Announcing that you quit your job during the early days of a pandemic-provoked recession (depression?) that is progressively pervading Pangaea — well, it takes some trial and error ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The following texts coevolved but were abandoned at various points. Hence the details may diverge, and some are wrong. For example, licensing everything under CC BY 4.0 is out of scope for the foreseeable future, although I do hope to contribute to the free-culture resources on the internet. In other words, DON'T RELY ON THIS POST FOR AN ACCURATE FEATURE LIST.
Anyway, yes, all four were real drafts — down the titles. Enjoy.
(Beautiful fractal created by Mary Calvo.)
Hey Guess What
I quit my day job! My former Zcash Foundation colleagues are wonderful, and I learned so much from working for Josh and Antonie. But after two years — the longest that I've stayed at one organization, if you can believe it! — it's time for something new.
What will that be? Playing to my strengths, baby, playing to my strengths. Current "about" page:
Sonya Mann, possibilities broker at large. Nice to meet you! My business is examining that which is for omens of that which might be. Bona fides: I majored in explore and minored in exploit.
Do you fuck with the vision? Then fund it. You bring the capital, I'll bring the culture 😉
More literally speaking, I'm going to be an independent creator, producer, publisher, and distributor. The internet provides all the tools that I need, and I have the capability. What's been missing is full-time focus. Well, now I've got that too! Time to become the internet's best full-stack A&R guy 😎
In other words, my plan:
I know it sounds ludicrous to say, "I am cool enough that people will pay me to simply do cool things," but like... what if it's true? I have six months of runway, and I'm betting that it'll be enough time to convince at least 500 people to support my endeavors directly.
The price point — originally just for zines, now expanded to All of My Output of All Types — is:
- $13.50 per month
- $135 per year (AKA two months free)
What do you get in return? Content™ of various sorts — a monthly zine (the physical version only for USA subscribers, sorry), whatever else I decide to write, To give you a taste, these are my goals for the next month or so:
- Finally sell Clandestine Motives (zine), then donate net proceeds to Open Privacy and Mother Trust Org — current subscribers already have access to the digital version
- Figure out an artist-in-residence program (with a stipend attached of course; this will be a sustainable spiritual successor to my experiment with wildcat mutual aid — it's not feasible for me to fact-check a deluge of sob stories most of the time, not least because it breaks my heart, but I can provide a decently-paying gig that will be a win-win for income-deprived creatives as well as for my subscribers)
- Make a small game — one that you will be able to play, of course! I've never done this before and would like to try it out
- Finish the May zine (theme: adornment) and send it to subscribers
- Write 3-5 interesting blog posts and/or newsletter issues
- Host a couple of virtual social events
If you have suggestions for me — what I should write, project ideas, etc. — here's a Google doc:
La Vie Bohème
Imagine ye olde funky neighborhood art gallery. It's wedged between a delightfully musty secondhand bookshop and a corner store hawking cigarettes with a side of surly. The gallery always has Tarot readings at its openings, but also hosts Bible study every Tuesday evening and journeyman Excel tournaments on Wednesdays. On weekends, a local favorite: Fury of the Pagan King reenactment.
Guess what! You happen to be friends with the gallery owner, who invites you to cool, high-status happy hours for cool, high-status people! Wow! Who knew that sardonic zaniness was so popular?
At these parties, the crowd drinks...
- schmancy gourmet natural wine
- mysterious paper-bagged 40s
- hard cider from an attendee's orchard
- translucent, effervescent elixir of serendipity
- DisneyYUM® Nutella Soylent with CBD booster
- nourishing nut mylks (various)
- research chemicals (various)
- ethically harvested blood of young naifs
So that's what I'm selling — but virtual! A funky neighborhood art gallery but plot twist the whole thing lives on a website (this one) and is delivered via email 3-4x per month, plus a monthly printed zine for subscribers in the United States and a high-res digital version for everyone.
plz subscribe 🤗
Fund my creative endeavors! Click the link and keep following directions until the website takes your payment. (You'll need to confirm your email first.)
