You may or may not know me but I joined the Bushwick Daily team in 2011 – first as Copyeditor, then as Managing Editor and now as Contributing Editor. Back then, I was working a day-job that made me feel distanced from all things creative, and I had just moved to a new neighborhood, Bushwick. I was stuck on a little island of naiveté (aka my apartment) that we named Chateau Bushwick, where I knew exactly two people – my two roommates. I wanted to get to know my neighborhood but had zero idea where to start.
My unfamiliarity with Bushwick led me to begin reading a small photo-blog called Bushwick Daily, run by a gal named Katarina. I’d peruse the site for fun events or updates about the art world, and/or whenever I just wanted to see some beautiful photos. There was something about it being such a visual website that made me feel more connected to my new home. “I’ve seen that street art on Bushwick Daily!” I’d think when I passed a mural I’d never noticed. Or after I stumbled upon a cafe I’d never seen before, which was very literally three blocks from my apartment, I looked it up on the blog and learned all about Little Skips. At long last, the site gave me a way to indirectly connect with the people and businesses around me at a time when I felt a little out of place.
But one thing I noticed about the Bushwick Daily of 2011 was that some of the grammar and spelling were, let’s say, sweet but not always clear or accurate. (Sorry, Katarina!) I reached out to Katarina via a message on the site, if I recall correctly, and asked if she might need any volunteers. I described my background – BA in English, love of books, no experience in blogging or photography – and she asked if I’d meet her at (where else?) Little Skips. “This is a sign!” I thought to myself. “I know where Little Skips is!”
On the evening of our meeting I was so nervous that I was sweating. It felt like a weird blind date, except that I’d set it up and already desperately wanted my date to like me. I freaked out, terrified that she would be mean or I would embarrass myself or, even worse, I wouldn’t recognize her and miss the meeting entirely. But of course I recognized her; the Katarina of 2011 had the same recognizably bright blond hair and smile as today’s. We quickly snagged a table and our conversation went something like this…
Katarina: “Thanks for reaching out! So tell me about yourself…”
Me: “Ummm. *ramble ramble about just moving here and reading the blog*”
Katarina: “So do you want to write posts?”
Me: “I don’t really know what I’d write about. I know virtually nothing about Bushwick.”
Katarina: “Okay, hmm. And you aren’t a photographer?”
Me: “No. No, definitely not.”
Katarina: “So what do you want to do?”
Me: “I think I could help with editing. Like with grammar and such? I don’t know.”
Basically, I was every awkward 22-year-old.
Katarina took a chance on me. She sent me some personal writing she’d done and asked me to propose edits. I passed the test with flying colors (aka what I tell myself) and she had me start out by copyediting all of her articles on Bushwick Daily. I quickly graduated to copyediting most, if not all, of the content on the site. And the best part? By being on the inside of the constant neighborhood chatter and knowing things before they broke, I began to learn about Bushwick. I started to visit new places by recommendation from real people. I had finally made some local friends, the writers and photographers who were keeping the blog running. Long story short: Bushwick Daily welcomed me with open arms, providing me a platform on which to write and edit, and an invaluable connection to a community I desperately wanted to get to know.
Then I hit a rough patch about a year and a half ago. I quit that old day-job and decided to intern at a publishing house for 14 hours per week. What to do with all the free time I now had in my life but be depressed? It was one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced and I knew after several weeks of eating and sleeping and feeling disastrously existential all day that it was time for something to change. I reached out to Katarina again. “If there’s anything else I can do to help with the site, please tell me.” Sub-dialogue: Please give me something to do because I may have just made the biggest fucking mistake of my life by quitting my job with no longterm plan and I have to stop crying about it.
Katarina promoted me to Managing Editor and asked me to run the site – coordinate with writers, edit and publish posts, plus update social media – three days per week. It would be her opportunity to have some extra time to get back to her roots, writing and photographing, which she’d neglected since managing the site had become such a heavy workload. It would be my opportunity to feel useful and productive again. Her offer was a psychological lifeboat. It sounds melodramatic, but it’s something I believe: Bushwick Daily saved me.
As of January, I’ve had a full-time job at the same publishing house for which I interned and I don’t have as much time to give the site…but the love remains. My title has changed to Contributing Editor. I write weekly Insta-Takeover posts (which I sincerely hope you love as much as I do) and post features every now and then. I still collaborate and remain connected to the people I met those three long years ago. I’m always here for questions from writers or to bounce ideas off of.
Through all the twists and turns, ups and downs of the past three years, this hyperlocal blog has been the one constant in my life; for that I’m so very thankful. I have never met a group of people so passionate and generous and supportive as the Bushwick Daily team, helmed by the most positive, loving and badass person I know, Katarina. I have a love so deep for this little-hyperlocal-blog-that-could and it’s very personal.
The funny thing is: I have a feeling there’s a love there that’s very personal to a lot of other folks too. Because Bushwick Daily is a great thing and great things change lives. For all the reasons outlined above, I have pledged to support the new site, Bushwick Daily Village, via Beacon Reader and have donated my long-form line editing services as a reward as well. I have donated what little I could because I want the site to graduate to something bigger and better. It deserves it.
If you’re a fan of Bushwick Daily and appreciate all of the updates we provide about Brooklyn restaurants, bars, art shows, music, literature, politics (and Santacon!), please donate. If you want to keep the blog up and running sustainably, please donate. If Bushwick Daily has somehow become personal to you, please donate. I have a feeling Katarina has a few grand ideas up her sleeve; let’s help the site get there. One of your hard-earned dollars will make a huge difference.
Plus, it will make my day – and many others’ – for endless to come.