The past few days, Mike and I have seen on social media that M&T Issue Five has begun arriving at customers’ mailboxes. It is always rewarding to see our readers excited to get the new issue and dive in right away.
As many of you know, the fancy brown wrapping and trade card with wax seal is the effort of many enthusiastic readers and friends. Without the 20 or so people that block out their weekend to help, it would probably take Mike and me two weeks of work to wrap the thousands of copies that need to go out. This work party tradition came about from a vision to take something necessary and potentially uninspiring (wrapping and shipping magazines) and make it memorable. We have found that simple labor when done with a group of friends is an event worth looking forward to, especially when feasting on elaborate homemade meals. (Thank you, Elise!)
The Issue Five packing party when off without a hitch. We got to see our staple wrappers, Wes from New York, Jeremy and Shaun from Boston, and Richard from Plymouth, Maine. We also met a handful of new folks, including Kate Fox who flew in from Oregon for the event (a new distance record).
During those two days, we wrapped more magazines than ever and had so many rich conversations along the way. I’m aware of the skeptic out there that compares this event to Tom Sawyer getting his friends to whitewash his fence, but we consistently hear feedback about the deep impact this weekend has on people. Honestly, it would be so easy to just give up and sub the shipping out to a fulfillment service but we will resist going that direction as long as possible because this twice-a-year event is so enriching.
The convivial wrapping and packing during the day, the meal times upstairs, the axe throwing and campfire in the evening, and the show-and-tell time all left us inspired afresh. For us, gathering around craft is not so much about our individual technical accomplishments as it is sharing and growing together. As cliché and corny as it sounds, this event is about strengthening the roots of this community.
Richard, Wes, Kate, Dakota, Jeremy, Shaun, Peter, Sarah, Cait, Brittnay, Carol, Paula, Andrea, Everett, Elise, Justin, Austin, Megan, Julia, thank you all for your generous help. We couldn’t have done it without you. It was wonderful having you over.
The next packing party will be in March, folks. Mike and I are already looking forward to it.