Who are we? What is New Tribal Ventures? And what is this website all about?
The Quinns and IshmaelHere's a picture of Daniel and me taken a few years ago at Salisbury State University in Maryland with the life-sized bronze of Ishmael commissioned by the university and created by sculptor Bart Walter for display on the campus. As far as we know, this is the only statue of a character from modern fiction specifically created for display on a university campus.
Ishmael is the book, that, in one incarnation or another, has dominated our lives since the late seventies, when Daniel first began exploring the ideas that ultimately emerged in this and his subsequent novels, The Story Of B, and My Ishmael: A Sequel. But that's not a story for this website. (You'll find most of it in Providence: The Story Of A Fifty-Year Vision Quest, which Daniel wrote because so many people asked about Ishmael, "Where did this book come from?" And you can find out more about Ishmael, get hundreds of questions answered, and catch up on everything that's been going on since Ishmael's publication in 1992 at the Ishmael Community website.)
Where Does New Tribal Ventures Come From?Though this website, New Tribal Ventures, is certainly related to Ishmael and the Ishmael website (and one of our goals is to help support and maintain that website), it came about as a result of Daniel's work on his nonfiction book Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure, published in 1999. In this book he expands the idea introduced in My Ishmael that aboriginal tribal life offers a model for us in our attempts to "make a living" in a meaningful and enjoyable way. In My Ishmael he cited the circus as an example of a tribal business. But while writing BC, he was casting about for some more examples to demonstrate this concept and realized that we ourselves had been involved in a tribal business, the East Mountain News, a weekly newspaper we started in the early eighties in New Mexico. Even with just Daniel and me it would have been a tribal business, but what made it truly tribal was that we weren't alone in it. Hap Veerkamp, a venerable reporter and photographer, and C.J. Harper, a fledgling writer and dynamite ad saleswoman, threw their lot in with us, and we all ate well or tightened our belts depending on the fortunes of the newspaper.
Once we'd identified the East Mountain News as a tribal business, we began looking back at all the other ventures we'd started before and during the thirteen or so years that Daniel was working on version after version of a book that ultimately emerged as Ishmael. Daniel Quinn & Associates, The Pinmoney Press, the Educational Tool & Die Company, and The Hard Rain Press are the most notable. Some of these worked well as tribal businesses, some failed--not because they were tribal, but because they were not tribal enough. But recognizing them started us thinking again about being connected to the source of our living rather than depending on conglomerate publishers in New York City, which is, in effect, an insidious kind of "wage slavery." And this rethinking of ourselves in relation to our work led to our resurrecting and reincarnating the last of these ventures, The Hard Rain Press, and renaming it New Tribal Venturesa name more in keeping with what's going on now.
Tools for Teaching and LearningAs you can tell from the names, our ventures usually had something to do with publishing. Most often they were about the creation of educational materials for teachers and students, since both Daniel and I had spent most of our careers in educational publishing, and making good stuff for kids is something we both care a lot about. But we know that adults too want tools they can use--in book clubs, study groups, or in dialogue with friends. (And we've discovered that T-shirts and caps with messages are also important tools!) So the major purpose of this website is to provide various kinds of educational tools for those of you who want to share with others ideas you've learned from Daniel's books.
Making A Living in A Tribal Way Unlike many people, Daniel and I are fortunate in that our "work" isn't separate from our "life." Neither of us any longer has to get up in the morning and slog off to an eight-hour stint for a corporation that is simply interested in getting the most out of its workers while offering as little as possible in return. Some of that has changed in the past few years as corporations are being forced to introduce more worker-friendly conditions or are opting for values-led business practices. But this still isn't even close to the tribal model of making a living. Initially we thought that in addition to providing materials, we would make this website THE place to visit if you see yourself "making a living" in a tribal waya kind of clearing house, where you could become part of a network of people making a living in a tribal way in various occupations and share stories about tribal business ventures. I expected to relate stories of the businesses I've mentioned above and monitor the website and perhaps write an on-going column about what was happening in the way of developing tribal businesses, much the way I did as editor of The East Mountain News. However, we soon realized that this idea wasn't going to work, in part because I found that getting back to writing and trying to monitor this kind of website was, ultimately, not what I wanted to do. Instead, we've made it possible for potential tribal business networkers to connect with the larger Ishmael network (by clicking on the Network icon on the splash page), and we've focused on our initial planto provide books, tapes, and other materials that we hope will be of value to you and to those you share them with.
Thanks for visiting the site. Please check back often to see what new tools we might have. (And click on the link below for more info about what we do and how we do it.)
How does Daniel work, and what does Rennie do?.
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