“So, you write about grief?” — 14-year-old Mega, on my flight this week
Hi there. Thank you for sticking with me. This is a short, rare update email to say: The next letter will be the last weekly grief in its current form. If you signed up recently, thank you, and sorry.
The weekly grief (it’s actually biweekly, but nobody seems to mind) has been a chance to feel and think across one year of seasons in Japan. It’s been a great pleasure. I feel more strongly about some of the writing I’ve done for you here than from the rest of my career.
In 2023, the grief will take a new form. It’s not yet fully imagined, but to begin with, the newsletter will be a lot less frequent. The main reason is that I’m starting a novel, about mountains and longing. It’s already difficult to find enough space outside of my full-time work for The Japan Times, and I don’t think I can manage everything. But I also feel that I’ve made a lot of the seasonal observations that I’ve wanted to, and that the letters have become a little formulaic. So it’s time for something different.
In between, keep in touch with me on Twitter or my new Instagram for things I’m looking at. You can also catch up on old letters or follow my work over at the JT, where I write about books and art, most recently reviewing a South Korean mental health memoir and Haruki Murakami’s new book of essays. Last week I looked back at a year of big art events in Japan.
I started these notes following the end of a very big relationship. With no one to share my little observations with, I wrote letters to a phantom reader. Eventually I shared them with Sarah Todd, who pushed me to start a newsletter.
I’m amazed anyone has shown interest in it at all, much less connected with it as some of you have. If you’ve been quietly reading and enjoying (or despising) now is the time to leave a comment or drop me a line. I’d be really glad to hear from you. I promise not to make it weird.
Thank you for reading, truly. And see you next time for the last of the weekly griefs.
Recently found out about your work, through a Wired article. Vietnamese diaspora always peek my interest, beause i am one of them (ended up in the Netherlands). Looking forward in whatever you are writing in the future, in whatever form, book or newsletters.
Just about every other week I would wake up at an unreasonable hour (not on purpose and not unusual) and read the weekly grief in bed, suspended between sleep and the sunrise and your writing. Your newsletters gave me a lot to stew on, from how the passage of time felt in a place that I knew but wasn’t actually in, to configuring relationships with others (humans, phenomena, objects). Thank you so much, and whatever form the weekly grief and your other writing take in the future, I look forward to reading. メリークリスマス and 良いお年をお過ごしください！