Five years!? A thank you

Hit and Miss #262

Hello there!

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? We came back from a great weekend away, with plenty of ice cream and friendship time, only to confront long days (and nights) at work, topped off by the surreal spectacle of the Queen’s passing.

(On that—I don’t have much to say! It’s simultaneously a huge event and a non-event—particularly nowadays. I’ve revelled in nerdy constitutional and procedural tidbits, but I’ll spare you those. I’ll share instead a thread from the ever amusing “depths of wikipedia” Twitter account, tracking the flurry of Wikipedia edits around the announcement. I love internet culture!)

But enough of this week. Let’s ponder a slightly longer horizon. With major apologies in advance for the self-indulgent reflection that follows!

Five years ago (ish—this is five years by the calendar, though issue 260 would’ve been if counting a year as 52 weeks—math with time is hard), I started writing and sending this newsletter.

The first issue, “Earthworming”, was long. It was—also quite personal? And I used headings!? Anyway, it was great. (I also had a dateline, as “location bylines” are apparently called, for the first five issues. Why’d I get rid of it!? I’m writing this from my perch in the Byward Market, for those keeping track.)

It was to update friends and family on what I was doing, reading, and thinking. I chose the title “Hit and Miss” not to describe the newsletter’s variety of topics, but for my anticipated schedule: I never expected to sustain a weekly rhythm. 262 weeks later, here we are. I’ve been counselled recently to give myself more credit, celebrating wins—hoorah for that one, then!

There has been an enormous variety of topics in that time, too. Because I can’t help but analyse data—particularly text data!—I did some high-level analysis on the newsletter’s links and words, for a bit of a quantitative perspective. (120,575 words in five years, whew!) For a qualitative angle, I scrolled the backlist (though I admit that I don’t consciously remember much of it) for ones that stood out:

This newsletter has been a place to test new ideas, to vent or to process my thoughts (a complement to therapy!), and, perhaps at its best, to earnestly share ideas I encounter that seem to hold some piece of a better present or a better future—to hope aloud, in other words. In countless ways, most of them too small to note, this writing practice changes me—and I hope that reading it changes you, too, small though those changes may be.

Most touching to me is that you read along. Without you, I wouldn’t keep this up. By reading, by being my imagined and real audience, you’ve helped shape this newsletter, and thus helped to shape me. I’m deeply, deeply grateful to you all. Thank you.

All the best for the week ahead—here’s to so many more, together.