Gift economy

Qarrtsiluni, the online literary magazine I help curate, has created a cache.

Get instant street cred with a qarrtsiluni t-shirt, hoodie, or ballcap! Impress your colleagues or office-mates with a qarrtsiluni coffee mug! Barely in time for the 2007 holiday season, we’ve just opened a goods cache at CafePress.com.

Why “cache,” and not store? Everything we offer is sold at cost and printed on demand — we’re not making a penny off it. And after all, why should you pay us? You’re helping to spread our logo!

For bloggers, we also have some free sidebar bling.

Had we gotten around to this sooner, you’d be able to order stuff and get it by Christmas. But if you hurry, you can still get it by Epiphany (Jan. 6) — which is really much more in keeping with the spirit of qarrtsiluni anyway.

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If you’re in the habit of making charitable donations this time of year, I have a suggestion for a worthy recipient. Chris Clarke, former editor of Earth Island Journal, writes one of the best nature blogs in all blogdom, Creek Running North. But his unpaid generosity with his day-to-day writing isn’t getting him any closer to finishing his magnum opus: a book on Joshua trees, those charismatic and imperilled denizens of the Mohave desert. So he has asked his readers for help, especially with gas money, to finish the research. You’ll find not only a link to his Amazon account, but also a detailed accounting of how he plans to spend the funds. In his original post containing the plea, Chris wrote:

If you’re unfamiliar with the kind of writing I do on desert issues, you can look in the “desert” category and browse around. Of recent posts, this one on piñon-juniper forests, or this one on a bit of eccentric desert lore, or this first-person narrative provide good examples of my related writing.

I’ve been reading Chris for four years, and I feel confident not only in the quality of his workmanship, but also in his moral character — this is not some slick scheme to sucker people out of their money so he can take a vacation to Hawaii! And Creek Running North has a large, loyal, and formidably intelligent community of regular commenters whose interest and participation will help ensure that he gets the damn book written. So if you have any interest in raising public consciousness about the plight of the Joshua tree, or in supporting a genuinely great nature writer, go and give till it hurts.

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