Last week I did not write an edition of TGL, and the reason for that is something I’m excited to share with you (the small community of people who read these words on a somewhat regular basis). My partner and I are now the parents of two children. Our second child has come into the world. Baby #2 is healthy, growing, and along with our almost-two-year-old brother, he is keeping his mom and me very busy.
I’m not sure how being a father of two small children will impact my output in the long-term, but I’m sure that in the short-term, it will mean that I’ll have less time to write (newsletters) and record (podcasts). However, one of the things that I’m 100% sure of is that I’ll have far less time to make things than I did before I had two kids. Additionally, I’m sure that when I do make things, I’m going to need to accept that they will “good enough” rather than as good as I envision them in my mind’s eye/ear. That may mean the output you see here and hear on my podcasts will, perhaps, be a bit rougher around the edges. This roughness might end up being a flaw that I’ll correct when I’m able but might also lead to a more informal style that will be more appealing. Time will tell.
Having said all of that, let’s get into the newsletter.
I’ve been working on a few podcasts in the background, but as I said above, the work is very slow going at present. The main reason for the slow going is that I’ve been having a hard time believing the content I’m recording is “good enough”. I think this is because I’m trying to record when I’m exhausted and in moments that are probably not long enough. This results in me rushing my process, and the result sounds like something that has been rushed, which is to say that it sounds bad. I’m not sure how I’ll figure this out, but I hope people who listen to InForm: Podcast and The Gorman Limit will be patient while I re-calibrate my podcast production process.
While I’m not putting out podcasts as frequently, I’ve been listening to several podcasts, and I want to tell you all about one of them that I found ultra-good. It is the episode of the Ezra Klein show where Ezra interviews the writer George Saunders. I love reading or listening to any Saunders interview, and this one is no exception. If you listen to the interview (which is very long), you won’t regret it.
I have a few writing things going on now, but they are all in a holding pattern because I really need to focus on writing my dossier for tenure.
Now that I have two kids, I need to be very attentive to what is going on around me. This can be a problem for someone who enjoys listening to podcasts and audiobooks. One of the tools that helps me with this is a pair of AfterShokz open ear (bone conducting) headphones. I originally bought these headphones because when I run outside, I usually run on sidewalks and streets, and open ear headphones have helped me be far more aware of what is going on around me.
Now, when I’m doing something trying to rock a baby to sleep in the early morning hours, I can also listen for the noises my older kid makes when he is waking up. It’s awesome.
So, if you’re a runner or you have kids, I think these AftterShokz headphones might be a good tool for you.
Living in the Jackpot:
This section of the newsletter is usually focused on what it is like to be alive in these (I’m not sure what the right word would be) …
How about unprecedented double plus extra unpredictable ultra ambiguous odd-ball as hell times? Yeah, that works.
In today’s edition of the newsletter, I’m going to quote from the episode of the Ezra Klein show I linked to above.
Ezra Kein Kindness is such an important word in your work. I’ve come across it so much in the prep for this conversation. Just, how do you define it? What is kindness to you?George Saunders I think ultimately it would be, are you benefiting the people in proximity to you? And truly benefiting them. And that in itself is, how would you know. Ezra Klein Yeah, how would you know is, I think, often a harder problem that we give it credit for. Why in proximity?George Saunders Well, I think that’s the place to start. And since I’ve never been able to even do that, I’m going to continue to work on that one.
I’m putting this here because I think it is more important now than ever to be kind to ourselves and others.
The Ghosts of my Life:
In this section of the newsletter, I tend to reflect on things from my past that have shown up as a sort of ghost haunting me in the present.
Now that I’m a father of two kids, I found myself remembering something from the Don DeLillo noel The Names. In that novel, one of the characters says that 40 is the age that he associates with fathers. I’m almost 43 now, and I’m a father of two kids.
Until this point, I’ve had a good (or goodsish) idea of what my life would look like as I got older. What I mean by this is I believed I could predict what I’d be working towards year to year. I thought I could more or less chart my course. I had a decent sense of what the options might be for where I was heading.
As I look at my kids, and I feel the things that I feel when I look at my kids, I find myself thinking, “I have no idea what my life will look like as I move into the future.” I literally can’t imagine what it will be like to be a dad of two kids in elementary school or teenagers.
I say this because before the kids were born, I tried to imagine what life as a dad would be like. I imagined lots and lots of things. But the reality of being a dad has been so much more than all of the things I imagined.
Now, from here on out, I really don’t know what the future has in store for me.
That’s it for now. Till next time, make some glorious mistakes.