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And We're Back 4 min read

And We're Back

Feebly trying to explain a long absence and humbly asking for your patience

By Cary Littlejohn
And We're Back Post image

No, your eyes do no deceive you. I am back in your inbox after months, MONTHS away.

I was somewhat unceremonious about my departure, which, I’m sure, is a fate that befalls many who’ve ventured into the newsletter waters. One might start with the best of intentions, and then it becomes clear that keeping up a newsletter is hard work.

I’m guilty of falling by the wayside, but I did not go gentle into the good night when it comes to newsletters. I was approached and invited to contribute to an exciting new opportunity called The Postscript, which was started by my friend Nicholas Jackson.

It’s a newsletter dedicated to good and meaningful stories. It has posted deep-dives into particular subjects. It’s served as a home for original reporting. It’s gone behind the scenes of other big stories, where reporters’ processes, trials, and triumphs are discussed.

My weekly contributions are known as Weekend Reading, and they are aggregation and curation, just like this newsletter always has been. It’s the same thing I love about this newsletter: scouring the vastness of the Internet and saying, “Here. Here’s something you will enjoy reading.”

The past five issues of Weekend Reading include tons of stories and podcasts, covering topics such as:

I started at The Postscript back in the summer, and at first, I was trying to do both this newsletter and that one, as well as be a full-time reporter. It became too much to handle, and this newsletter, unfortunately, was where I chose to make a cut to my workload.  (To my credit, I wasn’t duplicating any of the work; the links shared in those early weeks at The Postscript were completely original to that newsletter and same for those shared in Critical Linking.) As a result, I haven’t written to you since I recounted my trip to Casper to see the new Anthony Bourdain documentary.

But, as they say, things change constantly. This past month, I started a new job. It’s an editor/writer position, but it’s not journalism. I’m still reporting and writing stories for the newspaper but on a freelance basis now. The pace of the new gig is just much slower than that of the newsroom, and as a result, I’d like to return to writing on this project regularly.

Social media was awash in recent weeks in everybody’s Spotify Wrapped. I don’t use Spotify (except for a select few podcasts), but I got something akin to a Wrapped in my inbox. It wasn’t about how much I’d listened to but rather about how much I’d read. It was an email from Pocket, my preferred read-it-later service, where I often save articles that intrigue me but for which I don’t have time at the moment of discovery to actually read.

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Some of that reading was just for pleasure, sure, but a lot of it was to fill the pages of this newsletter and the Weekend Readings over at The Postscript.

I hope to continue to be able to share with you some of the most interesting things I find in my weeks, but I also know that I’ll be sorting out what this new direction will be for Critical Linking.

In the short time I’ve published this newsletter, I’ve already gone through shifts and changes in not only how it’s produced and distributed but what it wanted to be.

From timid first posts about the joys of creativity and simply liking what you like and sharing it, like the glory days of blogging, to a “maybe-I-should-just-recommend-things” mindset.

I tried publishing weekly at the beginning, but in early 2020, the only period of my life in which I was unemployed, you could see me experiment with dailydeliveries. Once the pandemic settled in over us, I tried to up the ante yet again, and be a constantly online blogger-type. (Spoiler: It did not work.)

There was my last attempt at this very same kind of post, the explanatory essay catching you, the reader, up on where I’d been, and why I hadn’t been in your inbox . It was just after I’d moved out here to Wyoming and started at the newspaper.

There was shameless celebrating of friends or my own work in the real world.

There was the moment back in August where I landed on what is the backbone of Critical Linking’s current format: Ten Worth Your Time.

The next post became the norm: Some sort of introductory essay + Ten Worth Your Time.

There was my beloved Pixar Project, where I watched and posted about a Pixar film a day throughout December. (Some of my personal favorites were Ratatouille, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Coco.)

Sometimes, too infrequently for my liking, I used this space simply to write.

I recite all of that because I don’t know what the future of this newsletter looks like.

I don’t know how often I’ll post or what exactly my content will consist of, but I pray you’ll indulge my experimentation, especially if you’ve found anything of value (be they my own words or interesting content from my recommendations).

If you liked what you read, please sign up, follow me on Twitter ( @CaryLiljohn06) and then forward to friends to help spread the word.