American Avatar 2
[Nov. 1968] p. [2]

Dear Mr. Lyman:

I recently read a book entitled The Flower People by Henry Gross, and I especially liked the portion devoted to the Lynch family. I wrote to Mr. Gross asking for more details, and he sent me your name and address. He also said in his letter that you publish a newspaper called AVATAR. Such a name certainly connotes great things — and I sure would like to share in some of them. I would appreciate hearing from you if you could tell me how to go about getting some copies of AVATAR. I'm also interested in your community and wonder if you could go into it a little more deeply than Mr. Gross could in his book. I realize that what I'm asking is quite a lot, but if you could find some time to answer my letter, I really would appreciate it. I have this idea in my mind and heart that people are basically good, and I find myself always looking for that good. Despite some pretty bad experiences, I can't shake this belief — nor do I want to. I'm just so sure that people can live simply and happily, that the idea of love isn't some out-moded Victorian philosophy that has no place in today's world, and that in spite of some of the things I've experienced, that I can't give up, although I must admit I do sometimes get rather bitter because I can't find the object of my search.

I want so bad, Mr. Lyman, to know that there are other people who feel that there is a place for gentle love, and that there are others who not only share my belief in basic goodness, but who live it every day. I'm not talking about the drop-out types one encounters on the college campus, because they are for the most part just mixed up kids who haven't had the fortune to find something better into which they can drop. I'm not talking about the "flower people" who wear their beads and bells on the weekends or during the summer. I'm talking about the people who start on the inside with their ideas and let them work to the outside, and not the other way around. I was so glad to find that drugs play a fairly insignificant part in your lives because it seemed to say to me, "Here are people who work it themselves, who can share those rare moments of being inside each other without the drugs, without the crutches." Maybe I don't really understand drugs or their use, but I've always done things the hard way, without the use of stuff like that. I mean, I've never had a doctor, I don't take pills, and I've remained on the agnostic side, fearing that religion might just be another way to make things easier for people. I've always tried to tell myself that I don't need to rely on other people, and to an extent I guess I believe it, but at the same time I realize that without other people, I myself am not of much value. I mean, the things that make life have meaning are things that often come from other people -such as those rare moments I spoke of when two people reach out to each other and get inside each other. But the point I'm trying to make here is that it's so much more valuable if it's achieved without drugs etc. I hope you can gather some of my meaning out of all this. I've tried to explain it to people before, but they usually just tell me I'm too naive for my own good, and that you must always watch out for number one. Somehow life just doesn't mean very much if it is a constant struggle and everyone you meet is a potential enemy. I rather favor my own philosophy wherein everyone is a potential friend.

Very sincerely,
Patti Ramsay

P.S. A lot of thoughts and hopes are contained along with this letter, as well as a little bit of fear... fear that I haven't yet found that which I seek. Be that as it may, I'm looking forward either to hearing from you or receiving some word at least about AVATAR. Please forgive my expression of fear-obviously it isn't very strong or I wouldn't be writing! Here's hoping we've both encountered more than a potential friend!

Dear Patti,

Your letter reeks with understanding, you're one of the pearls out in that vast sea. There's damn few of us on this planet but we recognize each other instantly. I'm amazed that you felt us through a veil as thick as Hank's book. You're going to love my piece on the Fort Hill Community in this issue, you're going to understand every word of it as though you wrote it yourself. Everything you wrote me about your philosophy is good and true, stick to it, it is so mature and well-rounded that I wonder how your friends can stand you, they must seem like such children. Continue to be an example of all you believe in and someday you'll FIND what you're searching for, don't get in a hurry, just LIVE it.....

Love, Mel