You Can’t Control Feelings: A Bulleted List

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Oh, did we tell you? We published a magazine last week.

If you’ve also been thinking about publishing a magazine, I can tell you that it involves a lot of email, a lot of clicking “preview” and then panicking that you published to the actual internet instead of just previewing, a lot of coffee, a lot of take-out, a lot of help, and a lot of feelings. So that you might be prepared for what you’ll have to deal with, I offer you this comprehensive list of all the feelings I had in the 24 hours leading up to publication.

(And if you’re thinking, “nah, I don’t think I will publish a magazine”: no worries! We made this one just for you, so you’re all set.)

  • Anxiety. Is everything going to be finalized in time? What did I forget to do? Probably everything.
  • Excitement. It’s happening! It’s happening soon!
  • Impatience. Time zones are terrible; 11am in New York is 5pm in Rome. How am I supposed to wait all day to publish!? It’s magazine day!!!
  • Anxiety. What if no one reads it?
  • Peckishness. I should consume something other than coffee… but if I put lots of milk in the coffee, that’s basically a meal.
  • Anxiety. What if everyone reads it?
  • Amusement. The juxtaposition of Catherine’s and my wit and charm followed by “welcome to a gut-punching critical essay on white supremacy” is hilarious. We are marketing geniuses.
  • Brashness. We have had our facts checked by one of the best. We are a model publication and an unimpeachable font of knowledge.
  • Anxiety. The juxtaposition idea is terrible and will backfire. Catherine’s still a genius, but I am an idiot.*
  • Gratitude. My partners are wonderful, my friends are wonderful, and people trusted me with their beautiful, vulnerable words. I am a lucky duck.
  • Awe. I can’t believe I got to make this thing. This is new and exciting and beautifully written. I am privileged to put this into the world.
  • Horror. Every idea I’ve had in the last 12 months is terrible and wrong. I have awful judgement and a poor sense of style and I oversalt all my food.
  • Fear. I just clicked a button in our website labeled “Push Staging Site to Live Site.” Either everything’s going to work or everything’s going to crumble into internet dust and both seem equally probable.
  • Shocked. It worked? Is that a magazine? Did we make it? Is it real? 
  • Three Stooges Syndrome. I am emotionally indestructible!

In season 11, episode 12 of The Simpsons, Mr. Burns gets a checkup and learns that he has every disease. But he’s not sick, because there are so many diseases trying to destroy his body that none of them is able to progress. Three Stooges Syndrome.

I had (and continue to have) what I believe to be the emotional equivalent, wherein I have every emotion simultaneously and the brain tries to protect itself by feeling none so as not to implode. Which, frankly, would be okay with me; I could use the downtime.

We’re also very interested in what you’ve been feeling! If you’ve read Issue One, we’ve got a very short survey we’d love you to take.

If you haven’t read Issue One yet, we also have a short survey for you, by which we mean: please take the same survey, because you’re smart and funny and we’re interested in what you think, and there are a few questions that have nothing to do with whether you read Pipe Wrench or not.

* I clearly continue to find it funny, because I’m still doing it? And also being anxious? But it’s probably more like: this newsletter is Catherine’s and my voice, but Pipe Wrench-the-magazine is driven by contributors’ voices and they, thankfully, are not us. So there was no other way this was ever going to be.

The week in Pipe Wrench.

  • We published a whole dang magazine.
  • Longreads’ weekly Top Five newsletter chose “Seeing in the Dark” as its #1 story of the week.
  • The Sunday Long Read (curated this week by Washington Post reporter Dan Zak) chose “Seeing in the Dark” as its favorite story of the week.
  • Unprompted, six people reported crying actual tears while reading. We are tracking this metric closely. If you wept at any point while reading, even if it was mild tearing that you explained away as allergies, please reply to let us know.
  • Seeing in the Dark” author Breai Mason-Campbell reports that “reading the mag cover to cover refueled me. I felt heard and known and part of a community.” And that refuels us.
  • Issue Two’s core story is well underway, and we’re lining conversation pieces up.

We’re also not the only people having an exciting week — our friends and editorial partners The Statesider dropped a new issue last week with the story about prairie chickens you never knew you wanted, and an exceptionally curated collection of great reads and podcasts. Pay them a visit!

There are bigger forces at work.

We leave you, with no context other than this brief introductory statement, a photo of the view outside Catherine’s office window as I type these very words: