Letters from Teresa

This is from my weekly-ish newsletter, which you can see more of under Letters or subscribe below. Or don't, all good.

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.

Photo of a sketchbook with sketches of mangoes
When life gives you mangoes, sketch mangoes
  1. 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.

This is from my weekly-ish newsletter, which you can see more of under Letters or subscribe below. Or don't, all good.