Stream of Consciousness

December 3, 2021

How does one write a newsletter?

My friend, Adrian, suggested a while ago I describe the process of composing a newsletter. This has proven to be a challenge to articulate, because I don't fully understand it! But upon undue reflection, I have discerned several strategies and a common structure. 

One of the strategies is simply to recount the refrain that has been circling in my head of recent and look for the story therein. There has to be a reason the refrain keeps circling. Thus this week I was going to try to embellish the meaning of "stepping stone". That has been the song circling of late. 

But yesterday early evening, Susan and I were returning from a glass of wine or two at our stone circle, and the evening's sunset abruptly commanded our attention, and redirected the topic of today's communication. The stream over which we passed, that we have been reshaping of late, gleamed brilliantly beneath us and beneath the orange sunset, and spoke aloud the words "stream of consciousness". That phrase circled in my head all night, was with me this morning, and was so insistent that it over-rode the stepping stone. So, here we are, trying to understand the stream of consciousness. This approach stems from the subconscious, and is accordingly poignant. That is one way I arrive at a topic.

The other is by looking at pictures taken over the past few weeks to see what story emerges from them. This is more typical since pictures and stories from the landscape are more varied than those from within the person. It is always stimulating to review the pictures and feel their richness. 

The ever-repeating format to the newsletter is to share a picture of the landscape, a picture of animals, and a picture of food on the table. This brings the journey on the land full circle, from complexity of soil, animals, and weather to the intimacy of prepared food, serving as a medicine to spirit and body.

Another approach to the theme has been to simply to share the discordant path of the week, how it moves from one seemingly unrelated problem to another. Thus, no character is developed nor plot of intrigue skillfully woven into an engaging adventure. Rather, you read of the unpredictable nature of raising and producing a lot of animals into careful food for a lot of people. I try to reveal the humor, beauty, skill, and hard work residing within this productive chaos.

I find this process stimulating. It takes 6 - 8 hours to write these newsletters, depending on length and interruptions. Selecting, condensing, sending, and sorting pictures is the first step that takes several hours. But this process helps provoke the imagination and generate the story. I can feel the story being generated within, as I try to attach words to the pictures or vice versa. That is when the "channeling" begins and the flow starts to move, somehow from somewhere. I feel myself becoming removed from the outer world and immersed in a meditation of sorts. This is when the magic that will arise does. I hope for silence from without during this time, so as to hear music from within.

And throughout this process, I keep hearing the venerable English professors from college correcting the grammar and reminding me to use fewer words than more. I am warmed by their presence and support.

Another dimension is there is always a very short timeline, with little room for editing and re-fashioning, for having too much work to do. The result is periodic mistakes of various sorts, but striving for perfection can impede a lot of good. At the same time, I am conscious of not stealing readers' time. Time is precious, and readers deserve utmost respect. I give it my best effort, at the end of which I find myself tired and gratified.

Another dimension is the sense of connection derived with customers through telling the story. They talk to me, which touches my soul.

Last, the technical aspect of putting this all together and sending it out over Mailchimp can be quite a challenge. The barriers to doing so keep shifting, just to keep the older guard off-guard, it seems. But somehow I muddle through and it all works out. 

So, this is the stream of consciousness in which I swim when writing newsletters. I don't claim the company of those who pioneered this genre of literature - Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and William James, but sometimes, by accident, we end up in the same waters as the renowned, which is stimulating. 

Here are my friends, the ever-faithful beeves, moving across the landscape, one careful increment at a time, building organic matter as they go. Because we have destocked, we probably won't have to feed any hay this winter. We will be able to graze throughout. I have not experienced that before and look forward to doing so.

The hogs love nesting in old hay bales during cold nights. They are doing great, and we have begun harvesting them. So, we now have plenty of pork chops, sausages, and roasts.

This is the inevitable picture of dinner, of translating the microbes of the soil into one of civilizations highest acts - dining beautifully. Susan is an accomplished artist, in this vein, among others. This plate features a second-joint of pastured turkey, accompanied by all the trimmings, on Thanksgiving Day. We felt most grateful for it and much else.

Bob and Stephanie will be at MadTree on Sunday. Place orders by midnight tonight or send an email.

May the consciousness of each of us be illuminated and flow like a stream.

Drausin & Susan

Drausin Wulsin

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