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Who I am

Hi, I’m Justin Kuiper. Things you might know me from:

What this newsletter is about

As someone who writes stories for a living, I spend a lot of time thinking about narrative. (Some people can write as if by instinct; I usually take a more planned and deliberate approach.) Oftentimes, this means that I am deeply interested in the stories that other people tell, and what makes them work (or not work).

But first and foremost, I’m interested in coming to a better understanding of how the world works. This is a pursuit that isn’t categorically separate from the first: storytelling media is an important part of culture, and I think there’s a lot to be said about how the stories we tell shape the world we live in, and visa versa.

Why I’m writing it

Like Paul Graham, I think that writing can be a great way to organize my own thoughts and figure out what I think about a specific topic. “Writing” is not so different from “thinking out loud,” and in that sense, each completed post is the byproduct of thinking through a subject. This newsletter is a way for you to consume that byproduct.

That’s the ideal, at least. The truth is that I’m probably self-conscious, prone to self-censorship out of a fear of expressing the wrong ideas in public. That’s probably an irrational fear on my part, and I’ve found that one of the best ways to overcome irrational fear is through exposure therapy. Hopefully, the more that I express my ideas in public, the better I’ll get at doing it publicly.

Sharing my ideas in public has, in the past, also been how I’ve met many interesting people. (I have at least one fairly close-knit group of friends who I mostly met through participation in an internet forum back in the early 2010’s.) I’m not sure if that’s still something that happens in 2023, so I don’t have any expectations, but putting my ideas out into public seems like a good way to filter for the sorts of people I’d be interested in talking to. Email is the most reliable way to get in touch; you can direct your messages to kuiperdesu at the domain associated with gmail.

What’s with the timestamps?

Though I am “launching” this Substack in 2023, it contains many posts that are timestamped earlier. I figured that, rather than launch an empty blog with vague promises about what kind of content you can expect in the future, I’d import some of the more “evergreen” posts I’d written elsewhere to populate it. I figured that timestamping all of these posts the day I imported them might falsely give the impression that I’m some sort of fiend who can be expected to publish half a dozen new things in a single day, so they all bear timestamps that reflect when I originally posted them.

There’s another thing I like about timestamping posts, which is that even though these older posts are written by me, there’s a very real sense in which I’m no longer the same person I was back in 2019. Part of why I wanted to document my thinking process online was to give myself a chance to look back and see at how my thinking has evolved over time.

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Justin Kuiper is a video game designer and scriptwriter who blogs about storytelling