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November 30, 2021

Dear Partners,

We have hung on long enough. We’ve seen the world like we never expected it to be. This year we have to come clean. 

You would think by now we humans could admit that our plans are artificial and meaningless in the face of nature. Some of us have been free to pursue our interests, but in the name of liberty we might have also turned our backs on reality. 

It is common to invent or reinvent oneself in the USA. Americans are excellent myth-makers. There is a great measure of hope for tomorrow when we, “fake it until we make it,” or “fake it until we feel it,” and build our value in a void. Yet even in a world of mediated feelings and thoughts we are still not good at letting go of the past. Hipsters, trendsetters, influencers, gamblers, they all help fuel aspirations by holding up a mirror to us and saying what is possible, but maybe our consensus reality is stronger than the individual memory. Maybe we have become the sincerely fake answer to questions we never asked in the first place. 

As the Yefe Nof Residency lives to see another year, we admit the fact that we have yet to make it. We need to continue to earn the esteem appropriate to our impact. We need a major leap forward that requires your help and the help of your friends. 

This year we hosted 11 California Writing, ReDesign, Core and ZVI Residencies. We supported a family residency, selected our first pairs of collaborating authors, and partnered with a soon-to-be-announced major literary organization. 

This is what residents have to say:

 

Amanda Kim (2018) who was recently selected for a California Arts Council individual grant for emerging artists : “The Yefe Nof residency transformed my trajectory as a writer…At the time [of my application, it] was still a fairly new residency, but I could tell from the website that there was a strong interest in art as a means of change.There was tremendous intellectual and artistic curiosity and rigor among the residents… I was both honored and relieved that someone else saw and valued my vision… My experience was a much-needed watering hole that encouraged me to continue on and I’m so glad I did… Thank you for the beautiful space and more importantly, a community that keeps pushing on.”

Amanda Oliver (2019) whose book Overdue: Reckoning with the Public Library comes out March 2022 : “My time at Yefe Nof marked the very beginning of the development of my forthcoming book…I felt held by the space in ways that were absolutely pivotal to my work… I conducted the research and much of the writing that would become the first two chapters… I don’t know how or if that first burst of meaningful work would have taken place without all that Yefe Nof provided. I am eternally grateful to…everyone at Yefe Nof for the time, space, and beauty they offered me at a crucial time in my writing career. My book is, in no small part, coming into the world because of their early faith in it.”

Jean Chen Ho (2020) whose book Fiona and Jane is due in January 2022 : “I finished an important part of the book edits while at Yefe Nof and the residency is a truly special part of my journey toward publishing…” 

Neela Banerjee (2021) : ​​”Yefe Nof holds space for writers on the Rim of the World and gives them a whole house of one’s own to work towards finishing their books. Being awarded this space to work, write, think, walk, and the extra support that told me someone believes in my work and that I deserve space to complete it was quietly and humbly life-changing.”

 

We made it this far with your support, but over the years my sister Tal has supplied a great amount of her own money to cover where we faltered, and lately, I am doing the same. 

If my words seem filled with a little melancholia, I am nothing if not optimistic. 

When all the while they think you’re writing a book to sell or you think to yourself that all the ideas you have will legitimize your work, and the truth is that it has only been your passion to find solutions, peace, or a little bit of honey, there are choices to make. 

That is why this is not a standard letter. You can click to make a gift – and we can use all the gifts you give – but we are here to ask you to consider more than financial support. 

We need names and ideas to connect to your network of organizations and institutions who might be interested in our generative dialogue and growing community. 

If you decide to contribute this year – which I hope you will – let me tell you what we will do with your money. 

First, you’ll notice that we are still under fiscal sponsorship. There are advantages to becoming our own federally and state exempt organization and I’ve always intended on exploiting them. 

Second, we will aim at becoming much more sleek and efficient, and run our programs with a healthier operating budget. 

Third, besides the annual taxes, monthly bills, and maintenance, we need to renovate, update and change quite a bit of the house.

We don’t want to rely on you for our funds. We know that we need to reinvent our financial engine so that we can guarantee more partners, more residents, more beautiful scenery for “no-name authors” to put themselves out in the the world and be a part of the community and dialogue we’ve created. We know we need to become more effective at generating value. But for now, while we are making it grow, Yefe Nof really is a vital place imbued with meaning. And we need more meaning, more disconnection, more of everything good which comes out of having the time to think, face ourselves, and just be. 

So please send us your contacts and ideas and please consider digging deep into your pockets so that we can continue to support a variety of authors. This year, Shannon Olsen was the first person ever to make a monthly contribution to the residency, which adds up massively and allows us to work towards our monthly goals. 

With a successful end of year campaign, we can raise the minimal $18,000 we need to operate.

You can help by:

Making a direct contribution towards the operation of all residencies.

– Sharing names and ideas to make institutional connections.

– Sharing information about applications that open January 1st.

– Buying a week to retreat.

– Coming forward as an Angel contributor and matching donations.

– Getting involved in committee work next year.

Please read below for further information and use the button above – or this link – to make a gift. For any other questions or answers please write me at gil@yefenof.com.

We are thankful for you all. 

Love,

Gil

This is the procedure for contributing: checks must be payable to “Independent Arts & Media,” with a note in the memo indicating it is for “The Yefe Nof Residency.” They should be sent to: Independent Arts & Media, P.O. Box 420442, San Francisco, CA  94142. This PayPal button is also an option, but keep in mind there are fees associated with processing.

P.S. As I’ve said every year since 2015, If you would prefer to contribute by purchasing the book that I wrote with Kickstarter backing, Inspiration Drive is still available on Amazon and still an original holiday gift!