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Gratitude is a verb not a noun
Reflections & Recommendations
Before I was writing regularly, the profession seemed like one of those magical vistas in a fairy story, seen from a distance—impossibly beautiful and mysterious.
I was always one of those kids thinking, yes, but what goes on There? If I keep going, what will I find? Something even more beautiful and more mysterious? Yes, please.
Like as not, I would be the one tripping down the Red Brick Road (rather than the Yellow.) But since I have been writing and posting regularly, it has sometimes felt more like running smack into the painted backdrop. THAT has been the more authentic experience of becoming a writer—testing limits, especially my own.
As it turns out, its up to us—the writers, the artists, the dreamers—to fill in all those details. Sitting down and doing it, actually writing, is a completely different animal than just a loose sketch and some airbrushing, and also rather elusive when you have to grab the tiger by the tail yourself, i.e., less glamorous, more bloody.
Watch a TV show—a writer made that possible. Watch a movie—a writer again. Read a book, an article, an essay, a poem, listen to a podcast, a song, study a textbook, watch a speech, listen to the news—every one of the myriad ways in which we engage and exchange our culture—the fun, the serious, the nice-to-haves and the necessary, the life-changing and life-saving all start with a writer putting down in words the ideas that would otherwise be lost or grossly encumbered by an endless game of Telephone.
Let us take a moment to acknowledge the contribution writers make to our lives—and how sometimes we take them for granted—by also remembering that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since May 2nd over what is essentially an erosion of their livelihoods by the captains of media production, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMTPTP.) May they reach a speedy and mutually prosperous conclusion.
Among the Substack writers below, you will find published authors, musicians, gamers, animal rescuers, scientists, yoga teachers, skateboarders, philosophers, and end of life doulas, all bringing their best and their brightest in their respective work, week after week.
All of them have been unfailingly kind and generous to me with their time and support, and I thank them. More than that, they have shown me that a community of creatives is possible, when it sometimes seemed real connection was elusive and rare.
We all travel this same road, pursuing the Muse in each of own own unique ways. We all hope to catch a glimpse of what’s possible, what’s beautiful, what’s meaningful about our lives, and share it with the world.
Please have a look at their work—I’ve highlighted a post from each which has been especially fun or interesting to me.
Enjoy, and consider Subscribing to them, and please Share their work with other readers in your life if you feel moved to do so.
It was a Comment from Ben which had me rethinking the Why of my writing awhile back—how torturous it would be to Have to write, rather than Want to write—and led me to a greater appreciation for the fun I’ve been having writing on Substack. Curly’s Monster is one of his many wonderful stories, and my favorite. His Substack is full of music, writing and wisdom, and a dystopian sci-fi novel, The Memory of My Shadow exploring the dangers of augmented identity.
Just started reading Martine’s new collection, Family and Other Ailments, and I’m already hooked. Here we have crime, but also humor, family, whimsy, and a bit of supernatural: brothers and bandits, Bigfoot’s girlfriend, houses with their own ideas, and Lost Boys found but somehow, changed. So looking forward to reading more.
Nadia was one of my earliest, staunchest yet gentlest of subscribers, always at the ready with kind words and inspiration. She is the Fairy Godsister of Substack, offering opportunities for guest posting, and cross-posting many other people’s work, all while writing beautiful lyrics, poetry, and reflections on movie and gaming, plus insights into managing chronic pain. She is a wonder.
What an improbable name for a Substack, “Death & Birds,” I thought, and how magical it has turned out. Chloe first got my attention with The collective noun for umbrellas…is a phalanx, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a more astonishing account of compassion and kindness in my life. Every post she writes is beautiful and remarkable.
Andrea C. Neil
I knew Andrea and I were kindred spirits when I read the following:
Last year a friend was telling me about her hysterectomy. Something about her face caused me to giggle. FAIL.
Yes, I thought, she too understands the supreme joy and awkwardness of inappropriate laughter, the bubbling delights of neurodivergence—Subscribe! ☑️ She’s just got her new cozy mystery published, The Blingsters, think Ocean’s Elevens meets The Golden Girls. And I love her travelogs and photography too. Andrea recently changed the name of her stack to “Writing My Mind” and I hope she gives us a lot more of it. She’s a pip.
Speaking of pips: Adam stuck with me despite my horribly biased Battle of the Divas post, and has since given us his own hilarious series of vignettes in The 4th Pip (a MASTERPIECE;) a tour-de-force of style in the person of advice-columnist and bon vivant, Tippi Pointier; and a serialized account of his journey on the legendary pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago—Finisterre—which I am forcing myself to savor step by step rather than in big greedy gulps. Adam is a pip’s pip (the poop?) Holy Merde, he is good.
And speaking of vignettes. Nathan’s Substack “Slake” is like the most delicious sci-fi and fantasy tapas—gorgeous little dishes, served with beauty and flair. It was Nathan’s budding romance between Jisa and Cloud in the dystopian sketch Precipice which first clued me into LOVE as a means of raising the stakes on a story. And the magic of Brae’s meteorite is lush with longing and mysterious texts. I can’t imagine Substack without Nathan’s kindness and deep imagination.
I love a good post-apocalypse, and so I signed right up when the sublime Garrett Francis began serializing his novel And In the Dark They Are Born, the tale of an unlikely and tragic alliance between a deaf teen survivor, Reyn, and the lost and angry man, Vitri, bent on vengeance. It’s one part The Road, one part A Quiet Place, and two parts complex and suspenseful storytelling. AND you can listen to his own narration on the audio version, included.
Michael Edward The Curious Platypus
More than curious, more than a platypus, Michael is in a taxonomic category all his own, one which sanctions breakfast for dinner, and skydiving with bears—what’s not to love? I have only lately made his acquaintance, but I am already so impressed with his insights and his storytelling. Enjoy his short The View from Above—as good as being there—better!
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