April 1, 2008
Dear Everyone I Know:
Baseball’s had its opening day (Hooray, Bedard!) and the calendar says April, but I’m not yet convinced that it’s spring. Yesterday I dashed through the VA parking lot in a big fat hail storm, and just last Friday my coworkers were leaving work at noon to avoid icy roads and the promise of snow—what’s going on? This is Seattle, the land where clouds and sun play peek-a-boo all spring long, the home of drizzle, not snow.
So since I’m in a wintry mood, I thought I’d send a Christmas letter of sorts, an annual holiday update but with a twist (WARNING: that twist means that I’m asking you for something).
I think that people usually start these letters by describing the highlights and lowlights of the year:
THINGS I DID
I founded a soccer team. During the first season we were known as The Others, but after a season of soul-searching, we changed our name to the Powerhouse Penguins. We’ve even won a game!
I performed in a Sufjan Stevens cover band and a Backstreet Boys karaoke group.
I contacted my legislature and governor about various SuperSonics related issues, got cynical about their lack of response, and haven’t yet contacted them about Darfur.
I wrote several book review blurbs that were published in ImageUpdate, dozens of blog entries, two pages of an in-progress novel, and a few articles about Alzheimer’s research.
PLACES I VISITED
New York City, NY: Beth and I attended the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference and visited with Matt and Jacinda Basinger.
Ocean Shores, WA: I celebrated my birthday in the penthouse at the Gray Gull with a dozen or so of my friends.
Belize: Beth and I joined my parents and grandparents in a Belize adventure. I have some great memories from the trip, and it was good to be able to travel with my Grandpa one last time before he passed away in October.
Portland, OR: I made several trips to visit my parents for holidays (e.g., Thanksgiving), Pietros Pizza fun, and Powell’s Books.
MY NEW FAVORITES
Book: Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy
Food: Indian curry
OK, so now the twist.
As you may know, I’ve been working as an editor for the University of Washington (UW) Department of Psychiatry for a few years now. It’s interesting work—I’ve learned a ton about schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease—and they even paid for me to get a certificate in editing from the UW, but I’ve been hoping for something with a little less statistical genetics, something a bit more creative.
Then, in August of 2007, I was invited to join the staff of The Other Journal, an online quarterly that explores matters of faith in the context of art, culture, social justice, and theology. The journal aspires to be a meeting place between the academic and the popular, and they publish essays; book, film, and music reviews; visual art; blog posts; and creative writing. They asked me to edit their upcoming print anthology and the Imagination section, a hub of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.
Since then we’ve published an issue on psychopathology (“Virtue, Sin, and Psychosis in the New Millennium”) and an issue on atheism (which is currently ongoing), and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a great collection of amazing writers and poets. I even got to meet poet Luci Shaw, who was shocked to find that I was a twentysomething rather than a bespectacled old scholar in a tweed suit.
Now, I said that this was something of a Christmas letter. That’s because I’m kind of asking you for a Christmas gift.
The Other Journal is a non-profit organization, staffed primarily by volunteers (and people like me, working at about a buck an hour) whose work is made possible by the generous financial contributions of our readers. They hardly pay me, but I’m excited nonetheless. The experience is great and I think we’re publishing important content that needs to be seen—check us out at http://www.theotherjournal.com/. Therefore, I’m asking that you consider giving to The Other Journal.
We would use your contribution to help fund the continued work of the journal and to increase our ability to impact the world. This month, for example, we plan to attend the Faith and Writing Festival at Calvin College, an important gathering of leading voices in the exploration of faith, writing, and culture. The Faith & Writing Festival represents a unique opportunity to promote The Other Journal by hosting an exhibit and networking with publishers and writers. The conference will also allow our team of editors to meet from across the United States to refine our focus for the upcoming year.
Your contribution would also help run a series of films, lectures, and panel discussions called Film, Faith, and Justice. Last year we joined with the organization Human Rights Watch, to have the festival at the UW campus, where over four days we drew more than 1,800 participants from Seattle’s eclectic community of activists, students, academics, videophiles, and people of faith.
We need your support; all donations to The Other Journal are tax-deductible.
We are accepting online donations through the Mars Hill Graduate School donations page (https://www.mhgs.edu/af/donate.asp); in the Gift Information section, be sure to write the following:
apply my gift to OTHER Donations, made out to “Mars Hill Graduate School” with TOJ/AD in the memo line, can also be sent via snail-mail to The Other Journal at:
if other: The Other Journal
The Other Journal at
Mars Hill Graduate School
2501 Elliott Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
Thank you for reading my letter and considering supporting The Other Journal.
The Other Journal
PS I’m also hopeful that this working-nights-and-weekends gig might eventually turn into a more legitimate part-time job, and if we do really well at getting donations, that might be a possibility.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
April 1, 2008