An Apology to my Patient Readers
This letter is open to everyone, but addressed in particular to my paid subscribers.
This is my letter to tell you that I will understand completely if you need to unsubscribe.
When I started this newsletter in October 2020, I had hopes of posting four times a week, with two letters only for paid subscribers. At that time, I had a freelance contract with a client that was paying me very well, and only required a few hours a week of work. As a consequence, I had the time for Substack. I was also getting COVID “Thank You Pay” at work.
My freelance work has largely dried up. I have one or two clients in long-term projects, but those pay irregularly. Trader Joe’s took away the extra COVID pay in the spring, as was entirely their right (it would be hard to find a more generous grocery company.)
With writing work almost entirely gone, I’ve taken on other work, including gig deliveries three nights a week. That’s still not enough to pay bills, so I am looking for additional night work, perhaps in a warehouse.
I’ve also stepped up my time with the children, who need and deserve their father.
Certain things have to give — one is sleep, and another is Substack. I’m down to 29 paid subscribers at this point, from a high of over 80 at the beginning. Times are hard financially for you as well, and the reality is that the more I work at other jobs, the fewer hours I can dedicate to crafting the kind of essays my readers deserve.
The harder I work and the greater my financial anxiety, the more my mind constricts on the loss of my old teaching job — and I find it impossible to write about anything else. What I cannot help but write you almost certainly find tiresome to read, over and over again. Exhaustion and despair inhibit the imagination. That’s an explanation, not an excuse.
I had hoped that I would be able to make real side money doing Substack. It hasn’t turned out that way, and that’s entirely my fault. I cannot step outside of myself to the necessary degree. Though your monthly and annual subscriptions are a real help, I cannot give you the quality you have every right to expect and for which you are paying.
I will still write occasionally on here — I have a letter I really want to do about the Cuomo brothers, class, and the tension between family and societal obligations. If all goes well, look for that next week! In the meantime, I will not say “no” if you continue to subscribe — but I will understand completely if you decide to cancel. I will understand too if those with free subscriptions disable the emails.
The proverbial wolf is snarling at the proverbial door, and this husband and father needs to focus on making rent and paying child support. I’ve got December covered, but January is up in the air. This is not a plea for sympathy or help. I can do this on my own. I just need to do it primarily through physical rather than intellectual labor.
I am sorry for the ways in which this letter has not lived up to your expectations. I am sorry it hasn’t lived up to mine.
I wish you all a very happy holiday season, a very Merry Christmas, and a healthy, hope-filled 2022.