Welcome to 2024, friends. Whether this is a joyous season for you or a time of lament, I pray blessings for you as we enter into the possibilities of a new year.
Saturday, January 6th will be the feast of Epiphany in the Western Church's calendar. As the sorcerers from the East followed a wandering star which came to rest over the baby Jesus, that humble conqueror and paradoxical king, so too my prayer for you is that you would be drawn inexorably to the filthy manger where God-with-us is born. Amen.
2023 in retrospect 🧭
2023 was a year of experimentation for me. As experiments are wont to do, they yielded some results, and the theme of 2024 will be watering and tending to those insights, relationships, and opportunities which emerged from last year's labors.
I launched this newsletter last January – records show my first post was January 17th – marking the first month I decided to start hitting 'publish' on my writing every single week, just to see where that practice would take me.
At that same time, I also started to write a book that had been ruminating in my mind since fall of 2018. That book is now approaching its final stages, and wow has it been a tough learning experience. I'll be sharing more once it's published.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. On top of successfully publishing a piece every single week and writing a book, over the course of the past year I also –
- Started a podcast Samsara Audio (8 episodes in total!).
- Stumbled into some wonderful collaborative relationships, online and IRL.
- Secured my first paid writing commission (two, actually!).
- Started learning German (keeping my Duolingo streak alive 😎).
- Joined the board of the Sacramento Psychoanalytic Society
- Completed a 12 week intensive online course reading Lacan's Ecríts.
- Published a collection of essays and poetry (released a few days ago)
- Wrote a chapter for an anthology on Hegel (to be submitted later this month).
And that list doesn't even include all the joys and struggles I experienced this year as I continued the dance of loving my wife and embarked on the wonderful journey of being a father to my beloved son.
I'm left feeling incredibly thankful for all the people I've interacted with last year, and I'm hopeful that last year's experimentation will continue to bear fruit in 2024.
Looking ahead to 2024 🔭
Having said all that, this post's main priority is to set some expectations for what you, the reader, can expect from Samsara Diagnostics in 2024.
I've spent a lot of time over the past few months thinking through what I've experienced this year, what I feel like I'm learning about myself, and also seriously considering how I want to devote my time in 2024. This is the best arrangement that I've been able to find, although it always remains open to revision based on unexpected life events or newfound bursts of inspiration.
1 - Samsara Diagnostics 📩
I've made the decision for 2024 to stop posting every single week at Samsara Diagnostics, and to instead post at least once a month.
I'm really proud of what I was able to achieve last year by posting here at Samsara Diagnostics every single week, but that practice also clarified for me that writing is not my highest love. I found that the commitment to post every week was getting in the way of other things I found that I either enjoyed more or needed to invest in to further my learning process.
In order to find the time to invest more deeply in particular relationships or reading/research projects, I've needed to trim somewhere. I might post more than once a month if I find myself with the urge to write and with things to say, but I think that lowering my commitment to once a month is the most manageable thing I can do right now. Thank you for your understanding, and I always welcome your feedback!
2 - Samsara Audio 🎙️
One thing I discovered last year was how much I enjoyed podcasting. Once I got over some of the technological humps, I began to see how it fits with my temperament and my strengths more so than writing a piece every week does. I thrive on conversations more than monologues, and I find that my best writing flows from good conservations anyways.
For this reason, I seriously considered scaling up my podcasting output at Samsara Audio, but I've ultimately decided to remain at one episode a month as my standard. I plan to continue iteratively improving the quality of the audio/video and the content. I have a number of guests in mind for this upcoming season already, but if there is anyone you want to hear from, please let me know!
Note that I will be providing transcripts of each Samsara Audio episode for premium subscribers, so sign up for a paid subscription to get access to those transcripts.
3 - Samsara Study Groups 📚
Samsara Study Groups is the newest idea that I've been working on for this year. I'll be sending out an email in a week to provide much more detail, but suffice to say that if you are interested in reading texts from the Kyoto School, please shoot me a message through my Contact page so I can include you on the scheduling emails where we will refine the idea for the group further. In the meantime, you can also check out this page to learn more.
4 - Miscellaneous 🍱
There are a few other miscellaneous projects which I have on the back burner that I'd like to find time for, but they are a lower priority. If I get to them, I get to them. If any of these projects sounds particularly interesting to you or you have some connections who could help make them happen, please let me know!
- Offering my first online course in either summer or fall of 2024
- Presenting at some conferences (I already have two scheduled)
- Producing a video series for my book on Endo's novel Silence
- Publishing a physical book collecting all my writing from last year
- Trying to get some spicy essays published in larger online publications
What do you think about these new experiments I'm embarking on? Shoot me a message at samsara[at]skiff.com with any questions, comments, or feedback that you want to share with me. I want to hear from you about what works and what doesn't so I can serve you and your reflection better this year.
Thank you for giving me a small portion of your day. I don't take it for granted that I have a right to be in your email inbox – you let me in, and I am thankful for that opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
Here's to a new year of exploration, labor and growth! Soli Deo Gloria.