In These Days of Gratitude


Earlier today, I checked my post office mailbox and found a letter from a friend of 50 years. The note expressed gratitude for our 5 decades of friendship, and it made me smile for a milestone that means a great deal to me.

About six weeks ago, though, I had to take a drastic step and delete all of my social media accounts. The decision had been brewing for some time, maybe a touch more than 2 years following the publication of Fossil Five in 2019.  For many months, I felt the negative grip that social media had on me in ways that were entirely unhealthy. I finally made the decision to take the leap and provide myself with some much-needed space. It was, in some small way, a testament to Thoreau’s decision to leave his own society and build a cabin in the woods by Walden Pond.

My efforts were not nearly as romantic, or as dramatic; leaving social media altogether, though, was a monumental decision for me. I’m glad I cut the cord, but I do miss my online friends that I have made in the last 14 years, and certainly my real-life friends of up to 50 years. In the coming months, I will be working harder at re-establishing those connections through letters and in-person gatherings. 

2732 Prisms of Love-Stained Light

I am excited for the release of my extended collage essay, which I have lovingly nicknamed Prisms, on 21 December. It’s a short work that originated from a post I made on Facebook on my birthday in March.

Here’s the blurb from the back cover: 

Prisms is about the life of a teacher, a writer, a simple human, shared in the hybrid form of a collage essay that reflects and refracts epiphanies borne out of moments of regret, joy, tragedy, fear and love. It is a review of the colorful experiences of life and their re-assembly into something more powerful. In each segment, we come to understand ourselves, and each other, with greater compassion, kindness and grace in our own transformation. 

Prisms is a literary binding and fashioning of fact with a touch of fiction, illusion, dreaming, and reimagined memory. VanWestervelt invites you to witness a statement of existence, just like your own – unimaginable without the contribution of each hue-touched shard, to reveal an abstract map of individual evolution, illuminated through love-stained light.”

The cover price is $13, but I will be offering a special advance-sale price of $10 (plus shipping if mailed). More details on that in the coming weeks. 

So much more to share with all of you, so I will be back here more frequently with updates, thoughts, and reflections. I’m working on getting my newsletter up and running soon, too. I encourage you to subscribe today so that you get my latest news and updates delivered directly to your inbox. 

Here’s the subscription page to sign up:

Finally, if you wish to strike up a handwritten correspondence with me, drop me a note at Rus VanWestervelt | P.O. Box 19081 | Baltimore, MD 21284. I’m just beginning to catch up on my letters received since leaving social media. I thank all of you for your kind words and your patience. 

I am grateful for those of you who have provided me with love, compassion, friendship, and support over the years. As I navigate this new path of staying connected with all of you, I thank you for sticking with me. 

xoxo Rus

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