Hello readers and welcome to a new series for the website. This is an outgrowth of a file that’s been sitting in my Google Drive for months now, so instead of laboring over it for another few months I thought I’d just break out some of the more important elements. That initial post was called “What’s a Reader For?” and was going to take a look at all the sources we bring into account each day as we try to understand the world. In the age of the internet and social media I realize that could be an infinite amount so I’m trying to break it down into the sources I try to follow.
To start I thought I would mention how this has changed for me over the past few years. I try to always start via my Gmail and then go to my other ways of getting information - feedly and Instapaper and some days, Twitter. I used to try and find out about world events first, but in the last few years have since tried to shift my focus to a more local angle, finding out what’s happening in Minnesota and more closely, Minneapolis.
So, what are some great sources for finding out what’s going on in this state? Well, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two places I have contributed to: Streets.mn and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. StreetsMN has been around for over a decade and covers a lot of great transportation and land-use issues and many of their contributors write for other places too. The Spokesman-Recorder is one of the oldest Black-owned newspapers in the country and focuses on all types of important issues, both here and nationwide.
Another great place to get a rundown on what’s happening is MinnPost. I try to check their “Glean” page every day as their editors find many important local stories twice a day. I have cultivated a decent relationship with one of their reporters and try to check out what he writes as often as possible. I would highly recommend checking this site out every day if you want to know what’s going on at a state level. They also have a bevy of important e-newsletters that are worth your time.
I will also shout-out two other hyper local outlets that do a great job: Sahan Journal, which covers immigrant stories (and plenty of others) and Racket, run by former City Pages staff and attempting to create a sustainable model via subscription service. And I should also mention Wedge LIVE, another hyperlocal operation (and podcast) run by a single person that tries to encompass much of Minneapolis news. (John Edwards also gave me some quotes for an article I did a few years back.)
I know I’m leaving a few outlets from this post so I’m going to do one more in the coming weeks regarding a few other notable sources in the Twin Cities. You may have noticed I’m not including places like the Star Tribune or the other local corporate news outlets. If you know my journalistic side, you’ll understand why I didn’t include them, but I won’t berate you if those are your own sources. I just don’t think they’re very good compared to the wealth of independent news places that have come about in the Minnesota area over the last decade.
But again, feel free to post comments or reply to the email regarding your own source lists. This is not meant to be exhaustive, but there’s only so much time in the day to read. As writers we need to make the most of that time in order to understand the world. Thanks for reading!
Hello to those of you on my email list or following me on social media. I know it’s been a long while since I’ve updated my website about my writing career, so I thought I’d do a quick one.
Where the heck have I been? You might recall the Reading List took a hiatus last May. I have a new batch of novels to read this year and will get to them after I finish the incredible nonfiction journalistic work Manufacturing Consent.
Speaking of journalism, in case you missed it I was lucky enough to work with Mel Reeves (RIP) and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder last September on an important piece concerning the Minneapolis Charter Commission. I’m now finishing up a final piece that will (hopefully) drop within another month or two.
A major event that happened last December was my having a mental health crisis over the holidays. Thankfully my wife Mary helped me through it, but it did raise some uncomfortable questions about my life and how I endure it. I was diagnosed as bipolar and am now on medication, but the path has not been easy. Please take care of your mental health as we experience this pandemic on a societal level. I know it’s cliché to say “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything” but after living that for a while I’d have to say it’s true.
Finally, the novel. I am diving back into the twelfth draft of Spheres of Influence, using my editor’s notes as a guide to expanding it. I will have more updates as I finish the draft. I am also planning on revising and writing new short stories once I get to that point.
I mentioned on Twitter recently that I've been working on a blog post called “What’s a reader for?” This dovetails with a similar query to my readers on a possible new series: A Note on Sourcing. That is, what are the many (many) sources that we as writers (or readers) try to take in each day, week, or month to understand what is going on in the world? Personally I try to focus on Minnesota/Minneapolis news and then expand to national news, but it’s a constant struggle to keep up with everything (else).
So for a query to you: what are the most important sources you follow each day? This could be email newsletters, actual newspapers, websites, blogs, whatever. Heck, it could just be Twitter or Instagram. Not everyone uses “old school” services like Feedly or Instapaper as I do. Feel free to respond to this with your lists, and I hope to compile them into a blog post someday.
And if you’re looking for something to read you can check out either of my novels, which are available from North Star Press or as e-books through B&N as well.
Thanks to all of you for reading my work over the years; there will be more blog posts in 2022!
John Abraham is a published author and freelance journalist who lives in the Twin Cities with his wife Mary and their cat. He is writing a speculative dystopian novel and is seeking representation and a publisher.