I have begun a newsletter (see the homepage to subscribe) distributed by email. The idea is to create a monthly compendium of my observations and thoughts on the passing scene in a snappy prose style that entertains readers by virtue of being a bit offbeat and thought-provoking.
The content is unstructured and nonthematic. Often one item leads to another in no particular way other than that an idea somehow came to mind while I was composing the previous item. Other items begin as idle thoughts that I haven’t fully come to grips with as far as saying something useful about them goes. If they coalesce into a meaningful nugget they may stay in. If not, out they go.
I begin with rough prose, trying to get a sense of the list of concerns I will include, and then I spend a lot of time revising and honing to sharpen and focus my meaning. I often express an attitude or opinion. In drafting the most recent letter, I composed an entire page of rambling ideas about the troubles of the governor of Virginia that went nowhere until I distilled it into a short paragraph. Only then could I see what I wanted to say.
I have set a standard of including no more content in a given issue of the newsletter than I can fit onto both sides of an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper using a 12-point font. After roughing out the prose, the task is to get everything to fit. To do so I try to use economical language and efficient prose. I liken it to carving a human figure from a block of wood. (Take off everything that doesn’t look like a human.) The shape comes into view as I edit.
Very generally, my theme is to shine a spotlight on events and behaviors that I’ve taken note of in day-to-day living. Somewhere in each issue I endeavor to draw attention to the audiobooks I narrate. They’re fun and, I think, worthwhile, and I want people to buy them.
In keeping with the title “Curmudgeonry Light,” I come from the perspective that much of human behavior, stems from mercenary, misguided or sloppy thinking. I like to dissect items that catch my attention as such and speculate on now we might think differently about them.
I bump up against politics now and then, but steer well clear, I hope, of preaching or espousing particular views that might hit a nerve in readers anywhere along the spectrum of partisan politics. Ideas expressed are mostly mainstream, and I try to find a common thread among various perspectives that might entertain and amuse rather than provoke.
To get the ball rolling, I sent Volume 1, January 2019 to anyone whose email address I happened to have who was more than a passing acquaintance. A Facebook pitch yielded additional subscribers for whom I had no email address. Word of mouth has also led to several requests to be added to the list. As of this writing I have about 60 subscribers.
What is my grand design in all this? I confess that don’t really have one. I enjoy composing my thoughts in this way. I can reach others with my ideas, and sometimes receive feedback about what I have written. Anything I may accidentally contribute to the common weal is by virtue of age and experience. While I fearlessly stand behind any opinions I may express, I claim no superior insights and seek no approbation as a pundit. There doesn’t seem to be a way to make money on this kind of thing, though I’d be willing to jump through a hoop or two if there was.
So there you have it. If for some reason you want to follow my thinking about our world, I welcome you. I will ramble on regardless, so jump on the bandwagon if you like. If you’d rather not, or if you decide to jump off after a short ride, my best wishes go with you.