Cut to: YOUR DAMES, ARMS TRIUMPHANTLY RAISED ABOVE OUR HEADS, ABOUT TO LEAP OFF THE ROOF OF A SMALL SUBURBAN HOME.
“THE FACT CHECKERS OF YOUR MAGAZINE DESERVED MUCH BETTER TREATMENT THAN THEY RECEIVED AT CAMERON CROWE’S HANDS, THEY WERE ESSENTIAL TO MAKING THE MAGAZINE THE ESSENTIAL READING IT BECAME!!!!!!! And further...”
What, might you ask, has us rewriting Russell Hammond’s memorable dialogue from Almost Famous thusly? It’s Jessica Hopper’s amazing oral history of Rolling Stone’s predominantly female copy department, the vital contributions they made to the magazine, like… transforming Hunter S. Thompson’s middle-of-the-night scribbled faxes into historically-significant, often generation-defining dispatches from the counterculture:
Lazin: We won everybody over, but there was a year where we were huddled all together next to each other, working 24/7. And then there was Hunter and filing on the mojo machine at three in the morning, and he would just file gibberish, and we’d have to put it together along with David Felton or Paul Scanlon. It was just us against the world, and us against those guys.
Doudna: We’d be lying on the floor, napping, and then another page would come in over the mojo and somebody’d get up, copyedit it, and send it to the printer or the art department. It took a village to get a piece of Hunter’s in the paper.
It also details how the Copy Department smuggled women into editorial positions at the magazine. Women like Sarah Lazin, whose work on Rolling Stone’s Illustrated History of Rock and Roll and The Rolling Stone Album Guide made them into the accurate and authoritative volumes that Baby Dame Sophie pored over as a teen. And women like Harriet Fier, Rolling Stone’s only female managing editor, who died shortly before Hopper could interview her, but not before sharing the following anecdote about being hired as the magazine’s night time switchboard operator:
As Ms. Fier told friends, she had no firm direction after college and might well have attended law school if she had not joined Rolling Stone, where getting a job in the early 1970s required little more than a certain alignment in the stars. Interview paperwork asked for an applicant’s sun, moon and rising signs.“I didn’t know the difference, so I wrote Gemini on all three,” Ms. Fier told Draper. Her answer was apparently good enough — although she startled the woman who took her form. “Triple Gemini!” she shrieked. “How do you cope?”
We think these women are deserving of a movie all their own -- Jessica Hopper, we hope & pray you can make this happen! (Once you’ve caught your breath from the promotional tour for your book Night Moves, we mean!)
Honestly, we could do with a movie strictly about the Band-Aids, too.
Guest Dames Honor Roll: Rave Sashayed and Nicole Chung
Oh my god, Ovechkin, just don’t freakin DROP IT OK???
There is literally nothing on this Earth that We Your Dames love more than kvelling over the accomplishments of our friends. And when those friends have also honored us by sharing their excellent work with all of you as guest editors of this here newsletter? Well, our pride cups runneth over!
This week, we want to share with you the funniest sports writing of 2018, by Rave Sashayed. Rave (aka Ruth), who co-edited a holidays & entertainment-themed issue back in December 2016 with fellow DamesPal Willa Brown, is a justly beloved Internet Wit -- the creator of such essential concepts as Incompetent Wizard Harry Styles and Lesbian Boba Fett -- who is also a die-hard fan of Washington, DC’s National Hockey League Team, the Capitals. The Caps won The Stanley Cup this year and spent the entire summer partying so hard about it that they have been instructed to cool it already by, uh, The Hockey Bosses, we guess? Rave’s recap of and commentary about Ovechkin & Co’s Wild Celebratory Summer Ride is uproarious and heartfelt, a combination we like to celebrate every day.
Our beloved Nicole Chung is very rightly enjoying a streak of high-profile, high-impact pre-publication publicity for her forthcoming memoir about her experiences as a trans-racial adoptee, All You Can Ever Know, most recently in Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe, Lit Hub, and BuzzFeed. We’ve both pre-ordered copies (pro tip: you can pre-order a signed copy from Powell’s City Of Books in Nikki’s home state of Oregon) and you can do the same or request that your local library buy a copy. To prepare, you’ll want to re-read Nikki’s guest issue from November 2017, which she co-wrote with the indispensable Nicole Cliffe, and make plans to see her on her book tour this fall, if geography will play nice with you! (Dame Sophie is hoping to attend her event at The National Press Club in DC, while Dame Margaret will be attending her event with Celeste Ng at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. Hope to see you here or there, Dames Nation!) No matter what, rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll get to read Nikki’s brilliance in these here pixel pages, because she will be a returning guest-editor, along with DamesFav Elena Yip, for our September 28th issue!
