What’s going on around the Long Table?

An update for members

In June 2023, the Long Table community crossed a couple of significant thresholds: we welcomed our first new cohort of members since 2021, arriving through The Work in the Ruins series — and, for the first time, our monthly calls were hosted by Long Table members, rather than by Anna and me. We’re currently working with Ayaka, who has been a Long Table member since the second Homeward Bound series, to bring our membership lists up to date. So this seems a good moment to round up what’s going on these days around the Long Table.

Let me start by saying thank you for joining us around this table. There are many ways to contribute, listening can be as generous as speaking, and we’ve learned over time that the various rhythms of attendance — from those who show up without fail to those who visit once in a while, or follow along on the recordings — all bring something to the music of our being together. Whichever mode of engagement suits you just now, you’re welcome at the table for as long as you feel the call to be here.


First Mondays

We gather on the First Monday of each month for an early session (10.00 Swedish time) and a late session (20.15). These calls last up to two hours and the format varies. Often there’s a theme, starting from a question or story that one member wants to bring to the table, or from something that bubbled up in an earlier call. Some months, the host might invite everyone to bring a poem or a short text that’s close to their heart. When there are lots of us on the call, we’ll usually spend part of the time in breakout rooms. The recordings of these sessions are sent around afterwards, so if you can’t join us live, you can catch up on the video. These are also collected in the archive on the Long Table site.

We’re still learning how to share the hosting — and if you’d like to have a go at holding space, or handling Zoom to support the host, or if you have a question or theme you’d like to start a conversation around, then we are keen to hear from you!

The Tuesday Call

Along with First Monday, the other core rhythm we have right now is a one-hour call on a Tuesday at 14.30 (Swedish time). This is a very simple format: we take a few minutes at the opening of the call to chat as people arrive, then someone sounds a bell or a bowl, and for the rest of the hour we take turns to share whatever is on our hearts.

(The timing of the Tuesday call suits certain time zones — but the format makes it easy to run and we’ll gladly support members who would like to start a similar call at other times of the day or week.)

The Long Table Site

Our Mighty Networks site is the space where conversations can ebb and flow in between the live calls. It goes through phases of being busier or quieter — but I remember someone commenting early on how they appreciated conversations that stretch over weeks or months, in contrast to the pace of comment threads elsewhere. Twice now, we’ve used it to host a “poem-a-day” month in April, and it’s open to other ideas for creative and collaborative uses. It’s a good place to share a quote or a link that you’ve mentioned during one of the Zoom calls.

So please make yourself at home, explore the groups and events pages, the archives of earlier conversations — and consider yourself warmly invited to share links and texts, to post questions and start conversations that relate in any way to the themes we’ve talked about in Homeward Bound, The Work in the Ruins or on Long Table calls.

And if you have any difficulty logging in to the site, drop us a line at info@aschoolcalledhome.org

Other Gatherings & Invitations

A number of regular calls and smaller groups have grown out of the Long Table — and you’ll find invitations to some of them in the Events section of the site. You’re welcome to use this section to share invitations to events that you are involved in.

The Hospicing Cafe grew out of the Hospicing Modernity Reading Group on this site and meets monthly, usually on the third Monday of the month. There may be an invitation to prepare a little ahead of the session, or an exercise intended to help us get out of our heads and into our bodies as part of the time we spend together.

That Sunday Morning Thing is a monthly half-hour call hosted by Andy Jukes and inspired by an exercise at Martin Shaw’s School of Myth. Three or four poems are read aloud, then everyone takes five minutes to create a response, whether in words or images, and there is a chance for anyone who wants to share their responses in the latter part of the call.

There’s also a small Climate Fiction Writers Group that grew out of some of our early gatherings and that continues to meet regularly. If you’d like to find out more about that, get in touch with Anna Smedeby.

It’s worth saying a word about the Assembly, since you may hear it mentioned now and again. This was — and is! — the precursor to the Long Table, a group that came out of the first Homeward Bound series and that has continued to meet on the first Thursday of each month. These days, it carries on as an independent, self-organising group, some of whose members are also involved with the Long Table.

Besides these regular gatherings, there are occasional events and invitations, and other communities and schools that are part of the wider web of friendships and collaborations within which HOME and the Long Table seem to belong. Just this week, for example, Adam Wilson shared an invitation to a series of four-day Gratitude Feast Immersions at the Peasantry School he is creating in Keeseville, NY, so perhaps there will be a chance for other Long Table members to find their way across his threshold in the months ahead.

Changing Shape

It’s a moveable feast, this table of ours, whose shape has changed over time and will no doubt continue to change. Just now we’re working with Ayaka Fujii to bring our membership lists up to date, while Andy Jukes, Helen Titchen Beeth and Matt French are helping us weave together a sufficient structure of support to make it easy for members to step up and share in the hosting in the months ahead. If you’d like to help with any of that, then get in touch by filling out this form or post your thoughts and questions in the comment thread on this post.