Continuing the story of how we of CopperMoon got here, we decided to post a series consisting of each of our stories. To add spice to the mix, we decided to interview each other rather than write our own stories. Our names went into a hat and we drew. I drew Woosi much to my delight and dismay.
Dismay? Yes! Think about it: how does one encapsulate a Woosi? I am resisting mightly the urge to draw parallels between Woosi to Maria in The Sound Of Music (although Woosi *did* go through a navy blue and white phase). When I sat down to interview Woosi, she was surprised that I started at the beginning, but I thought this was necessary for, as well as I know Woosi, I feel that there is something to be gained by the context of the entire story of her life. Never fear, I shall not enumerate the entire history of Woosi’s life. I will endeavor, however, to tell a tale.
Woosi Wildwood is not her given name. Lisa Ann Smith choose the name from a song that she loves. The song, Woosi, is by the group Baka Beyond on the album Meeting Pool and, according to the liner notes, is a song about the Baka women of Cameroon gathering food and visiting camps. At first she loved the music; it spoke to her. Then she loved the word and the word became Woosi. She says that, at first, there was no special meaning to the name. However, over time, choosing a name opened possibilities as to who and what she could be. Freedom to choose may be the theme of her life.
Arts and crafts is a thread woven throughout Woosi’s life. She remembers doing crafts projects with her Mom at an early age. Woosi kept at different arts hobbies. She did not think of them as “art” necessarily; the activities were just something that she did and enjoyed. She has worked at stamping, scrapbooking, beading, drawing, basketry, painting, spinning, weaving, wire bending sculpture, ceramics, glasswork, found object sculpture, recycled sweater, and writing (currently she is welding). Looking at this list, you might get the impression that she has a short attention span. You would be wrong. It is rather a case of multiple talents and a need for the freedom of self expression and active creation.
Much of Woosi’s life is well known. She started out in Yuba City, California (I didn’t know that). She one of the daughters of Marilynne and Roy. Her sisters are Kathie (older) and Cindy (younger). She attended University of Washington. She has been married and divorced. She has two children, Holden and Brynne. She owned a herd of llamas. She has lived in Southern California, Tri-Cities of Washington, Seattle, and Redmond.
Woosi remembers learning to love nature playing in a canyon behind her house in Southern California. The canyon became her playground and she spent hours there around an old oak tree with a rope swing.
Woosi may have started out as a hellion, sitting on the yellow line in the middle of a busy road to prove that the cars wouldn’t hit her, but she went through a good girl phase. Woosi is not sure what caused this change. It is interesting that her sister Kathie is here as we discuss this. Kathie and Woosi look very similar now, but when they were younger they were nearly indistinguishable . We’ve narrowed down Woosi’s change of behavior to a small period of time in junior high school when school kids would frequently confuse Woosi and Kathie. Woosi was hanging out with the honor students and may have shifted her behavior to differentiate herself from Kathie.
Woosi graduated from UW with an English degree and plans to become a famous novelist. Since she was a full time mother now, she took work as a technical writer and put her novelist dreams on hold.
One of the fascinating chapters of Woosi’s life started with the purchase of 66 acres of land. She now had a place to raise livestock to support her spinning and weaving hobby. She started looking at raising sheep but was soon convinced that sheep are too stupid. Llamas, however, are not stupid. Llamas are large animals covered by pelts of marvelous hair. Llamas could be trained. Llama babies are *cute*. Woosi bought her first llamas.
Despite all of this good fortune, Woosi felt like she was becoming trapped by pressure and obligation. She was a working mother of two smart and ambitious children. She had dreams of building a home. She had visions of turning her arts and craft interests into a business. However, all of this was, somehow, continuously thwarted. She had visions that her life would continue to be just work, children, husband, and television.
Woosi was becoming attracted to earth-centered spirituality. She found the honoring of nature and female empowerment. She learned of a pagan group near their home in Redmond and visited a public ritual. While there, they met a woman who introduced them to a local polyamorous intentional family and invited Woosi and her husband to visit something called Polycamp in August of 2003. So, she did and found a new community.
The comparison between this new community and the life she found at home was startling. She had the feeling at the event that these people were like her. They talked about subjects that seem off limits in other settings. They laughed. The barriers between people were down. She met people who seemed interested in her and her art. She remembers talking to one man wearing only a bandanna who seemed very nice and asked her questions about the pendants that she was selling. Through her involvement with this new circle of friends, Woosi started to get the feeling that her life was *not* over. She met people who *liked* her. She met people who *flirted* with her. She met people who woke up the flirt in her. She met people who encouraged her to flirt.
Woosi decided that she wanted and could have more out of life than what she had and decided to leave her marriage. Needless to say, this was not a popular decision at home. The divorce process took a couple of years. When it was finalized in 2007, Woosi held a gathering which was dubbed Woomancipation. At Woomancipation, Woosi suggested that people could burn something negative from their life in order to make room for something positive. It was at Woomancipation that Woosi took her life back. This first Woomancipation is still talked about and Woomancipation still takes place every year.Woosi was living in Snohomish, Washington now, with Holden, Brynne, and the llamas (but not on her property). When her rent went up 30 percent, Woosi decided to look for land to buy.
The search for land through the spring and summer was intense but frustrating. Woosi had children and llamas, both of whom needed homes. Some properties seemed enticingly close to what she wanted but were always deficient in some crucial aspect.
Then, in August 2007, Woosi read about 20 acres for sale north of Monroe. Monroe? That’s way far away from Redmond and Microsoft. But, she arranged to view the property. She found that the property had an above average manufactured home and some land already cleared for pasture. She found that about three quarters of the land was forested but the owner had an appointment on Monday to sell the trees for lumber. Then the owner took her down the trails in the forest. There, Woosi got her first glimpse of what is now Faeryland; where the creek flows between moss covered banks underneath cedar and hemlock trees.
Woosi had come to CopperMoon. The rest is history.