There’s a wicked storm happening right now, and Poppy is staring at me on this Monday morning, waiting for me to grab my shoes and socks so we can do the usual morning walk. Dear dog: it’s not going to happen. Not right now.

The last Second Breakfast newsletter of the year went out this morning, and I’m taking a break now until January. I never used to take any time off when writing Hack Education; I’d churn out ten of those year-end essays and then, despite being utterly exhausted (and depressed) from writing them, I’d just keep going into the new year. It’s hard to fathom how I was able to live and work like that -- always traveling, eating terribly, drinking so much. I only published two year-end pieces for Second Breakfast, and that was a phenomenal amount of work. And for what? I’m not sure, honestly. I am mostly ignoring the metrics -- as I always have done. Without the kind of reverberation that social media once provided -- retweets for example on a shared link to a story -- it’s really hard to gauge how things are going for readers.

Substack, which I use to manage the newsletter and payments, is -- like almost every other Silicon Valley startup -- run by people with abysmal politics and poor vision for the future of writing online. There’s been a big dust-up the past few weeks in particular over the company’s tacit support for Nazi content, going so far as to highlight some of the extreme right’s newsletters and authors as “ones to watch.” When called out on these things, the Silicon Valley bros like to lean into the idea of “free speech,” which is of course mostly a cover for their unwillingness to pay people to actually moderate content. Substack already limits the ability to post spam or porn on the site; but the “free speech” yahoos never acknowledge the ways in which that sort of content is already policed. They just have little interest in policing the Far Right as, well, that’s actually their jam. The libertarian-to-authoritarian pipeline flows strong and steady.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do about Substack. I already moved HEWN off it once because of the company’s support for anti-trans writers. I don’t know. I guess I go back to just writing on my own blog and putting out a tip jar. I have very little interest in the “social” component of commenting and sharing right now.

Obligatory updates:

Training: 45 minutes of yoga; 30 minutes of swimming; I postponed by long bike ride on Monday as the weather was shitty then too and did 19 miles on Friday; I lifted on Tuesday and Thursday, and I’ve sort of stalled again; I had my two speed work classes with NYRR -- Turnover Wednesday where we did 800 meter repeats and Tempo Friday where we did a progression run, with hills -- and I ran on the treadmill both days this weekend -- 7 miles each day -- as I was in Zoom School from 8-5, working on my RRCA certification. I’d scheduled a sports massage for Thursday, but sadly it was canceled.

Food Consumption: I made latkes; butter beans with pancetta and pecorino, except make that Christmas lima beans with bacon and parmesan; peanut curry chicken (with delicata squash which is, I think, the last of the CSA); and chicken and noodles and biscuits. We had a loaf of bread from Amy’s Bread and bagels from Absolute Bagels. I bought a sufganiyot from Dough on the last day of Hanukkah. And as I was in class all weekend, we got pizza from Il Baretto To Go. I didn’t do any baking, but we were sent a cookie box from Resy with a bunch of cookies from restaurants around the country.

Media Consumption: I finished reading How Infrastructure Works. Kin and I are almost done listening to The Upcycled Self -- I’m actually sort of disappointed in it, but I think perhaps that’s just because I found Matthew Perry’s memoir so moving. I started reading Faster Road Racing. Kin watched some movies this weekend, but once again I failed to pay attention. I can’t tell you what was on the television. Something with Nic Cage maybe? I listened to the Rethinking Wellness podcast while on my long bike ride this week -- it was about leaving social media. So yeah. Even though I’ve pulled back from almost all social media, I’m still struggling to find a way to balance the work I do as a writer (and potentially a coach) and having to -- gag -- market myself online.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


Back to Archives