Amy Writes Words, Issue #1: The Newslettering
Amy Isikoff Newell
Hey it’s Amy, and I’m starting a newsletter. It’s gonna be great. Or at least fine. Maybe it’ll be medium (yes I have been binge-watching The Good Place). I’ll be writing about stuff. Also sometimes things. I might write about mental illness, engineering, management, fashion, feminism, politics, or drugs. I might include photographs or other art I’ve made or poetry or other writing I'v done. I might invite you to attend my poetry reading, standup set, engineering talk, or mental health event. I might make jokes or say sad things. I might expand upon my tweet threads, include links to other interesting stuff I’ve found, or quote from books I am reading (jk, I’m not reading books, I’m just endlessly doomscrolling like the rest of you right now, except when I’m binge-watching The Good Place or indulging in my shopping addiction while fantasizing about passing a joint with a total stranger).
The newsletter is called Amy Writes Words because that’s one of the most consistently true things about me. I write all the time. I scribble in notebooks late at night, I tweet, I send texts and emails and I write poems and essays and speeches and standup sets. I have written on blogs and in poetry journals and, once, in a medical journal. I have written about engineering management and mental health and politics and spirituality. I wrote a whole 80 pages of a book about the Torah (no, seriously), a 20-page chapbook of poems about a friend’s suicide (just as depressing as it sounds), and approximately 8 million words and counting about a toxic failed personal relationship that I hope someday to turn into a miniseries.
Most of my writing never sees the light of day, and that makes me sad. It’s like I’ve been saving it up for something, for some day when someone will give me the money and then I’ll write The Book. For some future moment when I will be what I always wanted to be, a Writer. But being a Writer is not a destination, it’s an apparently inalterable fact about me.
I am a writer. I write, and I want to share more of what I write with an audience, however small that audience may be. There are so many words inside me, and it’s long past time for me to let more of them reach the world.
I don’t think this is a particularly inspired first issue, but one thing I’ve found to be true in life is that having low expectations for the product of my work is an important factor in whether I am able to produce any work at all. A first issue of a newsletter that exists is always going to be both better or worse than the one that does not exist: better because something is better than nothing, and worse because when something does not exist you can always imagine that if it existed it would be closer to the platonically ideal, even though the platonic ideal is definitionally something that does not exist.
Generally speaking, I prefer things that exist to things that do not, even if they are imperfect or even kind of shitty. You can’t make something that doesn’t exist any better, and you can’t learn anything from it to make future things better, you can’t turn it into anything else, it’s just in stasis forever until it comes into being. Like the void before the Big Bang or Fantasia after the Nothing destroyed it and before Sebastien created it again. I want this newsletter to exist, however ill-defined its format or half-assed its execution.
And lo, now it does.
This is the part where I ask you to subscribe and tell your friends. It doesn’t cost you any money (YET……..) and you can unsubscribe whenever you want. Frankly this will probably end up in your spam even if you do subscribe, you’ll forget you ever read this because of pandemic brain, and you’ll never get to read potential future exciting issues about topics ranging from why people who have meditation rooms should fuck right off all the way to my best tips for getting started meditating, with a detour through why I just ordered my first pair of custom professional dance boots even though I am not a professional dancer, nor, even, a good dancer at all.
Actually, don’t tell your friends yet. Right now I just want to build the habit of sending the newsletter to a small and trusted group of people who will offer me encouragement while I figure out how I want this to work.
Also, once I do ask you to invite your friends to subscribe, guess what I won’t do? Ask you to give me permission to suck in all your contacts, including your ex-boyfriend’s mom’s number, your old weed dealer from college, and your therapist, in order to invite just the one person you think might like this.