What is Shenny?

It’s a fortnightly newsletter in 3 departments:

  1. Letter from the Editor, written like a postcard of what I’ve been up to, wishing you were here;

  2. Endorsements, of exactly 2 things I love, or admire, or use devotedly; and

  3. Main Matter, a short essay on whatever I find pressing that week, often about sex, shame, personal narrative, essay writing, or MFALand, where I mostly live.

For some representative issues, check out

Why ‘Shenny’?

To name this newsletter, I’ve taken the names of my sisters, Shani and Jenny, and smooshed them together. I love my sisters, older than I am and stars in my life: what they wore and who they dated were the news I craved, and I looked to them, up above, as guidance through the dark night.

Who am I?

I'm Dave Madden, an essayist, and San Franciscan, and homosexual, and teacher, and MFA program director, and former H.S. drum major, and long-time blogger, and other things.

I write Shenny from one or more of those perspectives, and I sometimes share some work in progress and talk about that progress. I’ve published a short story collection and a nonfiction book on taxidermy, and right now I’m working on a memoir about sex and shame. Find a fuller bio here.

Why subscribe?

  • You’ll get new issues delivered right to your inbox every other week. No more, no less.

  • You’ll be able to comment on posts and be part of a community of people who share your interests.

  • It’s free.

I write Shenny to stay connected to readers while in the long, dark depths of a memoir project. My aim is carry on conversations with like-minded folks, sharing personal stories because I know they help us feel less alone, and less afraid.

I hope you join us, and I can’t wait to hear from you, in one form or another. Use the button below to subscribe, or email me directly at shennymag@substack.com.

Subscribe to Shenny

A free newsletter for fans of queer thinking, personal narrative, and unwanted antiques.


Essayist and MFA director writing fortnightly about things I wish more people were talking about.