Tribes & Villages—2 Kinds of Community

In my head I divide community into two kinds.


A tribe is a community of people who meet together regularly and share their lives with each other, but who are spread out across neighborhoods and towns.

This isn’t a Seth Godin kind of tribe, which would involve people around the world connected by some kind of shared passion. My kind of tribe needs to be close enough to meet up weekly.

Sometimes tribes are formal, put together for a reason, and sometimes they are just groups of friends who like hanging out. Sometimes they are a little of both.


A village is a community of people who live together. This is normally called intentional community.

A village could be a bunch of people sharing a house, or neighbors in a pocket neighborhood or cohousing neighborhood, or even neighbors in an apartment complex or traditional neighborhood who are intentional about meshing their lives together.

There is an emphasis not only on sharing life, but on sharing stuff as well.

A village might exist for any number of reasons. It might not even be intentional, like someone needs a place to stay and someone else says, ‘Stay with me.’

But it could also come about as an attempt to avoid loneliness, to live more cheaply, to live with less impact on the environment, to live more spiritually, or just to spend time with people instead of watching actors spend time with each other on television.

Either / Or

I don’t think either of these two ways of doing community are more right or wrong than the other, but both of them fascinate me, so I like to learn about and think about them both.

I have lived both, and I would like to live in a village community again someday, but for now I enojoy my local tribe.

Have you ever lived in a village community? Do you have a local tribe? What have your experiences been?


Time For A Bold Move? Live The Life You Want With The Life You’ve Got

by Angee Melanson
by Angee Melanson

This post is inspired by a tight circle of friends and our recent #ProjectAnnbitious. Thanks guys for demonstrating one of the many eternal truths of Moulin Rouge: ‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.’

Sometimes you get stuck.

You wake up and look at your life and think, this is not the life I imagined when I was eighteen. I was going to live a life people would want to make movies about. I was going to be like the people in romantic comedies, beautiful and successful, with lots of friends whose lives revolve around me, with a cliche but charming love story with someone even more beautiful than me, and the implied happily ever after.

Where did things go wrong?

I know how it feels. Well, not the love story part. That part went right for me – in spite of myself. But I was supposed to be out changing the world right now. I was supposed to be important and influential and at the helm of some epic company or organization, on the cutting edge of whatever industry, traveling all the time and meeting equally important people. Married with kids, of course, but that would be a subplot to the incredible adventures of me.

Here’s the thing.

Actually, a few things.

One. The way you imagined your life turning out probably wasn’t as great as you thought it would have been.

Two. Your life is way better than you think it is.

Three. You have more options available to you to change the way things are than you think you do.

Four. Maybe you just need to make a bold move.

In my experience the best bold moves don’t happen in a moment. In movies they do, and occasionally in my life they have, but most have happened gradually, over time, one small choice building on another, until finally what was previously invisible to the outside world becomes impossible to miss. Like falling in love.

But, these small choices that grow into bold moves happen on purpose and with intention, never (or so rarely as to be the same as never) through waiting for things to happen.

And I’ve spent way too much of my life being that person, the one just waiting. Even now, I spend too little time making bold moves and too much time thinking and re-thinking, tinkering and playing it safe.

There is a piece of advice that I totally believe, but don’t live like I believe.

It is this: the best way to become the person capable of doing the thing you dream of is to begin following your dream and allow the pursuit to shape you into the person who is capable enough to do that thing.

Does that make sense?

From A Once Silent Smile

This is a lyrical essay by Stacey K about passion, loss, and the will to keep moving forward, set to photos by Katie Lutz of a trip to a small village called Tizi n’ Oucheg in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

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i’ve long fancied myself a ‘mover and shaker’, someone who won’t settle for status quo. i’ve chased dreams and caught them, and did a lot of leaving. it wasn’t running away, but choosing to go, to stir things up, to be an agent of change and growth in a community. big changes were something i was always thinking about — how can this situation change for the better? how can i help this person realize their potential? life is so short! rock the boat. get your hands dirty. make something beautiful of this gift of life we’ve got.

