The best things I wrote in 2015
Before November 2014, the last time I’d been inside The Boston Globe’s sprawling Dorchester building on William T. Morrissey Boulevard was in sixth grade for a field trip. I remember clutching my worksheet-bearing clipboard and marveling at the huge rolls of blank newsprint that forklifts carried across the plant’s cement floor. Rollers spit out the news onto papers that made their way onto conveyor belts, then trucks, then the driveways of houses like mine, in Lincoln, MA. Each morning I’d take the dog out with my dad and pull the paper out of its green plastic sleeve to find the comics.
On my first day as a staff writer at Boston.com in December last year, I once again watched the plant whir and grind and print out stories. But instead of a clipboard, I gripped my new ID card that had the terrible, just-taken photo of me printed on its plastic face that said I worked there. I wrote my first article for Boston.com — about a protest at Boston College—the next day.
I’ve walked into that building many times in the past year. As with any job, the days have varied. Some have been exhilarating and rewarding. Some have been hard and painful (this industry isn’t an easy one). On most of them, my coworkers-turned-favorite-people have made me laugh so hard I’ve cried. But regardless of how I’ve felt, every day I’ve gotten to write and to tell stories, which is the job I’ve always wanted to do.
Here are some of the articles and essays I wrote this year that I particularly like. I figure that if I don’t put them all in one place, I won’t be able to find them in 50 years when I try to prove to my grandkids that I was once relevant (hey, guys, hope the world isn’t one giant apocalyptic ball of fire by the time you read this!).
Thanks to everyone out there who reads my work when I send it into cyberspace. I am very grateful that you take the time to do so.
I’m going to put this one first because I got interviewed by the Weather Channel because of it, and let me tell you, that’s one dream you don’t realize you have until it comes true.
I was so nervous to put this out into the world that I thought I was going to pass out as I clicked the “publish” button. But the response and support I got back was incredible. I heard from friends, from people I’d lost touch with years ago, and from strangers who all told me they also struggled with anxiety. Some people who reached out were decades older than I, others were kids writing to me from their parents’ email accounts. It was a gift for me to be able to tell my story and—if only for a moment—help others feel less alone in their struggle to deal with their own brains. Because let me tell you, when you’re in the throes of an anxiety spiral, it often feels like you are.
I had a feeling this one might hit a nerve, but I wasn’t expecting it to get shared over 32,800 times on Facebook. People love this stuff, man.
Katie Nolan, the host of Fox Sports 1’s TV show Garbage Time, is as cool as you think she’d be from watching her show. This was so much fun to write, but it was even more fun to get to hang out with her and drink beers for an afternoon.
Speaking of badass ladies, Sadie Samuels is another one, and she was kind enough to let me go out fishing with her one early morning in August. We watched the sunrise from her “office,” and for at least an hour I seriously considered changing careers and joining her out there on the water.
These stories were heartbreaking, but I hope that by telling them, it can shed a little light on the reality of their situation.
I’d been wanting to write about the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta forever, and getting to include my personal connection to the Allen and White families who organize it made this piece even more near and dear to my heart. I hope I did it justice.
I published this on my 26th birthday. It’s a theme I’ve continued to think about as the year has gone on, and I’m currently working on another essay about the layers places take on when you grow up in them and then stay as an adult.
I’d wanted to write about Hussey’s General Store ever since I first drove by their iconic sign on my way from Rockport to Colby for my freshman year in 2007. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough this summer to walk in and find a bride-to-be who was thinking about buying a camouflage wedding dress. I interviewed her for the piece.
Not my finest moment, but maybe my finest essay?
Old habits die hard: I will always love writing about clothes and WASPs.
After 26 years, I thought I could shed some light on what the newest member of the royal family should expect as she moves through the world with her (my — I was here first) name.
It turns out that most Bostonians would, in fact, prefer a real Jurassic Park.
This one took some pretty involved reporting. It was fun to untangle some very strong points of view to get at the truth.
Definitely the most fun one to “report.”
Covering the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro
When the cargo ship El Faro sank during Hurricane Joaquin this year, I talked to friends of the crew members who died in the wreck, including the captain and a 23-year-old engineer. I also talked to mariners about how the close-knit nature of maritime communities makes the pain of a tragedy like this so acute.
I was sick for a week and a half after I did this, but speaking of grandkids, this is one video I’ll definitely pull up for them. Hopefully 50 years is enough time for me to finally be able to watch it without throwing up.