Owning the randomness of creative endeavour

Steve Fendt
5 min readJul 22, 2022


Masthead for Tall and tiny Tales newsletter ‘TatTle’ | author image

Do you ever feel that your creative projects take you to unexpected places? I get that all the time. It’s one of the reasons I’m a ‘pantser’ rather than a ‘plotter’ in my fiction writing. When I start writing a story, I never know how it’s going to end.

I don’t want to know yet: I’m telling myself a story. If it turns out okay, I’ll refine it and tell it to others. The ones which turn out too odd, too personal or too grim — I keep those to myself.

Thus also in the visual arts. In woodcarving I had many ‘happy accidents’ where the timber ‘wanted’ to go in a different direction to where my eye and hand directed the gouge or chisel to take it. (Some unhappy ones too, of course. We don’t talk about those.)

Last night I was exploring ideas for a masthead to my new monthly newsletter for Tall and Tiny Tales — my Substack fiction project.

My initial aim had been to send out one story a week and nothing else, cognisant of how little I appreciate inbox clutter myself.

However I soon realised that I wanted to reach out to my subscribers occasionally through other channels — not just stories without commentary. I put out a survey and was delighted to find that most respondents ‘would’ read a monthly newsletter, a few ‘might’ and none ‘wouldn’t’.

Apparently my subscribers want to hear more from me. I’m actually quite touched by this.

So anyway, now we need a masthead. I wanted a mix of typography, echoing the look of my substack logo, and something personal, graphical.

I’ve never bothered to learn Photoshop or Illustrator properly, but I know some things I can do there. The results are a little random, but that’s not always a bad thing.

I’d already used this photo as the basis for an avatar elsewhere:

Steve enjoys a nice, cold cider | author image

I though it might make a neat image for the masthead. Identifiably me, but not too much so. This is a newsletter, not an autobiography.



Steve Fendt Short stories, serial fiction, memoirs of a possibly quasi-true nature. Stories of the Australian beach and bush.