The Great Discontent

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The Great Discontent (TGD) is a magazine featuring interviews on beginnings, creativity, and risk. Cofounded by Ryan & Tina Essmaker, TGD launched online in August 2011 and has grown to include a print counterpart, a short film series, and other content-related projects and collaborations.

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The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create—so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating…” —Pearl S. Buck

A Brief History of TGD

Ryan and Tina Essmaker are the husband-and-wife team behind The Great Discontent (TGD). The pair began working on what would become in January 2011, and TGD launched online with its inaugural interview on August 29, 2011. Nearly three years later, TGD has published over 130 long-form interviews, produced a series of brief film interviews, and has grown into a passionate community of readers worldwide.

In January 2014, Ryan and Tina decided to embrace risk and shake things up. They simultaneously quit their day jobs to focus on The Great Discontent and launched a Kickstarter campaign, raising $105k to make the first printed issue of TGD, due out in late June 2014. In addition to publishing TGD, Ryan and Tina collaborate on other content-related projects via Wayward Wild, the New York City-based creative studio they founded with Brad Smith, founder and former CEO of Virb.

A Note from the Editors: Our Mark

In January 2011, we were living in Southeastern Michigan, where we were born and raised. We had committed our evenings and weekends to working on a passion project—what would later become The Great Discontent—and spent much of our time creating out of our apartment, which we’d turned into a studio. We lived at the edge of town, on a dead end road, bordered by fields brimming with wildlife. We routinely worked late into the night, often to the sound of coyotes howling in the nearby woods. We grew acquainted with their eerie refrain and sometimes paused our work to walk outside, stand under the stars, and listen to the pack’s middle-of-the-night chorus.

We grew fond of the coyote and its symbolism and chose to adopt it as our mark, branding TGD with its likeness. For us, the coyote is a reminder that we’re constant travelers, full of want. It’s that great discontent that drives us forward, and we know we’re not alone.

Welcome to the pack,
Ryan & Tina