Letter of intent to be a resident at Dancing Rabbit

To the members of the committee:

I write you today to express my intention to be a resident at Dancing Rabbit.

I wish to reiterate that I respect your role in applying the gender balance policy. I acknowledge that you are approaching the point in which you would be unable to accept me into residency for the time being. Nonetheless, it is my hope that you will consider my interest now, or else at whatever time you again were able to accept men. I first pondered moving to DR half a decade ago, so another year will not necessarily dissuade me.

You have sent me a list of many questions. I hope that you find my answers are adequate, but not verbose. If you or other Rabbits would like a clearer or more detailed answer, I may be reached via email at dan.kappus@gmail.com or via telephone at 415.446.8419. My blog at www.illimitable.us/blog has more information about me.

Table of Contents

Basics (questions 1-15)
Background (questions 16-24)
Intentions/Attitudes (questions 25-32)
Integration (questions 33-29)
Meeting Your Needs (questions 40-45)
Conflict Resolution (questions 46-49)
Challenges (questions 50-54)
Miscellaneous (questions 55-63)


Basics

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  1. What is your name?

Karl Daniel Kappus, Jr. is my legal name. I am called Dan, KD (“kay-dee”), Karl, various nicknames,

  1. What is your date of birth?

19 Sept 1975

  1. What email address do you want Rabbits to use to contact you directly?

dan.kappus@gmail.com

  1. Have you read the provided materials?

Yes

  1. Do you feel like you understand our sustainability covenants and guidelines?

Yes

  1. How did you hear about Dancing Rabbit?

Via the Web a long time ago; first visited in 2009

  1. When would you begin your residency, if approved?

I’d prefer to start in spring. I imagine a long courtship with some absences. I imagine coming in spring, staying until autumn, and coming back to build as a member when it was warm again.

  1. Are you bringing a personal vehicle to DR? If so, how will your transition away from using it?

If I continued to own a car, I would use it for long-distance trips only and store it in Memphis, Kirksville, Quincy, St. Louis, Nashville, or Atlanta.

  1. Do you expect to do any traveling while you live here? If so, how?

Most of the trips I want to take are to points south and east through Greyhound to St. Louis.

  1. Do you have children? If so, tell us about them.

No, N/A.

  1. Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.

No, N/A

  1. What are your hobbies and interests?

Knitting, facebook, reddit, building stuff, growing flowers, playing guitar, calling contra dances… I’ve volunteered with organizations that do mediation or workers rights. I bike long distances and lift heavy things. I meditate and chant. I write and blog.

I worry about what I’m not doing and what I should do: that takes up a lot of time, too.

  1. Whom have you made a connection with so far at DR?

I felt like I’ve had some pretty decent conversations with Ted, Nathan, Dan, Thomas, Dennis, Sharon, Cob, Meadoe, Tim, Bob, Alline, Kurt, Jennifer, Kyle, Vick, Ben, Hassan(sp), Illy, Roshana, Boda (the dog), Melanie, Loren, Zack(sp), Ben, and several others. I’ve tried to list these in order of acquaintance, just to avoid slighting anyone.

  1. Who have you not made a strong connection with, but would like to?

With very few exceptions, I would extend myself to any Rabbit who was interested in getting acquainted.

  1. Who are your top three picks of current DR members or residents to be your liaison?

(omitting MARCee members) Thomas, Ted, Kyle, Illy (that’s four) Want someone who is well-liked and noncontroversial and/or with whom I feel rapport.

Background

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  1. How do your loved ones feel about your decision?

I am an only child of a widow who lives in Atlanta. She doesn’t like anything I do. My friends are supportive, and my distant family is distant.

  1. Are any of your loved ones likely to visit you here?

Maybe a friend or two.

  1. Do you have any experience with cooperative living or intentional community?

Yes.

  1. Do you have any experience with ecological living?

I think I do, but I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “ecological living.”

  1. Do you have any experience with volunteerism?

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, and I have continued to volunteer in the places I’ve lived.

  1. Do you have any criminal history? If so, please explain. A criminal background does not automatically disqualify you from residency, so please be honest.

I was arrested at age 18 for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

  1. Have you ever been given a mental health diagnosis, or struggled with your mental health? If so, please explain.

I’ve never been diagnosed with a mental health issue. Sometimes I think some of what I do at my worst is like anxiety or depression. I have been able to cope pretty well, though.

