Dear Liberty Island crew; all my friends and colleagues from PJ Media,the Freedom Center, Taliesin Nexus, Rebel Media, the Daily Wire; and all other aspiring counterculture creatives eager to join a new kind of fight…
I have worn many hats over the last 6 years. I mean this literally — and regard it as among my techniques for maintaining some semblance of balance in a perpetually shifting, turbulent new media ecosystem.
In my years as editor, writer, blogger, and "new media troublemaker" I often had to change gears and tasks quickly. I might be in the middle of writing an article when a phone call could come insisting that there was a high-priority article needing editing and posting immediately. Other times I might be in the middle of researching a blog post on a breaking news story when all of a sudden our beloved Siberian Husky Maura would insist on her time for a walk.
My mental trick that I developed over the years for staying focused on each of these tasks was to LITERALLY change hats. I have about a half dozen regular ones that I’ve cycled through for different purposes over the years. (And yes occult friends, this is a variation of one of Aleister Crowley’s magickal techniques — he would do something similar with a ring, making a point to change personas when moving it from one finger to another.)
The hat you see in the top picture is one of my favorites. For years I’ve worn my Skull and Crossbones pirate cap when I’m in "editor mode." Gradually, I came to embrace the metaphor of the world wide web and my professional field as akin to sailing the seven seas — websites, books, political and cultural movements — they were like competing imperial navies and fleets of pirate ships seeking to dominate and plunder in a new, unexplored territory.
The Pirate Ship can represent many things as a metaphor — including some really nasty stuff too. I take a more romanticized, Disneyfied approach: for me it represents independence and personal liberty — the ability to leave and relocate to a new place and a different state of mind. Each person’s Pirate Ship is their assembled skills that they can transform into something practical and concrete. For some people it’s a career, others it’s a book or a series of books, others might develop new media or computer programs. The pirate ship is what keeps your head above water. It’s best to not rely too much on just one ship — one never knows when a leak might spring or a faster, more advanced model of ship might appear. Sometimes one’s the captain of the ship, other days the role of first mate, and why not try working the galley or the cannons too on some voyage?
The plan that I’m now pursuing this spring at Liberty Island is to finish building some of my pirate ships and also help others in building theirs. This island is a shipyard, and the writers already gathered around it and who I seek to draw closer to it each have tremendous potential for building exciting, unique vessels that can navigate these new media waters in provocative ways. I spent the fall developing several writing projects — both fiction and nonfiction — and also finding many books to edit.
I’m still keeping the details of these projects "under my hat" as they may transform more before publication, but do anticipate more announcements in the coming months. For now at Liberty Island we’re in across-the-board brainstorming and development mode and are open to suggestions as we continue to get organized.
Here’s how to reach us and what we’re seeking:
[email protected] is my email if you have queries for me or would like to brainstorm ideas, or are interested in blogging at Liberty Island on a particular subject.
[email protected] to send completed short stories, poetry, nonfiction essays and cultural reviews (of books, films, TV shows, video games, art, plays, music, etc.) and also novels and novellas for the Liberty Island editorial team to consider. We’re also interested in featuring music, art, videos,and experimental forms of new media.
Targets and guidelines for submissions: Under 5000 words is best for a short story, 800-2500 words for nonfiction submissions, novels we prefer shorter side (60,000-80,000 words, but will be open-minded on 100-120K maximums.) Novella length is flexible, but please have strong arguments to justify why your novella should not just be expanded to novel length, as that is what I would generally nudge you to do. Short, strong poems drawing on more traditional forms are usually better than much of the rambling postmodern junk put out today. 😉
These are just some of the kinds of content that we’re planning. I’d like to hear your ideas for what you want to read and what you would be interested in developing. What kind of pirate ship do you want to build? How can I help? I hope to hear from you soon.
Warmest regards and looking forward to collaborating with everyone soon,
David M. Swindle
P.S. I’m going to attempt to start blogging more regularly here at Liberty Island, primarily short posts to inspire discussion about books, ideas, culture, and creative writing. Twitter remains my social network of choice for now — @DaveSwindle — but I’m on the verge of jumping ship to begin exploring different social media waters. What do you think? Which are your favorites? (I’m not eager to to go back to Facebook — I abandoned it in November 2014 – but am open to considering the argument…)
P.S.S. This post and further posts and images by me here at Liberty Island may be cross-posted at other publications — please link back to this original post.