Compass Star Wordsmith

By Ric Leczel

Why Me?

Probably the most asked question of all time. Twice in my life, I have been in lockdown. Once of my own doing, and the other not. When a person has over eight months to muse on that question, many potential answers surface.

I will explore that question in this space. I will write about the confluence of the elements of life that create culture. I express that confluence with this formula

Life / Food + Music + Art + Craft + History = Culture (L/5e=C)

I believe that each person lives a truth that is unique but also universally shared. Tensions arise when one values their own truth more than that of their neighbor.

I will share my truth here, and my hope is that by doing so, others will come to understand the common nature of our collective existence.

My goal when embarking on this adventure was pretty high-minded. I have lived in so many cultures and been accepted into each one. I didn’t appropriate as much as integrate. I learned that people like to teach. I also realized that people like to teach things that they are experts at. And teachers like enthusiastic students. I have learned at the stoves of so many talented chefs, both professional and home-cook. They are experts. They love to share.

Aside from water, which technically could be lumped in with food, the need to eat is the most basic and common similarity amongst us human beings. The capture and control of fire allowed us to cook our meat. Cooking meat allowed us to spend our days thinking and doing instead of foraging and chewing. It grew our brains. It elevated us from the apes.

I contend that five elements create culture, and they are universal in scope. All human beings have an intimate connection with Food/Music/Art/Craft/History. All cultures have these elements. And now we are being told that we cannot participate and share in another’s culture. That is a bad thing.

I am pushing back against that concept. And I am asking you to join me.

Why Should I Sign Up?

If you have ever asked that question of yourself, this newsletter is for you. If you love culture, or any of the elements that make it up, this newsletter is for you. If you love new opinions, fresh takes, old jokes, and bad puns, this newsletter is for you. If you love serious, thoughtful, emotionally probing writing, yup. Conversely, if you love irreverent topics, sophomoric humor, and comfort writing, then, yes, this is your newsletter.

If It’s Free, Why Pay To Subscribe?

Seriously? You have to ask? Because the American Dream is to monetize the activities that we love and have nurtured a passion for. I will always have content that will be free. But, in this new post-apocalyptic dystopian future we are barreling towards at full-speed, we all need to find new ways to sustain ourselves. I will be creating exclusive content for paid-subscribers multiple times a week, in addition to my free content.

Stay up-to-date!

You won’t have to worry about missing anything. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. If I ever become too obnoxious, you can unsubscribe at any time, no questions asked. But before ghosting me, consider reaching out and telling me to knock it off! I would learn more from you that way, instead of just missing you.

Join my crew!

Be part of a community of people who share your interests. People who value thoughtful, honest, open discussion.

I’d be honored if you subscribed and/or shared this newsletter if you like what you see.

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I write about the confluence of the elements of life that create culture. I express that confluence with this formula - (L/5e=C) Life / Food + Music + Art + Craft + History = Culture


I write at Compass Star Wordsmith, I went to a different school every year from 4th grade to 12th. In 7th grade, I was lockermates with the only black kid in school. I went to prison when I was 44 and came back to life.