And now, for an Ask Two Bossy Dames EXTRAVAGANZA!
It’s that time again, when we sift through the many excellent questions you, our beloved Dames Nationals, have submitted through our handy-dandy Google form and attempt to read your tea leaves. This month is a mix of answers originally written for our June paid-subscriber update (with additional advice added) and BRAND-NEW questions. Come, listen, and learn!
What kind of self-care do you allow yourself that doesn't make you feel like a terrible person for taking time to indulge?
It’s All Too Much
Some days you’re Marie, some days you’re the maid.
Dear Too Much,
It’s extremely flattering that you think We Your Dames, women at war with our somewhat sybaritic tendencies, have this dilemma sorted out. We don’t, exactly!! But, luckily for you, we have thought about it extensively, and can share some of our metrics for distinguishing between self-indulgence, self-soothing, and self-care.
The first step is to figure out where your issue lies-- are you over-indulging under the guise of practicing self-care? Or is your overactive Protestant Work Ethic leading you to feel unduly guilty any time you take a minute for yourself? If you feel it’s the latter, take a minute to check in with Dame Sophie’s excellent treatise on why “rest vs. laziness” is a harmful frame, which does an excellent job of demonstrating that sometimes taking a break is the most productive thing you can do. This is something we have to remind ourselves of constantly, and it’s why we have things like guest editors for this newsletter-- we do better work for you when we have time to rest and ruminate instead of producing. Everyone works that way! Before getting into strategies that make effective use of your downtime, make sure you’re not feeling crummy for taking some at all.
Now, if-- like Dame Margaret-- your struggle lies less in demonizing yourself for taking a break and more in valorizing self-indulgent behavior as self-care, here is a quick rule for telling the two apart: self-indulgence is an enjoyable action Present You takes at the possible cost of Future You, like playing so much late-night Candy Crush that you give Future You a repetitive stress injury, as a completely random, non-specific example. Self-care, conversely, should be an action that Future You would thank Present You for taking. Sometimes, that can mean resting, as the above paragraph shows! It can mean realizing you feel like shit and doing a helpful flowchart to figure out what physical or emotional needs you’re neglecting.
In our capitalist society, there are a LOT of people ready to tell you that your needs are always related to something that can be bought, and that by conspicuously buying things, you are demonstrating that you value yourself. But while buying a sheet mask can be part of self-care, the purchase shouldn’t be the heart of it-- it’s should be the knowledge that this is time, money, or energy you’re consciously expending to do something that Future You will be glad Present You did. That could mean dedicating untold dollars and 30 minutes a day to a 10-Step Korean skincare regimen. Or, it could mean making a week’s worth of healthy, tasty lunches to bring into work with you, or reading for an hour without touching your phone. Just like taking care of someone else, sometimes it can mean buying a sweet or fun gift. But just as often, it’s doing anything that indicates you’ve thought about them carefully, and worked hard to do something specific and kind. So: think about yourself carefully, and think about what Present You could do right now to make Future You feel like you thought about them very carefully, and worked really hard to be kind. And then do that thing, whether that means giving yourself an hour to read the whole rest of this newsletter, or shutting down your device right now and leaving the rest for another day. No one can take better care of you than you. Make sure you’re giving yourself permission, and using that energy well.
Yours in Care,
Dames Margaret and Sophie
I'm trying to figure out how to be content with my life. I'm not really sure what I want long term, but ultimately but I'm in a really good place- so I'm not really looking to make any changes (which would all be varying degrees of destabilizing and it'd just me making a change for the sake of it- which I don't think is a good idea), but I find my lack of long term plans to be a source of some mild anxiety, as if I'm living my life wrong. Any advice or just pop culture items I could take comfort it would be nice. -- Bobbie
Dearest Dames, I am pretty unhappy with just about everything in my life right now, but I feel powerless to change it. I have a dull and unchallenging job, but I've been applying to jobs "in my field" for about a year and getting just about nowhere. I don't feel very connected to any social network where I live, but I have a hard time connecting to people my age when I do meet them. I also feel disinclined to "put myself out there" when I feel so discontented with myself and where I am right now. I am broadly aware that this may be the general malaise of your early twenties, but I just feel so stuck! What would you do? -- Anonymous
When you’ve reached basic competence, and bought some candy, what comes next?
