I’ve been writing some important pieces for THR lately. That sounds like unbridled ego at work — my writing has meaning and weight and integrity, don’t you know — but it’s not intended that way; I mean it in the sense of, there are times when you write things because you have to, because they’re stories that people need to read and that you can’t fuck up for that same reason. It’s not the announcement of a new comic or some analysis of a trailer or a casting decision, both of which can be fun and popular enough in their own right; it’s a story where you feel, deep down, a need to make sure people understand some important truth in some way.
Working on these stories has been… stressful isn’t the right word, exactly, but it’s close. As I said above, the feeling of don’t fuck this up has been very much in the background of the process, as has the sneaking fear that I was, in some worrying and unknown way, fucking it up and that would be uncovered only when it was too late. I asked for oversight, shared what I was working on with others to fact-check, but also to gut-check: Is this right? Am I asking the right questions, thinking the right things? Am I disappearing down the wrong rabbit holes?
As I’m writing this, not all of the “important” stories are finished, never mind having run; the biggest of them all is still in the reporting process, with another waiting what is now the third round of legal review after a substantial re-write to excise material lawyers weren’t entirely comfortable with. (With any luck, by the time this runs, it will have been published; we’ll see.) Throughout the whole thing, I’ve realized that, as frustrating as these processes are, they’re also freeing in their own way — they’re institutional blocks that provide an oversight that allows me to overreach and be ambitious and try too hard, safe in the knowledge that I have someone (multiple someones) to tell me when to pull back, or put up or shut up. I find a strange comfort in that.
I’ve been writing some important pieces for THR lately, but it’s easier to do than it could be, because I’ve not been doing it alone.