so you showed me what it was that was missing for me: a sense of charm, excitement, and freedom along with the “doing.” A touch of practical magic, you might say.

You reminded me that this is the combination that has brought good work out of me before. Like when I did my guest editor gig at Strike the Root: I wanted to offer suggestions for living in greater individual freedom now, not ceaselessly analyzing and debating politics and economics as so many “libertarians” were doing. (Have you noticed, by the way, how the picks at have become much more focused lately on how individuals can do freedom?)

And when I first started this blog under the title The Freedom Outlaw, it was the same kind of happy, “sparkly” sense of life that drove me, or led me, or both. Your sweet, savvy presence reminded me that this was so.

I just wanted to send you warm thanks, lewlew, for helping me find my way to a name, a theme, that rings true and clear in me. It is a name I want to live up to, just as you are a friend I aspire to deserve.

It’s messed up that a town meeting would even see the need to debate and legislate the right to choose one’s own nourishment…the very stuff that makes up our bodies.

But, welcome to fascist la-la land, aka modern-day America. Go Sedgwick!

My thanks to Kevin at Cryptogon for the link.

From Claire Wolfe, a good thoughtful read.

Funny how so often we see strength where there really is none. The globe-topping ruler? He doesn’t feel safe until he imagines he’s controlling the actions of everybody else. That’s one funny kind of “strength.” The strongest guy in the world is probably writing poetry or building a log cabin somewhere, unheard-of and unheralded because he doesn’t need anybody feeding his ego.

The first view inside Arizona, driving west on I-40

The first view inside Arizona, driving west on I-40

(originally written August 16, 2009)

I came out here to live in a trailer in the high desert, rent-free – the trailer belonging to my boyfriend Brian, and parked on land belonging to friends – cautiously, tentatively planning to live the creative life for a time, and to do some serious thinking, while Brian lives and works five hours away.  But since even before we left Virginia, my motivation has been missing, and I can’t seem to contact my sense of purpose (or when rarely I do, I find it very shaky) in all this.

Since we arrived, I find myself caught up in guilty anxiety over the excess of possessions I own.  There’s a shame in this – Continue reading

It’s an odd thing, but for months now, I have felt very little desire to speak out on issues, or get into debates with people.  Even, or maybe especially, about freedom.

For the past couple of years I’ve really been noticing how much most people only want to talk about themselves – especially on a very mundane level – and heaven forbid they return the favor and give you equal time!  The art of conversation is so far deceased that it has rotted into a putrid game of self-important, self-promoting control – harmless in a superficial sense, but deadly boring and wasteful of precious time.

But then too, I don’t care a rat’s patootie about Continue reading

Brad of McBlog fame has penned a thoughtful little piece on living the “Frugalista Gulch” lifestyle – right where you are, in his case. Woohoo to you both, and welcome to the Outlaw crew!

When Wendy mentioned to me her “motivation #2” for the frugal philosophy — resisting the state — the first thing that popped into my mind was “Galt’s Gulch.” Because what we are doing is very similar to what John Galt and his fellows did when they went “on strike” and withdrew to Galt’s Gulch. We are denying the State and its army of leeches, not the product of our minds as such, but rather our productivity.

And Brad’s conclusion is right on…there are going to be thousands of “Frugalista Gulches.” Perhaps there already are.

(Thanks to Dave Gross at The Picket Line for the link!)

Freedom meme

Thanks, Lewlew, for tagging me on this one: “What motivated you to start looking into Anarchist/Libertarian thought?”


When I was in second grade and we were learning about Hawaii, the teacher told the boys to cut paper surfboards out of big rolls of construction paper and to decorate them, while the girls were told to make paper hula skirts. I remember going ballistic about that. I didn’t want to have to put on some stupid skirt and dance around in front of people just because I was a girl. Continue reading