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Quartzy: the personal news edition

This story was published on our Quartzy newsletter, Our dispatch about living well in the global economy.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Happy Friday!

As I type today, I have a song we used to sing on the last night of sleep-away camp in my head. Here’s how it went: (I considered cutting the “Mmm-mmm’s” but they’re essential to the tune.)

Mmm-mmm I wanna linger
Mmm-mmm a little longer
Mmm-mmm a little longer here with you.
Mmm-mmm it’s such a perfect night
Mmm-mmm it doesn’t seem quite right
Mmm-mmm that it should be my last with you.
Mmm-mmm and as the years go by
Mmm-mmm I’ll think of you and sigh
Mmm-mmm this is goodnight, and not goodbye. 

Image copyright: NYPL Digital Collections

Which is all to say, dear readers, that this is goodnight for the Quartzy newsletter. I’ll no longer be popping into your inbox every Friday, although just like with summer-camp friends, I do hope we can keep in touch, and that our paths will cross again over the virtual campfire someday.

What does this mean for me? I’ll be focusing on other parts of my job at Quartz—namely, writing stories for the website and field guides for our members. Those are the deep dives into single topics that I’ve touted for you here: the transformation economy, the CBD craze, and the home fitness boom among them.

As you might have read, the media industry is shifting to earn more of its money from subscriptions as advertising revenues decline. So if you do decide to become a paying member of Quartz (ahem), you’ll not only be able to access all the work we do, you’ll be directly supporting it. Here’s a link for a 40% discount on your first year of membership, should you so desire.

Okay, where were we? Oh yes, the end of an era.

When I pitched this project five years ago, it was about supporting readers in a different way than Quartz’s other products. If those were designed to make readers smarter, Quartzy aimed to make readers happier.

“Everyone is just trying to have a good day,” I said to our then-product chief and now-CEO Zach Seward. He got it, as did editor Lauren Brown and designer Elan Kiderman. Together, we started to imagine what an email about “living well in the global economy”—our new Quartzy tagline—might look like.

You readers got it too, and as erstwhile culture editor Indrani Sen and I, along with a rotating cast of Quartzy contributors and editors, continued to send letters, you let us know what matters to you. Collectively, you taught me more about having a good day, and living well, than I ever expected. Including that:

● Even when you love your work, it pays to invest in your hobbies.

● There’s no shame in unabashedly enjoying something fun—whether that thing is jazzercise or mermaids—with “woo girl” enthusiasm.

● The key to a solid homemade ginger ale is citric acid. A favorite reader recommends making a fresh ginger concentrate by steeping about a pound of fresh chopped ginger in four quarts of water, and straining and decanting it into two-quart bottles. Then, add one teaspoon of citric acid, and your sweetener of choice. (He favors ½ tsp of Splenda but you could also use agave or simple syrup to taste.) Mix it with seltzer, and bottoms up!

Books and baking never get old as ways to enjoy yourself and connect with others. (I have turned to classics including Edna Lewis’s The Taste of Country Cooking, Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking, and Alice Medrich’s cocoa brownies, in recent weeks.)

Image copyright: Ten Speed Press

● Above all: When it comes to lifestyle, the things that connect us aren’t really things. They’re deeply human struggles—coping with loss, building community, finding a political voice, caring for one’s family. You demonstrated this by replying to our emails on those topics with generosity, kindness, and compassion.

This was especially true when I was devastated by the loss of a pregnancy last year. As I write to you today, it’s with a little flutter in my belly. That flutter is a kick, or a wave, from a baby that’s been growing for the last six months. So if you too are pregnant in quarantine, have godsend third-trimester tips, or want to school me on the finer points of HypnoBirthing, by all means, keep those cards and letters coming.

When I started Quartzy, I couldn’t have anticipated the relationship I would develop with you readers, and am forever grateful that you shared not just your recipes and tips, but also your own stories of heartbreak and healing. You told me at times that this email made you feel seen, or less alone. You all, in turn, did the same for me. So I guess this is not just a sign-off (or a pregnancy announcement), but a thank-you note. Thank you for reading, and for writing back.

I have always wanted to make lifestyle coverage about more than what we buy—it’s about how we value and spend our time. And today, as we contend with two pandemics in the coronavirus and systemic racism, many of us are leaning harder than ever on those coping mechanisms and communities. This is not only a time of epic loss and sadness, but also a rupture that brings incredible potential: for rebuilding, reconnecting, and collective action. As Muslim-rights activist Asma Nizami wrote on Twitter, “I personally think it’s really cool how we all went from learning how to make banana bread to learning how to abolish the police in a matter of weeks.”

Which is all to say that I hope you keep learning, growing, challenging yourselves, questioning your assumptions, cutting yourselves some slack, and, of course, baking, without our weekly check-ins. Not that I’m disappearing. You can continue to reply to this email address for the next few months, and I’m @jenniavins on Twitter and Instagram, where my DMs are open. And if you want to read my stories, I’ll be continuing to write them at Quartz, and will appear in our other emails.

Thank you for a great run. This has always been the part of my job that felt least like a job.

Have a great weekend!


Image copyright: NYPL Digital Collections

A reason to celebrate. Today is Juneteenth in the US, commemorating the day in 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news of emancipation. As Brianna Holt, a native Texan whose father organized her local Juneteenth celebration throughout her childhood, wrote this week for the New York Times, the holiday is finally receiving wider recognition in 2020, as the US reckons with persistent racism and racial inequity. Her remembrance of Juneteenths past, and the lessons she took from them as a child, is worth a read as you consider and embrace your own role in the fight for racial justice. Henry Louis Gates Jr. noted in 2013 that, “of all Emancipation Day observances, Juneteenth falls closest to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, when the sun, at its zenith, defies the darkness in every state, including those once shadowed by slavery.” This year’s solstice falls on Saturday, along with an annular solar eclipse that will be visible across much of Asia and Africa and parts of Europe and Australia.