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and the Issue Two theme is…

The moment has arrived. Here’s how this works: Starting right now, you have 24 hours to produce and submit your work. We’ll take the next 24 to select, edit, design and lay everything out. The end result will be a beautiful glossy paper magazine. And a super sharp digital edition.

And this issue’s theme is:


Debt is the condition of owing. It can be bad; ask anyone with too much credit card debt. But it can be good, too, like when Public Enemy sampled Isaac Hayes on “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” or when you got your mother’s curly hair. It’s the other side of credit.

There are financial debts and genetic debts, carbon debt and sleep debt. Accountants know a lot about debt and so do therapists. Etymology is a story of debt as is oncology. Metaphorically speaking, debt is a dirty, liquidy mess. It can get over our heads. We can drown or sink in it, though sometimes we’re only swimming in it. We become mired in it. And when we get rid of it, we wipe the slate clean.

Yes, we know Washington politicians are also staying up all weekend, debating this figment of the Congressional imagination called the debt ceiling. Forget about that. Or co-opt it. The theme is bigger than their squabble and more interesting than their rhetoric.

We want stories that show us new ways of looking at debt, of owing, and being owed, of paying back and paying off, of being a borrower or lender. Whenever you’re done with your submission, http://longshot.submishmash.com/Submit send us your work here).

Remember: **The deadline is 3pm Eastern/12 noon Pacific on Saturday, July 30**. 

As always, we hope you’ll submit excellent journalism and essays and art about the theme. But we’ve also heard that some people want more direction. So, this issue, we’ve got five challenges to help you explore the theme. You can consider them an inspiration springboard for your own original work, or you can participate through the challenges alone. 

They are, in order of difficulty:

1)   Answer this question: I owe _____ for _____.

2)   Tell us how much personal debt you have and when you think you’ll pay it off via this form. (Don’t worry, it’s anonymous and we’re not capturing any personally identifiable data.)

3)   Take a portrait of the person you owe the most. Write a 100 character caption explaining. Submit it here

4)   Illustrate your own personal debt map. (Hint: You don’t need a GPS. Think.) Submit it here.

5)   Go out and pay off a debt you’ve long had. Then either write up your story or tell us about it via Longshot Radio, which is like StoryCorps on speed.

The clock is ticking so we’ll wrap this up. Keep an eye on Twitter and Tumblr for updates along the way. And tell us how you’re doing too.

One more thing. We have a couple of debts ourselves. First, we want to thank Gawker Media for hosting us at their beautiful Manhattan digs. Second, animator Dustin Grella created the awesome video you see at the top of this post in about 20 hours. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

Now get going!