Dear friend,

I stuck my hand out into the darkness and was promptly yanked awake by the dead sapiosexuals under my bed. Even a hibernating newsletter can have an end-of-year post.

Writers rarely get to be stories. This is why we make newsletters. We don’t have exhibitions or concerts, and a book reading takes some time because, at the very least, you need to have written a book. And finishing a book is difficult, because someone has to manage the newsletter, no?

 

New Year’s Eves are sufficiently designed for us, in that case. Big enough occasions to give toasts. Warmed just right by the holiday season to make us evoke deep feelings and express them without feeling ungracious. Distinctly final, much like our deadlines: forcing us to be pithy and to make one final dash to get our words into the noise.

 

This year, I’d hoped to be the person who endorsed the words of other writers who moved me. That would have involved 27 weeks of writing and reading discipline that I’ve never previously exhibited. You know as well as I do that I didn’t hit those targets. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you many times I was successful. Could be half, or fewer.

 

It was a year that began with a torpedo to my foundations, and kicking and flailing. So it was bound to be a year of delays – of plans, dreams, gym memberships, haircuts, and scooter maintenance. This email is at least 20 minutes late.

 

But I learnt to allow it. I focused more on my Success Log in 2018 than anything else, in a stunning blow to irony. In the very year I decided to make a newsletter about all the ways I embarrass myself. HA.

 

It’s a decent log. I saw more cities in 2018 than I had in my life, and I got to do it exactly as I had imagined it as a pissed off 19-year-old in engineering college. My longform pieces were shamelessly long, like my answers as a cricket expert on UK radio. I wrote at least 50,000 words before it was November, and was unwittingly part of live coverage that was the 21st most engaging piece on the internet in 2018, alongside many articles I sent you in this very newsletter.

 

There’s plenty to wrap my head around, but I’ll give you what you’re really here for.

 

Since the last email, I’ve: a) booked a passport appointment for January 7 and showed up for it on December 7, b) paid upwards of 4,000 rupees for a facial I didn’t really want, c) renewed an insurance policy that hadn’t expired, and d) decided to send a first draft out.

 

Thank you for allowing me to tell you these things in 2018. I’m grateful beyond anything, and it is definitely one of the top things ever in my life that I have a willing audience. I can’t wait until someone bids for your data so I can make a quick exit.

 

Thank you, strangers and new friends. Thanks, those who brought your friends here. Thanks, if you wrote back to me. And thanks to those who are reading this at midnight. The click rates really suck at this hour.

 

Have a phenomenal 2019. Catch you soon!

 

Yours,

Varun

Story of the year – Love City: 24 hours of romance, lust and heartbreak in New York City

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