I first met Thomas J. Bevan, a fascinating writer (because a fascinating person) who is based in a small town in England, after I started spending more time online during the pandemic.
For better or worse, I got back on Twitter for the first time in years. Within a short period of time, the algorithm began showing me his tweets (so, the algorithm has some benefits after all...), which led me to his recently-launched Substack, The Commonplace, where I was struck by the honesty of his voice, the sharpness of his prose, the anti-mimetic topics he was choosing to write about (“ The Death of Lunch” / “ The Meaning of Nostalgia” / “ Catacombs as Metaphor”), and his willingness to share his story. His fiction is also stellar, even though the essays initially drew me in.
Though he is pseudo-anonymous, he shared with his audience that he had worked a series of relatively normal jobs (i.e. in restaurant kitchens) and most recently took a post that allowed him to work for 3-4 long days every other week, a situation he intentionally sought to be able to more fully focus on his writing for extended periods. He has since become a full-time writer.