We’re five! Well, we’re three. There’s three of us. But we’re five years old. Listen, numbers have never been our strong suit.
The point is, it’s been five years and over 1,300 articles since we started this site, and we’re feeling a little nostalgic. What better time to take a look back on how it all started, and more importantly, where it’s all going.
UMception: Less Leo, More Dreams
Sarah and Margaret met studying Chekov their first year of university. Their friendship was solidified when Sarah broke her pencil during a study group at the library and Margaret unhesitatingly whittled it with her pocket knife. That she just happened to have. In the library.
Geo and Sarah met two years later studying writing in London. Together they wrote and read and fell in love with the city. On their last day, Geo came to Sarah’s door at 4am to say goodbye and leave his email address.
Somewhere between a month of backpacking around Europe, a summer at home in Chicago, and a cross country road trip back to LA, Sarah lost that little piece of paper. This was almost the Movement that wasn’t, until:
INT. UNIVERSITY APARTMENT – DAY
Two students in their final year sit chatting about classes.
MARGARET, a film major just returned from a year studying in Germany, recounts an anecdote from her screenwriting class.
SARAH, a theatre arts and English major still reveling in her recent British sojourn, listens attentively.
And then this guy Geo says –
(ear-piercing, glass-shattering, earthquake-inducing scream)
And so, via Margaret’s efforts transmitting notes like a modern day Pony Express, Sarah and Geo were reunited and we three became The Urchins.
What immediately followed was a giddy period of covering an entire wall of our apartment in Post-it notes, storyboarding and filming a web series, and moving back to London.
It was all fun, games, and pubs until our working visas expired and we were sent packing back to various corners of the States.
But we would not go quietly. From outposts in LA, New Mexico, and Vermont we began www.urchinmovement.com.
The Past Five Years
In the late autumn of 2009, we wrote a manifesto, began weekly Skype meetings, and each wrote an article a week. For about a month. Soon three articles became five, then seven. For three years we published daily content from locations across the US, farms in New Zealand, the wilderness of northern Sweden, and three of the five oceans.
We kept our commitment to our weekly meetings like a marriage vow, Margaret once driving to a dark parking lot on the side of a mountain to use the wifi from a remote community centre.
We met in the South for a reUMion road trip north via the Creation Museum. In New York we stayed at Ralph Ellison’s dilapidated Harlem flat and sat in a diner at 2am talking about where the Urchin Movement would be in five years.
We went to Canada.
We wrote articles like I Came with Anna Karenina and I Left with Lolita (Geo), Hippies v. Hipsters: The Generation the Revolution Died? (Sarah), and Shakespeare Hates Me…And You, and You, and You (Margaret.)
We were going full speed ahead, until we stopped. This year we launched the new Urchin Movement. In addition to a re-designed website, we transitioned from daily content to weekly long-form essays.
We’ve had articles like What Does It Mean to Save a Whale, Memory and Marker: A Romance, and What Are Animals For? from Geo; He Is a God: Kanye West & the Dichotomy of Double Standards in Pop Culture, For What It’s Worth: Banksy, Hirst, & the Relationship between Art and Money, and Necromanticism and the New Devotion: Death, Religion, and the Occult in Pop Culture by Sarah; and Engineering Paradise – Will De-Extinction Save the Planet?, The Emergency of Seed Freedom from GMOs, and The Smear Campaign Against Obamacare by Margaret.
We met our hero.
We moved to Brooklyn, Sydney, and New Zealand. And we’re just getting started.
The Next Five Years
In addition to extending the breadth and depth of our articles, we’re currently concentrating our efforts on collaboration. Working with writers from around the world, we will be featuring new articles by Guest Urchins every month.
Right now, Margaret is in New Zealand writing about and filming her 3,000 km thru-hike of Te Araroa. Sarah and Geo are developing a deconstructed installation-based play.
We are on the move, and we hope you’ll join us.