Dear Bobbie & Anonymous,
Your letters describe various points on the same spectrum of a very common malaise. Whether you entered the workforce directly after high school or attended college, there’s just something about your early twenties that makes you look around & think “is this all there is? Aren’t I supposed to feel like more a grown up? What’s my life going to be about??” So the first thing we want to do is assure you that what you’re experiencing is deeply normal.
If you’re primarily trying to find contentment in your life as it is, it’s good to remind yourself of the things you’re already doing right. You’ve gotten to a self-described “really good place” in your life and that is honestly quite something to be able to say in the dystopian hellscape of 2018, so please: take a bow. We’re not going to recommend you start writing a gratitude journal, because we feel that they hold the real possibility of self-gaslighting their writers into believing that if they were just grateful enough they’d be fine, when often that’s not true. However, an inventory of things you’re doing that are working for you could be useful.
It’s fine to coast along for a while, but if you’d like to explore alternate avenues without committing yourself to a obligation to pursue any of them, perhaps it’d be useful to play a visualization game with yourself? If you live in a city and would like to live in another city, what do you imagine your life being like in that second place? Walk yourself through a typical weekday, and then through a typical weekend. How does it compare with what you’ve got going now? Are some of the changes you envision for Other You in this Other Place ones you could also enact right here, right now? You could also conduct some informational interviews with people in fields -- agricultural, wilderness, or professional -- that you find interesting, to get a sense of what it might take to branch out. These are all valuable ways to fuel growth at this stage of life. Regardless, it sounds like you’re ok and maybe you just need a friendly person to say, “hey, you’re ok. Carry on!”
If you’re having more of a crisis, boy, do we feel you. That early 20s malaise is REAL and is only a slight upgrade from a tumultuous adolescence in that your meta-cognitive abilities and empathy are stronger than they were ten years ago. Of course, with your improved ability to parse nuance comes a more complex set of challenges. Both of your Dames have benefited tremendously from therapy, and we recommend engaging a good therapist to help you untangle this ball of emotional gunk and figure out which aspects of it you need to address first, and which you might feel ok with just letting be for now.
Of course, therapy is expensive, and finding a good practitioner takes time. If you don’t have one already, and/or finding one is not on the cards for you, you can go through some of those steps we talked about above independently (though if you’re experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms, your brain may be lying to you). It may be helpful to call on already-established friends to help you feel more at ease and balanced. Are there people you can call or text with -- to check in, to chat with and confide in, to help you ground yourself in the reality that although you’re in a crummy, very stuck-feeling place, you do have good people, and a workplace that may well be dull as hell but is at least remunerative?
In short, we do not recommend “count your blessings / stay on the sunny side of life!” as a long-term self-development strategy. We do recommend a more nuanced form of that as a short-term coping tactic and as a longer-term self-grounding strategy as you figure out what’s at the root of your troubles and set out to manage and perhaps remedy them, however incrementally, over time. We hope this is at least marginally helpful! Please do check in with us in a few months to let us know how you’re doing.
More period tv and movie recommendations, please! Appointment Television led me to Cranford and I even dabbled with some Lark Rise—I'd love to hear about more things to feed this addiction. What's actually good, and what just stuck some actresses in a corset? (and to recommend one that I found by trial and error: The Paradise is great!) -- Laura
Settling in for a grand old chat about our favorite genre, Bonnet TV.
You have hit on one of our very favorite topics of conversation, affectionately-mockingly dubbed Bonnet TV by DamesPal and ATV co-host Andrew Cunningham. Some quality recs you may not yet have on your radar:
If you liked Cranford, we hope you have already consumed the other miniseries based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels, Wives & Daughters and North & South. If not, you’re in for a treat, as they are both absolutely perfect.
Belle is a swoony and compelling film set in the early 19th century that encompasses family and racial identity, a love match between intellectual equals, and the beginning of the end of the Atlantic slave trade in the UK. Also notable for having introduced Your Dames to the talents of Gugu Mbatha-Raw!