  1. Do you have any disabilities or other general health concerns that you would like us to be aware of?

Not at this time.

  1. What is your professional background?

I have a BA in the social sciences and an MA in sociology. Out of the 22 years since I turned 18, I have worked administering programs, writing reports, and enforcing rules for Uncle Sam (7 years, 31.8%); being a Peace Corps Volunteer (2.25 years, 10.2%); going to school (7 years, 31.8%); studying Buddhism full-time (2.12 years, 5%). More recently, I’ve bought a house at foreclosure, supervised contractors, and then rented it through AirBnB. I have been a landlord elsewhere for a moment, too. Other things I’ve done to make money include selling plasma, helping teach college courses, caring for people with developmental differences, finishing drywall, washing dishes, driving for Uber, working in kitchens, and serving as a carpenter’s assistant.

Intentions / Attitudes:

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  1. Why are you interested in residency at DR?

I have dedicated myself to figuring out what it would mean in the current social context for me to live a just life. Intentional community provides a container for intimacy and personal growth. It provides a vehicle for social change.

Or, another way to look at it, DR allows me to live cheaply and buy less stuff. This happens to coincide pretty well with living sustainably. I deleted a long explanation of how consumerism and the industrial society are killing human freedom and the environment, but would be happy to elaborate my beliefs verbally.

  1. What excites you the most about DR?

DR is a place where we are less able to hide from the impact that our lives have on the environment and on other human beings. “Someone else” doesn’t live at Dancing Rabbit at the moment. I like the DIY ethic. I deleted a long explanation of how specialization and technology have made an industrial juggernaut that threatens human freedom and the environment, but would be happy to elaborate my beliefs verbally.

  1. What part of the DR mission or DR covenants do you feel most connected to or inspired by?

Covenant 1. If I’m lucky, I can sell my car and never own one again. They are death machines.

  1. Which of the DR covenants do you expect to be most challenging for you to follow?

Covenant 1. Public transit in the US is worse than most countries in the world. DRVC is on demand, not scheduled and regular. OATS goes to Kirksville but one Tuesday a month.

  1. What is your five-year plan?

This year, I will explore intentional community, and teach English abroad. Next year, I will move to Dancing Rabbit and live off of rents of my properties in Nashville. Two years from now, I will be building a small house about twice the size of Tamar’s cabin at DR. Three years from now, I will sell one or both of my Nashville properties and use the proceeds to develop a new business or skill with which to support myself while living at DR. Possibilities include counseling, coaching, computer programming, or building small affordable housing units to rent or sell to future Rabbits. Four years from now, I’ll have the new enterprise under control. Five years from now, I’ll be filled with wonder and questioning about what it’s all about and what’s next.

  1. What is your ideal day in the life of living at Dancing Rabbit?

I get up around six. I meditate or write in my journal after drinking a cup of coffee or tea. In the day, I get to do a lot of different sorts of work, some for pay, and some not. A good bit of it is physical labor involved in building or growing things. I run into people I have business with as I go along, and we have a few minutes to catch up.

Some of my work is in my private space, which means I can have a couple of hours to myself without anyone seeing me. In the late afternoon, I go to the kitchen I’m a member of because it’s my night to cook. Since I’m the only cook, I can work in meditative silence with my friends– tomato, legume, rice, and sweets. Everyone says good stuff about the food I make, especially the pie, and I manage to get it out on time while still cleaning up as I go.

It’s a Wednesday, and a lot of people have shown up for song circle. We try some new rounds. Liat is visiting from wherever Liats come from. One song reminds Ted about this thing that a former Rabbit did, and he tells a story about it. Everyone laughs. At the end, we sing the goodnight song. I go back to my strawbale shack, sit a period of zazen, chant the refuges, and go to sleep.

  1. What is your attitude about the growth of DR (we are hoping, long­term, to grow to 500­-1000 people)?

I feel positive about the possibility, but I think it may take a lifetime or more.

