I had written and trashed a lot of drafts before I ended up with the introduction you’re reading now. At one point, I wanted to explain to you why I hadn’t updated the blog in nearly three years. But whatever I went through is trivial in light of the fact that we’re still very much in a devastating pandemic, and that, to date, over 250,000 people in the US—more than 10,000 in the state of Illinois where I live—have died from the Coronavirus.
I’ve figured out that the only way forward for me as a writer is to seek out the people who are curious about the same things that I am—to the degree that I am—and to write fearlessly with the goal of delighting them. I will still write for various publications, and I still want to publish more books. However, in order to not fall out of love with writing again, I need to make curiosity, freedom, and connection with like-minded people my priority.
So, here we are—my first newsletter, The Epestle. I’m sure you can tell already that it’s a portmanteau of epistle (a letter—a newsletter, in this case) and pestle, the thing you use together with a mortar to make various pastes for Thai cooking. At first, I felt a tinge of shame for my love for portmanteaus (portmanteaux?) in general and for choosing one as the title of my newsletter, but that feeling went away quickly. This list on Wikipedia (which is a portmanteau) shows that The Epestle is in good company.
This is a place where my writing is unshackled from the need to please everyone, where I zero in and double down on the things I know people who share my interest will like, where I become as unapologetically obsessive about those things as I want to be. These are the things I don’t need anyone’s permission, except my own, to publish.
There will be lots of food, with the emphasis on Thai food, of course. There will also be interviews, thoughts, cultural and linguistic tidbits, tales and stories, cooking and gardening tips, essays on an ingredient or a cooking method, etc. While there will occasionally be posts that are available for all subscribers, posts with recipes will be available only to paid subscribers.
I’ve missed hanging out with you. Won’t you please sign up now so you don’t miss the first issue? Thank you.