David Byrne has announced the launch of Reasons to be Cheerful, an online magazine focused on solutions-oriented stories about real problems being solved all over the world. reasonstobecheerful.world is where you can find it on the web.
The site 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.”
Reasons to be Cheerful will be the first project of the not-for-profit Arbutus Foundation, created by Byrne to bring the exciting work of others to light via novel and innovative presentation. All of this comes on the heels of the recent announcement of David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway, slated to open October 20, 2019 at the Hudson Theatre.
Originally started as a sort of therapy project for himself, this relaunch sees RTBC reinvented as a publication covering health, culture, science and technology, climate and energy, economics, urban issues and civic engagement. Reported, evidence-driven stories will be complemented by personal essays detailing real-life experiences. New stories will be published regularly, with a plan to expand into other mediums including video, podcasts, live events and more.
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.