As we approached the final deadline for our second issue of Alternatives, a number of thoughts arose-mostly unconnected. These are the offspring of an overactive imagination and sleep deprivation. We have just done a 23 hour day/night work session, putting the magazine together. While this approximates a crazy way to live, it has a certain sensation of freedom about it. That's an important clue.
Life is short, and then you die. It is good to work with passion, and laughter. We, the Alternatives guys, have discovered a workstyle that moves in accordance with rhythms and flows having nothing in common with a time clock. In choosing this publishing business and this partnership, the experience of life seems somehow more luminously conscious. Interactions with the world mediated by the messages we are dealing with in Alternatives feel loving and truth-directed.
There are tangible benefits to being a self-employed publisher in the information age. We haven't seen any of them yet, but we're certain they are out there. It's the intangible benefits that we have been really enjoying during the startup of Alternatives. Things like, many of the rules don't apply anymore. For instance, job security and benefits are not of paramount importance. It'd be nice to have those securities, but they aren't the prime motivators of action. What takes their place? Being involved, making contact. Using imagination and humor. Stretching oneself, challenging one's strengths and weaknesses. We're still growing, and there is an intuition that when the individual grows, culture grows too. Being a culturally creative person has merit, and besides, it's fun!
We do a lot of our work in our tiny office room, without as much feedback (particularly of the hardcopy variety) as we'd like. We invite you to visit us, write us or contact us in any of the many other ways available. Our intention is to be open-minded in our work, but in a society so vast and diverse as this one, we might miss a cue or a step. Let us know when we're right on or way off.
In this Alternatives we have, as usual, an eclectic and interesting mix of topics by some great local writers. We delve into several issues that are, on the face of them, about economics, politics, environmental toxins and species extinction. Specifically, our authors take a critical look at the relationship between developers' profits and Salem's urban growth, dioxin in our community and its effects, and Oregon's plan for Salmon recovery. Often, when you really go inside such issues, they morph, from mental data to matters of the heart. They raise questions, like what kind of world do we want to live in? What kind of world do we want to pass on to those who come after us? Sometimes, just because something is legal doesn't make it right.
We also visit feng shui from a Tibetan perspective, gratitude as a way of life, the wisdom of the Kunama of Eritrea, Recycling at Chemeketa, and a haunting bit of fiction called "Passio."
Enjoy the passage.