In the fall of 1997 I began a series of interviews with forty-five people who had belonged to the Therafields community. I taped and transcribed each interview. My initial idea had been to obtain material for publication in a magazine. The more I spoke with people, however, the more the project broadened and became complex. By the summer of 1998 I had had enough of an activity that was consumming a major part of my time and energy. I was then too busy to continue to devote enough space to do the topic justice. Beside I could see by then that the deeper reason for my research was an attempt to understand exactly what had happened during the years 1966-83 while I had been so involved with Therafields. To me it seemed that I had lived in a large and complex extended family, a village almost. As I "grew up" within this community I experienced and intuited changes that were happening in the broader context of the organization as a whole but was unable to fully understand or articulate them. In my interviews I had the opportunity to talk in some depth with people who had had different locations within the community, often with very differing experiences. Out of this phase of my work I began to understand more what had been happening to others and how their experiences and mine were interrelated.
A couple of years ago I returned to my interview material to try once again to put some order to the vast array of information and thoughts received from others as well as from my own experience. During my Christmas vacation I wrote out the whole of my own personal journey through Therafields, a journal piece of about fifty pages. I then essentially edited the relatively chaotic interactive format of each of my interviews into a more linear declaration from each person of their thoughts and experiences. I sent copies of each edited interview to the person interviewed to ensure that they were comfortable with my formulation. Close to half of those who responded asked that I not directly publish their interview or that I not directly quote them. The reasons for this caution varied but there was a general concern that if feelings expressed in the interview were openly published that some people could be hurt or that animosities could be stirred that were best left dormant. Though I understood these fears I found the response disappointing. The material in my interviews is so rich and interesting and shines so many lights on the Therafields experience that I believed it important historically for it to be revealed in some form.
Reading Grant's book in the last couple of weeks has galvanized in me a desire to return to a reflection on my own experience and that of those who have spoken with me about their own. I want to use this blog format as a way of putting forth my thoughts. I invite responses from anyone connected with Therafields, responses either in agreement or opposed to the ideas that I put forward. I will begin the blog postings with some of my responses to Grant's work.