Friday, November 12, 2010

A letter from the Todd (with 2 d's)
After getting all of Todd Zuniga"s fantastic spam for the past 2 years I attended the Literary Death Martch in London at the end of August and it was both hilarious and great. Therefore I am willing to give up a bit of blog space to re-post his most recent noble plea:

Many couches, spare beds (two bunk beds!), and 12 amazing events/cities later, LDM and Opium had teamed to not only showcase 48 readers (representing 48 fantastically different literary entities) and 36 sharp-witted judges in only 27 days, but we put ourselves on the best possible track to publish our 10th issue: Opium100: A Century of Literary Humor.

For those that haven't been paying close or distant attention: in February, Opium Magazine was morphed into Opium for the Arts, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, during what has been a very difficult time financially for many of us. In the past, Opium issues worked like this: we'd anticipate having enough money to publish a print issue by the time it was ready to be printed, then when it came time to print we'd discover: Oh, shit, we need this much, and we only have this much.

Publish (somehow), rinse, repeat. Nine issues worth.

When we became a nonprofit in February, after an excruciating wait — it was a 14-month process — we were basically in a position where we'd need to fund the issue ourselves, again, only this time the this much we needed was way more than it had been in the past (our goal has been to make Opium100 supremely special, a must-have that you'll want on your shelves for eons).

So, we buckled down, partnering with the Literary Death Match to continue our push to pop-culturalize literature (and to make a few bucks) and along the way we were introduced to the work of literally hundreds of excellent, excellent writers. The thing we didn't do was to clearly communicate the position we were in because, to be honest, we didn't really know what position we were in. We were hoping some bag of money would come down from the heavens and make Opium100 a reality. We knew people who knew people who had the fiscal strength to make it happen, we did a pre-order push for Opium100 on the site, we continued to work with Literary Death Match which continued to aid the filling of our coffers, but there was the issue of time. Where did the time go? What we know is that it flew, and it's now November.

So, what's it all mean? It means there will be no Opium print issue this calendar year, and the reason is this: we could make it happen with the money we have, but it wouldn't be up to our standards. It would be very, very good (the writing and artwork we've already piled up for the issue will seriously impress even the snobbiest, mean-minded crabass). But (again), we want Opium100 to be very special, in part because it will announce who we are as a cultural non-profit entity going forward (like, how we'll hell/high water pay our contributors, no matter what). But in our future, we want Opium to do what it's done in the past, too: delivered, dazzled and promoted writers in a way that goes well beyond the norm.

In this way, it's like 2010 was a big reset button for us, as we've worked tirelessly behind the scenes to put ourselves into a position to wildly succeed in 2011. New subscribers will be presented, next year, with an issue that we think will be talked about for centuries, or at least one century. And then there will be Opium11 after that, also in 2011, which we already have an interview-and-story combo from a guy that you'll say: how did they pull that off?

Ultimately, we are stronger and smarter than ever, and we couldn't be more thankful for your patience. And if you are not patient, or you are angry, you can tell us/me that, too ( We receive so many emails (!), but I will answer soon, I promise. Otherwise, know that we are pushing the accelerator on not only print issues, but a new web site (fundraising pending) that will, we think, change the landscape of literary magazines online. Man, we hope so. It's a lot of big talk, but we mean it. Our ideas are so grand! And we hope, soon, to show you once again that we can do so much with very little.

Which is the part when I say: please donate to Opium for the Arts. There are recommended donations listed on that link, but even a few dollars will do. It adds up fast, and one way it adds up is that we know that people out there are as excited about literature, and its brilliant value, as we are. Plus, it's a shot in the arm, the good kind, and its a motivator we don't take lightly.

2011, with your help, will be the year of Opium! And we're really, really passionate about making that statement come true.

Todd Zuniga
President & Founder
Opium for the Arts

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