Making, At Length: Songwriting, Cocktails, Illustrations

Each Sunday for the next five weeks, we’re sharing a collection of posts by writers on Substack. 

This series, called At Length, will recommend pieces that we think are not only worth reading, but worth returning to again and again. Our goal is to shine a spotlight on emerging writers, as well as introduce readers to more independent writers who are hiding in plain sight. Each week, we’ll pick a theme and surface a few posts that speak to that theme in a memorable way.

Our theme this week is Making, At Length. “Making” has a variety of interpretations, from making songs to buildings to drinks and so much more. Newsletters provide a way for writers to offer their readers a glimpse behind the curtain, so we think it’s the perfect place to start.  

Isaac Vallentin

Writing Process: As I Wake from an American Dream

Singer-songwriter Isaac Vallentin shares his writing process for his longest song, even when he’s lacking inspiration. His post features pages from his notebook, lyrics (both ones that made it in the song and those that didn’t), and the musings that inspired him. Read more.

Richard Godwin

The Spirits #17: The Cardamon Daiquiri

Both fun and practical, The Spirits gives you a story to go with your drink. Richard Godwin’s Daiquiri recipe comes with character and history, from its origins in the Spanish-American War to its appearance in the 1960 novel Rabbit, Run. In his words, “The beach is that way.” Read more.

Simon Sarris

In Praise of the Gods

What do we lose in our hyper-rational modern society? Simon Sarris describes how each of our losses can be rebuilt and remade in the modern day. Read more.

Catherine Barrett

W10: Saint Frances of Rome: Palimpsest

Catherine Barrett tells a beautiful history of Saint Frances and Rome through the lens of the palimpsest, “a written document that has been used more than once,” which she uses to discuss the nature of reusing, remaking, and building anew. Read more.

Thomas J. Pellarin

Intermission: A 21st Century Don Quixote?

Thomas Pellarin’s process of sentence construction and comparisons between the first and last drafts of his words offers fascinating insight into a writer’s mind. Read more.

Amy Jean Porter

Wild Life / red fox

Illustrator Amy Jean Porter finds inspiration even in the animals she encounters every day. See the red fox through her art and stories! Read more.