On Sunday, , a Seattle police officers shot and killed Charleena Lyles pregnant woman who had called to report a robbery, in her home in front of her children.
Rahawa Haile has been writing some knock-down incredible pieces about her Appalachian Trail thru-hike (I will not be satisfied until I can read her book and maybe also see the movie). Her Outside essay “Going It Alone” is one of the best pieces I’ve read this year, and Elon Green talked with her about it for CJR’s Behind the Story:
There are so many nature essays, right? But how many black-women-in-nature essays are there? Very few. My biggest hope is that some black woman reads this essay about what it was like for me as a black woman, and sees that I finished the trail, that I wasn’t killed, and that it’s not impossible. That was more important for me than talking about all the different rocks and wild flowers and the geology of it.
I wasn’t sure that Outside would let me write like this because writing about the nature can be so immersive. But they did, and I’m grateful for it. It’s hard to write about nature and blackness without it being politicized. There were things I wrote about, like access to green spaces, through a far more political lens than appears in most of the piece; that was cut. I’m glad it was, to be honest, because it’s something I would like to write about at length elsewhere, and it would’ve interrupted the flow.
Outside doesn’t have many black writers, let alone many black women writing for their print issues. I really hope this helps encourage women of color to pitch. Representation matters so much. Sometimes people need to see that “X” is possible, that it has been done, before they are inclined to do it themselves.
Tracy K. Smith is the new U.S. Poet Laureate! ( and then you can spend several minutes every day thinking about it, as I do.) Read this poem of hers
CATAPULT STAFF PICKS
The History of Pop-Up Books!
I’ve been waiting for Samantha Powell to write about J. Crew forever and she DID and it’s GREAT.
I spoke with the reporter, Sarah Scoles, who wrote this article about Mallory and The Toast , yet was unprepared for all of the feelings I felt: “And then across the mists of time we found each other,” Ortberg says, speaking of the Toast community. “And I just think that’s wonderful.” [I went to New York last week to teach a workshop, and while I was there I got to meet up with several Toast readers and writers. T he community truly is as strong and as wonderfully weird as ever, and continues to make my life. ]
America’s Massive Retail Workforce Is Tired of Being Ignored, by Sarah Jaffe :
Retail workers get little attention in major discussions about employment in America. In part, this is because the jobs are widely seen as low-skill, temporary ones done by young people like Aguilera, on their way to something more prestigious. Why make the jobs better if they're just done by kids, or women who are looking for pocket money, or the unskilled? . . . Indeed, when retail workers have pushed themselves into public consciousness in recent years it has been because they have been organizing. Retail workers have been at the heart of the Fight for $15, which pushed wages higher in places like Emeryville, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and a host of other cities as low-wage workers struck and rallied for raises. Retail workers too have organized for paid sick time, passed into law in Emeryville in 2015, and now more and more have begun to demand some control over their schedules. Rather than hope for a Make America Great Again–style renaissance of manufacturing, retail workers are demanding that their existing jobs improve.
Anti-immigrant Trump voters in Willard, Ohio are angry about the returning migrant workers who literally keep their local economy alive , and local farmers are worried that the hostility and ensuing fear will be bad for business. (That “economic anxiety,” though.)
The Language That Linguists Thought Couldn’t Exist
I confess I read this headline and could not help thinking “Fuck you” but of course
and I guess I just get defensive sometimes the article is very interesting
AN ORAL HISTORY OF READING RAINBOW
And speaking of my all-time fave LeVar Burton, did you know he has a new podcast where he reads books aloud ? I now know what I will be listening to every night before I fall asleep.