Dame Sophie went through a really strong Zhang Yimou phase in college, which overlapped neatly with his most fertile filmmaking period. His movies explore social issues & relationships in early-to-mid-20th century China and are very very beautiful (and often suuuuuper sad, so be ready for that). Raise The Red Lantern! Ju Dou! The Story of Qiu Ju! Shanghai Triad!
In The Mood for Love, a tale of requited but unconsummated love set in Hong Kong in the 1960s, has been on our live-tweet wishlist for several years & we’re making it a priority for 2018. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is usually referred to as a martial arts classic, but we’d like to make a case for it as a deeply melancholy period drama dressed up like a martial arts classic. The fight scenes are extraordinary, of course, but look at how Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh look at each other!
The Handmaiden has been on Dame Sophie’s list for over a year. It’s lavish, it’s densely plotted, it’s got outstanding costumes, it’s set during Korea’s 19th century colonization by the Japanese, and it’s based on Sarah Waters’ haute Victorian lesbian novel Fingersmith. What’s not to like?
Another series we’ve been meaning to try is The Time In Between, a Spanish-language drama about a seamstress who becomes entangled in an espionage plot during Spain’s Civil War in the 1930s.
And speaking of espionage, let’s here call out two Cold War-set series are particularly strong. First up, there’s The Hour, probably Dame Margaret’s favorite under-watched period drama, a Mad Men-adjacent drama about a team of TV journalists trying to launch a substantive news program under 1950s BBC censorship, and also spies. Then, quite different, there’s the French language series, A Very Secret Service, a very black comedy that Dame M. has just begun watching about a young man who stumbles into a job with the French secret service in the early 60s only to find himself freeing Nazis and foiling French colonies’ attempts at independence.
Call The Midwife: over the course of 7 series (the most recent of which just hit Netflix!), this show has moved from the barely-recovered-from-WWII early 1950s to the comparatively-more-affluent early 1960s, focusing on the pregnancies attended to and a host of social issues confronted by the nurse-midwives of a working class neighborhood of London. It’s a woman-focused tearjerker where every sob is earned, and is an excellent propaganda tool for Great Britain’s National Health Service, long may it live.
Dame Sophie is fully in the tank for The Crown (in fact, she’s currently wrapping up a full rewatch), all about the reign of Elizabeth II, and urges you to pair it with Mad Men, on the basis that they’re about mid-century power brokering, mythmaking, and women in the workplace. Perhaps even more importantly, Tom & Lorenzo have done a masterful job of cataloging and analyzing the way the costuming choices do a lot of the storytelling work in each series.
If you can put up with-- or even love!!-- the soapiness of a Downton Abbey as long as it’s done well, may we ardently recommend Berkeley Square, a tragically great one-season wonder about nannies making due in an upscale neighborhood of 19th Century London, and Downton’s most notable forebearer, Upstairs, Downstairs (the original series) and then its post-Downton reboot, set in the 1930s. Both are up in their entirety on Prime, for free, and while they are not perfect, they are utterly addictive.
Every other literary adaptation released by PBS is either of an Austen novel or a Dickens novel. All of them are quite good. But there are a few sincerely exceptional adaptations we cannot resist calling out. In the Dickens canon, our favorites are Bleak House (a glorious showcase for Gillian Anderson!), Little Dorrit (featuring Claire Foy, aka The Crown’s Queen Elizabeth II!) and Our Mutual Friend (like the only Dickens novel where women can be interesting without dying, being punished, or both). And for Austen, after 1995, it’s hard to go wrong, but We Your Dames would particularly like to stump for (1) the weird-ass but great movie adaptation of Mansfield Park from 1999, which is an experiment in making Austen as woke as possible without entirely abandoning the text, and (2) the 2007 Northanger Abbey, which is arguably even better as a movie than a book.
If this list is not exhaustive enough for you, please avail yourself of Put A Cravat On It, OR: Downton Abbey Methadone, Lisa Rabey’s list of shows to watch when you think you’ve watched all the costume dramas there are to watch
And finally: Some casual Googling led Dame S. to a very comprehensive list of British period dramas broken down by historical era
We think at least some of the above should tide you over til November 1.
