A very good substack

2021 has been a very good year for newsletters. I’ve looked forward to getting newsletters by writers writing about different things delivered to my inbox. I look forward to Austin Kleon’s weekly round-up of his posts and other recommendations and his newsletter led me to the one I’m writing about today. The very popular newsletter by Ann Friedman has more links than I can possibly read over a lazy weekend at home. Abby Rasminsky’s letters on motherhood and feminism and everyday stuff have been so so relatable. These newsletters have filled a hole or at least provided some stop-gap relief from the stress and anxiety of living through a pandemic and the endless social distancing. But the substack newsletter that I’m most excited about is the one that George Saunders has just launched. He calls it Story Club. How can you not want to be part of Story Club? Apparently lots of people do. The welcome post where people are invited to introduce themselves had over 2,000 responses and it was charming to read about where people are writing from and all the different reasons and desires that came through in the little blurbs that people wrote.

I luckily read ‘A Swim in the Pond’ this year. In this book, Saunders analyzes some of his favourite Russian short stories. You get to read the originals and also hear his commentary and analysis on why they work. I loved getting this inside take by a contemporary writer of short stories and that’s what Story Club is about. I just finished the first assignment, which was to read the first 15 lines of a story by Hemmingway and to just note your response to the story. There is no right or wrong answer, just a careful attention to your own reaction as a reader of this story. It feels so validating to pay attention to my own response as a reader and also so hard to slow down and not rush to the end. And so I have jotted down a few ideas and am just looking forward to the next message in my inbox from George Saunders from Story Club.

This post is a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

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