The Garden of Earthly Delights: 1999-2011

How it all turns out we can only speculate: no autobiography has ever been written complete to the end. By the standards of the genre, we should summarize the lessons learned, the obstacles overcome, and the next harvest of the garden. We're hardly ready for the wrap-up, but at our age major news is rarely for the best. So do we continue marching through chronology or just descend into a jumbled ramble?

We opt for the ramble. The plot summary is simple: We moved to California, found a house, bought it. We went on tour, gave it up. We produced a radio series, gave it up. We created new plays, then a binge of puppetry that has spawned many bins full of creatures. Friendships: some survived the move, some tapered off, new ones bloomed. We survived Y2K, Bush, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, global warming, economic crash, and nuclear meltdown.

But the plum and apple trees give us bounty. In partnership with Gaia, we've made a front yard that a friend called “Hobbitland,” all moss and ferns and golden creeping jenny. We continue working and loving. For the first time ever, we believe we're at home. We have a garden now, and in a sense we feel we are a garden, pregnant with new crops.

- EF -

We pulled into Sebastopol after five days on the road, parked outside our tiny rental cottage, which we christened “Dogpatch,” and climbed out into the fragrance of jasmine. Near downtown Sebastopol, the poor little shack sat at a slant: the bathroom was an uphill hike, and vitamins rolled off the kitchen table. One room had just enough space for our futon, another served as a micro-office. But it was affordable. I could walk to the bank in five minutes, to the post office in ten, and the library was almost next door. Conrad remarked on the fact that he was no longer the weirdest looking guy in the coffee shop.

We rented a storage unit till we found a place to buy. Friends appeared next day to help unload necessities. Then we realized that parts of the laser printer were somewhere in the tight-packed storage unit. After hauling our life's possessions back onto the tarmac, we saw the cabinet that probably contained the stuff in the rearmost corner. Grunt, shove, sweat— yes! But face to the wall, can't open its doors. Grunt, shove, bingo! We picked up deli, drove to Bodega Bay, and rejoiced with the sea.

Establishing an enterprise in the State of California is like basic training for Hell. Arcane forms, high fees, trips to Sacramento. We find that we need certification from Wisconsin, our state of incorporation, to prove we exist. I call Wisconsin, find that in 1984 they'd decided to require annual reports. We had sent a change-of-address postcard, but “we don't honor postcards.” So in 1994 they had classified us as “involuntarily dissolved.” After more forms and fees, they send certification to California, which rejects it: “Not our required wording.” I call Wisconsin, get a reworded certificate, ship it to Sacramento. They reject it. Why??? “The corporate name on your application is not the same as on the Wisconsin form.” One says The Independent Eye, Limited, and the other says The Independent Eye, Ltd. I burst into tears on the phone. The clerk succumbs, offers to hand-change one to match the other, and to walk it through so it'll ship out in two days max. Omitting the next week of the story, suffice it to say we got our certificate and an anecdote for parties. Bureaucrats truly are accessible human beings, but it's helpful to be an actress . .