it's been a year
on first birthdays, false starts, self-doubt and the art of building something meaningful by accident (plus a special offer)
This picture was taken one year ago — the night I finished writing the piece that follows, which was meant to be the first instalment of this newsletter, a kind of creative conception-to-birth story. I wrote the initial piece in a whoosh, then chickened out and posted something more straightforward. A year on the piece makes sense in light of all that’s happened, but at the time I was worried it was too messy, too raw. Basically I thought if I tried to explain myself honestly it would freak people out (and it did, it does, but not everyone, thank god). One year in, I am grateful to have found thousands of subscribers, paid and free, here on Juvenescence. I also have almost as many abandoned drafts in the “posts” file.
If you’re still here, still offering me your time and attention I’m assuming you’re not too freaked out, so I’m now feeling brave enough to post it. We’ve built something together here on trust — something that’s messy and raw and very real and dear to me.
So much of what writers write is never read by anyone else. For every word I’ve published in my career I’ve written at least one hundred more and I’m not even particularly productive or precious. I very rarely return to false starts — I find them menacing somehow — but I’m also aware false starts are part of the work, the process of writing. Anyone who’s really tried to make anything good eventually discovers this.
So for the first birthday of this newsletter here’s a reworked version of my abandoned first post — rereading it I see how prescient it was. A year ago I understood I was on the cusp of a huge change, a personal and professional crisis that would render my life unrecognisable in just a few short months. When I wrote this piece I had no idea what form that change would take, all I knew was that it was coming whether I liked it or not. And so it proved to be true. I feel braver, stronger and immensely buoyed by your support.
Thank you and enjoy.
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