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Storyslinger No. 10.23
News: October 2023
This is a monthly newsletter. On this first Tuesday of every month I discuss what’s been going on and what’s to come. You can find previous news (and everything else) in the Archive.
I’ve been brushing the dust off recently. If my writing was physical (in a notebook or on an old typewriter), I would pick it up and blow a big puff of breath and watch the dust swirl into the air and drift lazily in the sunlight filtering through the shutters. But as James Brown sang, “It’s a digital world!” So, I’m just digging through documents on my computer and notes I’ve been emailing myself for the past months.
I experimented with Bard, Google’s hat toss into the AI ring. Since its inception, Bard has evolved into a tool extended into every Google service. I think AI is useful. And despite the challenges (especially with the concept of Artificial General Intelligence, or AGI), AI itself can help writers write better. In fact, writers have been using a version of AI with spell check and grammar checking for a long time. More recently, tools like Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid (which I use as my first-round editor) can help rewrite or edit everything from emails to novels. Both of these tools now prominently display the term “AI” on their homepages. And Sudowrite is another thing altogether. I’ve played around with it and it’s a pretty amazing tool. It can help you brainstorm, outline, and even draft your story.
But I still write these articles without any help. Not even editing. Perhaps that’s obvious to you, the reader. But I actually find that I work much more quickly when I just sit at the computer and start writing. Things flow out of my head and onto the page and then I’m done. I usually make a quick pass to find any obvious errors, but after that I’m happy that what I’ve written is good enough for me and you to enjoy. And that’s what I really love about this newsletter service from Substack. I can just write and be me and put it all out there.
The is no better way to help Storyslinger than sharing this post to everyone you know (or just everyone, even if you don’t know them). Whether you liked it or not is immaterial (okay, disclaimer: I actually care about whether you liked it, so drop a comment if you have some feelings)—but, anyway, share it because, who knows, somebody else might like it (too...instead)?
Speaking of putting it all out there, I’m working on an article about my early drinking and struggles with alcohol through my teens, twenties, thirties, and forties. After nearly 43 years of drinking alcohol, I quit cold turkey one night in Tunisia after consuming about ten beers and finishing off a bottle of red wine (and two packets of French cigarettes). I think I’m enough years beyond that night to finally talk about it. But more importantly, I want to frame it around being a writer and compare myself (not my writing, heaven forbid!) to other writers who struggled with substance abuse.
Honestly, even though I’m well beyond most of the shame I felt back then, it’s still tough to talk about. And there are still some lingering related habits (lying and deception at the top of the list) that continue to impact me today. But I think it’s important to talk about this stuff because society tends to ignore it—and even celebrate drinking as being cool, even though there are no benefits to drinking
poison alcohol that you can’t get more healthfully elsewhere; and any theoretical benefits (I think you can be convinced the theories are now proven false) are offset by the risks. I’ll explore all of that and more in my article. And I won’t tell you that you shouldn’t drink (but you absolutely shouldn’t).
I look forward to hearing from you about this topic and anything else that comes to mind. You can reach me in the comments (if you’re a paid subscriber), online where Notes and Chats live, or download the Substack app and find my Notes and Chats there. Thanks for reading!
Okay, so there is something better than sharing (despite what your mother taught you), and that's paying for something that gives you value. Like Smokey Bear said, "Only you can prevent artists from starving!" or something like that. If you aren’t a subscriber—do that now! But then (and also if you’re already a free subscriber), consider upgrading. A paid subscription literally costs only 0.17¢ per day (0.14¢ if you opt for the annual subscription) and there are some extra goodies included. And that tiny sum keeps me in the black with this effort and enables me to write stuff for you to read. So, honestly, why be just a freebie? Click below!