I have been disconnected over the weekend as Brother John Eiler and I coproduced and cohosted the inaugural Monastic Retreat at his house just off South Grand, in the Grand De-Centered arts district of South St. Louis, in our beloved yet segregated Confluence City.
Brother Eiler and I have declared the inaugural retreat an unqualified success. Any observer who would have ventured to qualify our success would not have known how very achievably our standards had been set. For we are two grown men who know how to set rational expectations, even when the primary thing we are setting forth to achieve is ecstatic confluence of temperaments and paradigms. And people. Peeps. Yo. Oh!
That is, we expected to entertain and educate ourselves, in an environment that temporarily excluded our wives and daughters. Even as this simple plan broadened to include an amateur underground culture conference replete with monastic metaphorics, we still agreed (especially as the established date for the weekend grew nigh, with absolutely no networking accomplished beyond the two of us) that the expected audience was an audience of two: John and me.
In the end, we managed to draw in a poetic genius in K. Curtis Lyle, an historic civil servant in Sherman George, an outer-orbit musician in Baba Mike Nelson, three multi-media savants in Michael Lynch, Bradley Bowers and Robert Goetz, two semi-pro boxing experts in Glenn McBrady and Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, Jackass veteran Rob Durbin, and our own coed off-campus Monastic muse, the lovely and ultra-talented Jenna Bauer, who was traveling with her own unimpeachably impressive Venus posse.
The retreat ended where it began, in The Monastic Smokehouse, John's garage, which also is a museum, of sorts, in honor of his late father, who raced motorcycles when he wasn't tearing down American cities or drifting into the seminal fiction of Richard Brautigan. I've got to go to work now, but I will leave you with this image of John's motorcycle helmet collection from The Smokehouse and an important piece of monastic wisdom: Watch your head.
And watch Confluence City over the next two weeks (or more) as I try to unfold all of the wisdom we gathered toward our new Monastic Canon, or cannon.