A couple of months ago, I stopped writing things that I thought other people wanted to read, and started writing stuff about topics that I found interesting. It’s much simpler. No more mind reading and second guessing. No more self flagellation if an article didn’t make it to a top ten list.
Now, I write about I want to learn about or people that I want to talk to. It’s really fun. With the Atlantic title, even super busy people return my calls. I’ve met some real characters in the past year. People have cried. I was offered a bribe.
One of my favorite pieces to research was the one that I did on Sesame Street and autism, because I met so many inspirational people. Actually, I think I cried during one of those interviews. I talked to one woman who organizes Broadway-frendly shows for autistic kids in her spare time. I also talked to a representative from the Yale Child Study Team who provided technical support for this Sesame Street initiative. In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I had a kid with autism. When she offered to put him on the top of their two-year waiting list for an evaluation, I quickly said yes.
Next week, I’m working on a piece about hunger on college campuses. It’s going to be a tough week to squeeze in interviews, because we’ll be in New Haven half the time, so I’m lining up tomorrow’s early morning phone calls right now.