2014: A Year In Review, Somehow

Hello reader! I’m glad you’re here.

2014 was a big year for me. While I spent a lot of my time writing — or talking about writing, or thinking about writing, or drinking about writing; those are the same thing, right? — this was the first year I really committed to words as profession, as something I had to do and couldn’t put off any longer. Which is strange! In May 2013 I was still in college, still majoring in biology, still planning to become a doctor, whatever that meant to me then. A few months after that, from June through the beginning of 2014, I was a media consultant with a science degree that people always asked me about; and then I was a full-time freelancer with a degree I didn’t think about. Then there was the editorial assisting at Vanity Fair, and I finally got to define myself as someone — someone who was in editorial, who went to work in midtown Manhattan, who was doing the thing he loved. (As a small-town Texan manqué, the “working in Manhattan” thing still feels really good.)

And now I’m here! I don’t have things figured out, and I still don’t really know anything — though I’ve gotten better at things like pitching, writing, editing, and tweeting, the nuts and bolts of whatever it is we do at our computers all day.

Anyway, before I list the things I wrote this year, I have a confession to make. Until very, very recently — say, the last month or so? — I never thought of myself as a writer. It was always “a person who’s written some stuff”, or “a guy who freelances in his spare time”, even though the pieces and subjects I’ve written about/am writing about are things I care deeply for. I know now that not wanting to call myself a writer was born of a protective instinct, which in turn stems (obviously, directly) from insecurity; it’s only very recently that I’ve learned to trust my work and the things I set down in type.

And that, dear reader, is because of you. SO: Thank you for reading and tweeting and sending very nice emails (no thank you to commenters, please don’t do that anymore ok???). You’ve made this year and these transitions really wonderful for me.

I don’t know what 2015 will bring. I do know, though, that I will be writing. And this year, this time, I will be calling myself a writer.

Things I Liked


“I Will Only Bleed Here

This was a very raw meditation on race and white rage, written the day after the Eric Garner non-indictment.


“A Brief History of the Personal

I love personal ads; they’re so beautifully pitched, so sweet and ephemeral and melancholy. I compiled a short history.


“The Talk

This was after Michael Brown. I wrote it in a haze; I honestly don’t remember where it came from, only that I needed to get it out of me. It’s on the talk that all black and brown children in America get, on how to stay safe in a bruising, white supremacist society.

“Hi, Yes, I’m Looking for the Eric Garner Protest

I went to the protests in New York that immediately followed Eric Garner’s killer going free. This piece is a portrait of how it felt to be there, that sparking first night.

The New Inquiry

“Capital Flows

Rap, capitalism, race, and masculinity. They’re all intertwined; they’re all in conflict.

The Baffler

“Geoff Dyer’s Idle Days At Sea

A book review of Geoff Dyer’s latest book, Another Great Day At Sea. Spoiler: It was okay.

The Awl


I wrote about a weird digital relationship I had. We never met, but the thing was emotional, sexual, honest, and exciting.

“Everyone’s Secret History

I loved Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History (published in ‘92). This is my ode to that book.


“Stranger In The Village No Longer”, Noisey

In which I investigate — and question — rap’s inveterate hypermasculinity.

Today in Tabs

Here is (hopefully) a collection of all the tabs I did for Rusty’s indispensable newsletter.


And that’s it! Well, not all of it. I wrote a couple other things in 2014, which you can find (as always) here. If you’re interested in having me write for you, definitely get in touch! I’m bijan.stephen@gmail.com, and I’d love to hear from you. Oh, I also tweet a lot.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.