Old things, new ways

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This week

2020 was the year newsletters got big. Of course, the "rise of newsletters" thinkpieces have been coming steadily for quite some time, but we are in a fresh moment of zeitgeisty breakthrough. I love that it's become normal for readers to pay writers, and I have benefited directly from this! But it also makes me uneasy to consider how the heralded rise of newsletters fits into the broader media picture. Most publications slashed their budgets this year, and many disappeared altogether. These trends are connected: Newsletters like mine are part of a shift from collectively produced media to standalone writing by well-known individuals.

This puts me in an awkward spot. I'm a self-employed writer who's been sending a newsletter for seven years—a success story of this new era. I am also a former editor who loves magazines, and a former intern who hasn't forgotten how hard it is to make a name for yourself in this industry. How do I reconcile these facts?

**BIG NEWS!** I'm making a few changes around here in 2021. I'm starting a fellowship for two writers who aren't yet established. I'll be regularly featuring their work in my newsletter to help them build their own following. (Click for details about that.) I'm also going to start paying artists to license their work for the header image of this newsletter. (Click here if you're an artist who's interested.) And I'll be making regular charitable donations, based on your suggestions. To pay for all of this, membership rates are going up to a $15/year minimum in early 2021.

I wrote a short essay about all of this, with more details on what's to come. Please read it! 

Thanks for muddling through it with me, and being part of the ongoing experiment that is this newsletter. I'm grateful for you every year, but this weekly practice has been such an anchor for me through the pandemic. "Now more than ever," as they say, I appreciate you clicking and reading.

I'm reading
Millions of hungry Americans are turning to food banks for the first time, and more people are shoplifting to survive. Renters who were just getting by before the pandemic are now teetering on the brink of eviction. How direct-giving apps like Venmo and Cash App are upending the old charity model. The astronomical cost of childcare in the pandemic. Motherhood in America is a multilevel marketing scheme. The women who fear the pandemic stole their chance to become mothers. A single mother in rural Appalachia on what Hillbilly Elegy gets wrong. Abolitionists Mariame Kaba and Josie Duffy Rice on rethinking accountability and punishment. Casey Goodson, Jr. was killed by police last week for carrying a sandwich the cops thought looked like a gun, and Kawasaki Trawick was killed by police last year for holding a bread knife in his own kitchen. "My role was victim and teacher all at once, and it enraged me." How police came to be stationed in schools, and how Black Oaklanders got them out. When your hometown football team gets a new identity. The last children of Down syndrome. What does it mean to consider yourself a disabled person? The athlete's guide to menopause. Our quarantine brains often ask, to post or not to post?

Pie chart
The No, Really, HOME For the Holidays Pie
(An archival pie that is newly relevant in 2020.)

Pie is free thanks to all of you who support this newsletter with your dollars! Become a paying member here. If you're already a member, you can increase, decrease, or cancel your membership here.

I’m looking & listening
On CYG, the great Myisha Battle chats about setting personal boundaries around COVID safety. Photographer Curtis Ray Benally's portraits of indigenous women on their tribal lands, and Reynaldo Rivera’s photos of Los Angeles's queer underground scene. What mutual aid looks like. A quiz to find your quiz.

What isn't a pyramid scheme these days?

I endorse

Our last Big Friendship conversation of the year is happening next week—Wednesday, December 16—with Rebecca Traister at NYPL. It's free. Join us and invite a friend!

The Classifieds

Create a 2021 worthy of you. Book your free consult with Possible Things, a bespoke coaching service for the creative, ambitious, and stuck.
Are you the friend who wants to discuss topics like Instagram Face, Neoliberalism, and gender dynamics in romantic relationships? If so, subscribe to that's so interesting for a weekly dose of equally thought-provoking subjects to talk about.
Curious how other people spend their work day? How Did You End Up There? is a new podcast about how our careers come together. Listen now!

Want to learn a thing or two about wine, plus get all the dog content you need each week? Sign up now for Your Weekly W(h)ine's newsletter.

Learn to write emails, blogs, & ads that don't suck. Enrolment is open for Growclass's Copywriting For Conversion course now.

Salmon Theory is a newsletter that uses ideas from philosophy to help creative marketers find clarity. You can sign up here.

In ad-sales land, it's already 2021. Click for rates + info.

"This is my annual THANK YOU for your brilliantly curated, wise, funny, mind-expanding, ever-evolving, always enriching newsletter! It has been a highlight of my week for at least 6 or 7 years now, and it's easily the most rewarding $15 I spend every year. The second I see it in my inbox I open it for a delicious browse through the headings and highlights, then I change it back to 'unread' so I can dive in again and again on the weekend...sometimes weeks or months later too. " -Martha. What's that? Hm? No, I'm not crying, there's just something in my eye.

This newsletter is rethinking things.
Forward it to someone who's undervalued and values-aligned.

Ann Friedman

Manage Preferences | Unsubscribe | Ladyswagger, Inc.
PO Box 26932 | Los Angeles, CA 90026
© 2020

Older messages

The space between

Friday, December 4, 2020

Surprise me View in browser December 04, 2020 600x300 Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe—Hands and Thimble, 1919 This week 'Tis the season of lists and data, neat statistics that kinda do and

Not buying it

Friday, December 4, 2020

Surprise me View in browser November 27, 2020 600x300 Photo by Kae Anderson on Unsplash This week Maybe you've seen one of the tweets about how, this year, Thanksgiving returned to its roots as a

What gives?

Friday, November 20, 2020

Surprise me View in browser November 20, 2020 600x300 Olga Kozachenko on Unsplash This week The mood here today is generous and cozy. Scroll down for my annual recommendations for thoughtful gift-

How to make an American quilt

Friday, November 13, 2020

Surprise me View in browser November 13, 2020 Scraps and threads This week When the US election result was finally called, I was in an online quilting class, learning how to sew freeform curves instead

The waiting

Friday, November 6, 2020

Surprise me View in browser November 06, 2020 600x300 Photo by Alessia Chinazzo on Unsplash This week It's been a week of waiting. I finished my last phone and text bank shifts on Monday, and then

Ashley Graham's curl trick is so, so cool

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

GEL MOISTURIZERS Ashley Graham's Go-To Curl Cream Is Also Her Fave for Her Toddler Here's Why You Should Use Less Products on Wash Days Can You Have an Allergic Reaction to Hair Color? 10

Hunter Schafer is rocking a chic blonde bob with bangs, and it’s everything

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Jupiter is entering pisces View this email as a web page HelloGiggles HAIR FOR IT Hunter Schafer is rocking a chic blonde bob with bangs, and it's everything CLAPBACK QUEEN Billie Eilish clapped

These Anti-Skinny Jeans Are Officially 2021's Must-Try Pants

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Here's how the fashion set is styling them. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ TZR logo The Zoe Report 05.11.21 A few weeks ago I hopped on a Zoom with Sofia and Nicole Richie to talk about their

New from Tim — Interview with Jacqueline Novogratz, Q&A with Tim, and "How to Improve Your Relationship — Tools for Communication, Conflict Resolution, and More" Video

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Hi All, Please find your weekly roundup email below. The "5-Bullet Friday" newsletter is coming on Friday, as always. Here's what I've published in the past seven days or so... 🎧 New

This "Ugly" Nail Polish Color Is Majorly Trending Right Now

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

It's surprisingly chic. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ TZR logo The Zoe Report 05.11.21 (Beauty) Now that we're only a month and change away, I officially can't stop fixating on summer

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Books Noted Live, The State of Poetry

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Support Poets.org May 11, 2021 Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with this collection of poems: “I Want the Wide American Earth” by Carlos Bulosan “

Let's Stop Pretending Those Viral Recipe Shitposts Are Real

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Last night, as I was trying to wind down, I saw a tweet that read “what a normal and ultimate... ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ Do everything better Tuesday, May 11, 2021 Rants Let's

You've Been Microwaving Food Wrong Your Entire Life

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

How to Microwave Food Get the Magazine Real Simple Daily Recipe You've Been Microwaving Food Wrong Your Entire Life Read More An Essential Baking Tools Set, a Better Cheese Board, and More Clever

A powerful autobiographical novel from award-winning author Francisco Goldman [sponsored]

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

This is a promotional email from Literary Hub. “Enthralling... a tour de force” from award-winning author Francisco Goldman (O Magazine) Monkey Boy by Francisco Goldman “Monkey Boy tells what it means

The Clock-out Cure

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

What's new today on the Cut — covering style, self, culture, and power, plus interviews, profiles, columns, and commentary from our editors. Brand Logo TUESDAY, MAY 11 SCIENCE OF US The Clock-out