This isn’t just another newsletter.

This is a place to build community around honest, unfiltered conversations about life as a mother, widow and writer who is 100% immigrant and 100% American. Everyone will get a note from me monthly, with a bit about writing and my writings. Subscribers will also have access to exclusive perks: a quick-and-utilitarian monthly video focused on a single writing challenge and solution (for example, what to do to get unstuck?) and, on occasion, an installment of “Unfiltered,” where I and others talk about the creative ways we have found to navigate life.

Let’s build connections.

When you subscribe, everything I write and film for you goes straight to your inbox. If you want me to tackle something specific — say, if you struggle to write personal essays or talk to people who aren’t like you — send me a note at fernanda@fernandasantos.com.

In this space, there are no expectations or assumptions. Come as you are. You’ll see me and hear from me exactly as who I am. We’re more than the labels that define us.

Speaking of labels, here’s a bit about who I am …

I’ve built a diverse career and portfolio since coming to the United States from Brazil in 1998, writing in a language that is not my own. I became The New York Times’ first staff writer from Brazil and, during my 12 years there, one of the few immigrants in the newsroom. I was working as The Times’ Phoenix bureau chief when I chose to quit my job in July 2017 to spend more time with my husband Mike and our daughter Flora. I had no idea how short our time together would be.

On Oct. 1, 2017, Mike was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Thirty days later, he died, taking with him the ideal America that he had built for me. Flora was 8 and, I thought, all I had to live for. But one thing death has taught me is that it’s a privilege to be alive and I have a duty to make the best out of my time here. The realization has allowed me to unleash my creativity and find the courage to take on new challenges.

I do a lot of stuff these days. I teach narrative writing and advanced writing en inglés y español at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. I’m a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, writing about Arizona, from Arizona. I’m a writing coach in the Poynter Institute’s Power of Diverse Voices, a seminar focused on elevating the voices of journalists of color. I wrote a book, The Fire Line, a work of narrative nonfiction about 19 firefighters killed in one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history, and I’m now at work on a memoir. I‘m part of the creative team behind ¡Americano!, a musical based on the life of an Arizona Dreamer that will open Off Broadway in 2022.

I’m strong and unafraid. My vulnerabilities are my power. I am. I am. I am.

To learn more about my work, visit my website, www.fernandasantos.com. To find out more about the company that provides the publishing platform for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.