Why I’m back to (news)lettering
it was A Sweeter Life on a Friday…now it’s precious.
Some of you will recall I used to blog and send out a weekly newsletter on a Friday. That was back some time shortly after the last Ice Age (um, 15 years ago). But I stopped newslettering a year or three ago because I was writing books and was generally stretched. Plus it got stupidly expensive to send out the EDMs, like $700 a pop.
However! It’s 2021 and I’m back with a bangin’ bloggy letter because I feel it’s once more the right medium for the moment. The world needs deeper, more intimate, nuanced, and mindfully curated information.
Less noise, more careful.
Here’s something one of my favourite New York Times voices Kara Swisher wrote on the revival of newsletters.
And here’s a good background read on the Substack phenomenon (this newsletter is indeed a Substack emittance; the platform is geared at authors and writers fed up with the rigidity and exploitation of publishers - oh yes! - and MSM, kind of what bitcoin is to banks, without the unfathomable carbon toll).
So, going forward, what I’ll be doing is this.
I’ll write weekly. Give or take.
I’ll share the Best of the Things You Would Like to Know About as a Caring, Fired-Up Human.
I read a lot of journals and newspapers. I listen to a cross-section of podcasts and correspond with - and interview - stacks of good minds. I then tend to share the best of all this with my circle. Now, I’ll simply extend this unsolicited service to a wider audience - you! - replete with a take, a slant, or perhaps just pulling out the Rad Bit To Chew On.
We’ll see how it goes… Yes?
Does it cost?
Nope. It’s not my style. But! You can choose to kick in $5 a month if it feels right.
This is the new model this ‘letter’ trend works too. We pay for the independent writers we want to hear from, direct to the producer. That said, you can absolutely subscribe for free if you prefer. I genuinely want to leave it up to you.
I don’t want to annoy you too much...but I probably do need to drop an action button below. Here goes…
As a kickoff, a few inspirations and updates.
A soul nerd poem.
because Mary Oliver nails it.
In This One Wild and Precious Life, I spruik soul nerding.
I write that soul nerding is “studying our predicament with considered curiosity” by reading the nuanced, care-full stuff written or created by others, particularly poetry, to connect. Always to connect.
We feel the connection in the stillness and attention required to appreciate - to follow - the creative expression by a fellow human. It’s in these mindful “spaces between the words” that we come to practice touching the vastness of the universe, our nature, and our place in nature.
Just today, this Mary Oliver poem below connected me in like a Macbook power cord into its socket. Shluk!
There is much flux and uncertainty as to what the world is going to look like going forward. Coming out of lockdown, a long winter in the North, climate realities that are tipping, political fragmentation, vax anger...
A big theme in this ‘letter’ and in all my teachings for the next few months, maybe years, will be around deepening and listening. Garnering wisdom and sturdiness.
Try reading this poem and be in the spaces, the stillness, between the words. Do you feel what I mean?
My WILD with Sarah Wilson podcast goes weekly.
for two years, even.
I’ve been given a bit of funding to go all out on the podcast and I’ve been interviewing some grand guests over the past few weeks - big minds that I’ve met or whose work I’ve read recently.
We kicked off last week. The first episode is with neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor. Do you remember her?
Jill did one of the first-ever TED talks (and most-watched in history) on having a stroke and watching it in real-time, observing her left hemisphere break down and her right hemisphere taking over, such that she saw life as a bunch of swirling atoms. It blew my mind, and ever since I’ve wondered, what the hell happened to her?
I hunt her down on her houseboat and we chat big and wide and wild.
Head’s up - she is still living in her right brain, able to observe the Oneness in real-time. She still blows my mind….
If the planet was a business.
pause on this.
We have lost 68 percent of nature since 1970.
As the WWF says, if the planet was a business, and it suffered a 68 percent loss, wouldn’t there be an emergency meeting and an IMMEDIATE firing of all those leading the company, along with a review on how to do things?
Wouldn’t we hire experts?
Well, you’d think so...
A short F.Scott Fitzgerald quote.
from his essay “A Short Autobiography”
“A feeling that all liquor has been drunk and all it can do for one has been experienced, and yet.”
As we have all been languishing (a topic I’ll explore further as we try to emerge from the stultification into vibrancy again, one day; perhaps I should get Adam Grant on my podcast…?), I’ve noticed a lot of us are sharing some human themes that feel fresh and strange against such a boggy backdrop. And yet they are neither; they are surprisingly universal and perennial. Indeed, they emerge in times of global crisis or depression. Perhaps the fresh and strange thing is to realise this - that we are in crisis!
I read last week, about how we dance and get frivolous in upheavals.
According to the French historian Philippe de Felicé,
“Eras of greatest material and moral distress seem to be those during which people dance most.”
A medieval dancing mania swept through Europe following the height of the Black Death, when between 500 and 800 people died every day in Paris and Saint-Denis, and when alternating waves of flood and drought caused widespread famine.
I sense that many of us are recognising, afforded to us by our lockdown “pause”, just how much we grasp, we hunger for, we reach out for distracting and intoxicating experiences. It has been confronting to observe how unsatiating this hunger is. More than this I think we have realised we are sick of the addiction. Which means we are ripe to change. Or will we embrace fresh and strange?
And yet…? Will we keep reaching for the wine, the distraction, the tired patternings? Or will we get truly fresh and strange?
Until next week, be wild and kind. And please please do plant some comments below - topics you’d like me to cover, what your dream newsletter would contain if you had a magic wand... I’m hoping to make the comments section a really safe, fun, challenging space for all of us.