Trampling down artificial boundaries between people, between the STORIES people tell to make sense of and get on with their lives, is one of our main goals here at EAP. By artificial boundaries, we mean those little electric fenced in ghettos of abstract names: Liberals. Anarchists. Conservatives. Fundamentalists. Feminists. Socialists. Libertarians. Democrats. Republicans.
What we’ve found is that what matters, what truly matters, is what we here call human values: Values of courtesy. Of kindness. Of realizing that the fundamental joy of life resides in a web of relationships, both with our fellows and with Nature, that should provide warmth, nourishment, and moments of relaxed happiness, for all.
That ‘for all’ thing is key, you know.
What we’ve found is that there are people in all the ‘ists’ and all the ‘isms’ who agree that it is better to live in relationship to and partnership with others, and with Nature itself, than it is to try to dominate them in a futile effort to ‘save’ an elite group. These people, we’ve found, accept the common sense boundary of Death. Death exists, you can’t have it all, no, you can’t, even if you make sure no one else has anything; it doesn’t work like that. We live, we die, and in between we can make a life that’s better for ourselves and our fellows and have joy doing it. Really, these fellows of ours seem to say, that is the very best kind of joy.
So, we have found for ourselves, it is.
With that in mind, EAP, in its own small way, is always on the lookout for anyone who shares that point of view. And it doesn’t see why it should reject anyone who does because they might vote differently, or feel differently about eating meat, or about who one should marry, or how one should raise one’s children, or, or or or or about a hundred thousand other different points of view that are both possible and probable.
No, we like that people are different from us here. We don’t believe in monoculture, not even a monoculture made up of people just like us.
(And we expect, by the way, the same respect back from people who don’t particularly want to live the way we do.)
We can agree on some things, bedrock values that make for a better polity.
What we do believe in is the duty of all to take care of those weaker than ourselves. The duty of all to refrain from building ourselves up at the expense of others. The duty of all to promote peaceful exchanges, creativity wherever it is to be found, general health and well-being.
With that in mind, we’re particularly pleased that READER’S DIGEST has been such a terrific early supporter of our September book, THIS IS US: The New All-American Family, by David Marin (read an excerpt from the book here). RD is going to excerpt a whole chapter from the book in its November issue (coming out mid-October), and they’ve already sent a photographer and a film crew over to the Marin family to do a layout and short film for their Ipad app, and their website.
Now ask me if when I started the Press whether I ever imagined that we would form an alliance with Reader’s Digest. And I imagine, also, that it must be tickling the editors there, even if mildly, that they’re partnering in this instance with a publisher named Exterminating Angel.
But it’s being done in support of a book that is about, fundamentally, what we bedrock believe here at the Press:
That to get love, you’ve got to give love.
It’s a good book. You should check it out.
And in the meantime, in other news…trampling more fences in a way that both amuses and invigorates us around here…Paul Mavrides, best known for his illustrations for The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, is using his virtuouso talents in aid of a cover for Brian Griffith’s A GALAXY OF IMMORTAL WOMEN: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization, which comes out next spring from EAP (you can see a taste of the book here). That’s fun. And the poet David Budbill, who just published a very EAP book with Copper Canyon Press, HAPPY LIFE (buy it immediately, I’m not kidding), is going to publish and actual EAP book next fall 2012, PARK SONGS–we’ve got one of his poems from that up in this issue, and you can see he’s addressing the dimwits who think if you screw the people on the bottom, somehow that’s going to help the people at the top.
Speaking of that, I have noticed an awful lot of commentators on Fox News going on about ‘the most productive members of society’, by which they mean the people who make the most money. And all I can think about is the nannies, the housekeepers, the laundry men and women, the plumbers, the mechanics, the hairdressers, the bookkeepers, the dogwalkers, who make it possible for those ‘most productive’ to swan onto our communal stage and somehow pretend to be the source of all our common good. They imagine they’re not part of a web that enables them to play with the rest of us. Instead, they’re on top of an imaginary pyramid that enables them to look down. Now that IS a drag. If you’re a young person, and you’re reading this, here is my best advice for you to have the happiest life possible: Ignore the pyramid. Get down here in the meadow with the rest of us and get on with it. And good luck.