Welcome to The Clearing

A newsletter and community for wild minds, winterers and enchantment-seekers

I’m Katherine May, author of Wintering, Enchantment, and The Electricity of Every Living Thing, and host of the podcast How We Live Now.

This began as an author newsletter; no particular purpose, just whatever’s on my mind. But over time, I’ve realised that I’m trying to create something very specific here, and it’s a place rather than a topic. I’m clearing a space in which we can gather, and see each other, and ruminate over the question of how to live.

That’s a big question, isn’t it? But we’re all circling it. Most of us are weary of the same old story, the noisy encouragement to bring about endless growth, to stay positive, put on a brave face and hide our uncertainty. Many of us are wondering how we can be more gentle with ourselves and others, can learn to bring rest, integrity and beauty into our lives. And I hope I’m not alone in being heartily sick of gurus, the people who claim to know all the answers. It’s a scam. Nobody knows the answers anymore—too much is changing. We need to figure this out together. 

That’s why I chose the name: ‘The Clearing’. I love the image it conjures, an opening in a dark forest; a safe, secret place where we can gather. Perhaps an enchanted place, a place where magic lives, where the possibilities are different. I also like the connotations of the word ‘clearing’—the process of finding clarity, of silt settling in the water, a de-fogging of the mind. Will it all come clear eventually? I don’t know. Probably not. But I don’t believe that we should be seeking to finalise our happiness and contentment. The process is the point. 

Why subscribe?

When you subscribe, you’ll get my free newsletter each week, including posts about my podcast with extras to enrich your listening. This is the best place to find my latest news, events, podcasts, book launches and other projects. You’ll also be able to follow me on Substack Notes

If you’d like more, consider joining the community as a paid subscriber. You’ll gain access to:

  • Exclusive weekly bonus posts, such as reflective community prompts or the culture and media capturing my stray attention. 

  • Creative Hangouts: Live, bi-monthly recorded online conversations with extraordinary writers and creators and an opportunity to ask questions.

  • Creative Questions: In a bi-monthly live online event, I’ll choose two of your questions about creative practice for detailed coaching. 

  • True Stories Book Club: A book club for lovers of life writing, wisdom and beautiful words. We read 6 books per year as a group with community discussion and live, recorded, online events with the authors. 

  • Immersive bonus mini-episodes of How We Live Now + all podcast episodes ad-free.

  • Discounts on my workshops and events wherever possible. 

A year’s subscription is $70, which works out at $1.45 a week. There is also a special tier for people who want to offer extra support and work a little more closely with me, which includes two online retreats per year. But regardless of what sort of subscriber you become, you’ll get a vibrant stream of content and my deep appreciation.

In the spirit of this newsletter, this community, I want to say a word here about personal sustainability. So many of us are expected to be on our game year-round. But I know I never am. I get ill sometimes, or take a holiday. Sometimes I have deadlines that take up the entirety of my being, and I can’t find any more words. Sometimes, winters visit me. 

I’ve developed an offer that I think is as manageable as possible (curtailing my worst over-promising instincts), but I will be bringing my whole humanity to this place, and I hope that will be understood. Every now and then, I might find a ‘supply teacher’ to take my place; if I need a month off, I’m interested to see that some creators pause subscriptions for a while. But however I manage it, I will be honouring my own need to rest. I think it’s important to voice that. I invite you to do the same.

I hope to create a place to dream and to awaken, to find the world’s quiet magic and to revel in the luminous mundane; a place to ask questions and to hold space for complex or incomplete answers; a place that invites connections with other like-minded souls. I hope you’ll join me.

About Me

Katherine May is an internationally bestselling author and podcaster living in Whitstable, UK. Her most recent book, Enchantment became an instant New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller. Her internationally bestselling hybrid memoir Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times was adapted as BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week, and was shortlisted for the Porchlight and Barnes and Noble Book of the Year. The Electricity of Every Living Thing, her memoir of a midlife autism diagnosis, was adapted as an audio drama by Audible. Other titles include novels such as The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club, and The Best, Most Awful Job, an anthology of essays about motherhood which she edited. Her journalism and essays have appeared in a range of publications including The New York Times, The Observer and Aeon.

Katherine’s podcast, How We Live Now, ranks in the top 1% worldwide, and she has been a guest presenter for On Being’s The Future of Hope series. 

Katherine lives with her husband, son, two cats and a dog. She loves walking, sea-swimming and pickling slightly unappealing things.

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Subscribe to The Clearing by Katherine May

A newsletter and community for wild minds, winterers and enchantment-seekers with internationally bestselling author Katherine May.


Katherine May 

Katherine May is the internationally bestselling author of Wintering, Enchantment and The Electricity of Every Living Thing, and host of the top-ranking podcast How We Live Now.