welcome back to griefbacon

hi friends,

Griefbacon is back; welcome to Griefbacon. I’ll start with the logistics, since this is a logistics email and, since it is one intended to urge you to subscribe, I’ll start by doing so. Griefbacon is back and you can subscribe to it here.

Griefbacon is coming back as both a free and a paid newsletter. Everything will remain free until the end of the year, when paying-subscriber-only posts will start and a significant portion of the archives will be paywalled as well. There will be once-a-week posts for everybody, and twice-a-week posts for paying subscribers, as well as some extras. If you had a paid subscription previously, you’ll need to subscribe again (if that’s something you want to do). As always, if you want to subscribe but for any reason can’t afford it, please email me and we’ll figure something out.

There will be posts on Mondays and Wednesdays, and occasionally an extra something on Fridays. Each month there'll be a larger theme, and through the month I'll send out shorter pieces of an essay on that theme. These will maybe be single paragraphs or a collection of them, or maybe medium-length pieces examining one side or facet of the month’s theme (for the rest of November, the theme will be chosen family and Friendsgiving, whatever that means as a larger mood or idea; there’ll be a post on this on Friday). At the end of the month, these pieces will come together into one longer and (hopefully) more coherent essay. The big end-of-the-month essay will always be free for everybody. Sometimes there will also be random posts unattached to the theme, about stuff like sunscreen, or gatorade, or new york, or one song by a band from the '00s. These will often be paid-subscriber-only as as well. There will be some new features, like paid-subscriber-only open threads where we can all chat about the month’s theme, or about weird, unnameable feelings and difficult categories of love or whatever. For now it will just be me, but there might be stuff like guest posts, or collaborations or conversations with other newsletter writers, as this develops and we see how things go.

It'll be similar to the Griefbacon you know if you previously subscribed, just a bit more frequent, and a bit more structured (but not too much). It will, I hope, still feel like being the last two people awake at the sleepover, or like the conversation you have when you're the last handful of people left at the party at 3am. I’ll put the subscription link here one more time.

This still going to be long essays about feelings, primarily about love, and the ugliness and weirdness and strangeness of it. This newsletter is more than anything else interested in the sometimes horror and sometimes grace of human relationships, the times when the awful and the miraculous are difficult to tell apart, and what happens to us in the processes of that distinguishing.

When I say love I mean something larger than romance, or larger than how our endlessly restrictive little society, hungry for categories and binaries, seeks to whittle down the definition of romance. I mean large and strange friendships, and small and invented families, the ways people name the emotional structures on which they scaffold their lives. I’m interested in love for places, for the past, for the unraveling future, where the line is between acquaintance and friend, between friend and romance, between romance and family. This will be about the things that family and friend and marriage are supposed to mean and the sprawling swaths of experience that those definitions fail to acknowledge, the stuff that our popular understandings bulldoze or discard.

There are almost no shared experiences in this hell year. Large disaster and crisis-shaped events feel like they should resonate across circumstances, but what they really do is highlight differences in individual situations and resources and reactions and abilities, the profound ways in which our experiences are not relatable to one another. There are few, if any, universal conclusions to be drawn from times like this one. But in one way or another, through crowding or through loneliness, through disruption or through plodding sameness, through loss or through reunion, I believe one theme of this year has been the experience of being in relationship, whether to an individual, a family, a group, a society, or even to the lack of relationship, company, or companionship. How do people draw close to each other, and what happens when they can’t? Who can I bring with me, and from whom am I separated? How do I define myself in terms of something that is not merely myself? How can we live more collectively, and less in calcified individualism, in a time that isolates us and in a world that tells to do the opposite, to care for nothing but ourselves?

That’s some of what this newsletter will be about: weird love, strange relationships, the collective rather than the individual, large moods and long-form ways of naming them. If you’d like to read more to see what this is all about and if it’s your thing, I’d recommend any of these several posts. There’s a big archive you can browse on your own as well, all of which will be free until the end of the year.

We’ll see how this goes. Subscribe if you want to, tell your friends, consider that a subscription makes a great holiday gift for anybody to whom you’re sending gifts this season. I’m really glad you’re here. Let’s get weird.