Happy 4th!

Some news about a grant to write about Taiwan; Michelle follows up on resentment in marriage.

Dear friends,

Happy 4th of July! We hope you’re well. We’ve packed up seven years’ worth of stuff and made the trek from Paris to California, where we’re taking this month off to spend time with Michelle’s parents and look after the baby. We’re pausing subscriber payments until we resume. (The Milton book club this Friday is still on, though!)

Some exciting news: we’re honored to have received a grant from Substack to write about Taiwan. Our ambition is to create a Village Voice–style publication focused on Taipei, analyzing progressive political movements alongside the Taiwanese cultural and artistic scenes. We’ll start out with pieces on immigration and the criminal legal system; as the publication grows, we plan to expand into education and the arts, as well as Taiwan’s relationship to East and Southeast Asia. We’re dedicated to highlighting, empowering, and publishing marginalized voices in Taiwan, and will set aside part of the grant to pay translators, photographers, and authors of commissioned pieces.

We’ll also be tinkering with A Broad and Ample Road so that current readers can opt into the Taiwan-related news portion. This newsletter will become fully bilingual (Mandarin/English), the better to create cross-pollination between audiences. The dream is for it to eventually be multilingual, including Vietnamese and Indonesian.

We’re excited to embark on this new (ad)venture and we welcome your pitches and ideas!

Michelle:

I can’t describe how grateful I feel to you and to this space. When I wrote in early May about moving to Taiwan and the trials of marriage, I didn’t expect the flood of thoughtful responses it prompted—and I didn’t realize how much time I’d been spending processing this stuff alone. I’d been ashamed, I realized, of my inability to make myself happy in spite of all my blessings. That’s not the kind of person I aspire to be. (Albert nailed it describing a narrator in a Rachel Cusk novel: “I’m on a beautiful Greek island and I’m still unhappy.”)

Not long after our wedding, I was talking to a friend who’d been married for a bit and whose relationship was going through a rough patch. What happened? I asked. “We got more selfish,” he said. That was all he said.

At the time I had no idea what he meant. During the first years of couplehood, you make sacrifices for one another because it feels good. You want to make your partner happy. Then the years pass and you individuate; it occurs to you that some of your own paths of self-realization may have closed off. And suddenly a big question sneaks up on you: how do you eliminate resentment? Is it possible?

“I think this is just what marriage is: love plus decades of piled-up resentments,” another friend told me. “I don’t know anyone whose marriage lacks resentment. People who say otherwise are probably just good at repression.” Her guidance, which I found helpful, was this: reframe your narrative in a way that’s consistent with your values.

So, in that spirit, here’s what I believe: I believe in this relationship that I chose. I believe in its many blessings, not least the tenderness that touches my life daily. I believe in being open to the world, and in broadening the encounters I have. I believe in the German notion of Bildung, the never-ending process of becoming, where you continue to search and to learn because simply doing so has intrinsic value.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Albert and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts as we continue this journey. See you in August!


Book Club: Paradise Lost, Book 9, Friday, July 9th, 3 p.m. EST.

These conversations have been so fun that we weren’t ready to let Milton go. Newcomers welcome, and don’t feel you have to have read the text! Email us for the Zoom link. (For regulars, it’s the same one we always use.)