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there is a catch, of course, for everyone, but especially those of us who have prayed for a life out of the ordinary. sometimes the big changes aren’t of your own composition. what about when change tackles you from behind, and leaves you dirt-stained and gasping for breath? with a pounding heart and racing mind, fingers claw at thin air, trying in vain to catch things once held dear, after they’ve been jolted from your grip.

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to be sure, this pain can be avoided. a life lived with no passion, no attachments, no investment of the heart — such a life is safe. sudden change and grief and loss is inevitable. but a life of indifference will be merely sideswiped; there wasn’t enough momentum in the first place to truly be knocked off it’s feet.

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but to those whose hearts are steeped in passion, those in hot pursuit of a life extraordinary — unexpected loss and change is eviscerating. the death of a dream, especially through circumstances beyond one’s control, has the power to halt the dreamer in her tracks. when all has crumbled before their eyes, some will spend an eternity digging through rubble, pocketing tiny fragments of what once was.

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for a time, this will be all you can do.

mourn, yes.

pay tribute.


but there will come a time when a little flame of passion rises within you again. allow hope to betray the desire to stifle it.

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once you’ve watched your dreams die, the boldest thing you can do is to dream again. keep moving forward. stare uncertainty in the face and tell it, oh, i will dream again. you may have changed the landscape, but you have no power over the colour of the sky.

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rising from the dirt — after being covered in it — grants you the authority to see new dreams come into fruition, with a significance that is achievable via no other route than straight through grief and sorrow.

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if you have met defeat, keep on walking. there are adventures yet to be lived, dreams yet to be chased.

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there are stories yet to be told — they will burst out like a song, from a once-silent smile.

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Montana To Morocco—How Dusty And Amy Smith Packed Up Their Family And Moved Across The World

by Katie Lutz
by Katie Lutz

Dusty and Amy Smith decided they wanted to live overseas and they needed to make a move before they got so settled in life and careers and family that it became too difficult to even think about. So in 2011, they did it.

They made the move from Montana, U.S.A. to Casablanca, Morocco. They had two little girls when they moved and they’ve since had a third. I interviewed Dusty to find out what it’s been like for them. Continue reading “Montana To Morocco—How Dusty And Amy Smith Packed Up Their Family And Moved Across The World”

Linotype: The Film—My Brief Experience With Documentary Filmmaking

February 24th, 2011 — The Boston Printing Plant Auction

Doug is walking in front of me with a stocky digital camera mounted on this frame kind of thing that sits on his shoulder when he’s shooting. He says the frame is so a little digital SLR that shoots beautiful high definition video can feel like the big, heavy, old-school video cameras it now replaces. He enjoys the irony. Continue reading “Linotype: The Film—My Brief Experience With Documentary Filmmaking”

Let’s Make A Film—An Interview With Doug Wilson, Graphic Designer Turned Filmmaker

Doug Wilson directed a documentary called Linotype: The Film, which he made with two friends, Brandon Goodwin and Jess Heugel.

It is about an old printing machine that radically altered mass communication forever. The three friends raised funds on Kickstarter to make the film, then began traveling the country, and eventually outside the country, to interview a handful of people who really know the Linoptype, tracking the bright history and uncertain future of the monolithic print machine.

I interviewed him in early 2011 while he was in the process of making it.

Do you now or have you ever had a garden gnome in your possession?

I have never owned a garden gnome but I’m fairly sure when I was a teenager, I stole some from a neighbor’s house and set them in someone else’s yard.

I think it’s safe to assume the biggest thing going on in your professional life right now is ‘Linotype: The Film’. Why is this movie important to you?

‘Linotype: The Film’ is about an old printing machine called a Linotype. The Linotype completely revolutionized printing and communication similar to the way that the internet is changing everything right now – but it was invented in 1886. This major invention of the early 20th century was invented by a guy that no one has heard of although the impact of the Linotype is as big as Henry Ford’s car or Edison’s light bulb.

