Here we are, with January almost gone, and I’m not sure I’ve quite wrapped my mind around 2024 yet. But I wanted to share with you something I’m starting in this new(ish) year: a Substack!
I feel like Substack is the kind of thing that’s old news to a very particular kind of community and “what’s that?” to everyone else.
So for those in the “what’s that?” camp—it’s a blogging platform that all the cool kids are using. And I decided it’s cool enough that I want to try it. It seems really easy to use (for writers and readers alike), and I like that it’s easy to poke around and find new-to-you writers that you might be interested in. I’m looking forward to exploring what it has to offer.
So, if you receive an email from Substack about my Growing Into Kinship blog/newsletter, that’s what’s going on there!
I settled into the name Growing Into Kinship upon reflecting on a few things:
I don’t always go seeking out a “word for the year,” but in the last few years, words have often come to me. And I want to receive them.
This year, on a long walk in December, the word on my mind was “growth.”
As someone who writes and does writing-related things full time—and just released my first book in early December, with all the publicity efforts that come with that—I sometimes feel the expectation (whether from others or just from myself) to be an “expert” on things. (If not on everything, then at least on the things I’m writing about.)
I want to push back against this urge to be an “expert. To need to know all the things. To be “ahead” of everyone, whatever that means, in some strange game of acquiring knowledge (and then showing it off so everyone knows how knowledgeable you are).
This is all a load of nonsense. It will not help us be the people we want to be, build the communities we want to build, or create the kind of world we want to live in.
I am not here to show off any expertise I might have. I am here to grow. I’m always seeking to learn, to be open, to be changed. I want to lean into this.
We can share this journey of growth together. No experts needed.
Sometimes when I write about how important it is to be open to change, (very wise) people remind me that not all change is good.
So I wanted to pair the idea of growth and change with the idea that there are particular directions I want to be growing and changing in. Particular directions I want to encourage others to consider growing and changing in. Particular directions I want to see our faith communities and our broader society grow and change in.
Kinship is one word that sums up that direction. Shalom, a Hebrew word meaning a holistic kind of peace-making marked by justice and communal flourishing, is another one.
Both of these words speak to me of a kind of interconnectedness that those of us shaped by white supremacist patriarchal US society (*raises hand*) were not necessarily taught to see. I think they speak to a kind of tough gentleness that I hope to grow to embody.
I appreciate that I often see Indigenous authors (like Patty Krawec and Robin Wall Kimmerer) center the idea of kin and kinship in their writing—and that, to them, we are kin not just with other humans but also with plants and animals and all of the interconnected Earth systems that we are a part of.
I think a lot about the climate crisis (like here and here) and what it might look like to live in ways that embrace mutual care between humans and our non-human kin. I think about what it might look like for white settlers like me to learn better ways of being, ways that heal the colonial mess we’re in.
These are some of the things I hope to explore in the Growing Into Kinship Substack.
On a logistical note, I took the liberty of adding everyone who’s signed up here to also get emails when I post on Substack, which should be weekly-ish. (I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting here—certainly not never, but also probably less often than I’ve been doing.)
I hope it’s all right that I took that liberty. If I assumed wrong and you don’t want to be part of the Substack email list, please don’t hesitate to hit that “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any email you get from them. I don’t want anyone to feel annoyed rather than delighted (or at least mildly interested) to see my writing in their inbox.
Thanks for being here for this new adventure. I hope to see you soon in the Substack comments 🙂 or otherwise around.