Vol. 2, No. 1. | Welcome (back)

New platform. New Year. Same dispatches.

FYI: A quick note to point out my moving the newsletter from TinyLetter to Substack. There's no reason, except it seems like a smarter place to be right now.

Photo: It’s only taken me 3 months to finally joining the breadmaking brigade.

Hello, everybody!

It’s been a while. I didn’t think it’d take six months to write again, but there’s a lot I didn’t expect going into 2020.

How are you?

I’ll be honest; I'm numb.

The helicopters have stopped flying overhead for now. The familiar melody of the "Mister Softee ice cream truck filled the streets of Graduate Hospital early Sunday.

(BTW, it has lyrics.)

I ventured out for groceries this morning, making it the first time I've left the house in more than a week. Thousands filled the streets in Philadelphia (and elsewhere) in recent days to make sure folks understood how tired we are.

It appears to be working, but it's still early.

I've been quiet for a long time though it's not because I haven't had anything to say, but because I AM tired. The panic attacks and the elevated stress levels were back, though I knew how to tackle them this time. It’s probably why Ernest Owens’s words in the New York Times in late May resonated with me this time; I was comfortable being in the house not having to fight the battle right now. This has to change though as it’s not always good to be comfortable, especially when there’s so much to change.

It's been a little lonely as a result, though Pete's trying his best to check on me often (see below). That said, I'm grateful for a weekly virtual happy hour on Saturdays as a way to wind down my week. I'm also grateful for those who've been able to reach out in recent weeks, if only to say, "Hi!" and nothing else. It reminds me of how much I appreciate people and chance encounters. It's also a chance to reflect on what matters most in terms of relationships... of any type.

I’ve been wondering about a lot. I wonder if these protests will lead to change; it looks like they will, and soon. I’m also wondering about the future of the process of journalism. As much as I find myself reading Walter Lippmann, it’s more to have a better understanding of why I find myself more in alignment with John Dewey.

Note: Their debates are at the heart of what journalism is today and what it wants to become. This link (+ this one) might help give enough background to explain why this is going to become a deeper discussion again as we dig deeper into what journalism is moving forward.

I've also been quite busy at work, especially in recent days. The organization I work for received funding in early April to develop a crisis response framework. Its primary focus is exploring getting much-needed information into vulnerable communities. I'm serving as the editorial lead for the FAQ component of the project. Broke in Philly newsroom partners contribute to it and host embeds on their websites. The embeds are also available for other community partners to use.

I’ve learned the ability to reach people where they are means more to me than I realized. What does that mean moving forward? I think I need to explore that in an upcoming note to all of you.

What have you been thinking about during these last few months? This past week? It’d be nice to know what’s on your mind.

What I'm Reading: The Lonely City: Adventures in The Art of Being Alone, by Olivia Laing

It's not exactly fair to say I've been reading. It's been tough to read anything since we had to begin to shelter at home in mid-March. It's been slow going so far, but I'd argue I may finally understand my love of Edward Hopper as a result. It's also reminding me why I love being back in a major city in its downtown area. It is an exploration of loneliness and how you can break free of its grasp on reality, something any fan of Billy Joel tries to tackle occasionally without much success (at least lyrically). The write-up of the book on Brain Pickings helps to break down what Laing is saying, though I’m enjoying digesting the lessons directly from the source (however slowly the effort may be currently).

What’s Playing on the Living Room Speaker: The Reflex YouTube channel

FYI, it's a 270° speaker, and it's awesome. The guy behind this effort uses only original multi-tracks to create what he calls a "revision." My favorite? The Revision for Marvin Gaye + Tammi Terrel's version of "Ain't No Mountain."

What I'm Watching: Whatever TimeOut lets me know is available

Tonight, I'd normally be in extended virtual conversations about the Tony Awards telecast. It's (of course) not happening this year, but I've been watching a lot of theater and performances in general. TimeOut has been updating this link every weekday. It provides a valuable portal to music and theater that I hope continues to be available.

Your Moment of Pete:

Let me know how you’re doing; it’d be nice to catch up with more than just a “like” or an emoji. Also, you can always share this newsletter with others.

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