Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kindred in Print

Many people have asked what / how / if there is any way to read Kindred in print format. And we've certainly been thinking along those lines in formatting our new site.

Firstly and most simply (and simple is good), you can do what I do online. For whatever it’s worth, I never read articles or important material online. I download it, print it on recycled paper. It gets recycled again as drawing paper for my children, then used as mulch for my garden. I take my reading to my favourite reading varandah with my dog Pablo and a cup of chai.

You can do this with material on most all websites, including our current one. However our new website, the one launching on the spring solstice, will make it easier to print by featuring downloadable, printable pdfs for all of our articles. This will make them cleaner looking, and easy on the eye.

Secondly, and this really excites me, we'll be partnering with values-shared organisations to produce special print features (for example, we might do a print feature on baby-wearing) that will have a collection of articles, with photos, etc. These will be available to underprivileged groups as well, in Third World countries...people who cannot access the Internet, let alone a glossy magazine, and who need to be affirmed in their way of parenting (ie, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping). So many of these people are already parenting in a way that is natural, but pressure from 'living more like Westerners' makes them turn to baby formula and the like.

And this just came in from Cas McCullough, spokesperson for the Cesarean Awareness Network:
Keep in mind too that in a few years time, Kindle will be gaining in popularity. Kindle is an electronic sheet that people carry and read different books and documents on. (kinda like on Startrek). I am hanging out for the price to go down so I can get one. Also, people need to keep in mind that they can print PDFs themselves to breastfeed under a tree if they really need to. But I do understand and appreciate the tactile niceties of reading a glossy beautiful magazine spread.
Our monthly newsletter brings new articles every month, all of them available for print. Think of it as a print-on-demand option that works for everyone (except we miss the gorgeous photos). That way 8,000 unsold magazines don’t get mulched at the newsagent distributors (which is what happened with every unsold edition of Kindred, and you can't even imagine the numbers with larger magazines).

Ultimately, however, the best tree-saving option is to read online...this just has to be continually mentioned.

So, next time you receive a Kindred newsletter, scroll through the articles you want to read, print them, make yourself a cup of chai (extra cinnamon sprinkled on top is good), grab the dog and a shawl, or the baby, or your beloved, curl up and enjoy. Oh, and before I forget.....I do the same with poetry, and the Internet opens all the doors into the realm of whimsy. I now have a 'poetry pile' by my bed. Here's one to get you started:

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting
their bad advice --

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do
determined to save

the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(Dream Work)

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Handless Maiden

I'm about to leave town...going back to the US for many reasons. The main reason is to spend time in my beautiful high-desert homeland in New Mexico with family. My father turns 85 and his amazing wife is throwing him the party of all parties. Every friend, every relative will be there. For me, it's been a huge year. In the last six months I've gotten a divorce, moved house, produced / edited a book with Finch publishing (released in November, called 'Stories of Belonging'), taken on sole directorship of Kindred (I used to run Kindred with my ex-husband Alok) and completely restrustructured the business. In fact, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my miscarriage (see my editorial) and, well, let's just say I could really use the time to stop, rest, reflect, renew.

From one perspective, you could say life seems tough right now. But actually, I've never felt more clear, more certain and more centred. I feel as if I am emerging from 15 years of exile...a period of time where I learned some very tough lessons the only way worth learning--the hard way. If you have any grasp of the fairy tale The Handless Maiden, well, that's me. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about the tale:

'Though we hate to admit it, over and over again the poorest bargain of our lives is the one we make when we forfeit our deep knowing life for one that is far more frail; when we give up our teeth, our claws, our sense, our scent; when we surrender our wilder natures for a promise of something that seems rich but turns out hollow instead.'

Yep, that was me...toothless, clawless, far far away from my own sovereignty. The trick to the story is in realising that there is a time in our lives when we must make the bargain, when we must give ourselves away, in order to incite our own essential rite of passage--one that results in hard-won road-tested wisdom. So the last year, as hard as it was, has actually been my emergence from such a time, where the changes that have occurred have simply reflected my own becoming, my landing deep within myself with confidence and uncompromising clarity.

When I look around, I see many of my friends are going through a similar metamorphisis. Something seems to be happening. There is a quickening that is forging our becoming. For what, I do not know. But I can smell something on the wind, and I'm excited. I see Kindred going through the same thing...needing to shapeshift in order to work within a new paradigm. It is all very good news.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sophie's Choice

On Tuesday morning, June 9th, I hit the send email to thousands of people to let them know that the print version of Kindred magazine would no longer be available, in the wake of our decision to move all our content online. Though the decision was sound, informed through days and weeks of analysis, soul searching and radical self-reflection, it was not without some heaviness of heart.

