It has been a very long time since I wrote a newsletter, and the more time that elapses since I published the last one, the less inclined I feel to write another one. There’s simply not a ton that I feel like I can additively say even in normal times, and even less so now. Also every time I write a newsletter I get a little update from Substack with the “stats” for each newsletter and as I am wont to do I have unnecessarily assigned value to those numbers, which makes each unsubscribe number sting a bit. Seems like something I should work on, but in the meantime, here are some updates:
I’ve been figuring out how to use my voice, my resources, and my self to combat racism & learning how to become a better ally. A part of that, especially as we thought about moving this summer, has included reflecting on living in gentrified Brooklyn neighborhoods, how I interact with the people in these spaces and how I’ve benefited from gentrification. I started my job in April, so I hadn’t met any of my coworkers in person in the first months of work, but I did get to meet one of my coworkers (who, it turns out, had just become my neighbor in Crown Heights before I moved) for a protest on Juneteenth. The orgs I’ve been giving to include, but aren’t limited to: GLITS Inc, The Okra Project, For The Gworls, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts. I had been giving money to the Crown Heights Mutual Aid group before I moved, and since I moved I’ve been giving to Clinton Hill/Fort Greene Mutual Aid.
We moved—a mile and a half down the road. It was a fraught, nerve-wracking process. In the first apartment we went to go look at, the current tenants were still hanging out inside when we got there, and nobody but us wore masks. This building was on my favorite block in Clinton Hill but it was also a building I would describe as an Adult Dorm, so we ultimately passed. Our old landlord also kept pressuring us to let people come look at OUR apartment while we were still in it, which was apparently illegal to do but we really wanted our security deposit back so we acquiesced five times, and ultimately they ended up renting our place for $300 more a month than we paid the day we moved out. The day we moved out, our movers showed up at the same time as the movers showed up to move the people across the street from us, making for a double-parked nightmare on St, Johns Place. Our new landlord made me cry and the movers didn’t bring their own masks and then proceeded to track a bunch of broken glass from their truck into our apartment, so it was all kind of a nightmare, but now we are mostly settled in. The Crown Heights apartment, passed down to us from our friend Emmie, was cheap and centrally located but now we have four living room windows and a walk-in closet and it crucially feels like a space where I could, I don’t know, hang out inside for a while if it became medically necessary to do so.
I’ve been trying to have a safely modified normal summer. Some things I’ve been doing to that end: drinking and picnicking at a safe distance from friends in Fort Greene Park; hanging out on Kate and Tyler’s stoop; generally walking a lot more than I usually would; beginning an intense love affair with Mr. Mango, the produce store/grocery store in my new neighborhood that sells very good ripe avocados very cheap; eating Meme’s Diner soft-serve on a curb on Underhill, which is closed off from car traffic; meeting my neighbors in the park near my apartment; buying a new tennis racket in preparation for the nets to go back up on the courts for Phase Three (which, yes, starts today); going to the Rockaways (I bought my first nutcracker of the 2020 season yesterday from my Nutcracker Guy near Rippers on the sand and for a brief moment, it felt like a normal summer); learning how to ride a bike in the city (okay, TBD on this one); picking up CSA boxes and food orders from Hart’s (I have yet to make an anchovy burger at home but maybe I will soon, as a treat); and baking (I made a strawberry olive oil sheet cake last week. I think I’ll make some kind of stone fruit cake this week).
I’ve been writing! I went from working constantly with zero work/life balance as a freelancer this winter to working a normal, mostly 10-6 job and now I’m trying to find a balance where I can still freelance while doing all the work I have to do during the day. Anyway, this piece about Mirror was in the works for a bit, but I was glad to be able to tell the story with a new news hook—its sale to Lululemon—last week. I’m trying to freelance more this summer for fun and only on my own terms, which is a luxurious benefit of having a day job.
I’ve been thinking about how I can help my journalist friends, many of whom are struggling these days with layoffs, general mismanagement and tumult at media companies, and slashed freelance budgets. A few dozen people have come to me since May to ask for advice on how to pivot to a job outside of journalism entities and news orgs. I’d much rather help save the news industry and make it a sustainable, inclusive system that could gainfully employ every journalist I know, but I don’t know how to do that, so instead I’m organizing a Q&A Zoom panel so people who have made the transition from journalism to other media-adjacent industries or jobs can explain how they did that to a group of journalists trying to find stable jobs that require their existing skillsets. If you’re interested in being on either side of this panel, let me know—so far, there’s a group of about 70 people who want to attend something like this.
Stay safe and healthy! I will write a more fun newsletter someday soon.