The Times Wants to Hear Your ‘Tiny Gratitude Stories’ About the Year You Turned 20
The Times wants to hear about all your “small and big graces” that you think might be considered “small by some”: those, say, that were just “a little bit” or a “tiny bit.” It’s a chance to be recognized for what you really are, not what you think is what you should be.
I received this inquiry from my 20-year-old self. She wrote, “The question is, do you really need to say anything? Because it’s a free country, right?”
I had been feeling a little grumpy that year. I had been making a bit of a name for myself as a journalist — that was why I had been on the cover of The New Yorker — and I was not yet satisfied. I had just received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. And I thought, “I’m going to have a busy year.”
And then on July 4, 2001, I got married.
The day after the wedding, I had a call at 11:30 in the morning from CNN. The studio was packed, and I sat there listening to people asking me what I had learned that day. One of the journalists sitting at a desk next to me asked, “How do you feel about all the credit for your work?”
I had been thinking for some time that maybe I should try to be less of a journalist.
In 2009, I moved from Chicago to New York.
The following year, I came to the Boston Globe. The editor, Ben Brantley, told me that one of the things I didn’t know was that the Globe is a newspaper. He didn’t seem to see my skepticism — which continued, throughout my time at the Globe, over what