The story of Polylith

I have written and published this newsletter monthly since February 2019. It proceeds, like so many things, in twelve month cycles. The fourth began in January 2022.

Each cycle is accompanied by a wheel — the circular image above — which rotates one turn over the course of a year and then disappears. Each letter advances the wheel one-twelfth of a turn, and in that way it feels like I’m writing to both propel and keep up with the seasons. This cycle’s wheel is composed of two photographs (one and two) taken sixty-seven years apart from airplanes above Blue Green Lake and the nearby Lake Michigan shoreline.

The newsletter is built from plain text. I write each issue in markdown and run it through a Jekyll theme I made called Loom, which generates an HTML document appropriate for email and another for the web. To send the actual emails I use EmailOctopus, which I like because it largely foregoes marketing idolism while still letting me work with my own markup. This site is just a few static HTML files residing on an inexpensive virtual private server somewhere. I update them by making a deal with rsync, who, although a trickster in the spirit of Hermes, has yet to take from me anything too dear. We each make these deals every day. The type is set in Matthew Carter’s Charter, ever sensitive and confident, and Paul D. Hunt’s forthright Source Sans Pro.

Polylith? Beneath a thin layer of topsoil, the land here is made entirely of glacial drift: boulders, gravel, sand, silt, clay, rock flour. Drift all the way down to bedrock, some six hundred feet of it on average. A body made of many stones.

Original text and images are offered under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

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