It is important to me because people need to know about this machine and its impact on society. This amazing thing was invented and changed society and education and no one really cares. No one knows about it and the guy that invented it died unknown and poor. I hope to change that.

Professionally, I have no idea where this will take me. I am a graphic designer and letterpress printer, not a film director. I actually have no idea how to make a documentary film. But I know a good film when I see it and I know how to communicate visually – all the rest is details, right?

What makes you think you have what it takes to direct this film and do a great job?

Honestly, I am pretty terrified to be making this film. I’m not 100% sure that I can actually MAKE this film – but that is the fun of it. If you totally know you can do something before you start it, what is the point? Where is the fun in that?

What’s a ‘normal’ week like in the life of a documentary director and his crew?

A normal week for me is writing probably about twenty emails a day for upcoming shoots and people interested in the film, staying on top of our website and twitter account, and scheduling upcoming shoots. Coordinating the crew’s schedule is difficult as the guys are full-time media freelancers and one is finishing up school. I hope he graduates after all of the weeks he is missing this semester….

Directing and producing a film is a LOT of work. I am actually mostly a producer. I only get to play director on film shoots about two percent of the time. The rest is actually making this film, connecting with people, and making sure I book a rental car at the right airport. Did I mention I write a lot of emails?

As film production ramps up, what do you see as the biggest challenges ahead? What is it about the project that keeps you going and keeps you optimistic?

Staying optimistic is easy and difficult at the same time. We have had such a great response to the film and the support from all over the world encourages me on a daily basis. It is very easy to get overwhelmed at all of the details of the film. I am very much a completer of tasks, and there is ALWAYS more tasks to complete for the film, so I can get discouraged by never really feeling that completion. But in the end, I believe and love what I am doing – how many people can say that?

Your professional career up to now has centered on graphic design, but you’ve been able to do a wide variety of work within that field, and now the film. Is there some central passion or mission that ties together everything you do?

Passion and curiosity are what drive me to create. I am always asking questions, always asking ‘why?’ That is why I started the film. I asked ‘why don’t people know about this amazing machine? Are there still people crazy enough to use these machines? Will they survive?’ And here we are, making a crazy movie that I hope people will like. Or at least not hate.

You can find out more about Linotype: The Film on the official website and you can find out more about Doug on his website.

This interview was originally published as part of a larger story about Linotype: The Film on March 19, 2011 on

Things To Do Before You Turn 30

Jon's 30 by 30 list
Jon’s 30 by 30 list

My friend Jon recently shared his ‘30 before 30’ list on Facebook and I was inspired. Not enough to make my own, but you know, I had a warm, inspired feeling inside. Also, my list would be 40 before 40, which is a little scary to think about.

Here’s Jon’s list if you can’t read it in the screenshot.

  1. Get an app published
  2. Start pilots license
  3. Enter a photo contest
  4. Watch “O”
  5. Go to a new continent
  6. Air boat ride
  7. Live in another state
  8. Motorcycle license
  9. Finish first draft of “My Daddy and Me” (working title)
  10. Write three good songs
  11. Institute the “Make Life Better” fund
  12. Be proactive in making my back healthier
  13. Thirty books in a year
  14. Join a Connect Group
  15. Scuba Certified
  16. Try a Yoga class
  17. Visit the Everglades
  18. 30 mile bike race
  19. Learn how to make pickles
  20. Spend one hour per week with Lyndsey talking, no distractions
  21. Sunset and sunrise in same day
  22. Helicopter ride
  23. Follow through on a movie night
  24. Make a Prato level meatball
  25. Try Luma
  26. Visit Colorado without snow
  27. Visit Jamie Kinsley
  28. Get in better shape (185—190)
  29. Take a butcher class
  30. Four hours a week on learning a new language