I mentioned yesterday that my Detroit piece from the magazine started out a lot larger--at one point ballooning to 7,000 words--but it never coalesced in a way to justify it's size. It started it out as freelance piece elsewhere, but was killed after a few drafts, basically for the reason stated above. I had a gaggle of interesting reporting but never figured how to hang on something and make it an actual "story." Anyway, I always try to challenge myself as a writer. But in doing that, I sometimes fail.
Thankfully through the efforts of my editor here, James Gibney, the piece was salvaged. But there was interest in a "director's cut," so the next post--going live in an hour or so--offers some of the reporting that didn't make it, along with some of my observations. Forgive the weirdness of this, but I thought you should know the background, and I didn't want to violate the text of the following post.
Lastly the post is very long. Moreover, it sprawling, and unedited. In short, it's raw. If you can't take that, please skip. I never liked homework. God, forbid I start assigning it myself.
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is a national correspondent for The Atlantic
, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle
, Between the World and Me,
and We Were Eight Years in Power