happy monday! i’ve been awake for several hours working on a 3,000-word reported feature about the human toll of media layoffs this year (this was not the least depressing subject i could have written about as i begin my annual descent into seasonal affective disorder, no), which i hope to share with you soon.
but! in the meantime, i am using this newsletter to plug a story i published last month that i’m really proud of (i don’t do this a lot, so pardon my shamelessness): a feature story i reported about texas instruments graphing calculators, planned obsolescence, education, and income inequality. i wrote it for a medium publication called GEN that covers culture/power/politics. i loved reporting this story, which is just as much about how texas instruments came to monopolize math classes across the country as it is a story about how teachers sometimes have to buy these $100 calculators for their own classrooms themselves, on teacher salaries, which should enrage you! it enraged me, anyway. today businessweek put it on their 2019 jealousy list of stories they wish they’d written this year. for as long as i’ve been a published writer i’d thought it would be neat to eventually write a story someone else would read and be like “ugh, i wish i wrote this,” so it’s pretty cool!
readers of this newsletters/knowers of my life will recall that this year was, for me, a sort-of rollercoaster that was also a trash fire (i’m visualizing this as a rollercoaster track that descends into a firey pit on its first steep downhill drop, but please reply to this email with your own ideas). quitting a new job in a hyper-public fashion with no backup plan or savings and diving facefirst onto the cold cement floor that is freelance writing was stressful and nightmarish. it took a toll on my self-esteem and tested my belief that i could ever be proud of the work i do in journalism again. i felt humiliated and thought that nobody would ever want me to write for them again. i toughed it out because i felt like i had something to prove, which the rational part of me knows is silly. i still kinda think that for the sake of my brain i should consider taking a break from everything and quitting twitter and spending some time doing less-visible work for a little while. but right now i’m very grateful for the people, some of whom subscribe to this newsletter, who have encouraged me to keep writing. if you’ve read or shared a story i’ve written or sent me a kind note this year: thank you. it means more than you could know.