I would love advice on how to weed your closet of things that just don't suit you anymore, and also how to develop a personal style. I'm in my late twenties but feel trapped mostly in college student gear (jeans and t-shirts) out of lack of time and fashion know-how. I'm moving into a more professional period of life (not corporate space, so it's pretty flexible/up to me, but somewhere where appearance can make a big difference) and want to really curate my wardrobe to reflect that, with clothes that look and make me feel good. -- Rebecca
Ok, getting rid of stuff is in some ways the more daunting of the tasks before you. Take a page from the Unfuck Your Habitat playbook & make timers your friend. Don’t attack the whole wardrobe at once, that way leads to you sitting on the floor, overwhelmed & crying, surrounded by the clothes you wish would just put themselves in bags to be taken to the Goodwill, goddamn it (Speaking from experience? What’s that? We have no idea what you mean hahahahahboohoo). Instead, break your wardrobe down into more manageable segments by category (shirts, slacks, skirts, jeans, dresses, caftans, sweaters, what have you) and then set a 15-minute timer for yourself to attack one wardrobe segment at a time. You may need to set the timer several times to get through one segment and that’s fine. Is there a sitcom you find especially comforting? You might use episodes of that as your timer, as neither sorting nor rewatching a sitcom will necessarily consume your whole brain, and it would be a bit like having a friend on hand while you work.
Determine your level of complexity in advance: are you just getting rid of stuff? You’re going to make two piles/sacks: one that’s trash (stuff you wouldn’t want to wear, due to stains, moth holes, etc.) and one that’s donations (other). Do you think of a friend when you see a certain would-be hand-me-down (and, crucially, are you likely to remember to give these items to that friend the next time you see them?) If so, you’ve got a third pile for that chum.
This next point is crucial: take everything you are no longer going to wear out of your house. Ask a friend to help you schlep if need be (and then pay them). Voila, you have space for new clothes!
If you, like Dame Margaret, tend to get emotionally attached to clothing and have a hard time parting with it, I cannot recommend highly enough the option of sending beloved items to a friend’s clothing swap. It softens the blow of being unable to wear your favorite sweatshirt again to know that it’s brightening up the life of someone you actually know. BUT WARNING: Do! Not! Partake! Of! The! Swap! Until you know what your look is going to be, clothing swaps are too dangerous. Everything’s free, and the atmosphere will convince you to take stuff that does not fit or suit your style because WHY NOT and then you will end up with an albatross of Unwearable Clothes. Once you’ve culled your wardrobe, you can participate. But for now, only donate.
Now, you need new clothes. Without knowing more about how you imagine your personal style developing, we can’t prescribe anything other than asking yourself the following questions:
What image do you want to project with your clothes?
How much money are you willing & able to spend?
How much time are you willing & able to spend?
Do you have a friend or two whose style you admire and who is also a good, supportive shopping partner? Make a shopping date with them!
How do you feel about creating a sort of uniform for yourself? In the last couple of years Dame Sophie has gotten into buying the same item in 2 or 3 colorways when it’s a favorite she knows she’ll get a lot of wear out of. This may not work for the fanciest items, but it’s particularly justifiable for things like a long-sleeve Breton, which she wears 3 out of 4 seasons.
We wish you luck & happy hunting! Prioritizing feeling & looking good is a great starting point. Let us know how you get on!
Hi! I just got a new job! I’m very excited about it but it includes an hour and 15 minute commute into NYC from NJ. I know that’s probably not that long for a lot of people but my current job is 15 minutes from my house so it’s an adjustment. Any advice for how to best handle a commute? Including recommendations for good commuting podcasts/music/books/audiobooks? -- Leandra
Congratulations on the new gig! You don’t need to justify your interest in navigating the adjustment your longer commute will bring. Change is change, and you need some help, so good for you for seeking it out!
Dame Sophie generally works at home but on the days where she has a longish drive to a work event, she prefers a longish podcast. Some good ones, full of interesting stories, good conversations, or both include:
Longform -- these are interviews with journalists, and it’s consistently one of my favorite sources of good Twitter follows, as well as of top-notch reading material. I think you could get some great synergizing of backwards overflows here and find things to read on your commute as follow-ups to these conversations. Some recent favorite episodes include Helen Rosner and Kiera Feldman, and two favorites of all time are Margalit Fox and their double-header with Heben Nigatu & Tracy Clayton.
Hit Parade -- future friend of the newsletter Chris Molanphy is the host of this maximally researched & perfectly executed monthly storytelling podcast about the music industry. Favorite episodes include Donna Summer, Prince & Tom Petty, and the brand-new episode (part 1 of 2!!) about R.E.M. and the B-52s
You Must Remember This -- another storytelling-based show about the hidden and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood. We wrote about our love for host Karina Longworth’s 13-episode series about Charles Manson’s Hollywood a few summers ago, and next week will see the launch of a new series, kicking off with “early 20th century culture wars, a powerful man’s fetishizing of his female teenage employees, and rumors of incest between two silent stars. Also there will be 90s britpop.” That seems pretty goddamn irresistible to me!
