I remember driving up to the Half Price Books in Arlington one summer break during college, hoping to pass the time by looking generally intellectual and flirting with generally intellectual-looking boys.
Somehow that plan got derailed when I found a copy of Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? and spent the next few hours plopped on the floor behind a bookshelf, up to my nose in a new world of weirdness: Texas politics. Molly’s writing, mostly about people I only vaguely recognized from skimming the front page of the Star-Telegram at my folks’ house in Mansfield, was miserably funny and yet somehow generous and good-willed and accessible and righteous in this way that surpassed snark and just soared off the page.
I couldn’t put her down. My journalism and writing professors at NYU had been shoving Hunter S. Thompson and John McPhee and Tom Wolfe at me. Molly was a revelation. I didn’t know women could write like Molly wrote. I didn’t know anybody could write like Molly wrote.
A decade later, I’m proud to be settling into a desk in the offices of the magazine that Molly gave so much of her life to. Hell, just as soon as I put my purse down, I looked up to find Molly’s face right there on the wall, framed in a couple photos right over my new spot.
But my job here at the Observer isn’t to look backward. Quite the opposite. As the new digital editor, I’ll be overseeing everything that goes on our newly redesigned website, and in particular I’ll be commissioning new work from freelancers around the state. I’m looking for in-depth reporting, social justice-oriented commentary and smart analyses of issues that may not be getting the attention they deserve from mainstream outlets.
Which means I’d like to hear from you. Especially if you live outside of Austin, and especially if you can help the Observer paint a modern, progressive picture of what Texas is like today, and what it could be in the future. I know how the rest of the world thinks Texas looks and sounds — thanks, Rick Perry. I want to show them the real thing.
I’m not looking for fancy journalism pedigrees. I’m looking for great stories, new voices and diverse perspectives. Pitch me: [email protected]