As many of you already know from the latest LifeScapes post, I’ve decided to move my blogs over to Place & Thyme on Substack. Place & Thyme will launch on Aug. 7, with the August issue of “All About Thyme.” SusanAlbert.com is a good catalog of my books and resources, but WordPress doesn’t make it easy to connect with you. Substack, on the other hand, lends itself itself to extended discussion, chats, audio messaging, podcasts–formats I’d like to play with. It’s also much more private than WordPress, which has an open door on the web, allowing casual visitors to browse through our comments–yours and mine. Not so on a subscription website like Substack, where we’re chatting with one another behind a closed door. We’re able to create a private, intentional community there, open only to its members.
At Place & Thyme, I’ll be posting more often and doing different kinds of things. I’ve posted a publishing calendar here, to give you an idea of what I have in mind. Some of it may be familiar: “All About Thyme” has been showing up on the first Monday of the month for well over a decade. You’ve also been reading “LifeScapes,” about this Hill Country place we call MeadowKnoll–and the significance of place in all our lives. And occasionally, “BookScapes,” about the reading/writing life that so many of us are committed to.
Which brings me to the new-to-me “Senior Chronicle,” monthly posts about growing, older. (Yeah, that comma is meant to be where it is.) I wish I could say that I am “aging gracefully,” but I’m not. Aging awkwardly is more like it–so that’s what I’ll be writing about. How do we come to terms with the inelegant, incontrovertible, inescapable reality of aging? What challenges do we face as we grow older on a planet on the brink of . . . something so weather-weird that we can’t even imagine it? What do we do with ourselves when we no longer do the work that has structured our lives since we were in our twenties? Given our physical and social limitations, how do we stay engaged, productive, useful, curious, and (even) ironic as long as we can? I am now growing (maturing? ripening?) into old/old age–the fourth age, some sociologists call it. How do I feel about that, as a woman, a person, a citizen, a human? How do I sustain the sense of (often ironic) wonder about our world that has nurtured me all my life? Big questions, lots of exploring to do. Because my posts, your questions, and our conversations will be more personal and intimate, the “Senior Chronicle” will be one of three monthly posts behind a paywall. The other two: “BookScapes” (things bookish) and “Lagniappe” (recipes, herb lore, flash fiction, short serial fiction, maybe podcasts, if I get inspired). You can read all the details and subscribe here: https://susanwittigalbert.substack.com/about
A word about Substack subscriptions. Last week, a reader remarked that she was confused about Substack’s payments. “I know other public figures that have migrated there,” she wrote. “Do I pay a separate subscription price for each Substack I register for?” Like all of us, she didn’t want to be hit by unexpected charges. My reply: “Yes, each Substack is priced separately. You can choose which to follow free (I follow quite a few) and which to support. And every Substack newsletter carries the option to unsub–look for that link in the email footer. (SS has made unsubbing very easy.) You can also unsub from a paid membership and resub as free, if you decide to do that. No questions, no strings, ever.
Reading note. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I would ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.–Rachel Carson, The Silent Spring, 1962.
Update: This note came from a reader: “Disappointed at your started charging during these expensive times.” Everyone, as I told this reader, there is no change. Both the regular monthly “All About Thyme” and my usual LIfeScapes posts are still free to all and will be cross-posted here. Those who want more than two posts a month and more private conversation will find it at Substack, for about the price of a couple of Starbucks lattes grande. Like every author, I am deeply honored that readers (whether they buy new books or used books or borrow from the library) continue to be interested in my writing. That’s why I like Substack’s tiered program. The basic subscription remains free, as my online writing has been for nearly two decades. The new work is community-supported and available to subscribers who choose to join the community.
Your turn. All civil comments welcome. I join in as I have time and something to add to the discussion. (Please remember, though, that this is a public forum on the open web.)