I really should’ve gone into marketing, because creating names, logos, design guides, and colour palettes has always been the most fun part of independent business for me. It’s the reason I keep changing the names of my ventures. And it’s the same reason I’m grateful to Past Me for choosing my name for this Substack URL. With my real name as the foundation, I can build, or rebuild, anything I want on top.
For the longest time, I felt shame and failure whenever I gave up on a blog, a title, a shop. The changes were easy to justify; I always had logical reasons. But underneath all the reasons lingered that voice telling me I was a quitter. I didn’t have the passion; I didn’t have the grit.
Because I’m old now, I can’t remember exactly the first internet account I created. On AIM, I was TheGirlInGlasses. I used DammitCarl for many years on LiveJournal, and it was the first dot com I bought. (“Dammit, Carl!” is from the Friends episode where Joey hires a guy to be his identical twin. My brothers and I loved the intonation of Joey’s scolding so much that we still use the phrase today.)
When I joined the internet at the end of the 1990s, nobody used their real names. Maybe, in private chat rooms, after a while, you’d start using first names, but never full names. So every blog I started, I picked a new name. I opened my first Etsy shop in 2009, and it’s had a half dozen names since then. I didn’t buy my name dot com until just a few years ago. jessicadriscoll.com was taken, as expected, but I got lucky with jessdriscoll.com. I joined Twitter in 2006—so early that I probably could’ve claimed @jessd at least.
But nobody used their real names back then. The internet wasn’t a utility. Back then, the internet was still a place for people to go when they felt like they didn’t belong anywhere else.
With the farmers market ending at the beginning of October, quickly transitioning to Canzine at the end of the month, then straight into NaNoWriMo happening right now, I thought that maybe it would be easy to make the switch from baker to writer. (I don’t know why I thought this; I should know my brain by now lol.)
Different jobs for different seasons makes sense. I don’t grow basil in December; I don’t cook a lot of soups in August. Farmers markets past October (even DURING this October) don’t make sense in this part of the continent. Rain comes whenever it wants. It’s cold now. Not quite MEC parka weather, but also weather that I feel decidedly unprepared for. I left the house without an umbrella the other day. In November! I’ve forgotten how to be an outside person.
No matter, though. The rest of 2020 will probably be more inside than the previous seven months. So I thought it would be the perfect time to get back to writing, to start publishing Congenial Telegram on a schedule again, to suck in a deep breath and send out some more pitches. But I might need a little more time to remember how to be a writing person.
The URL of this letter won’t be changing. And I still own jessdriscoll.com, which still holds the archives of my internet writing, going back to 2007 (one day, hopefully, I’ll get the whole mess from 2002 to present day up there).
The only thing that changed today is the title: homemaking at the end of the world.
I had this revelation recently that I’m a person who loves to cook, who is getting better at cleaning, who is obsessed with routines and habits, who creates projects and systems to live in a world, you might call me a “homemaker.” You wouldn’t, though, because I’m single, I live alone, I don’t even have a pet to take care of.
But I do have a home. And if this year has taught us nothing, it’s taught us that home is everything. So make it comfy. Make it warm. Fill it with delicious aromas, and find yourself a spot with natural light. You’re gonna be there a while.
This season of my writing will continue on Sundays with breakfast recipes and a mid-week letter about the other rooms in your home. And I’m going to start shorter blogging again. I want to keep the long rambling feel of this letter, like a weekly dispatch from a long-distance friend. But there are other things I’ve been wanting to write about that haven’t yet warranted a “whole” newsletter. Which is a made-up definition in the first place lol. The point of blogging is you can write whatever you want.
My blog lives here, and if you click this link, you should be able to add it to your RSS reader. I didn’t realise how much I missed short posts until I started posting to Instagram Stories, which feels—in some way—like the perfect mashup of Twitter and Tumblr. I post a lot there—too much, I worry, for such an ephemeral platform that also doesn’t belong to me. So there’ll be more short posts on my blog, a couple of regular letters by email, and once a month, I’ll send you a collection of my best work.
Which is a very good incentive to go make something today.