Each of these experiments reveal the current of real freedom that runs hotly beneath it is a freedom that does not belong to a US American history. Thinking about that moment in the book is a place where I actually understand freedom and the utopian experiments as a deeply spiritual posture. And in its spiritual vision as an essential good it has the capacity to look and imagine and expect something beyond the forces of evil that hem in and sow violence in the lives of them and their countrypeople. Which is to say that I do think that these communities and experiences very consciously acted as a kind of corrective and a response to the specific promises made by the American identity or the American political establishment, or the American story of what here is supposed to be.
Adrian Shirk is an essayist and memoirist. Adrian wrote “And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy,” and "Heaven is a Place on Earth: Searching for an American Utopia". She is a frequent contributor to Catapult, and her essays have appeared in The Atlantic and Atlas Obscura, among other publications. Currently, she teaches in Pratt Institute’s BFA creative writing program and lives at the Mutual Aid Society in the Catskill Mountains.