Writing letters, drawing mangoes & attempting to craft a harmonious life

Hey there,

I used to have an email newsletter, called Letters from Teresa. It was mainly a way for me to let people know about calligraphy/lettering workshops I used to run, before kids, and for a while I'd design a printable calendar each month to send out with it. I wrote a little introduction for each Letter, which ended up being some rambling thoughts about creativity or something personal going on in my life.

I think most of my readers signed up to be notified about workshops, but it was fun to write and I did get some kind responses. Mostly it was nice in a way to have a monthly writing habit with a fairly defined but loose structure and low expectations. It feels different to writing a blog post, certainly different to social media posts - more intimate, from me to you in your inbox. I know of course that most people get a million emails every day which aren't intimate in the least, but I have a few email subscriptions that do feel a bit like getting a letter from a friend.

There are plenty of other ways to start a writing habit, that don't involve bothering other people (or bothering to write for people other than yourself). There's a pretty good chance that it will only be me reading these Letters anyway, and I don't have any ambitions of growing an audience. But I do like an experiment, and iterating in public (whether the public wants it or not). So here's my weekly-ish-for-now writing experiment.

I've been creating

  1. My new site, the result of getting fed up with Wordpress and deciding to fumble around with a static site generator (Jekyll in this case). The result is very simple, but I kind of like it.

  2. Many sketchbook drawings and paintings of mangoes. I'm trying to stick with a single subject and instead play with different media, styles and scale.

  3. Sourdough loaves using tin loaf sourdough recipe, which I've had more luck with than freeform loaves baked in a dutch oven (in a loaf tin the only way it can go is up!).

I've been consuming

  1. The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by S.A. Chakraborty, a fun pirate fantasy adventure with touching explorations of motherhood. It works really well as an audiobook!

  2. How to craft a harmonious life via Psyche as long as your psychological needs are satisfied to a certain degree in any of the roles you have, you are fine. For instance, if you have a rather boring job that provides few opportunities to feel competent and have mastery experiences, you may be able to compensate and satisfy your need for mastery by engaging in a challenging hobby

  3. Knowing when to quit with world poker champion Annie Duke - WorkLife with Adam Grant (podcast) - I find the concept of "Monkeys on pedestals" hilarious, memorable and important: If you want to have a business of monkeys standing on pedestals juggling flaming torches in the town square, the first step isn’t to build the pedestal - it’s to train the monkey to juggle. Because if you can’t find a monkey to do this then the whole premise is invalid.

It took me a while to write this (and forget about editing!), so we'll see how I go on the weekly thing. Feedback and kind words are very much appreciated as I start on this journey.