In a similar vein of long-form storytelling, both of us absolutely love Slate’s Slow Burn podcast. The first season told, in-depth, the story of how Nixon’s Watergate scandal unfolded, and the second is in the process of doing the same for Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearing and affair with Monica Lewinsky. Whether you think you know nothing about these stories or everything, going through them with host Leon Neyfahk’s keen eye for detail and compassionate intelligence is hugely rewarding.
Since this question was first answered, Dame Margaret has discovered two new favorite shows, both with sizable back catalogs full of (to her) evergreen content.. each quite distinct in dignity. First up, there’s Stay Tuned with Preet, wherein former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (1) interviews utterly fascinating people whose work relates, primarily, to criminal justice or politics and (2) does incredible work explaining in clear, concise language just what the hell is going on with our President and the many investigations related to it. Dame M started from the beginning of the podcast’s run and has listened to 6 months worth of episodes in a week without hitting one dud. A podcast she has devoured with similar voracious appetite is Who? Weekly, a comedy show where writers Lindsey Weber and Bobby Finger tell you “everything you need to know about the celebrities you don’t.” It’s wildly funny and, because you never knew who any of these “wholebrities” were before Lindsey and Bobby, you can find even ancient episodes as entertaining as new ones.
And finally, looking ahead to fall, there is much to delight, including a series on the famous art heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum!
A long-ish commute is also great for listening to full albums. Here are a few we particularly like for summer. Dame Sophie has been really feeling a late-90s vibe lately:
Good Humor, by Saint Etienne -- I just had the secularly ecstatic pleasure of seeing them perform this album live in its entirety in celebration of its 20th anniversary. If you live in one of the remaining tour cities and can attend, do yourself a favor and go. They put on a show that manages to balance exquisite chillness and high-key “gosh, can you believe we’re out tonight dancing our asses off in feather boas & sequined bomber jackets? This is the best!!”-ness, which reminded me of how dang good disco-inflected synthpop can sound live when played by a tight band.
Baduizm, by Erykah Badu -- an unimpeachably classic debut album
Out of Sight -- the soundtrack to an excellent and very under-famous movie of the same title
Buildings & Grounds, by Papas Fritas -- this band has fallen off my radar but I wore this CD OUT in 1999
Homogenic, by Bjork -- another great act who I haven’t really paid much attention to her work after 2002 but this, the last of her three albums situated neatly in the trip-hop milieu of the late 90s, is a solid wall of icy, dramatic, furious sonic splendor
When I Was Born for the 7th Time, by Cornershop -- if you know these guys at all, it’s due to their unexpected Top 10 hit “Brimful of Asha”. This album as a whole is a delight & perfect for parties
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, by Ms. Lauryn Hill -- I mean. Come on. If you haven’t listened to this in its entirety lately, do
And finally, we would be remiss if we did not point out that this is an absolutely ideal time to dust off your library card and familiarize yourself with all the ebooks and audiobooks you can get on OverDrive, Hoopla, and whichever other services your library subscribes to. If you’re commuting that far every day, you’re going to plow through material so quickly that you’ll need all the free you can get. And those services are basically bottomless wells of great stuff.
Congratulations again, and happy commuting!!
I'm super-interested in your newsletter's story -- when did you start, what triggered/inspired your paid subscriber focus, how have people received it? Any other thoughts or wisdom on this?
(Disclosure, I am working on this with my own newslettering, and am much earlier in the path than you are. And I'd totally understand if you didn't want to share this.)
-- Some Kind of Khaleesi
Dear SK of K,
Yours is, of course, a very flattering question - thank you for asking! We talked about our origin story with our beloved DamesPal Kathryn VanArendonk in our first-anniversary issue waaaay back in 2015. We launched our Patreon crowdfunding campaign in 2016 and made the switch to Substack this past January. Readers have been very supportive of the shift, which is great, because we really could not continue to put in as much work as we do on the newsletter (at least 10 hours per week for each of us; this is basically a short-form magazine run by two people with full-time jobs & busy social lives) without compensation. If you have more specific questions, hit us up at email@example.com & thank you for reading!
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