Photo: John Price on Unsplash

In the summer of 2015, in the wake of a long overdue decision to officially separate from my husband and file for divorce, I drove across the country with my Saint Bernard. The trip was uneventful until I got to Tennessee, where I stayed for the weekend with old friends I’ll call Jenna and Rob. It was here where I lost the dog.

I didn’t personally lose her. Phoebe broke out of a doggie daycare while I sat in an evangelical Christian church outside Nashville, where a rock band played power ballads about “the awesome, almighty father” and hundreds of…

Photo by Mattia Astorino on Unsplash

I am a workaholic and I have hit rock bottom. By which I mean I literally have a rock for a bottom. I have the beginings of a bedsore from sitting in my desk chair. A chair sore.

Is this really possible? I’m afraid it is. Yesterday when I was toweling myself off from my first shower in three days I noticed a patch of chafed skin over my tailbone. That’s strange, I thought. It’s not like I’ve been riding a flying saucer-style toboggan down a snowy embankment (somehow this came to mind as the only possible way to acquire…

This time last year, I was dragged on Twitter as essentially the worst person in the world. I was “a plague rat,” “a selfish asshole,” “a rich, tone deaf dip-shit,” and a “vapid, selfish fucking monster,” among hundreds of other vigorous characterizations.

The occasion for this outcry was my April 15, 2020 essay for Medium’s GEN magazine about leaving New York City in the wake of the pandemic and renting a place in the mountains of a southeastern state — with a high-maintenance puppy, no less.

I’d hesitated to write the piece. On the surface, which is pretty much the…

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

I recently offered this piece of unsolicited advice to an author whose first book had just been published: “Don’t be constantly checking your Amazon rank. Limit yourself to 30 times a day.”

It was only sort of a joke, since I had a feeling this author was likely to check 50 times a day. In reality, I meant zero times a day. That’s probably unrealistic for first-time authors, but if you want to know the truth, I haven’t looked at my Amazon page, let alone the ever-fluctuating sales rank, for the last three books I’ve published. …

“essays for $1200” on March 24, 2021 Jeopardy

A few weeks ago, on March 24 to be precise, my decades-long writing career reached its apex. No, I did not win a major prize, receive a giant royalty check, or see my bestselling novel turned into a blockbuster film (or, better yet, a landmark cable series). I was a clue on Jeopardy.

Specifically, something I wrote was a clue on Jeopardy. It was under category of “essays” in the $1200 box.

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Last week I wrote about feeling like I was too old to write about my life. It was kind of a toss-off post, a last minute effort to come up with something to say as my deadline neared. I didn’t expect much to come of it, but it seemed to touch a nerve, making it all the way to Medium’s Human Parts magazine as well as the regular blog.

Several people messaged me or left comments saying they were sorry to hear I wouldn’t be writing about myself anymore and hoped I would change my mind (which was very nice…

This Is Us

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I’ve recently had a revelation that should have been obvious but for some reason wasn’t; the older you get, the less charming it is to tell stories about yourself.

As someone who spent at least the first half of her career mining her life for interesting/funny/embarrassing/emblematic-of-larger-cultural-phenomena anecdotes that I could write up for magazines or whip out at dinner parties, this sparked a bit of a crisis. Who am I if can’t take my daily micro-dramas and recast them as zany antics for fun and profit? What happened to the girl who could turn a bad date into a 1,500-word…

You know those moments when you look up from your life and realize, with breathtaking clarity, that it’s exactly the life you dreamed of when you set out on your journey? You know what it’s like to feel years of hard work and ambition suddenly coalesce into deep satisfaction, as if the vision board you put up in high school has vaporized into your own personal pixie gas?

Professionally speaking, I can think of three memorable examples of this feeling: getting published in The New Yorker for the first time, receiving a fan letter from someone I was a fan…

A black bear visited L.A.’s Eagle Rock area on the evening of March 3, 2020

I awoke Thursday morning to the news that a bear was roaming the streets of my old neighborhood in Los Angeles. At that point there was only one photo in circulation, a shadowy image of a large black bear moseying past a garden wall in the northeast L.A. enclave of Eagle Rock. By the time I caught up with the story, the bear was already the subject of countless social media posts and even had its own Twitter account, where it was tweeting jokes like how angry is your cat that it has to stay in?

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

As I discussed a few weeks ago, I have a podcast and it’s taken over my life. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, since roughly nine tenths of the American population now have podcasts and are apparently able to juggle that work with other responsibilities. But I’m not always the best monotasker, let alone multitasker, so every day is a battle to not completely screw up in some way.

With the U.S. population at approximately 333 million, my above-cited data would suggest that 33.3 million people do not yet have podcasts. …

Meghan Daum

Weekly blogger for Medium. Host of @TheUnspeakPod. Author of six books, including The Problem With Everything.

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