I hope that everyone’s 2021 has been off to an excellent start. I’ve been staying busy while trying to figure out what big moves I’m trying to make in the next year.
My three main goals for the year are:
Move to a new, growing city that’s filled with energy and opportunities
Secure a role that will pay my bills, where I could see myself working for two or more years
Start a significant personal project that I’ll either complete or make meaningful progress on by the end of the year
I’ll be sharing more about what exactly I’m thinking once I get a bit more information but this is where a good chunk of my attention will be focused over the next few months (my lease in Rochester is up at the end of June). There are a couple opportunities on my radar but, as always, I’d love to hear from any of you with any ideas or insights you have.
I hope that everyone will receive this email. I decided to pivot from Mailchimp to Substack to manage Seeking Tribe.
The ethos of Substack is more aligned with my values, particularly their commitment to freedom of expression and how their business model ties their success to the success of the creators using their platform. I have no intention of paywalling the Seeking Tribe newsletter but may end up hosting other content through this channel (tbd). Please pardon any minor issues that arise from this switch.
A Few Projects That I’ve Been Busy With:
My friend Tim Wilcox and I recorded a podcast about the thematic overlaps between the best-selling book Life of Pi by Yann Martel and the cult classic film Donnie Darko
Life of Pi was published on September 11th, 2001 and Donnie Darko’s failure of a theatrical release was October 26th, 2001. The overlaps are surprisingly numerous and both seem to reflect a world that has been lost since the launch of the War on Terror.
I’ve been meaning to publish a few of my thoughts on the book, as I took extensive notes to prepare for our discussion.
Overall, it’s a case for a sort-of liberal nationalism: pragmatic immigration reform to dramatically increase America’s GDP, policy proposals to dramatically expand the housing supply in cities where the rents are too damn high, and the case for direct cash transfers to help more Americans to be able to afford to have children of their own.
I certainly have my criticisms of Yglesias’ ideas but found it to be a compelling and, at times, maddening read (did you know in the US it costs 10x what it does in Germany to construct the same amount of commuter railway?). The book was highly effective at making Trump’s nationalism look either incoherent or unserious. Personally, I’m a localist, not a nationalist, but the book was insightful none the less.
I will be sure to invite y’all to the next one. The event was quite successful so likely there will be more coming in the near future. I will keep you all posted.
I applied for a couple jobs, including one that I was particularly excited about. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out but, as always, it was a learning experience.
How have you been? What are a couple of your goals for 2021?
I would love to hear from each of you and help in any way that I can.
The pandemic is going to continue for months to come, our crazy country is going to continue to face numerous issues – many are symptoms of underlying issues that have been ignored for decades, and likely there will be some other curveballs along the way.
We can’t control any of that but we can choose to acknowledge our abilities and their limits in a way that allows us to make the most of this year and help people within our influence.
I’m determined to ensure that 2021 is a big year for myself and I’d love to help y’all to do the same!
This post was initially sent via Substack onJanuary 24th, 2021.
I’m back at my Mom’s house and I’ll be here for the next 2+ weeks.
After spending my Thanksgiving watching Lord of the Rings and eating frozen pizza with one of my housemates, it’s nice to be celebrating the season in a more conventional way. Like listening to Bing Crosby and eating stollen.
My plan is to spend the rest of 2020 reading books (being less online), scheming for a better 2021, and enjoying some quality time with my Mom and Daisy, her Havanese doggo.
This will likely be the last edition of Seeking Tribe for the year. I’m grateful to all 204 of you for joining and sticking with me on this adventure! It’s only going to get better in 2021, that’s a promise 🙂
The Best of my Recent Reads:
“When I was 15, my ‘Grandpa Chuck’ died. A humble man, he was kind to those he met. His career included being a U.S. Marine, a Police Officer, and a long time Detective for the Rochester Police Department. His capability as a Detective was built through decades of treating those he met with respect. This accrued social equity provided information that other detectives could never attain.
At his wake, hundreds attended. The wealthy and powerful, the poor and the meek, the innocent and the guilty. RPD escorted him to his burial; shutting down a major highway to keep the procession uninterrupted.
This fundamentally shifted my understanding of success. I will never know how successful I was in life; I won’t be at my own funeral.
Legacy is more valuable than currency.” from my older brother Clark’s newsletter, Forward.
I was only five years old when Grandpa Chuck died. It was great to be reminded of this story. I learned a similar lesson from the life and passing of Paul J. Burgett – as anyone who has read my book knows.
“This great migration from mainstream to ‘free speech’ platforms will inevitably have the effect of fostering hyper-partisan, right-wing echo chambers — tailored realities which barely offer even a glimpse of an alternative opinion.” from the provocatively titled, Tech’s QAnon Crackdown was a Huge Mistake by Mark Ledwich
If anyone has read anything that argues the opposite, I’d love to read it.
Currently, I’m thinking that these heavy-handed strategies are mostly good for shareholders, not for society. We’ll bear the costs of increased radicalization, atomization while Facebook, Google, etc get to wipe their hands of being a part of a solution to help rebuild genuine trust and facilitate open, critical conversation.
The problems of online radicalization are not going away anytime soon and we’re never going back to a world where there’s a handful of mutually credible news sources.
“Having earned a Ph.D. in English and taught poetry courses, there is no question raised so frequently as some variation of:
Can literature exist on Instagram? Is Instagram poetry real literature? What do you think of Rupi Kaur?“
Tim and I recently collaborated on a podcast. We both read Life of Pi and watched Donnie Darko, these two pieces of media were released within a month or so of each other. We had a wide-ranging conversation about their numerous shared themes.
Ever wanted to know how many copies I sold? Check it out.
Year Compass is a great little planning exercise for the new year. This is my 3rd Year Compass in a row. I’ll likely be reflecting a bit more about what I’ve learned from my plans and failures in 2019 and 2020
My currently reading list: Collaborative Circles by Michael P. Farrell, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, One Billion Americans by Matt Yglesias, Your Music and People by Derek Sivers, and The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (almost done).
I’ve already got a lot planned for 2021 and I’m determined to make it a better year than 2020. This year has emphasized what is and what is not within our control. My plans are going to focus on what’s within my control and take to heart many of the other lessons that I’ve learned and re-learned in 2020.
I hope that each of you has an excellent holiday season (and a happy new year if you don’t hear from me)!