On Saturday I finished an essay about the chapbooks Alex Caldiero has been producing at a rapid pace over the last couple of years.
In answer to my question about why the sudden and prolific production, Alex said that he “wanted to reach out, to create a current and a currency, a gratis currency to exchange what I call documents of our common presence.”
That same day I received this book in the mail from Concord Free Press:
I ordered the book online, where I found an explanation that the press is an experiment in “subversive altruism,” and in return for the free book they ask that you donate to a charity or to someone in need and to report your donation. The final step in the process is to pass the book on to another reader when you are done, and there’s a page at the end for you to sign your name and for the next reader to sign their name and so on.
The project reminded me of the Free Store in the Haight in the 60’s and of the zines Alex cites as inspirations for his chapbooks: Semina, Beatitude, Origin, and Clown War.
I already have the novella Brian Evenson published earlier as a limited edition with Tyrant Books,
but I don’t know Paul Tremblay’s work . . . and, the idea of free books + generosity + altruism tickled my interest.
I made my donation to Scott Carrier’s podcast Home of the Brave to support the series on Bears Ears National Monument in which he interviews several of the Native Americans whose land that once was. They worked eagerly with the Obama administration to develop a proposal that protects a place they hold dear. The Trump administration has shoved aside those collaborative interests to privilege what it calls “local voices” — meaning the voices of extractive industry.
Check out the Concord Free Press, Scott Carrier’s podcast, and watch for my essay on Alex’s chapbooks in a future edition of 15 Bytes, Utah’s Art Magazine.
. . . CONTINUING AND DEEPENING THE DISCUSSION, ALEX sent me the following today: