Waving, (Not Drowning), Good-Bye
Away I go, 900+ posts later…
Whatever will I do with all this newfound empty time?
I started blogging here July 1, 2009, quite literally shaking with fear. Who on earth would want to listen? But, bless y’all, you did.
I found 5,000 visitors by November and 10,000 every month after that; May was my best, with more than 15,000. I never attained the Olympian heights of Taibbi et al, but people showed up.
Mystery: Who are you, anyway?
For someone whose entire career, since college, has been writing for print, not knowing your audience — always tidily demographically profiled and sliced up by the ad department (like, women 18-34) — is unnerving. Really.
So I’m proud of the audience I’ve found, because 50 percent of my followers are male, 50 percent female. I’ve been told this is highly unusual for a blogger and I’m delighted.
(I was hired to blog about women, but, typical Gemini, I flitted like a drunken butterfly from one topic to another.)
I’ve enjoyed getting to know some T/S members and hearing your distinctive voices; luckily, here, it’s remained sane and thoughtful. I’ve valued your insights, wisdom and occasional shared outrage.
I treasure the international, multi-generational friendships True/Slant has brought into my life. Some I’ve already met face to face: Fran Johns, Colin Horgan, Todd Essig, Claudia Deutsch, Nancy Miller, while I look forward to meeting many others who have reached out, including Bart Brouwers, Paul Smalera, Matthew Newton, Devon Pendleton, Dawn Reiss, Fruszina Eordogh and Nick Obourn.
Scott Bowen offered advice and support throughout the writing of my book and Jerry Lanson invited me to Boston to speak to his journalism students. Fellow T/Ser Osha Gray Davidson last week chose my blog here as a “must-follow”. I will miss them all!
Ours is so often a struggling, cut-throat business, so to find a new, talented, generous posse is rare and great and so I am sad that this party is ending.
Here, I “met”, and read the work of talented writers in Bhutan, Saudia Arabia, India, Afghanistan, Rome, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Seattle, Phoenix, Lille. I found this plenitude of perspectives astonishing. Imagine my surprised delight when even PJ Tobia, another stranger to me — in Afghanistan — sent me a story idea. Such attentiveness tells me what a great crew we were.
My first life-changing year was when I won an eight-month fellowship in Paris with 28 journos, ages 25 to 35, from 19 countries. It was the happiest year of my professional life and I remain friends, decades later, with some of them.
In its many similarities to that experience, True/Slant comes in as the second-best.
The dirty secret — as the old-news veterans know — is that very few real-time newsrooms are ever as fun, funny or collegial as this one was. There are way too many Big Egos, too much gossip, an editor who hates you, a thwarted promotion. Here, we enjoyed a level playing field and cool, supportive colleagues. Bliss.
A thank-you to Coates Bateman and Michael Roston, to Lewis, Andrea and Steve — and for allowing the unusual, editorially undisturbed fermentation that produced that unique and special True/Slant fizz.
A special merci beaucoup! to Katie Drummond, a fellow Canadian jock in NY, for recruiting me.
I’m revising my second book “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” (Portfolio, spring 2011) and pitching my usual clients like The New York Times. I’m thrilled to be a speaker at a major retail conference in September, where I’ll be addressing executives from some of industry’s key players. I’ll be doing it on crutches (the lousy hip) but figure it will win me a shred or two of sympathy.
Vegas on crutches….sounds like a blog post to me!
You can find Broadside here starting next week and I hope you’ll keep reading, and spreading the word if you like what you find.
As a a fulltime freelancer, I’m always looking for new, profitable and interesting gigs. Feel free to drop me a line through my website, (or find me on Facebook,) where you’ll find my email address and current work/activities.
“One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.”
— Herman Hesse