Hello, and welcome to the first edition of life: examined, my new experiment in creating and communicating, on the Substack platform. Grab a beverage and read on.
life: examined is an exploration of curiosity and a compendium of thoughts, ideas, and questions (with very few answers); it replaces my long-running newsletter The Ampersand.
I want to connect with my readers, but I was aware of the drift in my newsletter's mission. The Ampersand was not really aligned with my website for writing and consulting (which is where most people signed up). And really, it never was about that. Not that a newsletter from a writer has to be about writing.
For the past few years, I've been questioning the consumption and production of media. I have cut my consumption way down, and I feel better for it. More significantly: Am I a part of the noise—is my writing a part of the static—or do I have something to offer? As a writer, and you, as a reader, well, we'll decide together. It's an experiment.
I want to write about what I want to write about, not about my business, per se.
I want to write about grappling with the big questions, the small ideas, the fleeting thoughts—to poke holes in long-held beliefs, my own and society's, and to ask questions without necessarily offering answers. And to put my observations down on internet paper to share with you. Mostly, I'm keenly interested in life around me.
In addition to writing about the above, I want to simplify my communications with you, dear reader. MailChimp, my former newsletter service, has way too many bells and whistles for me. I want simple. I don't care about A/B testing or funnels or metrics.
The things that interest me don't have a measurable scale on which they can be weighed.
Also, for the privilege of not using all the features, but having a certain number of subscribers, MailChimp decided to charge me $20/month. Some months I didn't use the service—and as I mentioned, The Ampersand wasn't a business endeavor.
So, as I continue to streamline, Substack feels like the right fit (thanks to two other keen observers/noticers, Rob & Tammy, for inspiring the move). With Substack, I can focus on writing instead of on formatting, image resizing (just one size), and font selection (one font, this one).
Creativity comes from constraint, not from infinite options.
If you're reading this via email, that means you're a subscriber to The Ampersand. So, thank you for sticking with me (but you can unsubscribe, too). And if you are finding me for the first time via Substack or some random web search, well hello there. I hope you'll stick around as I get this experiment off the ground. I'm giving myself lots of leeway for mistakes and course correction—a good policy for life in general, too.
I’m listening to: