I write this on a Wednesday morning. I know this because I have to keep checking my calendar. I’ve missed two New Territory meetings since the WHO declared a global pandemic because I didn’t know what day it was. We all have. So I check the calendar. It’s important to center ourselves in this way. To stay in touch with one another.

I write this on a Wednesday morning after walking with my dog under a blue-black sky. The air felt feathered by leaves and grass emerging, while the third-quarter moon waned away. The dawn chorus began its crescendo. I said good morning to all the birds whose voices I could recognize. It’s important to center ourselves in this way. To stay in touch with where we are.

When our development fellow Kevin first asked me for the magazine’s response to COVID-19, it was in the first half of the week when everything turned on a dime. The magazine itself felt stable, and frankly I didn’t think The New Territory needed to pile another company response email to the barn-sized haystack of company response emails. We’re not exactly a current events publication. We take the long view and are proceeding as planned. I didn’t want to add to anyone’s stress.

And the stress, I know, has been real. My heart goes out to each of you. I sincerely hope your own lives are marked at worst by inconvenience rather than tragedy.

This message is for our very sweet community members who are wondering what will remain when they emerge from hibernation.

What Will Remain?

The New Territory, I’m happy to say, will remain.

Of course, the coronavirus affects even this small indie magazine. While our printer and the blessed USPS are deemed “essential businesses,” and we’re able to print and ship on schedule, all of the Lower Midwest’s literature festivals were cancelled. We had counted on those book fair sales for banking up a deposit for printing.

So we are now solely relying on our Patreon backers to get half down on a full-color, 128-page book. Fortunately, our patrons are amazingly generous, so you can expect to print Issue 09 by June 2020. However, we’ll likely decrease the number of copies we print, so subscribe here to make sure you get one.

We are still mailing back issues each weekend. Our t-shirts and accessories are taking a little longer to print and ship, but you can order now and get a fashionable surprise whenever they arrive.

What Will Change?

It would be impossible to call The New Territory “The Autobiography of the Lower Midwest” without acknowledging this huge social upheaval. Therefore, we’ve made room in Issue 09 for a few new pieces that honor our shared, surreal experience.

The spring festivals are where we do sales, yes, but more importantly it’s where we meet new readers and catch up with old friends. We had looked forward to seeing so many of you in person this year. How do you recreate that? How do you recreate connection, as a magazine built on the unplugged, physical experience of reading? I’m not sure you can.

Nevertheless, our volunteer team is putting love and thought toward our readers right now. You come first. That’s a New Territory principle. While we don’t know what each day will hold in terms of creative reserves, we have some ideas and intend to use this time to make The New Territory an even better experience for each of you.

If you can think of anything, if there’s anything we can do for you, please let me know. My email address is tina [at] newterritorymag.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

How Can You Help?

And if you have the time and the means, there are several ways you can support the longevity of The New Territory:

Buy Books. Become a Patron. Support Stockists.

  • Encourage friends and family to subscribe to The New Territory if they’re able. Subscriptions are how we are able to pay contributors and “keep the lights on.”
  • Sign up for a monthly microdonation on Patreon, and invite your NT-lovin’ friends to do the same! Patreon funds our printing bills.
  • Support your local bookstore (and garden centers! and coffee shops! and pet suppliers!). All of our stockists are doing creative things to keep paying rent on storefronts we’re not allowed to visit. If you have the means, please consider signing up for their subscription services, taking advantage of their new delivery options, or simply buying gift cards. Bookstores contribute to our community’s culture by hosting author talks and book clubs, organizing fun events, and keeping shelves stocked with cool regional indie mags.

Contribute Words or Photos to Issue 09 and Online!

  • We have a call out for a “kids say the darndest things” theme for the Eavesdropping section. Please share what you’ve overheard with this quick and painless form. If we print your story in the mag, we’ll send a free extra copy!
  • We need two more Light Room photos, and are seeking submissions of shots interpreting “social distancing” or empty spaces.
  • Finally, we would love to get our online series out soon. If you have time, please consider submitting something for:
    • Reviews – on events, books, cafes, fashion, music, food, art, monuments, and anything else that you feel deserves to be talked about
    • Literary Landscapes – brief essays + photos on the experience of or connection to an important site related to Midwestern literature.

I live with this agonizing (sometimes limiting) fear of coming across as too self-important. Like, I read a tweet this morning that said, “I like how ads have gone from ‘buy a toyota’ to ‘this is a difficult and uncertain time for us all…buy a toyota.'” My anti-corporate soul struggles to react to any current event. But as I write this on a Wednesday morning, drinking coffee, and thinking of the people who would read it, I realize it’s important to center ourselves in this way. To connect with what matters to us.

Thank you for reading. I wish you health and peace.

Tina Casagrand
Founder & Publisher
The New Territory