My month of freelancing — April 2014

Starting this month, I’m going to start chronicling where I’ve been and what I’ve written. My goal is this: At least three different publications a month. So far, so good.

I’ll also try to throw in a random, unrelated song for the month. It’s Bjork’s “Bachelorette” for this month. Heard it on XM35 and can’t get it out of my head. Yes.


1. I contributed a bunch to Jalopnik, but here are three standouts:

Here’s How Not To Crowdfund A $3 Million Detroit Mansion Purchase

There’s no doubt that Detroit is bustling with young creatives with the romance but not the finance to make their dreams come true. So we’ve got Kresge grants and Gilbert bankrolls, but crowdfunding is one of those things that we still have a tricky time with. Case in point. Here’s a bro who wants to turn the $2.8 million Col. Frank J. Hecker House in midtown Detroit, a 21,000-square-foot railroad baron’s mansion, into a “coworking heaven.”

The Times Chronicles The Plight Of Young, White Detroit Entrepreneurs

Guys, there are risks and rewards in opening a business in an American city, and the Times is ON IT. Specifically, the New York Times, whose reporters are still allergic to black people in one of the country’s largest black cities.

ABC Wants You To Visit Detroit But Skip Visiting Detroit, Wait What?

I’m a little bit confused by this ABC News (by way of Travelzoo) piece that encourages people to visit Detroit. If I haven’t made it plain by now, I’m all in favor of Detroit tourism — except this piece is telling you to skip all the best parts of Detroit.

2. It’s every black journalist’s dream to be published in Ebony (or Essence or Jet), so I marked that off the bucket list last month with an update on what’s going on with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History.

In the Cultural Center of Detroit, it’s impossible to miss the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, with its enormous black and gold African mask hanging above its main entrance. A quick stroll through the main floor indicates all is well. And the sun is finally pouring through the massive skylights, covered way too long in snow from Michigan’s second-most-brutal winter.

3. I got the lucky Detroit journalist invite to Craig Fahle’s Friday Follies segment on WDET. Listen here.

4. I did a quick write-up on the developments in Palmer Park for The Architect’s Newspaper — in print, too!

The city has attracted new residents in search of lower rents, prompting near-capacity occupancy in the city’s downtown and Midtown districts. Business districts, universities, and other usual trappings of urban life anchored both areas. Palmer Park, on the other hand, is relatively far-flung from the hustle and bustle. Like so many of Detroit’s older neighborhoods, it was conceived for turn-of-the-century auto barons and executives seeking country homes in open settings, but not too far from the central business district. The neighborhood’s centerpieces are a 30-acre park and a golf course, with a winding boulevard of apartment buildings in styles ranging from Moroccan to art deco to English Tudor.

5. I previewed Red Bull House of Art’s latest cycle and told you about each one of the artists exhibiting there. (My favorite part of this coverage was talking to a self-described housewife who now has studio space in Corktown.)

Paula Zammit has one of those Hollywood-ending stories in the making as we speak. Right now, we’re in the beginning of the second act. After years of raising a family and working as a sales executive, Zammit waited patiently for her youngest child to leave for college before deciding to go back to college herself. Initially, the Lathrup Village residents enrolled at Schoolcraft College for culinary arts. But every cooking class was booked. Thank God, she says. To fill up credit hours, Zammit turned to art classes.

6. I’ll be honest, I’ve been super critical of Model D in the past. But I’m glad they listened to my rant about how much it irritates me when you guys use the term “the neighborhoods.”

You don’t hear “Belle Isle to 7 Mile” anymore because now, more than ever, Detroit is separating. It’s one thing to rep your neighborhood (or, as so often the case in Detroit is, your cross streets). It’s another to separate your neighborhood from the city completely.

7. Finally, The Detroit Anthology is out in a few weeks. Metro Times spoke to our editor and curator, Anna Clark, and MT gave me a nice little shout-out. Awww.

Anna Clark wears many hats. A freelance writer living in Detroit, her work has appeared in The New RepublicAmerican Prospect and Salon, among others. She’s a writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, a gig that sees her teaching creative writing at Detroit high schools, and she’s also a board member of Write a House, a residency program that aims to fill three houses in a neighborhood north of Hamtramck with writers. She also edited A Detroit Anthology — a collection of stories from the likes of Jalopnik’s Aaron Foley, noted sociologist Thomas Sugrue, and MT’s very own Larry Gabriel to name a few — which will be released by Rust Belt Chic on May 12. 

Stay tuned for May!


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