Good Words is where I publicly think through questions faith, technology, and being in the year 20xx. Those are big topics! I'm very conscious of being a non-expert in all of these domains; I'm neither in the clergy, any kind of engineer, and certainly not a metaphysician. Yet, I practice my faith and use near-magical technology every day—and I'm very much alive in this wonderful world!
So it's in this spirit of the good life well-lived, a pursuit common to all people in all places, that I write in public and seek after truth, goodness, and beauty in community. Because, as it turns out, living well together in a digital age isn't as easy as most of us thought it would be. I hope we can carve out a convivial space here, one where we can learn to live well together, here in the year 20xx.
Support Independent Writing
Another subscription, what's all that about?
Good Words runs on a patronage model, which means almost everything goes out to everyone who's subscribed. However, if you value the work and want to support it, there are paid subscriptions with a few perks.
You can subscribe for $5 per month for access to a private Discord community and occasional exclusive posts. There's also a yearly Patron option for $120 per year. The Patron option supports me as a writer, but it also enables me to work on other projects in Good Words' orbit (more on that below).
Finally, if you were a free subscriber to Good Words before November 2020 (previously on Substack), there's a legacy subscription option available for $45 per year. Just get in touch via the Contact page and ask me for a legacy subscription.
Once & Present Projects
Good Words (and mattcivico.com as a whole) is my little corner of the internet, but it's not the only place I contribute to and write for. Actually, some of what I do doesn't involve writing at all!
A community project that grew out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Common Pursuits exists to help people "consider ordinary life, together" through thought-provoking writing and conversations.
Common Pursuits is dedicated to the question: How do we live well together? It exists to serve local communities by fostering collegiality and relationships between people in proximity, no matter who they are. Everyone involved volunteers their time to these efforts in the spirit of cooperation and mutual-aid, and I'm happy to be among them.
I volunteer as the lead editor, commissioning and writing reflections on ordinary life, and also profiles of local people, organizations, and businesses doing good work in their neighbourhoods. I'm excited about the potential and opportunity of growing CP into a sustainable resource for people who want to put down roots and live convivial, committed lives right where they are.
Stranger Still Podcast
After falling in love with Netflix's Stranger Things, I went looking for podcasts about the show. I was looking for something to help me tease out the longings the story stirred within me. I wanted to something that admired the show but didn't stay there; I wanted to dig into the wonderful weirdness of it all.
Unfortunately, that podcast didn't exist. So, I made it myself!
Currently there's one full season of Stranger Still available wherever you get your podcasts. Season 1 covers the original Stranger Things and includes bonus episodes on nostalgia and Joyce Byers, two primal forces in the show.
My co-host and are excited to put out more episodes in the future. For now, enjoy the current episode responsibly, or binge them along with the show!
One of my more popular projects, Reading Middle-earth came out of simply wanting to get more out of my latest re-reading of The Lord of the Rings. Structured as a reader's guide, I attempt to offer some insight into each chapter of the fantasy epic. As I do so, I try to distill some wisdom for ordinary life from the adventures of hobbits, men, and elves.
Complete entries for The Fellowship of the Ring are available on the site and I'm working on publishing them–with additional content–in an e-book format. Reading Middle-earth Volume 1 (and volumes 2 & 3) will be a perk for paid subscribers soon and available as a standalone purchase sometime next year.