#5SmartReads - September 28, 2022
Madison on athletes getting political, 'trauma-informed peacemaking,' and educators talking about guns
Today’s #5SmartReads contributor is Madison Clark! Madison works as a full-time freelance writer, working remotely with startups primarily in the healthcare and fintech spaces. When she isn't bopping between Firebrand Collective and Panera for work, she's returning to her childhood roots in the Pokemon card game or spending time outside, enjoying the shift to cooler weather.
How Serena Williams Forced Sports Journalists To Cover Tennis As More Than A Game (Nieman Journalism Lab)
While the sports journalism industry is far from perfect, it has significantly evolved in its coverage of athletes from marginalized communities, in large part due to Serena Williams' career-long refusal to be typecast or reduced in any way. Her lasting legacy is absolutely remarkable on the court, and her off-court, public persona evolution has empowered countless other Black and female athletes to stay true to whatever story they want to tell.
The concept of "stick to sports" is long outdated and, in my opinion, should be done away with completely: Sports are political, as are the athletes playing them.
Jennette McCurdy Is Ready To Move Forward, And Look Back (The New York Times)
Also in the sphere of narratives and individual control, watching the public's reception of the recent memoir from Jennette McCurdy has been absolutely fascinating.
I truly cannot imagine a memoir with a similar name and subject being published in the 90s or 00s without absolutely blacklisting the writer's entire career. Now, thankfully, there is a far more nuanced conversation happening publicly around parenthood, celebrity, young actors, and so much more.
Count me in for any cultural shift that places the power of a personal narrative back in the hands of the person who actually lived it. To quote writer Anne Lamott, "If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better."
If there's one thing I learned while living in Belfast, it's the importance of place-based art. Physical locations hold immense power and trauma, both for individual people and for their wider communities. Interacting with that same place on your own terms can be indescribably moving and healing.
I greatly appreciated this deep dive into "trauma-informed placemaking" and how it's specifically showing up around the United States. If you're not familiar with the concept, consider this the perfect crash course introduction.
There Is No Roadmap For The Longest Phase Of Parenthood (The Atlantic)
For the first time in over 10 years, I'm only a few minutes drive away from my parents. Everything from sharing a Costco membership to taking my friends out to their twelve acres to watch hummingbirds and de-stress has become a family affair, and I'm reveling in it.
I'm childfree by choice and intend to stay that way for the rest of my life. Still, I think regularly about parenting because 1. Many of my friends have their own little nuggets, 2. I'm a former teacher, and 3. Whew, friends, my parents have been through a LOT with their two children.
I loved this particular parenting read because it's discussing being an adult who has adult children, a timeline that isn't often talked about amongst friends, much less in the media.
Gun Person (Guernica)
The intersection between U.S. educators and firearms is a devastating one. This personal essay is equal parts heartbreaking and insightful, as an educator works through his professional experiences with guns.
This is a longer read, but it's worth every moment. (Y'all know it wouldn't count as a Madison #5SmartReads if there wasn't at least one personal essay included!)