How I built this

Hi friends,

In case you have noticed the 300% increase in correspondence of late, I herein provide context for my recent loquaciousness.

A couple of weeks ago I held what will henceforth be known as “The Treehouse Accord” (of 2022). I sat outside in the treehouse that Dave built for the kids during Covid. I had: my notebook and my laptop, my favorite pen (a freebie from a doctor’s office), a water bottle and some watercolor paints. I lacked: a comfortable seating arrangement. The day was not warm but it was sunny and there were many ambient sounds. I managed to tune in to the birdsong amidst the clamour.

I shall post something every week, I agreed with myself, until June 21 at which point I shall allow myself to, once again, reassess the trajectory of my life. I may post WHATEVER I WANT (while out in the treehouse to make a plan of action to start The Hearthling, this “Life is Tricksy” clause was agreed in recognition of having had many good intentions and detailed plans in the past that often have not come to fruition). The rules are: start a draft on Monday, publish on Thursday. I shook hands.

Wiggle room

I have set up a ‘campaign’ on MailChimp so that when I publish a new post it is automatically sent to subscribers at the next available 1:00 PM (EST). So that means if I publish something on Thursday at 2:00 PM (EST), it is sent to readers the following day at 1:00 PM (EST).

I meant to have issue #001 of The Hearthling ready to send out today (Thursday). I’m well underway. Problem is, it’s, um, complex (see below). So here’s my plan: I’m posting this note today, Thursday, thereby fulfilling my agreement to post each week on Thursday. I will provide a link in the notes below, following my new “don’t interrupt them with a link in the middle of reading” policy. This link will take you directly to Issue #001 of The Hearthling which currently (as I type these words) DOES NOT EXIST but will exist by the time this note gets automatically sent to your inbox tomorrow (Friday) at 1:00 PM EST. (Now I’m laughing like a Sicilian engaged in a battle of wits.)

It's complex, or maybe just complicated

I’m also experimenting with new layout options. So there’s a fancy new header and potentially even some new fonts coming your way soon. But that’s not what is complex. 

Here’s the thing:

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

— John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

Ratskin bracelet

Once I made a bracelet out of a rat’s skin including the entire head. This was scholastically encouraged, it was not my own idea. But I approached the project with my usual savoir-faire.

It turns out savoir-faire doesn’t mean exactly what I thought it did. Well, I did it with my usual carte blanche? (also no). Let’s just say enthusiasm. 

I have tidied my home repeatedly since first encountering KonMarie. While virtually every piece of jewelry I have ever owned or been given has found a new home (or been saved in a box for Maggie, that note is for you mom), the ratskin bracelet has survived every round. Something about this bracelet sparks joy.

I will save the rest of the story for The Hearthling. But my ratskin bracelet is where I choose to start the journey. I have a hunch we will find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

You might want to read this first

By the time this post gets emailed there will be TWO issues of The Hearthling. If you did not read it last week, may I humbly suggest that you read Issue #000 first because Issue #001 will make more sense in context. I also really like Issue #000. Enough that I feel it should probably become Issue #001. But it will not. You can find links to both issues in the notes below.

If you aren’t sure whether you’ve read Issue #000 already the answer is probably not. It is about Sam Gamgee and his box from Galadriel.

Headers are fun

I decided not to leave you with a devastating quote from Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I don’t find it devastating personally, but out of context it could be hard to take. 

Instead, let’s end with this:

I’ve come to think of writing as an act of reciprocity with the living land. Words to remember old stories, words to tell new ones, stories that bring science and spirit back together to nurture our becoming people made of corn.

— Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer 


  1. The Hearthling #000 (Read this one first)
  2. The Hearthling #001
  3. No offense meant to real-life Sicilians, this was a reference to the film The Princess Bride

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