''Coming to Bolinas and getting involved in politics saved my life,''
Lewis MacAdams said, ''I understood that that was what you could do, you
could make it, you could start from the ground up, you know, make sure the
water was right.''
MacAdams became deeply involved in town politics and working with
the Future Studies Center, helping to outline the new radical principles of
Bolinas He was the scribe for the Bolinas Community Plan in 1974, as well
as the Bolinas section of the Marin County General Plan.
MacAdams also wrote A Bolinas Report, an on-the-spot piece of early
gonzo journalism describing the effects of the oil spill on the town, which
was first published in an underground newspaper in New York, then by
Zone Press (with a brilliant cover drawing by Greg Irons). In 1972 he
published a book of interviews with Bolinas townspeople about their
gardens and the progressive organic farming methods that were being
employed. The book, called Tilth, included photographs by Phoebe
MacAdams, and was printed by the Mesa Press and published by the
Bolinas Future Studies Center. The word ''tilth'' comes from the Middle
English tilian, meaning ''to till''. It is defined as cultivated land, or ''the
aggregation of soil in relation to its suitability for crop growth''. Organic
farming and progressive land and water management, along with
prohibitions on population growth and building, were the essentials of
Naturally this engagement with local politics made its way into some of
DIRECTORS OF THE P.U.D.
Last night we sat around the table plotting how to
spend the town's money wisely. Orville said…
something. Bill, his sleepy eyes,
he ate granola. Does Paul know himself?
Flushed, his fingers move across an envelope.
Orville, pale, holds his heart. His forehead throbs
and Paul discerns a new bottom line.
Bill pops wood into the fire and spins around.
We must face our neighbors with this information.
Is it right?
(from Live At the Church, by Lewis MacAdams,
MacAdams' poetry of the time reveals an engagement with not only
local politics but with his family and friends, as well as the people and the
place itself. ''Once Shao [John Thorpe] and I went downtown'',
MacAdams recalls, ''and just wrote what went down all day from the
moment the sun went up to the moment the sun went down . . . there were
years that went by where I was really happy just looking down at the ground
and seeing what was growing . . . Bolinas was like the whole cosmos to me.
You could do everything in Bolinas that you could do in New York City or
Paris, on a mythological or cosmological level, and that was totally true for
me at the time.''