For two years (2008-2009) I had the pleasure of working with Colin Beattie and Alyse Emdur to co-edit a monthly email magazine called What We Are Learning, in which we compiled short accounts of things our various contributors (about 167 individuals over the course of 24 issues) told us they had learned each month. As a collaborative writing project it was a very instructive challenge, in which the three of us, drawing on disparate backgrounds in journalism, social-practice-based art, and poetry, attempted to create a cohesive style and represent, in a respectful and entertaining way, the experiences of others. "December 2009" was our final issue, and now a print version of the complete magazine is being published as a "Jank Edition" by Portland's Publication Studio.
Here is the preface Colin wrote for the volume:
We wanted a portrait of everyone alone, together. We kept record of the discoveries, agonies, and oddities lived by our strangers and friends.
We said: “Tell me what you’ve learned this month, a revelation, a heart-break, a new way to tie your shoes. It could be anything, but be specific.”
We distributed monthly accounts of your progress for two years. Those accounts are gathered in this edition and presented to you as a proof of life.
Publication Studio's website summarizes the book thus:
For two years, What We Are Learning issued a monthly compendium of brief reports from several dozen friends, telling what each of them had learned recently. This book gathers their reports into a uniquely compelling narrative that displaces the drama of the individual with the pleasures of the collective. What We Are Learning is one of the most provocative and successful experiments in dispersed authorship that we have seen.
I'm very happy that this exists, and grateful to all the contributors.
Peaches and Bats #10is a hand-sewn zine with a letterpress cover, 64-pg. laserprintered interior and foldout color poster insert. It costs $5. You can order it by Paypal here or arrange to trade for your chapbook or magazine by sending an email to peachesandbats AT gmail DOT com.
Peaches and Bats #9 is also available in Olympia, Washington at Orca Books; in Portland at Division Leap Books, Powell's City of Books, and Reading Frenzy; and through Ms. Valerie Park Distro.