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My promise is a twice monthly publication. Hence, the title, First And The 15th. Historically, those were the dates that cash transfer payments (or “welfare”) were issued in major cities like New York. That is how the bi-monthly cycle became hip-hop lingo for the moments of possibility that punctuate days of precarity and hustle.
The first and the fifteenth are hopeful days, when we stop to assess who we might be if we did not have to pay the bills or fight the good fight. That’s what we do here. Pause. Reflect. Think. Smark. Refuel.
That’s why the newsletter issues only twice a month. Few people can say anything meaningful every day or even every week.
I generally think subscribers are people significantly less likely to murder me and/or bore me to death. Hence, I respond to subscribers! Be my imagined audience and occasional real-life email partner.
There are few other reasons:
Reason One: Real Talk
People often believe that I say everything I think on social media and in my essays. They are very, very wrong. This newsletter is, first and foremost, dedicated to real talk. What do I think of Ta-Nehisi Coates or Rebecca Solnit or all those people on TV? What new book did I love and which one couldn’t I finish? How is my community-building coming along? What don’t I know a thing about but wish that I did?
Reason Two: Citations
To the extent possible and practical, there is a dose of research in everything I write. If citations turn you on, I’m your woman.
Reason Three: Dialogue
As it has gotten easier to talk to everybody it has become harder to make sense with a few. I will answer questions. I will ask questions! I will try to marry off at least two of you, preferably to each other, because I fancy myself a bit of a matchmaker.
Let’s make some sense together. Love making, optional.
Reason Four: Don’t Go Galt
Seriously, I have managed a writing career for nigh on a decade now with a budget of exactly $42 of my own money. You can still read a lot of that writing at www.tressiemc.com. People teach it, cite it, share it, write me about it and have generally seemed to enjoy wrestling with all I have written.
Your subscription here not only helps define our community as one comprised of real, engaged people. Your subscription also allows me to pay an assistant a decent living part-time wage. Right now, that person is Lauren. Lauren deserves food that has not expired.
How Does This Work?
There are too many emails. I will not email you recklessly. I also will not try to sell you things because I am not good at it and I can’t compete with everything else trying to sell you something.
That means there are two newsletters a month. They are delivered to your inbox on the first and the fifteenth of the month.
There may be occasional thoughts posted during other times. Some will be free. We are still working that out. Those will not be emails because, again, there are too many emails.
What is smark?
Wrestling fans use “smark” to mean one who can enjoy professional U.S. wrestling while also knowing that it is fake. First of all, wrestling is not fake. So there.
I use smark to mean: smart+snark. We can take serious things seriously without losing our appreciation for the absurd.
It is a way of life. Join us.
Join The Smarkies*
Be part of a community of smart, curious people who can discern sarcasm.
To hit me up, email email@example.com.
Tressie McMillan Cottom - thinker, writer, professor, smart-ass