I am both humbled and, at the same time, paradoxicallysurprised and not surprised by the overwhelming response to our online presence here at SPOKE.
I had built a foundation for a high-quality web magazine exploring human meaning prior to starting our first live “Human Meaning Exploration Group” – an 8-week small group intensive that met first live (then due to COVID-19) via Zoom the last four sessions, and produced five new articles from participants that were published over the Summer of 2020.
But in the meantime – and doing NO promotion at all – the website jumped from 1,000 subscribers and 100 comments to the current 3500 subscribers and over 5400 comments!
Now, to be sure, in the last month I found that some of those messages are actually spam (of near 10,000 about half). So yes, we have been detected by the enemy of all things meaningful. But those 4,000-plus messages have been filtered out for the most part.
Which brings me here now to answer some questions that you have asked in your comments:
Question 1: As I have found this project meaningful and helpful, is there a way to donate to support it?
Answer: No. I have been very deliberate in making the site itself non-commercial, non-political, and free of any and all charges to anyone. While I won’t exclude the future possibility of a very selective, constructive, meaning-based sponsorship or even links to important books, my only way of guarding the integrity of the site is by excluding monetary influences. You can read more about my own story elsewhere on the site in my biography so I won’t bore you here as to how I have come to my conclusions. Just trust me: it’s for our good.
In our culture money so so attached to meaning that we must sever the connection even if it hampers us. Volunteer help? See below!
Question 2: May I submit my own articles or artwork to S P O K E to be considered for publication in the online journal?
Answer: Yes. You may submit for consideration anything you feel is within the parameters of exploring an aspect of human meaning (and I give that a wide definition). Please understand: there’s no money involved (if it makes you feel better it actually costs me money every month to produce the site). My typical request, given that this is an internet journal, is that you get to your main points swiftly, keep your language simple and accessible, and always seek to do well by your audience.
Question 3: What is a “Human Meaning Exploration Group”, and how can I get involved?
Answer: These are very small groups (5-6 people at a time) who meet weekly for an hour over Zoom for an eight week course to do a deep-dive exploration of the topic of human meaning. Each participant chooses a specific text on the subject which is then approved by the group facilitator (at this particular point in time the only facilitator is Christopher “Mac” MacDonald, but we will be training other facilitators for the future). That approval is just to ensure that the text is really within the parameters of the exploration. This has not yet proved to be a problem for anyone.
As we will be offering three different classes to sign up for in January, and those participants might come from just about anywhere in the world, we will not be requiring participants to produce a final project for publication. It will instead be optional, though highly encouraged, and I will work with you on it if you feel so inclined.
To inquire avbout being in one of the few (3) new Human Meaning Exxploration Groups you can contact me direct: email@example.com.
There will be a cost for these exploration groups. The eight-week class is $200 (USD) per person, payable ahead of time, and does not include the cost of whatever book you decide to purchase and study for the class. If for any reason you are undergoing an economic hardship but still feel deeply drawn to apply we will offer a sliding scale amount for the class. No one who feels deeply glad to be in one of these classes will ever be excluded simply because they don’t have the means to pay. That would be against everything that we stand for.
Question 4: Okay, I can’t donate money, but I still want to help. Are there ways I can do that?
Answer: Yes! There are some fantastic ways in which people can help. I suffer from macular degeneration and am losing my eyesight. I can still dictate articles and a range nice layouts, and I can still facilitate deep-dive group explorations, but there are a great many other things that I used to do well which are now quite simply impossible. I have a former group member acting as an editor to check all of my copy (and all of yours if you submit). Several people have noted that the formatting of our rather sophisticated design is not working well on IE or Safari, and I am quite literally at a loss as to doing any real troubleshooting due to my impending blindness. We could use someone with back-end or IT experience (or perhaps a WordPress programmer) to really strengthen some of the more technical aspects of our website. If you have the skills and inclination to help with any of these issues, please reach out to me!
To inquire avbout being in one of the few (3) new Human Meaning Exxploration Groups you can contact me Direct: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I only ask that you write me directly about one of three things: 1)Applying in advance for one of the three Human Meaning Exploration Groups starting n January; 2) offers of help with back-end issues or if you are a experienced WordPress programmer who can handle a purchased template like “Oxford'” or a matter of “ultimate concern” that you feel you need or have a need to talk with me about. Please do not allow my email to get any spam an do not contact me for other reasons as it will only detract from thr work here.