What happened that afternoon, that night and for the rest of this week astonished me. Emails came pouring in, of support, love, enthusiasm and applause. This was something I did not expect. I expected the opposite (and completely understood why), and was prepared for the worst. I must say that I'm humbled by the words and generosity that have come my way, and have been surprised at how deeply these words moved me. Not so much because they were so positive, which was of course wonderful, but because suddenly I was part of a two way conversation.

For eight years I've been sitting in my office publishing material that I hoped was useful and meaningful, but for the most part it was a one-way conversation. And it was, in many ways, a bit lonely. It's not that I didn't hear from readers, I did, and of course I received and published many 'letters to the editor'...But this is different. Suddenly, on the heels of this announcement, a stream of emails came that spoke heartfully, directly, to me. And I was just so proud to be a part of this growing, blossoming, amazing family. So deeply proud, honoured and touched.

Many of our family members are writers, visionaries, professionals and leaders in their own right and so many offered their work, their blogs, their ideas and information....all so that Kindred can become more diverse, more creative, more potent. So for everyone who emailed with ideas, offers, connections and collaborations...thank you.

And of course there were many sad emails as well, and of course some very angry emails. People have been genuinely disappointed--some even wrote 'devastated' and 'outraged'--readers who have counted on the print version of Kindred to follow them into the fray of quiet moments lying on the couch breastfeeding, in the park while the kids play, in a stolen quiet moment on the couch. These places, they rightly protest, are not the place to prop up a laptop. Putting Kindred material online simply makes it less accessible, not more, they said.

And, they are right. This is why I called this blog post Sophie's Choice. Because for me, literally, this choice has been extremely difficult, and not black and white.

While I had been working on the online project for nearly two years, it was always my intention to run the print alongside the web...I’ve always loved print, and being a tactile person (and a little old fashioned), loved to touch, hold, and feel something that I am reading. I used to grab the latest edition off of the printer and just smell it. Let's face it, lingering over a magazine with gorgeous photos in a quiet moment to ourselves is nourishing. Plus, I resisted, and continue to resist, technology. It's the bane of my parenting with my kids, and I resent it's 'creep' into our lives. Arrrg, don't even get me started on that roll...

And, how it is positively impacting society also cannot be ignored. Social networking is making so much possible, and while it is up to each of us to decide just how we play within it in a balanced manner, it's capacity to interconnect, foster dialog and debate, and put the conversation in the hands of the 'ordinary person' rather than the media power-elite is undeniable.

Anyway, as I was saying, our intention was for Kindred magazine and Kindred online to run side by side. But, in the last three months, I had to take a radically honest look at what it would take from me personally to edit both a word: impossible. The reason behind closing the print version was not financial, but personal and professional. Both projects require extremely strong editorship, and the print was taking 2/3 of my time, leaving little time for the web.

I knew this decision would not be supported or popular with some of my readers (all of whom I value), but I had to hold to one very important and key point: Kindred's role has always been to be the sane voice heard above the hypnotised, compromised media masses. And it's voice is not useful to humanity unless heard by as many as possible, as broadly as possible, as efficiently and as responsively as possible, freely as possible. This is about universal access. Remaining in print compromised--no crippled--this potential.

The increasing speed, scope and importance of the new information that was coming to me was making it necessary to respond much more quickly than a quarterly magazine could allow. Take for example the latest homebirth issue (possible becoming illegal in Australia), the swine flu dramas, etc...Holding everything aside in order for the print to be created, was defeating the purpose. Let alone the time both projects threatened to take from me with my family (the whole reason for doing this). I simply had to choose, and choose on the basis of what best served the whole.

So, beloved readers--happy celebrating ones, sad grieving ones, even the angry ones-- I'm so happy I heard from all of you. And we're working to try and meet as many needs a possible...from producing printer-friendly articles (all of them), to creating a site that is inviting and 'grandmother / technophobe friendly'. Please let me hear from you through this blog post so that your voice can continue to shape and inform what Kindred becomes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kindred Magazine's New Future

It was March 2002 when Kindred (then byronchild) first hit the newsagent stands. The challenge of midwifing a courageous and uncompromising magazine amidst the noise of mainstream media has been its own hero’s journey. It has required that I not only bend and transform with external changes, but yield to internal pulls of spirit and intuition as well. In the span of nearly 8 years, the world has changed dramatically—and the Kindred readership along with it. In that same time span, I have become even more resolutely committed to the vision Kindred represents, which has in turn, changed me.

The scope and speed of the global changes, both in play and required, make it apparent that in order for Kindred to be effective and responsive, it must remain nimble. Further, we must be exemplary in our commitment to our core principles, most significantly that of sustainability (leaders lead, after all). Knowing this has required that I deeply examine what sustainability really means, and how its three tenets—social, financial, and environmental—need to be ever more deeply investigated and implemented within this project.

It has become apparent, upon reflection, that Kindred is, at this moment in our shared history, poised and ready to make powerful, innovative revisions in the way we think about, and manifest, the greatest possible impact, for the greatest possible good in each of these three in the ways. Given this remarkable opportunity, we realise we must, if we are going to make a real difference – and be the very change we want to see – act boldly, decisively, and without delay.


