I still love Los Angeles. Will I ever be able to go back?

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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?


Microphone Settings Are Making Me Crazy.

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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. …


The only thing in hotter demand than a Clubhouse invite is a coronavirus vaccination

In this photo illustration, the message “Hey we’re still opening up but anyone can join with an invite from an existing user!” for Clubhouse’s waitlist is seen displayed on a smartphone screen
In this photo illustration, the message “Hey we’re still opening up but anyone can join with an invite from an existing user!” for Clubhouse’s waitlist is seen displayed on a smartphone screen
Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

If you’re prone to FOMO — that’s the Fear of Missing Out — there’s a new horror show in town.

The exclusive, invite-only social media app Clubhouse lets people gather in virtual rooms to talk in real time with real people about pretty much any subject you can think of — provided it’s on an iPhone. Launched less than a year ago, it was humming along mostly under the radar until the last month, when a couple of high-profile users hosted a couple of highly attended talks: for instance, Elon Musk chatting with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev on February 1…


Sunday’s snowstorm turned the world into art

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New York City, February 7, 2021

Last Sunday in New York City and throughout much of the northeast, snowfall stripped the color away. It had snowed long and hard just a week earlier but something about the texture of this storm made it uncommonly beautiful, maybe so beautiful that it knew color would only get in its way. The sky was gray and everything else was a subtle shade of that same gray. The buildings, the cars, the people, the animals; they looked like carved sculptures, marble against marble, only the red brick retained enough pigment to penetrate the…


The company of my contemporaries is the only thing making me feel like I’m not crazy.

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Photo by Orlova Maria on Unsplash

Last week an old friend phoned me out of the blue. He was listening to my latest podcast episode, he told me, and had felt compelled to hit pause in the middle and call me talk to about it. Like me, my friend is a Gen X writer who’s dealing with the effects of an industry that’s reinventing itself in ways that don’t necessarily favor people of our vintage and older. The person I was interviewing on the podcast was a Baby Boomer writer who spoke frankly about being past some definition of his prime. …


And My Dog Is Eating Really Smelly Treats

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Hugo sitting in for the host.

Last summer I started a new job. There were some great things about it, for instance that it was endlessly interesting, offered something new every week, and allowed me to interact with people I’d long been following and admiring from afar.

The downsides were that it was full-time and paid a monthly salary of exactly U.S. $0. To be precise, it paid a salary of minus a couple hundred U.S. dollars, since there were some expenses to actually doing this job.

I know what you’re wondering. Did I become a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador? (Technically that job pays one dollar…


Advice To A Young Writer

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“If you’re really serious about writing, do something else for a living.”

This is the advice I dispensed recently to a young, aspiring writer who had emailed me seeking guidance. Specifically, this writer wanted to know whether she should stay in her entry level magazine job in order to keep a foothold in the publishing business, or do something else entirely. I get a lot of emails like this, most of which I don’t have time to respond to in any depth, let alone offer an in-person conversation. …


It’s Fran’s world; why can’t we all live in it?

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Fran Lebowitz and Diane von Furstenberg at a party in New York City, 2008. Photo: Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

After seven days of wallowing in the contaminated sludge of the news cycle, I finally found refuge last night. I spent hours in the company of a 69-year-old woman walking around New York City—unmasked, in the days just before Covid-19—holding forth about everything that annoys her: people stopping in the middle of the street to look at their phones, anything having to do with Times Square, anything having to do with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, anything having to do with the pleasures of smoking. It was a tonic, the best time I’ve had in ages.

Not that anyone lives like…


But the new year revealed this to be a phantom hope

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Have you felt the phantom hope of the new year? Or, maybe more precisely, did you feel it, past tense, if only for a moment?

This phantom hope was the opposite of a phantom pain. It was a false pleasure, a trick of endorphins. Sometime around late December, I started to let myself believe that things were about to change. I felt like a wide, slow turn had begun. …


Thank goodness I’m old enough to have missed this.

The consolations of aging have always been in the eye of the beholder.

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Virginia Woolf, at 50, wrote in her diaries of feeling “poised to shoot forth quite free straight and undeflected my bolts whatever they are.” She did not believe in aging, she said, but rather “forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.”

One needn’t contemplate the angle of the planets to find solace in aging. More prosaically (and perhaps also more poignantly) there are things like grandchildren and retirement and retreat from vanity. There’s the defiance of fatuous social norms now popularly referred to as “not giving a…

Meghan Daum

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

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