Not convinced? Aw man, don't you want to be COOL and HIGH-STATUS? Ponder the 𝕍𝕒𝕝𝕦𝕖 ℙ𝕣𝕠𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤:
- the ongoing 💫Content Stream💫 of Sonya, Supposedly™* is available for the low price of $13.50 per month or $135 per year
- receive an Ultra! Premium! Content Experience created, commissioned, and/or curated by Sonya Mann (lbr, you know me from Twitter: @sonyasupposedly)
- finance the creation of rare digital artifacts of great vitality and value! your largesse shall enable them to be both free as in speech and free as in beer, hell yeah
- some, probably most, of these artifacts will be made by Sonya, HOWEVER
- as many as feasible will be commissioned from independent artists, here defined as "anyone I like who makes cool shit, especially but not exclusively if they're grinding away without much an audience,"
- and please note that "cool shit" is defined as any kind of media you can publish online but especially writing and illustration because I love those the most
- subscribers based in the USA will receive EXCLUSIVE PAMPHLETS on a monthly-ish basis, which will also be sold non-exclusively on some occasions, but at a significantly higher cost than is
extracted fromcharged to the venerable subscribers of Sonya, Supposedly™*
- digital versions of the Exclusive Pamphlets will be available to all in the free-as-in-both-speech-and-beer manner described above
*not a real trademark
If you don't trust me, don't sign up! You'll be able to tell from the results whether or not I'm making good on my end of the deal.
Also, you're encouraged to subscribe for a time and then unsubscribe whenever you feel done, or if you need a break, or [insert any reason]. You don't have to commit forever! I won't be offended — I rotate my own "small-scale patron of the arts" spending.
Is the pricing unfair to subscribers who don't live in the United States, since they are subsidizing the printed zines for USA-based subscribers: Yes! Sorry! For now, it's that or nothing. Up to you.
A New Day
Hey there. I quit my job! Was that crazy, given current macroeconomic conditions? Yes! But I'm ready to hack it on my own, and so are you — you're also ready for me to hack it on my own.
Simon Sarris said, "The future has to be beautiful enough to want." He's right! Frankly, I will accept no less. Cyberpunk is fun and all, but I've been to San Francisco. It ain't enough for me.
"We need to demand more of our culture, of our society. And we need to demand more from one another. We're all necessary, and we can all contribute, to building." — Marc Andreessen
I demand an excellent future, a future of the first water! Consequently, it's time to roll up my sleeves and make the damn thing. I can't force the rest of civilization to join me, but I'm done waiting.
The vision is pretty simple: A sprawling-yet-cozy creative empire, over which I preside as matriarchal leader, facilitating a virtual village economy of live players. The best of the global network and the best of a small town, rolled into one.
Why me? That part is simple too: Do you see anyone else volunteering? I'm willing to put in the work and I know that I can pull it off, that's why. And I'm determined to bring the rest of you with me, so tell the bouncer you're with Sonya 😉
On the object level: I am going to make, commission, and distribute works of culture. Fuck a platform, what you want is a producer, a publisher, one who embraces hands-on collaboration. Think of the essays, the stories, the plays! (via Zoom?), illustration, sculpture, games, mutual interrogation livestream, prayer... There are so many ways for humans to express ourselves, to crystallize our leaping spirit in order to share it with each other!
(As Nadia Eghbal put it: "Create artifacts that work for your audience" — which directly inspired Supposedly Zines!)
Lately I've been saying that meaning comes from mattering. So my goal is art that matters; art that will layer up into vibrant participatory meaningness.
And yeah, I want you to pay for this. What I'm saying is, I'm good enough at this shit that you should be thrilled to pay me. Some of you will find this email massively off-putting, who does that bitch think she is, but some of you will want in. As the kids say, you'll fuck with the vision.
I shouldn't have to raise $5k because I'm worried that my friends can't buy groceries — although I am so thankful that it worked! And astounded, and inspired, that people contributed five thousand goddam dollars in one day. It may not be a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it's a lot to me.
You know what? Maybe that should change. Maybe $5k should be no big deal to me. Instead of passing the hat, I should simply have an extra $5k to distribute in emergencies. Or at least a slush fund that can serve the purpose. State-run safety nets simply aren't good enough, and empirically private savings haven't filled the gap. So yeah, that's on the to-do list. I can't recreate the welfare state, but I can vastly expand my capability to dispense direct aid.