The question recently arose – What became of the unMonasterian’s ‘habit-forming’ workshop? Standing out as instantly distinguishable from the more standard tourist remains desirable – but intruding upon the Cult of the Individual seems dangerous territory. The workshop with Zoe at the LOTE#3 could only scratch the surface of desirability. Values such as stitching your own garment within the first week were applauded as wise.
But quite independent of the design issues, without a forum to create a consensus around such a practice any decision would have to be left to the first convention of unMonasterians. By the time we first sat faccia a faccia our options were limited. More prosaic considerations commanded our attention; what we looked like was the least of our concerns – deprived of heat, sleep, internet connection we felt distinctly and proudly unMonkish. That would suffice.
The easiest would have been to steal Ben’s elegant long black habit. I would have thrived in a rich, warm brown variant, Marc could have sported steel grey without fracturing his style. Katalin could explore her options: a red, a violet, a cream? Elf clothing an unabashed sports car green; who would wear white? or sacred saffron? What colours could would result if we boiled down the pigments of the neighbouring Murgia?*
Does this belong in the Book of Errors – yes indeed. Along with the ceremony of taking upon ourselves the habit of an unMoaner would be the inevitable mumbo jumbo. Rituals to ease the transition from the evil habits of a civilian were meant to be my territory; in practice a fear of appearing a cult has left us frightenly normal. The inevitable phases of landing and lurching are explored inThe Vow of unSomething.
*Should we indeed retain our customary names? Traditionally they were surrendered at the gate along with all worldly possessions and the hair on your head. A simple swap might suffice; I’ve always coveted the name Arthur.