Hello I Am on a Break

And so this newsletter has time-travelled from last Sunday right into your inbox

Hi!

This is issue #38 of Light Gray Matters, my quixotic attempt at memeing myself into a consistent writer, publishing once every week, regardless of what happens in my life and the world.

Well, as of you reading this, I am probably driving, being completely offline, in this part of the world, or maybe further east:

Was I going to simply take a break from Light Gray Matters? After all, it’s not a very big deal if it doesn’t get published for two weeks in the summer. I’m not getting paid for it. I assume few people actually read it, except for some of my friends (there has been no growth to speak of for several months now).

Besides, these days I just don’t know what to write about. I may actually need a creative break, to recharge and get inspired again. I do read a lot of interesting stuff — lately I’ve been binging the Applied Divinity Studies blog, for example — but I don’t seem to write stuff that is as interesting. Why not? It seems plausible that the constant pressure to publish weekly harms my capacity at writing posts that are interesting in their own right. I write a lot about writing itself, which can be fine, but can also be the symptom of not actually being sufficiently nourished with non-writing activities. (Or not daring to share them.)

Hmm, it looks like this is turning into yet another session of “What should Light Gray Matters be, exactly?”

The counterpoint to the above is that the whole point of this newsletter is to publish each week for 100 weeks (which equals 23 months, by the way). Do it 100 times, actually do it, and you’ll learn more about the craft than any other way. But “do 100 things” only works if you reflect on the process as you go.

Here’s an example on how the process has changed. Last week, I decided to give up on illustrating the newsletter by hand. Friends told me they liked my drawings, but I increasingly felt it as a chore, an obstacle in the process of simply writing my thing and sending it out. I also suspect that it gave the newsletter an unprofessional feel, which is fine (it isn’t meant to be professional lol), but may make people less interested because it’s not serious enough (and it’s not playful enough for the unseriousness to be appealing).

So now it’s going to be paintings. Here’s one from Quebec painter Marc-Aurèle Fortin, depicting a village that we should have gone through yesterday (if you do read this on August 5th):

So, anyway, I’m still sending this out today thanks to Substack’s scheduling functionality. I’m writing it the Sunday prior, August 1st. This allows me to commit to the once-a-week pattern, without which the entire project collapses, while still giving me a break to go offline and recharge.

And now I need to go write the one for next Wednesday, since I won’t be back yet at that time.

Étienne