Recently I created a pamphlet for the Dobbstown Mirror, a SubGenius* newsletter. This simple c-fold creation had the best quotes of the Church founder J.R. “Bob” Dobbs so my fellow members had easy access to them. What was a simple creative effort became more when I held the print run in my hands.
Here was something published made for love, not money – in fact I spent money on it. I write as part of my career, but also write as a kind of side business/hobby where I do charge for books. But here was something I deliberately “lost” money on as opposed to losing it on writing something no one wanted.
Here was something that was what I wanted to do. There were no requests, no market calculations, nothing separate from my own creative drive. It was what I wanted to do, to share with others – they didn’t even have to like it in a way.
Finally, this pamphlet was created to be distributed with a newsletter. It was not thrown up on a website or entered into a marketing stream. It was part of something intimate, a newsletter that was part of a community. You tossed it into an envelope and sent it to folks.
I felt many things, but one that stood out was a sense of rebellion.
I’m so used to things being written for money, hearing about audience calculations, and reading about distribution optimization. Instead, here was something I spent money on in a giant “what the hell, this seems fun.” Creativity that’s not part of the endless cycle of acquisition and capitalism we’re all too used to (and trapped in).
Such an experience is making me think about creativity outside of the profit motive, creativity for fun, for community. I had been missing something, and this helped me understand how rebellious it can feel to just do something for people for fun.
Now I should note that in no way am I against people making a profit from creative works. I want people to be able to make a living on their creative efforts. I want artists of all kinds supported – and am glad to support them. It’s just nice to get out of the endless cycle of profit-seeking and optimization.
Oh and you can print your own – get it and other Dobbsaganda here.
* If you don’t know what the church of the SubGenius is, visit http://subgenius.com/ or just buy The Book of the SubGenius. Trust me.