The e-mail from OBSOLETE! publisher Rich Dana didn’t try to disguise a certain concern.
The tabloid literary magazine needed donations if it wanted to publish its seventh issue, since Dana was finding himself paying more of the bills out of his own pocket than he could really afford.
If its appeal for $5,600 on the international crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com fails, it could become like its name – obsolete.
You can’t be too shy, Dana explains, when you are try to run an enterprise based mostly within the “gift economy.”
Dana, of rural Guernsey, began the newsprint publication in June 2010 on the principles of gifting espoused in the book Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein. The book makes a case that the money economy leads to unsustainable practices, such as selling things people don’t need, and buying things that don’t last.
Dana set out to prove that if OBSOLETE! was a product people wanted, they’d be willing to help out or give money to make it a reality. An initial fundraising appeal on Kickstarter generated $2,500, and the magazine put out its sixth edition last summer. Even much of the distribution to retail shops and coffee houses is handled by volunteers.
With only a few days left Wednesday, OBSOLETE! didn’t appear likely to meet its goal when the fundraising campaign ended in five days. Donors had contributed $1,871 and posted a lot of nice comments.
Dana said he won’t give up on the magazine, which promises “slapdash layout” and “smudgy newsprint,” even if the funding falls short. He might have to get creative by applying for grants, he said.
In fact, Dana said his OBSOLETE! Press is preparing its first “Best of OBSOLETE!” book to be released in January, and has published a book of poetry, Diamond Plate, by W. Joe Hoppe of Austin, Texas. Hoppe will participate in a remote reading of his poetry Saturday at 7 p.m. via Skype at New Bo Books, 1105 Third St. SE.
Dana was inspired to begin OBSOLETE! by his father, Robert Dana, who participated in the resurrection of North American Review, believed to the the country’s oldest literary review, and in many other literary endeavors as Iowa’s poet laureate.
Dana and Blair Gauntt of Hiawatha produce OBSOLETE!, printing about 3,000 copies at the Newton Daily News. With more donations, Dana said he’d like to be able to do something he hasn’t been able to do yet – raise the pay for contributing writers and artists.