Raise your hand if you have needed a reason, needed just one thing, one moment – to help you feel more cheerful recently.
I believe many of us are struggling with a sort of feeling of dread and/or complacency. We’re looking around ourselves each day and wondering how to get ahead, how to climb the mountain or maybe why it is even worth climbing. I’ve heard before that the universe gives us mountains to prove that they can be climbed. For any of you out there who have overcome obstacles then you know how amazing it feels when you get to the top. Don’t ever let someone tell you that mountains can’t be moved; they can be conquered.
Someone else who seems to have this same line of thinking is none other than David Byrne. Are you wondering why that name sounds familiar? Yes, he’s a solo artist, but you might also remember him as being the frontman for the band Talking Heads. Byrna has taken it upon himself to publish an online magazine with solutions found to the many problems facing our turbulent world. The slogan for this online publication is, “A self help magazine for people who hate self help magazines.” Haha, I love it!
Today, David Byrne announced the launch of Reasons to be Cheerful, an online magazine focused on solutions-oriented stories about problems being solved all over the world. reasonstobecheerful.world will publish stories detailing real changes with measurable impact that are meant to inspire and uplift, written and edited by professional writers and experts in their fields.
Byrne says of Reasons to be Cheerful’s origin and evolution:
It often seems as if the world is going straight to Hell. I wake up in the morning, I look at the paper, and I say to myself, “Oh no!” Often I’m depressed for half the day. I imagine some of you feel the same.
Recently, I realized this isn’t helping. Nothing changes when you’re numb. So, as a kind of remedy, and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news. Not schmaltzy, feel-good news, but stuff that reminded me, “Hey, there’s positive stuff going on! People are solving problems and it’s making a difference!”
I began telling others about what I’d found.
Their responses were encouraging, so I created a website called Reasons to be Cheerful and started writing. Later on, I realized I wanted to make the endeavor a bit more formal. So we got a team together and began commissioning stories from other writers and redesigned the website. Today, we’re relaunching Reasons to be Cheerful as an ongoing editorial project.
We’re telling stories that reveal that there are, in fact, a surprising number of reasons to feel cheerful — that provide a more optimistic and, we believe, more accurate depiction of the world. We hope to balance out some of the amplified negativity and show that things might not be as bad as we think. Stop by whenever you need a reminder.
Reasons to be Cheerful marks Byrne’s first foray into online publishing, having already connected with audiences as a musician, live performer, author, activist, curator, theater producer, artist and collaborator. At the helm are co-editors Christine McLaren and Will Doig.
So what could be considered a reason to be cheerful?
It might not be what you think.
What about something like making art to build a better ecology? An article currently featured in the magazine is titled, “How to Build a Creative Ecology,” the idea is that artists around the world often find it difficult to make a place for themselves. If artwork can serve an ecological purpose it would reach more people in a positive way, supporting artists, buyers and the local economy. The concept is simple, “A sustainable creative network comes full circle to contribute to the community that originally supported it. This can occur when creative placemaking centers arts and culture within local planning and development.”
Contributors to RTBC include journalists in countries around the world, of all different backgrounds. Some have also written stories from their own lived experience.