Friends! It’s been a while, but I’m happy to be back.

Substack, the online app I used to run this newsletter from, sent me an automated email last March 21 reminding me that it has been four months since I last sent an email. Yesterday (May 21), that drought extended to six months.

So what happened and what will happen moving forward?

Let’s start with what happened.

About two weeks after I lost my best friend, an event I wrote about here, I lost my position at the agency I’ve worked as a freelance academic editor for the past three years.

I discovered that grief and loss of income overpower any drive I have to write these emails. And the guilt that, somehow, losing my job took over the mental space I should’ve given to grieving my best friend’s loss and helping those he left, sucks whatever motivation is left for me to write.

I tried to bounce back from the loss of income as fast as I could so that I could return to grieving and writing, but I soon found that these things have their own timeline. I could only do so much because the best opportunities present themselves unannounced, usually from people who are already in our lives.

The past six months have been a semester of learning optimism—perhaps even trust or faith. After many failed attempts applying to several agencies, I decided to look for my own clients. In March, I studied how to write email proposals and sent one to a prospect referred by a friend. The prospect was so impressed by my email and the sample I sent her that she invited me for an interview.

I nailed both the interview and the writing test that came after, landing me the gig. I worked with this client for the entirety of March, a project that helped me review how to write a research paper the right way, something that proved to be very useful later (I’ll talk more about this in the next email).

Around the same time, a previous employer I contacted last December to inquire about any projects they may need an extra hand with, finally returned to me and offered me a project. These two gigs kept me afloat these past six months.

Now, I am in the middle of designing websites for two clients, who are also friends of mine. These projects will sustain me until July when I resume work with the research client I mentioned above.

This is the universe telling me to trust because everything is going to be alright. And this is why I have to get back to sending these emails, to writing for this newsletter—a project that has been so close to my heart for many years already.

Things are still not perfect. I am nowhere near the income I used to have and I no longer have the luxury of working for a few days per month and a steady paycheck.

But I have enough mental space and courage to be grateful that it is a disservice to the universe, to you, and to myself, not to send an email. So, yes, I will be visiting your inboxes once more, and to start, I have two announcements to share.

First, I am tweaking my newsletter system. I used to send different emails to different groups of subscribers. But I am sending these emails to only a handful of you that dividing you into groups doesn’t make sense right now. So, I will be sending everything to this list—The Long Walk list—moving forward.

That said, I will be putting categories of emails I will send to you in the subject line so you immediately know what email you are getting. Here are the categories:

  • ᜇ Updates – Occasional personal updates about my life like what you are reading right now.
  • ᜇ Essay – Even more infrequent essays that are not necessarily about walking. These essays slowly grow from what I call my forest garden of the mind.
  • ᜇ Poem – Oh, by the way, I’m also a poet. I’ll start sharing finished poems here.
  • ᜇ Lilim – Occasional walking narratives.
  • ᜇ A Book About LB – Yes, I am writing a book.

The last category is also my second announcement.

This is what is going to happen moving forward. In the months to come, I will be sending dispatches to this email list about my first book project. The book is about Los Baños (LB), the municipality of Laguna, Philippines where I am currently located. Specifically, it will be about walking in LB and what that means not only on a cultural level but also on a deeper philosophical and existential level.

I’ve been wanting to start this project this year but I also intentionally delayed it due to the issues I mentioned above. Nevertheless, I seem to be okay now, enough to start something, to return home to writing and walking and poetry and photography—things that matter most to me.

I will be sending the first ᜇ A Book About LB email very soon, hopefully, this week, so watch out for it. And if I haven’t said this enough before—thank you thank you thank you for being here.

More soon.