Kindred will not truly be all it can be as long as its content remains channelled exclusively through media and methods accessible only to the relatively affluent. A by-sale-or-subscription magazine, combined with a website, draw a very clear socio-economic line between those we reach, and those we don’t.

For Kindred to make a difference, its information needs to be available to all...freely. In addition, Kindred readers are no longer satisfied to just read articles; they want to engage with the content, share it, upload their own ideas and stories, collaborate around them, make change happen through them, and deeply participate not only with the content, but with each other.

The traditional ‘top down’ approach to the sharing of information is no longer viable as the most vital and nourishing way to grow our Kindred community, and seed its message in the soil of a new generation.

Environmentally, the costs are patently obvious. Printing and distributing a magazine comes at a huge cost to the planet, involving vast investments of paper, water, and other printing costs, including fossil fuels. No matter how clean the stock, or green the printing process—and regardless of how many carbon credits we purchase to offset the damage of this activity—when examined through the lens of our carbon footprint per reader, this way of reaching our readership seems unnecessarily wasteful.

Financially, Kindred needs to consider its social and environmental responsibilities and outcomes and determine if there is a better way to meet them that is more financially responsible to the publisher, advertisers, and readers. As an enterprise, Kindred has been operating in a very traditional model that has required a level of infrastructure restrictive to its flexibility and profitability.

As much as this enquiry into sustainability is centred on Kindred, it has been of equal importance for me to consider the social, environmental and financial consequences that Kindred’s operational model has had on myself and my family

From Print to Web
In response to the changes I see happening in how people engage with information, as well as in response to the need for Kindred to be truly sustainable, I have spent the last two years developing an ambitious multi-platform web project. Our new website is a collaborative, community learning, community supported site, where discussion forums, blogs, expert columns, link-journalism and community-generated content are harnessed to support the worldwide imperative that we begin to live differently.

In the wake of this new online project, Kindred Magazine will no longer be available in a print magazine format. All of our future material will be available freely online. Additionally, printed versions of content will be made available to underprivileged populations that have no access to Internet, through values-shared charities and organisations. In this way Kindred can transcend any socio-economic limitations imposed by any barriers to Internet access.

For some, this may feel disappointing (and of course, sudden), but from where I am looking, I have never felt so clear about the direction of Kindred. I have seen—just through our previous very conservative website—the immense capacity of the online medium to be able to move, shift, collaborate, and be efficiently current. It is also the main medium of the new generation of parents, and increasingly a source of information and inspiration to grandparents (who, as we know, are returning to a more consistent role in children’s lives). Our new, soon-to-be-launched site—combined with a renewed leadership—positions the material Kindred has become so recognised for, to become more empowered and effective. Most importantly, it harnesses the real strength of the sustainable living and natural parenting movement—Kindred’s readers.

For an interesting read about the need for magazines to shift read this article.

The Future of Kindred and You
The new web project will enter pre-launch about three months from now, with the project going live approximately one month after that. Between now and then, I invite you to let me know about any projects, individuals, or initiatives that might be included in it. If you have any feedback, ideas, or concerns, I would also be pleased to hear from you. Below you will find a variety of ways, some familiar, others exciting and new – that you can use to stay in touch with how things are progressing, and offer several avenues for your much-appreciated feedback.

Prior to launch, you’ll be receiving updates on the project’s developments, and then a countdown. When we’re finally live, we’ll celebrate by diving in and exploring its many capacities. What this means for you is that Kindred will be able to provide, finally, a platform for hundreds of thousands of readers, and the potential that all of our voices, collectively, to be heard.

Where to now?
Now is an important time, not only for Kindred but for all of us. And I encourage you to stay in touch with us via the following methods if you haven’t already. This is not only so we can share with you the adventure of our transformation, but also so that you can give us your ideas and feedback, to help us shape shift in collaboration with you:
  • Newsletter – Our free monthly e-newsletter is filled with excellent articles, links, news, ideas and inspiration. Sign on now and don't miss a single issue.
  • Kali’s blog – Sign on to receive my blog that will not only enlighten you about the huge transformative process happening at Kindred, but allow you to share your thoughts and ideas as well.
  • Twitter - have you tried Twitter yet? It’s heaps of fun, and following Kindred lets you get all the inside scoop, as well as leads to great articles, links, ideas and amazing initiatives. Go on, give it a go and check out Kindred's Twitter!
  • Facebook – Become a fan of Kindred on Facebook.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Kindred - our work, our vision, and our community. You have been, and I sincerely hope you will continue to be, an inspiration to me, to the team at Kindred and to our growing community of contributors, and helped shape what Kindred is becoming.

Kindest regards,

Kali Wendorf
Publisher & Editor