The online world can be overwhelming, filled with a cacophony of voices shouting opinions over each other. Hi Zan, Hi Pa, aims to offer some respite in the form of an ongoing contemplative conversation between father and daughter, focused on exploring questions like these about the miraculous realities of ordinary life:
What are the benefits and drawbacks of social media?
What are recent changes in American culture and what might they mean?
What is the essence of charitable giving?
How might one define ‘spirituality?’
How can we nurture mental health in the fast-paced modern world?
Our newsletter offers unique food for thought, combining the perspectives of two different generations as we navigate modern life.
Along with 1500-2000 word conversations twice a month, subscribers will also have access to extras:
-Discussion/contemplation questions and reader commentary.
-Occasional guest appearances and interviews with writers and thinkers.
-Hand-drawn and hand-painted artwork.
-Podcasts on a variety of pertinent issues.
-Photos linked to the subject matter (and some just for fun).
PA: I’m Roland Merullo, the “Pa” of this Substack. I published my first novel, Leaving
Losapas, with Houghton Mifflin in 1991, and have made a living only from
writing—novels, works of non-fiction, essays, articles, reviews, conferences—for
the past twenty-four years. Before that, I worked as a carpenter in northwestern
Massachusetts and southern Vermont for the better part of a decade, drove a cab
in Boston, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Micronesia, worked on United
States Information Agency exhibitions in the former U.S.S.R. for 28 months
between 1977 and 1990, and taught at various places, including Bennington and
Amherst colleges. You can find more details on my Wikipedia page, or my
website, RolandMerullo.com. I’ve been married to Amanda Stearns Merullo for
44 years, and our greatest joy in life has been raising our two daughters,
Alexandra (Zanny), and Juliana, here in the hills of Western Massachusetts. We all
share a love of travel, food, storytelling, and laughter. I once spoke fluent
Russian, but I’m rusty in that area now and concentrating on learning Italian.
Over to you, Zan.
ZAN: I’m Zanny Merullo Steffgen, the “Zan” of this Substack. Inspired by my pa, I’ve
kept up a writing hobby since childhood, and had my first pieces published when I
was in my teens. After moving to Cambodia at age 20, I landed a contributor
position with a publication to write about my experiences living abroad, and soon
started my first full-time freelance copywriting job. I kept up with both
copywriting and article writing while building a restaurant career (first in
Massachusetts where I grew up, then in Cambodia, and eventually in the ski
resort town of Telluride, Colorado), and finally returned to full-time freelance
writing in 2021. As a kid, I never thought I’d follow in my father’s footsteps, but as
an adult I’m sure glad I did. In addition to marketing copywriting, I now focus on
teaching freelance writing (through my course site feelgoodfreelancewriting.com)
and writing travel and food & beverage articles, and my work has appeared in
Insider, Adventure.com, Going, Glug Wine, FanSided, and Scuba Diving Magazine,
among numerous other publications. You can view my portfolio at
zannymerullosteffgen.com. I live with my husband on the Colorado Front Range,
where I fight cystic fibrosis and write full-time to afford our various adventures in
the US and beyond!