  1. What is missing from DR, from your current point of view?

I’m hesitant to say that DR is missing anything in its present form. There are things that I would hope would manifest in some future version. Ideas include more off-grid contra weekends, an internship program funded at the village level, a women’s building workshop, more aggressively anti-patriarchal culture, more badass women, more genderqueer people, more working-class stiffs, a public clock tower consisting of a several-stories-tall white rabbit bearing a pocketwatch, semester-length educational programs for college credit, altars to the Gods of substandard housing, a credit union or building and loan association, more places away from the village to sit on a bench and read, a secret hidden treehouse or hermitage back in the woods that anyone can use once they’ve found it, a reading hall/library, a Japanese-style public bath, absurdist sculpture, a pinball machine, scheduled trips to Kirksville/Quincy/St. Louis, twice-daily rideshare service to Memphis, a marketing coop to take farm goods to market in St. Louis, more paid jobs on farm, a coop to nurture the common house kitchen again, carnival lantern parades down main street, cross-quarter day celebrations, changing the WIP from a Gregorian to a Discordian or French metric calendar, more Queerfolk, a meditation hall, a large outdoor dance pavilion, a cuddle loft, an adult jungle gym, alpacas/llamas/sheep/angora bunnies for fiber, a commie BDSM dungeon, famous presenters and musicians visiting, an income-sharing pod (Skyhouse II), more livestock, a resale store, a sex toy shop called “locally sourced wood,” a brokerage for reclaimed architectural supply (with storefront and online presence), a better bicycle recycling and commie bike scene, a better-decorated public outdoor shitter, and more whimsy overall.

Integration

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  1. How do you plan to contribute to DR as a village?

I hope that when the opportunity to be of service emerges, I will recognize it. Over time, it will be possible to see which dreams in the previous question might be appropriate to manifest. There will be other dreams, too.

  1. What are your thoughts related to participating in DR’s mission work? (Our mission is: “To create a society, the size of a small town or village, made up of individuals and communities of various sizes and social structures, which allows and encourages its members to live sustainably. To encourage this sustainable society to grow to have the size and recognition necessary to have an influence on the global community by example, education, and research.”)

People in my little dance community know about DR because of Rachel, and maybe some day I’ll step up to put on a contra dance weekend in the same way she did.

  1. What committees/on­farm social organizations do you see yourself becoming part of?

Bike World, debt, ELMS, human resources, mediators, neighbor relations, and conflict res look promising. I hear BEDR needs administrative help.

  1. What is your attitude toward DR’s systems for village governance?

I appreciate the work previous Rabbits have done to create this system, which is pretty amazing to see in action. I have a steep learning curve ahead!

  1. Are you interested in participating in village governance?

Yes. Overall, I may prefer tasks to committees until I get my bearings. I think it’ll take a year or more before I’m knowledgeable enough to have an informed opinion about controversial issues.

  1. Do you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or something in between?

I thrive on attention from people, but I find I need a lot of time to myself. Silence is nice, too, even in company. I do best, all told, with one other person at a time.

  1. Do you hope to join any social activities at DR? (Examples: men’s/women’s group, spirituality-based circles, ultimate frisbee, etc.)

Song circle every Wednesday! Yay! I’d like to explore men’s group and any sort of NVC meeting or workshop. Studying and practicing better communication skills is part of why I’d move to DR.

Meeting Your Needs:

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  1. Where will you live?

As a member, I would build a modest strawble cabin. As a resident, I’d live in a large tent or yurt

  1. If you are unable to secure four­season housing in winter, what is your plan during the cold season?

I would rent a room. Or I might go away the first winter and then come back to build (as a member) once it was warm enough to tent.

  1. Where will you eat?

I like food coops. I’d probably figure out which coop the village dumpster-diving champs belong to, and join them.

  1. How will you earn a living?

I have passive income from rental property I own in Nashville. That’s enough for now.

As a member, I’d look for other wage work online, in the village, or in the surrounding area; I might take on seasonal work elsewhere. Businesses I’d undertake in the village: demolition and lumber resale, sex toys (most customers online), animal husbandry, small loans to Rabbits for building.

  1. Do you expect DR and the surrounding communities will meet your social needs?

Mostly. I can imagine myself taking Greyhound once a month to check in with St. Louis or something, especially for contra dance. Perhaps I’d organize a carpool.

  1. Do you hold strong personal boundaries? (How do you cope with uninvited conversation, being approached with questions, close physical proximity to others, and so on?)

I like extending myself to people, usually. If I absolutely don’t want to interact with people, I should stay in my warren or tent site, or take a long walk. Saying “no” gracefully takes practice, I’m sure, but I think I can do it without being rude.

Conflict Resolution

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  1. Do you have any methods or tools you rely on in dealing with conflict?

