A Large Update
everything changes and nothing stops, or, here's what's happening with this newsletter
I realize it’s been a while since you’ve had an update from this newsletter. In August, I said I was taking a one-month break. Now it’s the end of November. During that initial break, I realized I needed a longer break, and then realized what I actually needed was a semi-permanent one. Subscriptions are still paused, and will stay that way. I’m putting this newsletter on indefinite hiatus while I figure out what I want to do next, and how the logistics of that change will work. When I know more on the logistical front, you’ll know immediately. In the meantime (which will be a long time, and likely forever), you won’t be charged again by this newsletter.
I’ve wanted to move on from Substack for a while now, for many reasons. I’ve also wanted to move on from this particular project for a while. It’s good to allow for endings, I think, and healthy to admit that nothing stays the same over time. Things run their course, fall out of relevance, and shift their meanings. They do this whether or not we admit that they do, and whether or not we’re willing to live within the reality of those changes as they happen.
The reasons for winding down this newsletter aren’t anything shocking or momentous. Mostly, I just think it’s time, and maybe past time. I miss doing other types of writing; I miss working with editors. I don’t want my work to be defined solely by newsletter writing. There are other projects I’m interested in, and other goals to which I want to give my focus. I know there are only like four magazines left on the entire face of the earth, but I miss writing for existing outlets and working collaboratively, and I want to try to do more of it (on that note, if you’re an editor reading this, and want to maybe work on something together, please reach out). I miss challenging myself, and being challenged. I’ve been working on a novel, and trying to work on a narrative non-fiction book proposal, for long enough that I’m embarrassed to mention either, ever, anywhere. I’d like to stop being embarrassed and instead face these goals head-on. I’d like to get back into writing more serious criticism; I’d like to exercise writing muscles that I’ve let atrophy. Four years ago I said “it can’t be leg day forever” and that’s basically how I feel now. It can’t be leg day forever, and I’d rather allow this particular project to end while I’m still proud of it.
I might bring a version of Griefbacon back in a different form; it’s hard for me to imagine that I won’t want to publish long weird essays via email at 3am. There might not be anything for a while, though, while I figure out the best way to make these changes. Griefbacon is a term that I’ve loved for a long time, but it’s also a relic of who I was in 2015. While it never had anything to do with the cringe-y “awesome bacon” trends of the aughts, it’s still not ideal, in the present, to link myself to something online with “bacon” in the name. More than that, though, the name belongs to a past version of myself. When and if this newsletter returns, it’ll be under a different name.
It’ll also be on a different platform. I’ve been, and remain, a huge fan of the work of many writers publishing on Substack over the years; I’ve also had significant misgivings about the platform for a long time. I’ve done a lot of research about other places to host a newsletter, but haven’t settled on one, and I don’t know how long it will be until I do. If anyone reading this has advice, personal experience, or information about other newsletter hosting options, I’d love to chat. For now, the archives will stay up here, and subscribers will continue to have access to that content. When I figure out how to move them elsewhere, I’ll give you a whole lot of advance warning about where it’s going and how it’ll work. If there’s a paid-subscription component in the future—my goal is for there not to be, but you never know— I’ll make sure it’s opt-in rather than opt-out.
I started this newsletter a long time ago (eight years! a lifetime!), in a different version of the world. I got so lucky with it: lucky that anyone read it at all, lucky that it accumulated a loyal readership, lucky that I met so many friends and colleagues through writing it, lucky that I was able to monetize it when I desperately needed more income, lucky to be able to bring it back in 2020, and lucky that so many of you were willing to join me again when that happened. I’ve been so grateful to get to talk with and read about so many of you in the conversation pit. I’ve been so moved by the responses, opinions, stories, and feelings you’ve shared in comments and emails. I feel impossibly lucky, and enormously grateful.
In the next week or so, I’ll put up a pinned post with links to my favorite essays I’ve published here, which will serve as a landing page. You can find me in the meantime on Instagram, Bluesky, and Letterboxd at @hellafitzgerald. I’m available as ever by email (helenafitzgerald at gmail dot com); please email me if you have any questions about this update, I’m very happy to discuss. I’m so grateful to all of you, to anyone who ever read this newsletter, ever subscribed, ever forwarded it to someone, ever hate-read it, ever recommended, ever quoted it or posted about it or took a chance on it or participated in a conversation pit or emailed me about it or interacted here in any way over the years. I’ll see you all again soon, in another form and another place, in whatever new version of the present tense arrives to steamroll over the past. Maybe that’s a good thing, sometimes.
With sincere love and gratitude,