This is America

Stay safe out there

Hey folks!

I’m writing this from my back porch where one of those wild Midwest thunderstorms is about to rain hell on everything, all thunder and lightning and swiftly changing winds. My neighbor is furiously weed whacking in the hopes of wrapping up before it starts pouring and there’s just no way it’s gonna work out well for him.

America is a weird place to be right now. My friend who has been living abroad in Switzerland since 2016 is moving back soon and this week I texted her to be like, “Are you sure??” I am having a hard time living in a rural area right now. There was a peaceful protest in nearby Parkersburg, WV over the weekend, and a demonstration is scheduled for Sunday across the river in Marietta, OH. I’ll be there with friends and possibly reporting on it for the local news. If you’re in an area where you can protest, I hope you can do so safely. Some words of wisdom, which were offered to me by another reporter this week:

  1. Wear a well-fitting mask

  2. Take a buddy if you can, and have a few meet-up locations in case things go sideways and cell phone signals get jammed

  3. If you are press, have clear identification on you

  4. Pack some water and maybe some safety goggles??

On Saturday, I got to see my family for the first time in months. We stayed outside in my brother and sister-in-law’s yard and my parents came and met us there. I was able to bring them some hamburger because, the weekend before, I helped Chuck’s family butcher a cow. Beef is hard to come by right now, because everything effects everything. I’m the youngest in my family and it felt so nice to help them because they helped me get through the aftermath of some pretty half-baked ideas and decisions in my 20s, without complaint. And even now, I know I wouldn’t be able to help them as much if I didn’t have Chuck, because society is built for couples, and hetero couples at that. 

The next day, Chuck and I went for a bike ride with our friends in Athens and stopped for food and beers at two (outside seating) breweries. I had not had a draft beer since March 13, which was also the last time someone made me food, brought it to me, and did the dishes after I paid them for it. 

I have missed my family and our friends and I have missed restaurants and bars. I am so sad for America and I know I indulged this weekend when others suffered. 

On Monday, I donated to Black Visions Collective in Minneapolis, and three different bail funds: Ones in Columbus, Chicago, and Portland, the three cities I lived in before I moved back to Appalachia. I’ve since learned about this resource, which is splitting donations among organizations who need money now, so I will be diverting funds there soon. And if you’re a parent, here is a roundup of tips and tools for how to talk to your child (of any age!) about racism. I talked to Chuck’s son earlier today to see what he already knows about America’s past and current treatment of people of color and, even though he is six, I was heartened by his answers. I hope we can keep him a compassionate kid who cares about fairness for all.

It is absolutely POURING outside now, FYI.

But enough about that – Let’s move on to the matter at hand:

What I’ve Been Making for the Internet

What I’ve Been Reading

What I Loved This Week

  • Right after my last newsletter went out, Carly Rae Jepsen dropped a new album! It’s basically the opposite of Fetch the Bolt Cutters but you’re gonna love dancing to it alone in your house this summer. 

  • This is self-serving, but here are 7 reasons you should join a roller derby team after this pandemic ends. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

  • A while back, a coworker asked me if I knew of any video conferencing tool that included live closed captions, and at the time, I didn’t. BUT! Now, both Google Meet and Zoom (in beta) are offering this for the hard of hearing. Very cool! One caveat: I was testing the tool on Meet with Stef recently and when I said, “This has live captions!” it showed up as “This has wife captions!”

  • I’ve been sending a lot of mail lately and I highly recommend it. Since March, I’ve sent surprise care packages to out-of-state friends, birthday gifts, notes to family, and even graduation cards to the seniors on my street who had Class of 2020 signs in their yards.

~Writing Stuff~

-The 2020 List of Twitter Calls for Pitches/Submissions Google Doc is up to date! There have been a ton of calls from editors, particularly requesting work by Black writers. Go get paid!!

Okay, that’s all for this installment! Hit reply if you like this newsletter and I’ll write you back. Or, hit forward if you’ve got a buddy you think would be into it. Later, folks!

About me: I wrote a collection of essays about love, loss, and roller derby. Buy a mini version of it for less than five bucks. I’m currently based in the Mid Ohio Valley after having lived in Chicago and Portland for a few years. Follow me on Instagram (@merylkwilliams) and Twitter (@MerylWilliams) for social media posts about being easily flattered and therefore manipulated by my stepson, spending Memorial Day Weekend butchering a cow, and being embarrassed by the governor of my state.

Thanks to Dot Dodd for making my sweet banner art!

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