Changes

I originally meant for this newsletter to be pure fun.

A day after my most recent installment I wanted to share a word about this newsletter, my original intentions for it, and how it has been organically shifting in a more serious direction.

🌟🌟🌟

I launched “Adventures in ‘Journalism’” last May because I thought it would provide a fun opportunity to write about what I considered a lighter aspect of my life — a subject unlikely to unsettle or upset people.

I had been feeling stuck as a writer for decades, censoring myself because I worried friends and family might feel hurt or angry over what I revealed, or insulted by my opinions about certain things. It seemed as if writing about something less emotionally charged would free me up and allow me to flow creatively. What the heck, I’d also decorate the newsletter with colorful drawings I made.

I decided I would repurpose material I’d generated during the first #1000WordsOfSummer program author Jami Attenberg generously offered in 2018 — mostly self-deprecating shtick about what a strange route I’ve taken, career-wise, because, I believed, I was a kooky misfit weirdo, and also someone who has never been able to strike a balance between impatience and too much patience while waiting for opportunities to materialize.

🌟🌟🌟

As I’ve been going along, though — at a time in the world when scales have been falling from our eyes — I’ve been seeing many of my past work experiences in a new light.

I’ve begun realizing the ways in which the media and lit worlds asked me to make myself small if I wanted to hang on, and the ways in which I complied. I’ve begun realizing the sacrifices and compromises I made so that men in my my life — colleagues, bosses, partners, relatives — wouldn’t feel deprioritized or threatened. I’ve begun realizing that to some degree, the playful story I’ve told myself about being a kooky misfit weirdo has been another way of making myself small and non-threatening.

Yes, I’m a little off-beat, and yes, I’ve taken an untraditional, circuitous route. But in part, that has been because there wasn’t room for me on the straight and narrow. I adapted, creating versions of myself that didn’t get in anyone’s way. And still, in some places I found myself diminished or erased.

(I’m reminded of an incisive Longreads piece by A.N. Devers about the way in which Brigid Hughes was pushed out as editor of The Paris Review and erased from its history.)

🌟🌟🌟

I’m not saying this newsletter will never be playful or fun again. I’m not saying I won’t sometimes grab my crayons and doodle for you. What I’m saying is there’s more to my work history than I used to see — than I wanted to see. Some of it is not pretty, but I feel newly compelled to look at it. I hope you’ll stick around so I can show it to you.