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To the Next Five Years of Memberships

Ridgeline Transmission 180


Ridgeline subscribers!

Hello, it is I, Craig Mod, writer of this newsletter.

And runner of one membership program called SPECIAL PROJECTS, of which many of you are members (thank you!), and which makes Ridgeline and many other things possible, and which is now — somewhat unbelievably — FIVE YEARS OLD.

That is, five years ago I launched this thing. This membership program. Somewhat sheepishly (OK — pathologically sheepishly). And the work I’ve been able to do in these intervening years — all the walks, the pop-up newsletters, and not-pop-up newsletters, and books (Kissa!, TBOT!) and little documentaries and podcasts and on and on and on, well — all of it has been made possible by SPECIAL PROJECTS and you members.

If I think about it too much, I get a little weak in the knees. At how a community can elevate a person / body of work so well. And to be the recipient of that elevation? What a thing.

As is my (self-imposed) homework, each year I look back at the previous year and break it down. Both as a chronicle of that time, and as (I hope!) a useful resource for others looking to do something similar.

So here it is:

I’ve done this five times, and we now have a 30,000+ word record of membershipping.

As always, there’s a table of contents; for your edification (and quick jumping):

Basically, the accompanying plea with this write-up is always: If you enjoy my work, please consider becoming a member (if you haven’t done so yet!). You get huge discounts on my books and prints, and access to a plethora of members-only stuff (wallpapers, PDFs of out-of-print books of mine, 112 hours of members-only video archives) on the members-only website.

Which, BTW, is NEW! In tandem with this Year Six launch I finally made a “real” members-only website.

Regardless, a billion thanks to everyone who has joined over the years. There are thousands of you out there, and truly, everything I’ve done in the last five years has been thanks to your support (financial and spiritual). And I think we’ve managed to do a lot of fine work, indeed.

These days, I am deep in the muck of editing and expanding the Random House edition of Things Become Other Things. I published my Fine Art edition in November, 2023. Random House is set to publish the trade hardcover edition in Spring 2025. We’re trying to lock the manuscript in the next month or two, and so I am once again living in the world of the book these days.

It feels good. My working on a new edition of this book can confuse readers a bit. Will it be different from my Fine Art edition? Yes, in many ways. The fundamental story is the same but the form is totally different. My edition is fully-illustrated with color photographs, printed and bound in Japan on Japanese papers, is spared no expense in production, packaging, or shipping, and costs $100 USD. The Random House edition will have photos, but printed in black and white on standard hardcover paper, more as supplementary illustrations than “art,” and will probably cost about $25 (or whatever Amazon discounts it to) shipped. The Random House edition will also about 40-60% longer than the Fine Art edition. Most Random House readers won’t know me, or the Kii Peninsula, so a lot of this expansion is context expansion: Who am I? Why am I in Japan? What is the history of the Kii Peninsula? What is the history of walking in Japan? Stuff like that. The process is rigorous, but I’ve been enjoying it. And each day, I’m getting more and more excited to get this new edition out into the world.

Anyway, I’ll be banging the Random House edition drum ad nauseam later in the year. But even this edition I see as an extension of SPECIAL PROJECTS. In fact, it’s a fitting culmination of five years of our work — to be given the opportunity to publish on this scale; the privilege is not lost on me for a second. And it would not be happening without SP, without you members. Which is why I’ve been documenting the writing / production / editing / reworking process in a members-only newsletter called Nightingalingale. I started it in September 2021, and have now published some 216 issues. As always, the main goal of all of this is to make great books, and get them into the world, in whatever forms they may take. Sometimes super fine arty, sometimes mass-market hardcover. The adventure continues, and I hope you’ll all join me.

I have walks in the works for March, April, May, and June. And Ridgeline will be getting back to more walk-focused issues soon.

Thanks again, and consider giving SPECIAL PROJECTS a whirl, if you haven’t yet.

— C


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