Weekly Roundup June 24 Edition

I’m writing this from my perch back in Birmingham, where I’m curled up with a pug and a coconut La Croix. It was a busy week on the road. 

This week I ate, lived, and breathed all things Columbia, South Carolina. I have the good fortune to be working on a big project there, and immersed myself in its culture. So much has changed since I lived there (97-98). But so much about me has changed too. I wasn't exactly looking for cultural hot spots when I was a Gamecock. Ahem. The university is a major influence on the city, but far from the only thing.

I'll be writing more about what I experienced later, but here's a sneak photo peek of the shopping and eating and gallery hopping and nature exploring:

The other big thing in my week is the announcement that I will be editing What To Eat in Birmingham as its founders move out of state. You can read the entire story about how this came about and how I hope to carry on the great reporting and writing that do here. This is not a full-time job -- actually it's not a job at all -- but a passion to continue the storytelling and community building of What To Eat. (So if Brene Brown comes calling, you can still tell her this editor is still for hire!)

Three things about my recent work:

1) Opportunities are arising that affirm that people want those of us with perspective to write and create. Specifically, it's nice to be able to write about a region in which I have deep roots. I value what I can bring to the table as someone with a lifetime lived in the South (and Florida), and the perspective of seeing communities like Birmingham and Columbia evolve over time. As I've said recently, artisanal doughnuts didn't just start raining from the sky in cities like this -- it's been years in the making.

2)I'm fortunate to choose projects now that are true to my values as a writer and content creator, including ones in which I can involve my son, a burgeoning writer and photographer. I believe if we're going to teach this next generation to be not just consumers but creators we need to work with them each day. (Note to NSS: I know you sat on the couch the entire week I was traveling, but downtime is over, buddy!)

3)It is lovely to return to the travel space after taking a bit of a break. It's always going to be an important theme and subject in my work, which has also grown to include other topics in the past two years.** I am so lucky.

What I Read/Listened To/Tried

Finished reading When We Rise: My Life In The Movement by Cleve Jones. The memoir of Jones, a pioneering LGBT activist and protege of Harvey Milk, was made into a miniseries earlier this year. The book was excellent and a reminder of what a generation before fought for.  

It makes me a think a lot about the similarities between the addiction crisis and the AIDS crisis ("The Opioid Epidemic Is This Generation's AIDS Crisis.") 

And still, alcohol kills more than opioids. It is a narrative that is starting to get more attention thanks to grassroots activists (sound familiar?) I'm trying to figure out my place as to how I can best serve in our movement. 

Related to that, I listened to an excellent episode of Home Podcast with Dr. Ruth Potee, a board certified family and addiction specialist in Massachusetts. It's the last Home podcast my friends Holly and Laura are doing for a while, and it's worth a listen.

Also worth listening to: Jason Isbell's new album, The Nashville Sound. But I'm not exactly the first to discover that! Sober Alabamians are the best. Just saying.

Till next week,

ESS