It's been a year of this newsletter and I'll think I'll keep going
plus oodles of gratitude to you all
One year ago, I decided to launch this “this is precious” newsletter because, as I wrote 12 months ago, “The world needs deeper, more intimate, nuanced, and mindfully curated information. Less noise, more careful.” More than 50,0f00 of you are signed up as subscribers and many hundred of you are members of the paid membership community (hit the button below if you’re not one of them).
This note is both to thank you for reading and commenting and to loop everyone in on my plans for year two as an independent writer aiming to be unbeholden to Chief Twit, Mr Meta and the crass advertisers as soon as I can.
Why keep writing?
I go back to my original mission: to create a space for people who care about the big issues and don’t want to plug their despair with spakfilla distractions
Those of us who are ready to face the big issues and wicked problems (and to resist the urge to “I can’t even” our way into oblivion), need company. We need to know we are not alone. We also need good company. We need our ideas challenged and stretched with bright, nuanced, kind interplay. And as I’ve been musing a little already here, there are fewer forums on the planet, particularly in Australia, for this to occur.
The greatest gift of writing this newsletter has been the dialogue in the comments. Some of you - and a shout out to Siobhán Costigan, Rachael Rauch, Ella Wright, Ian and Anneliese Crawford (among many others) - plant some brilliant push-back and counterpoints, as well as fresh leads for my own thinking.
To this end I really encourage checking out some of the comments on this post about Transhumanism:
All of which has led me to this decision:
Increasingly, I’ve made it my policy to reply to comments and engage in dialogue here on Substack instead of the other social media platforms. In coming months I will make the conversation more intimate by switching comments to membership community only.
I’m yet to have the whole thing “pay its way”. I feel we are in a time of transition. In a fallow period. Both MSM and the major social platforms are on the stink and failing our humanity, dominated as they are by the desperate needs of the stale power class who angrily cling to their status as their hegemony comes under serious threat. All those “free speech” and “crush the cancelling” crusaders are no different from the Murdochs and Disney et al. They are attending to their own interests, which are the interests of white, aged masculinity.
I like dancing transitions and floating in the fallows. It does mean I have to operate without certainty, and I have to invent my own way. It also means I struggle to monetise things. But I have made a conscious decision to suck that up (to some extent). Being part of the push to better always brings me more satisfaction, once I look back years down the track.
PS: Writing this newsletter has also given me the confidence to push back against MSM and to quit the “good girl” games that I’ve always had to play to ensure I stay gainfully employed. Here’s an example of this, which was a lot of fun to write and own:
No advertising, no crazy-making algorithms
The beauty of Substack is that it was set up for writers as an alternative to the current and crumbling media model. It’s a subscriber model and readers are gently invited to kick in a subscription fee - $5 a month - if they like the community they enter.
Substack does not allow any advertising.
It does not corrupt with algorithms.
It does not tamper with our cognitive weaknesses by steering us to outrage and polarisation. I like this.
A lot of us are fed up with MSM and SM. Forums like this one (and WeAre8, which is also where I’m starting to move my interactions), are the adult, dignified, kind, progressive future.
I also think that we need to get cool with paying for what we value, whether it’s paying premium for better quality fashion (and buying much less of it) or paying more for foodstuffs - and more - that produce excessive CO2. Spending our time, money, attention in a more discerning way must be the new way we do things. And when there is less distracting noise, we can be more discerning, more careful. More adult, dignified, kind, progressive.
To this end, I will continue to gently invite you to join the paid community.
If you’re in a position to kick in $5/month to be part of the membership crew, that would be lovely. But no pressure!
I’ll also be increasingly switching everything I do in this direction.
I’ve been a bit down and stuck lately. I’ve been in a rut trying to jam the round peg that I am into a square hole and feeling almightily abraded. I had to stop and regroup the other day. It’s time - once again - to stop trying to fit into the system and to invent a new way of doing things. I’ll expand on this in an audio chat shortly. For now I’ll plant the stake in the ground and declare that if it doesn’t contribute to a more dignified, kind, progressive future, I go another way.
The paid community will get more vibrant
Going forward I will continue my weekly emittance. I’ve learned that light and shade works best…long reads one week, bitsy thought-starters the next. I’ll keep playing with this and taking requests for issues to explore.
Behind the paywall, I’ll be sharing more and more intimate stuff: thoughts on the run; ideas I’m developing; concepts happened upon while at happenings, such as writers festival or while working on a project; as well as agile QnAs every now and then. Like this:
I also have a few bigger projects I’m trying to get to, which I’ll be collaborating on with the membership crew - a book and a new campaign. TBH it’s been a festering source of frustration that I’m perpetually bogged down in tedious admin issues (due to not having enough resources) and hustling for cash (I’m still trying to communicate to brands, corporates and organisations that I need to be paid for what I do; I’m not a community service and don’t have a rich husband or some such in the background) instead of getting to the work I feel is the best use of my skills and expression of my dharma. But am getting there (ergo the decision to make the big switch, as above) and even this very wrestle is one that I will be sharing more of in the membership community.
As I say, in a few months I’ll also be switching commenting to subscribers only. By this stage I’ll have shifted from answering questions and engaging in dialogue on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to exclusively engaging here on Substack. Stake in the ground stuff.
When you become a paid subscriber with this is precious, Substack grants you three free subscriptions. Which is cool.
You can sign up below…paid and non-paid. There are a few options.
My goal is to keep this community going as long as I can with the aim of having it pay its way within six months. But please don’t feel compelled to pay to be a part of this community. These are tough times for so many.
PS Did you catch my podcast episode with Beau Miles, the backyard adventurer? Or the one with Kieran Setiya…this episode is a real salve for anyone with chronic pain, illness or having a rough time just now. Spread it out to anyone you know who is struggling.