No. 8: MD's Newsletter
Now is not for the faint of heart
Hello and thanks for opening this email!
I realize it’s been a while since I’ve sent out an update – not because I don’t love writing and discussing things On The Internet, but because I’ve been quite busy IRL!
Moving into a new house, planning a wedding, and growing a baby while working full-time means the days are packed, and clipping by.
I can’t complain, though. As cliche as the word ”blessed” can be, it is really the only word that I can come up with that encapsulates the situations and context I find myself in. We are healthy, joyful and stable. Or as stable as a pair of Millenial creative professionals could hope to be in these times. There’s the heartbreak and chaos of violence and madness in our public spaces. There’s the pressure from the exorbitant divides of wealth, power and status in our society, as if inequality were a persistent weed that comes back uglier and thicker every time you try to root it out. And there’s simply the great behavioral upheaval of our era, where we all move further and further into our screens.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of world our son is going to grow up in. We can hope it gets better, but hope is meaningless without putting it into action. So we will do our best to show him what it means to have a strong moral compass, and how to walk through the world with kindness. And we can show up for our community. Maybe that means writing articles, maybe it means donating our time and resources to nonprofits. Maybe it means joining protests, or simply shouting what we believe in from the digital rooftops. It shows up differently for different families. And we’re so new at this thing, I don’t really know what it will look like for us. But I know we have a deep love and reverence for our desert community and want to see all of its babies thrive.
Here’s to doing our best. Onto the links.
Six months on the retail beat
I’m hitting exactly six months at Modern Retail this week, which is terrifically exciting. I’ve published about 90 stories, roughly four stories a week, which is a rapid pace that keeps my schedule full. The main areas I’ve honed in on are public policy around business/consumers, sustainability-minded business practices, and the furniture & design sector. There’s a healthy dose of marketing, tech and business strategy mixed in too.
As someone who has always enjoyed diving into earnings reports and interviewing CEOs, I couldn’t ask for a more interesting gig. And the more I learn about how we’re spending our money, what we’re spending it on, and how companies are getting us to do it? Phew, capitalism is a hell of a drug. Here are a few more recent stories:
A year of solutions journalism
Also this week, I’ll be filing my 12th column of the year for CV Independent. It’s been a great exercise in solutions journalism to look for ways that governments are trying to improve their operations/communities. When we talk about accountability journalism, I think it’s important that we look at all sides of it — meaning not just calling out when there’s malfeasance, fraud, or unethical behavior, but also when strategies yield results or help safeguard our democracy. Otherwise, how will anyone figure out what works?
My latest column looked at the ballot counting livestream Riverside County put up during this year’s general election, in case any conspiracy theorists wanted to keep an eye out.
The final countdown
Back when I wrote a music blog, I would publish my top 10 favorite albums for each year. Not necessarily the best, but my favorites, the ones that stuck with me the most. And while I still listen to music every day, I can’t say I keep up on new releases the way I once did. And my tastes are changing too. There’s a lot more jazz and classical, a little less pop punk. A lot more female hip-hop artists, fewer emo misogynists. More alt-country, less math rock.
But what hasn’t changed is that music still soundtracks the story for me. It still provides the backdrop to my thoughts and feelings and goings-on,, whether that’s playing in my headphones on solo hikes, or on numerous drives to and from Yucca during our move from the Coachella Valley.
Some of my favorite records this year included:
Maren Morris - Humble Quest
Wild Pink - ILYSM
Beyonce - Renaissance
Caitlynn Smith - High
Florence + the Machine - Dance Fever
Megan Thee Stallion - Trauamazine
Zach Bryan - American Heartbreak
Miranda Lambert - Palomino
Beyond that, I also listened to a lot of Pivot, NPR and got into Headspace’s guided meditations. Highly recommend all of those to keep you informed & balanced.
It is remarkable to think that there are fewer than three weeks left in this calendar year. Because as much as 2022 has been a beautiful whirlwind, I know 2023 is going to have the most marvelous, terrifying transformation yet: becoming a parent, while hopefully retaining myself.
I’ll see you there,