This is the place to discover what lies behind each of the different tabs on my Substack homepage.
This letter has grown from once per month between friends and family into something more regular, with many layers and a paid subscriber option.
(Unless otherwise stated, all the photography and images shared on The Crow’s Nest were taken or created by me.)
To know more about the different sections and projects I share here, then read on as I discuss the different tabs on my homepage at alexandermcrow.substack.com —
For those of you who don’t know, Notes is Substack’s addition to the world of shorter form, non-email content; some people think of it as a friendlier, smaller, kinder Twitter. I find it a great place to talk to those whose work I admire, to find new things to read, and to share those stories of my own which fit best in this format. I also use it for sharing images.
If you don’t already have the App, Notes is now an intrinsic part of it—and you should give it a try. If you do, please say hello, I try very, very hard to reply to every comment and reply.
I’ve crafted fiction for a long time and, after several decades of toil and polish, of reading and listening and learning, of rewriting and redrafting and copious edits, I am pleased to say I accept I’m pretty good at it. (Of course, when I’m actually drafting something, I think I’m terrible. But, later, I somehow forget that and marvel at the shiny thing I have shared with the world.)
This is fantasy fiction and, although not quite Grimdark, it is certainly on the darker end of the scale. I like real characters and the events which shape them and make them grow, rather than leave them static and two-dimensional. Sometimes, these are good things, often, they are not.
I love locations and places which the reader can visualise, taste, smell, and hear. I want them to know what it means to be in this city, or that mountain range, or what climbing that wall feels like on the hands.
So far, at the time of writing this guide, I have shared two pieces of work. The first is a novella, Only One Death, and the second a novelette, Dust and Death. The third will be another novella, Death and Taxes.
Yes, death features heavily.
Serialised fiction is sent out EVERY FRIDAY. This way, you can have it ready to read over your weekend.
To learn how I create the maps for my stories, follow the link.
Ancestral, Wild Empowerment
Yes, the initials of this section are deliberately chosen. Awe is the word I often return to, when I am learning new things about our natural world and, in particular, how our species can find a sense of peace through interaction with what we now think of as the wild.
This project will be shared in seasons, each focussing on one particular facet of the vast whole—our stolen birthright. The first season revolves around the word ‘respect’ and its application to the subject.
In this section, every MONDAY, I share an essay or a workbook entry, discussing one facet of how we can use the wealth of hunter-fisher-gatherer skills and knowledge in today’s modern, busy world. Although parts of this project will be sharing and teaching practical skills, I am keen to discuss and demonstrate how knowing these things (such as how to find and purify water, where and how to gather food, how to build shelters, make medicines, and so much more) makes us feel more confident in our day-to-day lives, how we walk taller and feel mentally, emotionally, stronger.
There is a true sense of empowerment which comes with the study of ancestral skills. And, for this section, that is a key word: study. Even the most seasoned bushcraft instructor or wilderness guide, if they are truly skilled at what they do, will admit they are but a student of the subject. We all have so much to learn about being a part of nature—and I am grateful to have this opportunity to share that journey with you.
Edges and Entries
This is a hybrid series. It is my midweek offering, sent on WEDNESDAY.
The first part is a discussion of a facet of the overarching title: Edges and Entries. The introduction will tell you more, but, essentially, I choose those places and states which are either portals, or which link different elements or locations. Perhaps beaches, mountain tops, caves, windows, near-death, dreams, corridors, thresholds or doors. Liminal places.
At the time of writing, I am concentrating on sharing my rather large collection of photographs of doors.
I usually ask some questions and present you with ideas for your own investigations into liminality, then I share the photo of the week.
Following this, I share a piece of fiction. This is usually a short vignette, a sketch or a scene, or perhaps flash fiction. Often, it is deliberately open-ended, as this fits the liminal feel. It might even be poetry.
A Fall in Time
As I write this guide, I am sharing this limited series every THURSDAY, and daily on Notes.
To learn more, there is an introduction to this adventure but, briefly, back in 2010, I left behind the city I had lived in for nearly a decade, caught a series of trains, then proceeded to walk out into the woods, where I stayed from late summer until early winter. I gathered food, fuel, and water, made a shelter to live in, and immersed myself into understanding more about both nature and, ultimately, myself.
With the benefit of hindsight, I have revisited this adventure and added to my journals, blogs, and photographs from that time.
On Notes, I share a day by day entry, with the best of any photos I took in 2010, sometimes a journal entry, sometimes just a few words. This is then collated and sent out weekly to subscribers.
Work With Me
This section is self-explanatory—if you wish to hire me, whether for freelance writing, editing, or proofreading, this is the page to see.
This is not only the place to find all my posts and letters, it is also a good location to see which proved most popular, which of those encouraged the most interaction through the comments, for example. And, if you are searching for a particular piece and can’t quite remember when you read it, you can use this page to search.
This is the place to learn more about the history of this Substack publication and about the author. (That’s me.)
And that’s me when living out in wilder places, during the adventure detailed in A Fall in Time.
Free Monthly Email (and Finally)
I try and send out a free monthly email, as I have been doing now for over four years. This is eclectic in nature. Some months, I would send more than one, especially if I had book news to share.
There is an archive of these posts available to paid subscribers; although each is sent out free, they are later paywalled after six months (roughly, when I get around to it!).
This letter is where you will hear about works in progress, any travels and adventures I am having, things I have read, watched, or listened to, snippets of nature writing, and generally any other thoughts which don’t fit anywhere else.
I hope this guide has proved useful?
(And don’t forget, it is entirely possible to select which sections of The Crow’s Nest you subscribe to or unsubscribe from, and each letter always contains an unsubscribe link.)