Dreams in limbo

Blues Buzz

The books that can get you through wrongful incarceration. FERRANTE. Where do the children of queer families fit in? Skydiving as a woman of color. Nova Scotia remains the best placeOrientalism at 40. "An electric time to be gay." Jia on identity and writing is so, so good. For Latinx people, it's still #OscarsSoWhite. America's climate change refugees. The Inuit woman who survived in the Arctic alone. RIP Ursula K. Le Guin, the best of us and mother to us all. The long history of othering Haiti and the Caribbean. 100 years of Virginia Woolf. Trump could gut NASA. Lifting up fellow writers. Aciman on the film birthed by his work. The solar markets hurt the most by Trump's tariff decision include Texas. The female price of male pleasure.

Harpers Ferry © E.A. Crunden

Harpers Ferry © E.A. Crunden



Around the Globe

Africa. Ongoing protests in DRC left dozens wounded. A former footballer will lead Liberia. Egypt's democracy is as non-existent as ever. A mine explosion killed 26 people in Mali.

Americas. Venezuela says the country will hold elections soon. The women's marches return. The U.S. government re-opened...for three weeks. A powerful earthquake shook Alaska. Another mass shooting. Larry Nassar is sentenced. The White House floated an immigration plan exchanging legalization for 1.8 million DACA recipients in exchange for a harsh crackdown on documented immigration. Indeed, POTUS did try to fire Mueller

Asia. A number of people were killed after militants stormed a hotel in Kabul; Saturday also brought deadly violence. Arab Israelis and Palestinians protested U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's visit. A volcano in Japan set off a deadly avalanche. Turkey launched a major offensive against Kurdish groups. A fire in South Korea left nearly 40 people dead and dozens injured. 

Europe. German coalition talks are finally looking better? The E.U. is trying to save the Iran Deal. France voted to give citizens "the right to make mistakes." The E.U. barred a "gay test" for asylum seekers. Nutella riots.


Spoken & Written

"Let's call this proposal for what it is: a white supremacist ransom note." -- Greisa Martinez Rosas of United We Dream on Trump's immigration proposal



Journalism: Cape Town is set to be the first major city in the world to run out of water. I wrote about the crisis here and made my video debut here discussing just what this means and what other cities can learn.

Geopolitical disaster coming to you in 2019. Israeli pilots are refusing to fly Black asylum seekers to their deaths. NAACP sues on behalf of 46,000 Haitians covered by TPS. Ah, the Senate, a study in priorities.

Anything goes:

What a week, what a week. I never know exactly what to do with this section of the newsletter, one I introduced exactly because I needed pressure to churn out a free-write every week and this little project has been a labor of love for four years now, so why not? Usually I find it's not what I want -- during grad school I would tiredly pull news together only to arrive at this part and then begrudgingly spit words onto the screen, only to send them off into the void, typos and grammar errors and angst and all, a dangerous way to live on the internet. Even now I'm not sure how to approach it, or if it really even works.

The real thing at hand is that there are different types of writing and different types of newsletters. Some of the most beautiful writing I read in a week comes from TinyLetters sent by writers I admire; some of the most informative comes from newsletters packed into my email. They aren't really merged, which makes sense. So often the measure of "good journalism" in an industry that has grown increasingly polarized is just how "impartial" you can be, how invisible in your work. That's a lie of course -- everyone has an opinion, a bias, a view, and the illusion of impartiality is a dangerous falsehood. But it's one reporters (and media more broadly) cherish.

Creative writing is wildly different and that can be a terrifying thing. Throughout grad school I shied away from really engaging with different types of writing too seriously, in no large part because I spent years trying to break into journalism and I worried the pursuit of writing in another form would be the end. I don't know of many journalists who actively publish fiction, poetry, or even personal essay, while remaining widely respected for that most sacred of illusions, impartiality. I took out an essay from my thesis of personal essays because it was, I worried, too personal, and I was afraid someone might read it. (The horror.)

But if all that is true, what to do with the free-write section of a newsletter about news? There's obviously a slant here without any additional information about me -- I routinely link to articles about the things that interest and move me and it's very clear that I work within progressive journalism, less so the "both sides" journalism I've worked hard to avoid. But there's a fundamental difference  between linking to my professional victories this week (shoving away anxiety and mounting terror and agreeing to do a video component for a piece on Cape Town's water crisis that I worked very hard on and feel strongly about) and discussing my personal ones. If I was to, for example, go in-depth into my struggles to find a therapist equipped to deal with a very specific set of needs and how I've finally opted to shell out an obscene amount of money to try texting therapy as a last resort, that would take away from the journalism for a lot of people. 

And yet I feel it's so important for people to know who journalists are (and to let us live and breathe and thrive.) Some of the best writing I've engaged with stem from the rare moments when, say, a Muslim woman covering the 2016 presidential campaign shared her feelings of horror and marginalization, or when a Black reporter fleshes out what it means to "impartially" cover police brutality. A number of environmental reporters have come forward online to admit they've sought mental health counseling after years of writing about climate change. Etc, etc. That's all so important and so is everything else. Why can't journalists write poetry or novels or play in rock bands or do whatever else? Why are people more generally expected to be smaller than they are?

Writing for work is easy in the sense that I'm a full-time reporter: I arrive in the newsroom at 8:00 a.m. and I begin pitching and writing and I am paid accordingly. Writing anything else is harder. Living with someone is, for me, a challenge when it comes to creativity -- it's hard to get the time and I'm incredibly private. I need to be alone to write and really, being alone can be a challenge with a busy life and a full house. Really there's often only the few minutes on Saturday morning that I spend hastily spitting this out and publishing before PIC wakes up and wants to engage, eat, get coffee, all the things people do together on weekends. But if this is the one space I have, what do I do with it and, really, what can I do with it, all boundaries considered?