Is it okay if I stand here?
Welcome to Adult Beginner, a weekly newsletter from the mind of Joshua Chévere Cohen, a writer, traveler, musician, fencer, feline enthusiast, and fan of third-person references based in Las Vegas.
This place will be a public notebook wherein I will reflect on my myriad passions as they swirl through my brain and vie for dominance. Travel, literature, art, film, fencing, and languages will all be discussed, with the common thread being my feelings of perpetual amateurism in each field. Along the way, I plan to toss in reflections on my adopted hometown of Las Vegas and my experiences at the edges of the highest levels of its frenzied hospitality industry.
Why Adult Beginner? It’s a phrase you might encounter if you have time, drive, and disposable income at the ready. You’ve missed the train on mastering the violin or conquering Wimbledon, but the option of an adult beginner class at your local community center or learning app inspires hope. Whether you’re picking up where your younger self left off or starting from scratch, you’ve unintentionally made some profound acknowledgements in the process. By taking the plunge, you have humbled yourself, and each new lesson or exercise launches a particular sting at the ego. Though painful — physically, psychologically, emotionally — eventually the boundaries begin to blur.
This is not a self-help newsletter. I can only generalize based on my experiences. In 2018, after a life-changing yet mildly embarrassing trip to Europe, I decided that my monolingual days were over. Failed efforts to learn Spanish, Japanese, and Latin in school and the allure of more enriching travel experiences in the future became the push-pull that plunged me into adult beginner French at the Alliance Française de Las Vegas. How this turns out will be revealed in this newsletter over time.
A similar story will be told in great detail on my newest obsession: epee fencing. I fenced foil for a brief time as a child and would occasionally consider taking a class as an adult if one were available. As the pandemic lockdowns wound down and vaccines tantalized a return to normality, I decided to go for it: adult beginner classes at Battle Born Fencing Club. I’m one year in as of writing and I have a lot to say on this beautiful sport.
For now I ask you to kindly subscribe to Adult Beginner by clicking the button below. It’s free and I will certainly give you your money’s worth. There’s a lot I would like to discuss and I will gauge interest in different topics based on the feedback I receive. I hope this will be the start of something meaningful to me and a community of reader-friends that I invite you to join.
P.S. If you’re feeling extraordinarily generous at this early stage, you may drop me a tip using the button below. There are options for one-time and recurring monthly donations to help keep this newsletter going. Whether I have ten readers or ten thousand readers, there will always be delicious free content available.