I have extensively studied mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

  1. Are you open to using DR’s tools for conflict resolution, (mediated conversation, restorative circles, etc.)?

Yes, managing conflict in this way is something I’d like to experience more of.

  1. Do you have an example of a time that you encountered conflict and resolved it successfully?

Because they are less frequent and more disappointing, the conflicts that went poorly are more memorable!

  1. How do you react to giving/receiving feedback?

I listen and reflect pretty well to what people have to say. I try not to respond or get defensive, but I don’t always succeed. Maintaining the relationship even when there is disagreement is important to me. I want people to acknowledge that my intent is good, and I try to acknowledge that for others, too.

Challenges:

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  1. What do you expect to be most challenging for you in moving to DR?

I will miss the touch and the trust of my regular scene. I will miss sex. I will miss quiet and privacy.

  1. Do you expect to have any challenges sharing a vehicle in a co­op?

I think the benefits will outweigh the extra effort and inconvenience.

  1. What emotional/interpersonal challenges do you expect to encounter?

I suspect that a pattern for me will be generalizing the criticism of some into a story about how everyone in the village hates me, and then hiding away for a while. I tend to worry that everyone knows something negative about me that I’m unaware of, but they won’t tell me about it.

  1. How will you cope with being the subject of attention and scrutiny from our frequent visitors?

I will set careful boundaries about this, and eventually find places to hide when I’m not feeling up to it. On the flip side, I often do like to meet new people and extend myself to them. I believe in the value of hospitality, both for the guest and the host.

  1. Any major pet peeves?
  • One-sided conflict when I’m not sure if the other person is interested in engaging with me.
  • When someone doesn’t return a polite greeting, and I can’t tell if it’s an intentional slight.
  • Playing an endless stream of recorded music as background noise, especially in public spaces
  • People who go on and on about food politics, especially while eating a meal.
  • Men who assume I have the same gender politics as they do just because of my gender

Miscellaneous:

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  1. What, in general, excites/enlivens you the most right now?

I’ve been most content recently having a lot of free time to explore projects like knitting, baking, dance calling, and planting things in the garden. Also surrealism, dark humor, and whimsical fuckery. City Museum in Saint Louis made me wear a shit-eating grin for days.

  1. If you had a DR food cart, what would you serve and why?

Food for thought, since it’s free, doesn’t require a lot of preparation, and maybe people could serve it to themselves. Or baked goods—lemon merengue pie? Or tamales, tacos, empanadas, elotes, pasteles en hoja.

  1. If you could choose any superpower you want, what would it be and why?

Merely existing is a superpower. Just this and being present to it is enough. If forced, I might choose the boundless compassion of Kwan Yin, the Buddhist hearer of sounds, as a superpower.

  1. If you could throw a theme party at DR, what would the theme be and why?

It would be a Dominican Republic themed party because I like to dance bachata and merengue típico. I like to tell people about the country where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. ¡Uépa!

  1. Do you know your enneagram number/ Meyers/Briggs profile? Is this important to you?

I used to be INFP, then INTJ. I’m open to learning more, but it’s not entirely important to me.

  1. What is your astrological profile like? Is this important to you?

I’m a Virgo, which means I have very well-organized arguments as to why I do not believe that astrology matters. However, Libra rising means I’m ambivalent about my disbelief.

  1. Any strong religious convictions?

Yes. I believe that living beings have worth.[1] I think that existing is an amazing opportunity to learn and serve.[2] I believe that everything we can comprehend is destined to die, that not even our ideas or beliefs are eternal, and that believing otherwise is the cause of suffering.[3] I steadfastly reject ideas of an eternal soul or divinity while still being worshipful of just how amazing and unlikely our existence is. I believe that if I bow in gratitude, the world bows back. I believe that the night allows the morning to come; I hold that death and destruction inhere in birth and creation.[4] Thus, I am grateful also for the darkness. I believe I should change what I believe every once in a while if it suits me, and that the questions are as important as the answers.

Also, I believe that everyone should be a Pope. We need more Popes. You may already be one.

  1. Is there anything, in general, you would like us to know about you?

Yes. That’s why I’m filling this out.

  1. Do you have any unanswered questions at this time?

I have no unanswered questions that relate to these questions.

 

[1] Unitarian Universalist 1st principle.

[2] “You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not use your time in vain.” –Dogen Zenji

[3] This is the Buddhist first noble truth

[4] Witness Kali, or take a look at the Death card in a Rider Waite tarot deck.