Some ideas have an interesting means for captivation: bridging synaptic gaps to offer the briefest — yet most powerful — visions of a reality yet unmanifested, but seemingly possible. In this honeymoon state, we face and interact with the idea in its purest form — yet unadulterated by the realities of the world as it is. If sufficiently powerful, an idea will eventually demand action from the idealist, after which point the imagined ideal retreats at precisely the rate of the action taken towards its fruition. What eventually comes to manifest is a movable frontier falling somewhere between the imagined ideal and the world’s pre-idea absence. Though imperceptible to all but the idealist, the honeymoon phase is of infinite value; often coming to serve as the sole driving force behind the ongoing slog towards fruition. A honeymoon is best not rushed nor disregarded, but embodied and appreciated for its temporary bliss, and potential power.
With all that, I would say that Danny W. and I had an exceptional honeymoon. Through the exploration and conceptualization of our shared idea, we nagivated spaces yet unimagined; taking time to form the skeletal structure of a new ideal before jumping into action. At the end of this honeymoon; at the intersection of ideal and action, we found a brutally simple, unmistakably powerful mission: feed people food
Those three words provide the barest of bones behind the idea that has been stoking a fire within Danny W. and me for weeks now. Though obviously simple, the idea’s true beauty arises from its nuance and complexity. See, Danny and I don’t just want to feed people food; we want to serve free food to people for free. We want to take that which is inherently valuable (food) but presently valueless (market leftovers; damaged and unsellable produce), and turn it into something beneficial for our community (delicious, free meals). The honeymoon vision told us it can be done. And why not?
But still, the beauty lies within the detail. We want these meals to be free, and open to all, but with a promotional focus on the food insecure and most vulnerable within our community. And we imagine dignity and empowerment at the point of service. See, the term I’ve been stuck with in early conversations is “soup kitchen,” but that does little justice: conjuring notions of the “us” serving the “them” in settings often dehumanizing; offering dignifying only to those who serve, while stripping dignity from the served. Our idea is an aesthetic space, in which greeters welcome the guests at the door, usher them to a tableclothed, candlelit table, and allow them to look at a menu prior to service. The meals will include numerous entree options and dessert, and consist of the finest free ingredients our community can offer; including a heavy focus on fresh, seasonal vegetables and homestyle dishes.
Beneath the surface layer of feeding people food, however, the true value of the idea comes from a different dimension altogether: community. See, as this meal will be open to all community members, and the guests will be welcomed to sit pre-meal, and post-meal in advance of dessert, conversational space will be opened to friends and strangers alike. Thus, different factions of our community can come together, share a meal, and learn about each other at no cost to anyone, besides a bit of time. And maybe, just maybe, a certain proportion of our guests will be moved to service, and seek positions helping out at meals in the future, breaking down the barriers between the “us” serving the “them.”
So, that’s the short version of our honeymoon flush. Having reached enough shared meaning and vision, we’ve got to work. Feeding people food requires actually getting the food, which requires logistical conversations with farmers, and lots and lots of preservation. Cooking requires a kitchen, and serving requires a dining room, so the search for an adequate space is in full force. All this cooking and service requires some manpower, so volunteer recruitment is picking up. But I really, really believe that it can be done. I think we can do it once; and I think we can do it again. I think we can create something which does not presently exist, based on no existing structure but for the one in our minds during the all-powerful honeymoon.