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The Last Year and The Lost Years
Hello, readers! Hard to believe it's been a whole twelve months, but we've hit the one year anniversary of Copper Bottle's debut! For an entire orbit around the sun now, we've been making free-to-read, POC-led, creator-owned comics and sharing them via this newsletter. Thank you to everyone who's joined us on this journey, especially those of you who've helped make it possible with your financial support.
Today I want to talk to you about the future of the newsletter as well as some pretty personal business.
In a word, the future of Copper Bottle is: free. As of today, all new posts will be free to read for all subscribers. Billing has been frozen on all paid subscriptions. We're in the process of unlocking past paid posts as well. The entire site should be free soon.
To be clear, the comics aren't going anywhere. I'm incredibly proud of the work we've published thus far -- sixteen chapters and near 200 pages of free comics! I'm telling stories I've wanted to tell for years with artists I feel blessed to be working with. TERRORWAR, STARSIGNS, and DRAGON will continue to appear here for free. And now the interviews, updates, and extras that were previously available only to paid subscribers will be available to all.
I can't explain how much I appreciate the paid subscribers who've been there month after month, just supporting the work as it comes. You guys are the absolute best. You'll continue to have access to all content, including commenting. But I've felt for a while that the dual nature of subscriptions is a bit off-putting and confusing. And frankly the newsletters, updates, and behind the scenes glimpses that we've offered paid subscribers have been a bit too few and far between for me to feel justified continuing to charge for them. Thus this change.
And now, with an awkward segue into the personal, I'd like to talk a little bit about WHY those posts haven't come as regularly as I might like. Because I've very recently gotten some answers about that for the first time in my life. This is pretty personal stuff so feel free to stop reading now if you're only here for the comics!
This year I was diagnosed -- at 46 years old -- with ADD. ADD is something I've seen people talk about for years, but like many folks I vastly underestimated its impact. Despite decades of mental struggle I've been able to piece together what looks from the outside like a successful career. But every inch of that has been slog. For years and years I've known that I don't have a 'typical' brain. I long assumed that I probably had some sort of depressive disorder...but always just sort of felt that was a family curse that I had to live with and get over. It's really what working class people of my generation, especially those of us from immigrant communities, were taught about mental health. I've spent decades thinking a lot of things are just character defects in me -- that I have a lack of willpower, that I'm disorganized, that I'm lazy.
Several years ago, empowered by the example of younger people on the internet who aren't nearly as hung up on stigma as I am, I started therapy. It's been a long process full of false starts and dead ends. But this year, when it finally ended up at an ADD diagnosis and the doctor sat there describing how ADD works in the brain, I was torn apart by a thunderbolt of recognition
As I sat listening to medical professionals explain to me what's been going on with my brain all this years it was both profoundly enlightening and devastating. The shrink used the phrase 'off the charts' to describe my symptoms. He sort of just sat there wonderingly. 'It's amazing you've been able to do as much as you have.' 'You've been cooking your whole life with half your burners out.' 'You've been trying to drive on the freeway in a car that only goes 20mph.'
Each bit of truth hit me like a bullet. I've basically spent 30 years convincing myself that life is irrevocably and inevitably a brutal grind every day. To hear that there's a very specific reason one feels that way -- a reason that can be helped some with medicine -- well, that's some hard shit to hear. A thunderous voice starts booming at you about all the lives you could have led had you known this earlier. About all the years you've lost forever.
But then a quieter voice -- one you really have to struggle to hear -- hints that maybe, maybe it can be different going forward. That a life you thought was beyond your reach might not be. I'm trying real hard to listen to that voice right now. Kinda feels like the only way forward.
Catch you all next time. Take care of yourselves.
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