As a recent graduate of Harvard, I am perhaps too familiar with particular, traditional metrics of success that have come to be embraced by our society -- namely money and power. Even as I try to be on "my own path," pursuing personal essay writing, meditation editorial leadership and poetry all at once, I still look for mentors who really seem to be pursuing "the Third Metric" -- what Arianna Huffington describes as "a third measure of success" consisting of "four pillars": well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.
Well among those mentors, near and far, is a fellow Harvard graduate named Kayla E., the Texas-based editor-in-chief of what I'll call the "up and coming" magazine Nat. Brut. I got to know Kayla at school, somewhat peripherally, as a cartoonist and multimedia artist. I figured she would scurry off to a prestigious MFA program, the same way I figured I would scurry off to a PhD program. Yet both of us seem to be taking the "road not taken," in some fashion. I was pleased to reconnect with Kayla this year upon discovering her adventures with Nat. Brut. In short, I think anyone interested in reading, writing, making art, looking at art, most social issues from race to gender to the environment and more, humor and so on, should know a thing or two about Nat. Brut. To me, this magazine embodies the Third Metric in action.
According to Nat. Brut's recent Kickstarter, which successfully raised the necessary funds to permit the mag to exist online and in print (!), Nat. Brut was initially founded in 2012 with a deceptively simple goal: "to publish literature and art online and free of charge, so long as it was good."
Well, after Kayla and her partner Axel Severs assumed the helm of the Nat. Brut ship one year ago (January 2014), they've expanded their goals without losing site of their social mission. When push comes to shove, their foundational mission is to use the magazine as a fun and intellectually stimulating means to make the world (both literary and otherwise) a better place.
So how do they aim to do this? Well, Nat. Brut is the only magazine out there that is committed to being socially progressive, environmentally sustainable, and representative of a wide demographic range of artists, writers and other creators. And they want to make it accessible to everyone!
Why am I highlighting Nat. Brut now, as an exemplar for the values of the Third Metric? Well, because so many of us who are, on some level, committed to "success" and achievement have this sense that art and literature should be a realm of our lives where a sense of intimidation is somehow equivalent to rigor. Well not only does Nat. Brut give us content that is whimsical while critical, inclusive while rigorous, accessible while sophisticated.
Get ready for Nat. Brut's first print issue -- Issue Five, coming out March 2015. The issue will feature a curation of found photos by Rebecca Weisberg, work by Susan Te Kahurangi King, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Koa Beck and Deborah Grant along with other artists and writers. Oh and I really meant it when I said Nat. Brut is environmentally sustainable: Issue Five will be printed on 100% recycled paper. And they don't even work with distributors, meaning no issues will be disposed of.
For all of the feminists out there sick of reading literary magazines that embrace elitist, patriarchal values, you should be especially ready to get to know Nat.Brut. For the upcoming issue, 75% of the contributions are from female artists and writers. The mag is going to consist of comics (and the comic section will be in the form of a fold-out poster), four hefty artist features, two photo features, fiction, poetry, an interview, and a humor supplement called SALE! One of their other goals is to showcase interconnectivity of mediums, just as we all aim to embrace the interconnectivity of all aspects in our lives, successful or not.