#106: Letter from the editor
I’m here to say hello and to let you know that I’ll be publishing a little differently this month. I’m typically pretty strict about my schedule (still waiting on my A+ grade from Substack…), but I’ve also learned I need some time away from the churn a couple times a year. If I don’t take it, the newsletter starts to suck. Or I just start to feel bad, which is kind of the same thing.
My friend suggested I do a mysterious, unexplained disappearance for July. She thought it would be sexy and European, a kind of cri de coeur (I just learned that expression so I have to use it) against the idea that one must constantly put out new work. But I’m obviously too cowardly for that! So this month I’ll be sending out little bits and bites, but no full essays or podcasts. I’ve also invited five friends with fun taste to do guest curations for my Friday recommendation newsletters, i.e. “15 things I consumed this week,” for July. The first guest list hit your inbox last Friday—hope you loved him as much as I do. I’ll be back in biz at the end of the month, in time for Dear Baby and Dear Danny.
Moving on, what is a letter from the editor without an unsolicited accounting of what’s been written? We are six months into the year. I’ve written 15 essays plus some book reviews, some fake word definitions, and whatever we’re calling this. I’m going to link the essays below because whenever I run into people who read my newsletter, they almost always confess to being behind (no offense taken, I don’t keep up with a single newsletter), so maybe something here will be new to you and pique your interest. I wrote a little explainer for each one since my headlines are too vague:
#82: one way to reach your goals is to change your goals
#83: turn-your-brain-off-television doesn’t actually turn your brain off
#84: try aiming for rhythm (little of this, little of that) instead of trying to be “good” all the time
#85: there’s an art to ceding control, and it involves crying
#87: enduring low-stakes stress with a friend can be pleasurable
#88: turn away from big dreams in pursuit of small ones
#89: everything is sexless now, we need to bring back sex
#91: sometimes your effort (the cause) is more important than what it reaps (the effect)
#92: your beauty is subjective and you can’t control it
#95: being less avoidant feels incredible
#96: relying on other people is a good thing
#99: getting sick is like giving into gravity
#100: taking conversations offline is when the good part starts
#102: being direct saves everyone time and energy and anxiety
#103: learn to want different things than everyone else wants
Writing all those out, I’m surprised by how thematically aligned they feel. In 2022 it seems I’ve been very focused on: 1) extricating myself from societally inherited value systems, 2) being part of something less transient and transactional than mass media can provide, and 3) growing up.
All of it very much a work in progress. The world feels pretty fucked right now, generally speaking. I’m disgusted with America specifically. And while I don’t typically write directly about the news here (there’s so much of that everywhere else), I feel lucky to have a place to turn over and sharpen the ideas that shape my worldview more broadly. I hope it does that for you too, on whatever level you’re looking for.
So thank you for continuing to read, listen, write, and call in. Your messages make me feel smart and dumb at the same time, which is a powerful combination. Thank you also for accommodating what I’m calling Maybe Baby’s “high summer schedule.” Hope you can cobble together an HSS of your own.
p.s. I know I’m taking a break from regurgitating everything I consume, but I can’t not share this Paris Review essay about open marriage by Jean Garnett. I’m finding there are almost no limits to how long I can text about it with friends…