Yeah, I'll Try It

I'm Going for the "Least Sexy Communication Style"

Ana Wang

I’m always trying to try new things. Well, not always actually trying new things, but trying to try. It’s not easy to do this. I know; I’ve been eating the same pork noodle soup, Szechuan spicy flavoured, almost every week since I first discovered it. It’s not even a special place; must be a franchise because lucky for me, it’s now at all my favorite Asian strip malls and one regular one. Sometimes we’ll go to Aberdeen Center and I’ll walk around twice with the absolute resolve to try a new thing, and 80% of the time, I’ll give in and order the same pork noodle soup. It’s two things specifically that get me: the fatty pork and the Szechuan peppercorn, in noodle soup form. It’s me-in-a-dish, circa 2019.

Do we really need another email newsletter service? No, of course not. We hardly need anything anymore. That’s why I’m really over the question at all: Do we need x?

But so much of what makes an expert in any field is in the details, the minute-ness, the 1 pixel, the 1 question that hasn’t been asked, the 1% better than.

So today, I’m trying Substack, because maybe it has that. As I’ve said, I am definitely one to try new things, especially when they’ve become suddenly very popular in any specific context: here, it’s mostly in the tech space, but I’ve also read about it in the Atlantic and Vanity Fair, credit probably to whoever’s running their PR. Now, when someone describes email as the “least sexy communication style” but also “the next big thing” (Atlantic), and that its appeal lies in being able to “retain some of the intimacy of the early digital-media days” (Vanity Fair), I am suggesting to myself that maybe what I’ve missed about blogging when I was a student might now be found in a newsletter, plain and simple, where I know exactly who you are (well, your email address at least), if you’re interested enough to ask me to join you in your inbox every time I write, and where I can play with my writing without a whole shebang but can quietly come in, unannounced, and slowly, steadily, say something that someone, somewhere can read - but also, take up no space at all if no one decides to read anything. And very practically, I won’t lose all the writing I’ve decided is okay enough to look over at least once and let loose into the world, the next time I decide not to renew a domain on a short-lived project when it expires. It’s like wanting to slip away quietly without bother, while keeping the memory of it all in tact.

What’s “Wild At Home”? It’s what I’ve decided to call this newsletter, for now. Not wild as in Girls Gone Wild (please please let the SEO gods not pick up on this) but Cheryl Strayed as played by Reese Witherspoon Wild. I want to tell the kind of story that I’ve always wanted to hear more of: one that’s not flashy, quick, grand, BIG, packaged nicely in memoir form, then repackaged in movie form with glossy cellophane wrap and a perfectly curly ribbon on top. There’s no eat-pray-loving here - well, perhaps a bit of eating and loving but no “Dear God, it’s me, Ana” praying (unless it’s to the aforementioned SEO gods - that was one time!!).

This is about doing things without some grand escape or ultimate gesture, learning and growing without a “The End” in post-script. I think mostly, it’ll be about these things: building a life and career, 1% and 1 day at a time.