What are we on about?
It’s snowy outside, and other than reading the Times at a local cafe and walking my dog and hanging with Lindsey, I’ve done just about nothing all weekend. Weekends are a good time for just that: slowing down, taking a step back, readjusting, and reentering the asana that is our daily life.
Cleaning my living room of old Sunday Times and other things-I-meant-to-read-but-never-got-to, I was just skimming thru an old copy of Fast Company, going through their annual “100 Most Creative People” list. One of ‘em was a simple blogger, The Sartorialist. I was struck by his simple explanation of what his simple (and wildly-popular) blog—now also a column in GQ, and a book—is about. Something like “My photos of people on the street who I thought had great style.”
It got me thinking: in no more than 10 words, what is elephantjournal.com about?
Historically, as a magazine, our subheader, our mission, was described as “the mindful life.” Or, “Your guide to the mindful life.” Pretty accurate, and intriguing, perhaps. But also a bit, well, boring. Never going to catch the attention of mainstream America.
On one of our talk show event posters, in dark gray set against black (so as to render the words nearly invisible) I wrote: “Not being an asshole has never been so fun.” I like that one better. We’re not just about “the mindful life”—we’re about, as our longer mission description puts it, “Living a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet.” Living a good life. We can actually enjoy our lives more if we’re not selfish, consumptive douche bags.
A third mission statement, our original editorial mission, says that “elephant is dedicated to bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.”
We’ve described our talk show, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis (the talk show formerly known as “elevision”) as “the best little talk show on Planet Earth.” “Fun, yet fundamentally serious.”
In 10 words, how would you describe the mission of a publication that aims to show how living an examined life can be fulfilling, and fun? I like that: “The examined life has never been so fun.”
If I were to give it a go, I’d start from a personal place, and forget the words—as Kerouac urged writers to do. What matters? Living a full, fun, responsible, genuine life.