A new baby, a new year, and a new direction for my creative energy
Vol. 3, Issue 1
Hello, there. It’s been awhile, I know. I hope you’re well and that your holiday season was more joy than stress, that you are surviving whatever wintery weather is clouding your local sky, and, most importantly, that you are finding a least a little time and space for your creative projects.
Since my last newsletter, I had my second daughter, who is now a smiley, curious, and adventurous nine-month-old. She’s already demonstrating her own creative talents; she’s especially adept at sculpting with finger foods and singing in a style best characterized as “adorable banshee.”
Predictably, the Baby Two/Two Babies project has dominated most of my energy and attention this past summer, fall, and early winter. But as Little O approaches a year old (already! how?!), I can feel an old itch beginning to flare up again. It’s time, finally, to get back to writing.
I haven’t been totally dormant, though. I recently published a piece about motherhood and hummingbirds in Stoneboat Literary, and I have a new, semi-regular column about gardening and creativity at Reckon Review. I’m also still waiting (impatiently) for someone in New York to fall in love with my novel manuscript about a hurricane chaser on the Gulf Coast.
In 2023, I plan to focus even more of my creative attention on environment-related writing, art, and storytelling. To that end, I’ll be semi-retiring this newsletter and launching a new one called Tiny Goat. Similarly to this newsletter, it’ll be a personal take on creativity and nature, with prompts, links, and gentle encouragement on your own endeavors and explorations.
I would love for you to subscribe to this new experiment—and offer plenty of honest feedback about what you like so far, what I’m overlooking, and where this project might grow in the future. With my coding-savvy brother, I’m planning to build and curate digital galleries for eco/science-inspired art, and longer term, we’d like to open an online store with nature-inspired and eco-friendly novelties.
To start, we’ve launched an eco bookstore on Bookshop.org. I’ve personally curated the shelves with new and classic “cli-fi,” nonfiction books about environmental issues, children’s books to help the next generation build a healthier relationship with nature, and how-to books for bringing sustainability into your own daily habits. Take a browse through it the next time you’re looking for some fresh reading material.
Why goats, you may be asking? The full answer is here. The short answer is that high in the Italian Alps, mountain goats (called chamois) are getting smaller. As in, their bodies are not growing as large as the bodies of chamois in decades past. Scientists think it’s related to the warming temperatures of the Alpine valleys they inhabit; the leading theory is that the goats aren’t foraging as much in the harsh sun, and therefore they aren’t growing as large.
Put another way, the chamois are adapting to a changing environment by embracing their stillness. And by reducing their consumption, to get on-the-nose about it. I find this image of goats lounging in the shade while fragile mountain grasses and flowers grow undisturbed to be a complex and compelling one. It speaks to the inevitably of change, the delicate balance between growth and restraint, and the power of patience. And so, out of that science-inspired image, Tiny Goat was born.
Lastly, I want to sincerely thank you for reading Writing Matters with so much care and appreciation for the past year and a half. I intend to occasionally revive this newsletter to send out updates about my future projects, which I hope you don’t mind. Until then, I invite you to join me on my new, uncharted (goat) path.
A note on the AI-generated image above:
I despise the rapid development and distribution of Open AI’s image and text generators. Truly, my hatred for the aggressive, thoughtless, and unregulated nature of this company’s approach to AI is deep and dark. When their tools first became available to the public late last year, I was open-minded about the possibilities, and that’s when I prompted Dall-E/craiyon to generate the goat-related images above.
But it has already become glaringly obvious to me (and others) that a great deal of AI-inflicted harm is rapidly coming for the creative industries. I fully intend to commission a real, human artist to produce custom artwork for the Tiny Goat project in the very near future, and I welcome suggestions for artists to contact.
The fight to protect human-made art is just beginning. #savehumanart