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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

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A New Writing Job Brings Change

I was a little nervous when I started publishing this newsletter some six months ago. I knew how to write for the public. From essays to tweets to blogs, I have been writing for almost 20 years. I came to this venture with a pretty clear idea of what a newsletter is: a subgenre, somewhere between an essay and a blog. My version of the newsletter has been open-ended and process-oriented. It takes an audience of curious and brave readers to make this kind of newsletter work. I was nervous about finding that kind of audience at The Times, where so many readers come for the final version of things, as opposed to the drafts that help us make sense of things.

You have proved my fears to be unfounded. By and large, readers have been curious about the social theaters I present to them and brave about following my process of discovery. Sometimes we do that in one issue, as we did unpacking the power differences on display in an ill-timed joke at the Critics Choice Awards. Sometimes we do that over a series of issues, as we discussed with Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s sartorial politics. However we did it, we explored complex ideas against a backdrop of interrogating the meaning of a culture steeped in institutional failures and scamminess. Scam culture has been the stage for all of our discoveries. It is a way to talk about the state of economics, politics and culture.

Those are the things that I write about. How I write about them and their various intersections changes. I am allergic to having a beat. But whether I am interviewing a celebrity or reporting new findings from peer-reviewed sociological research, I am thinking about how economics shapes the politics that frame our culture — and vice versa. I like that wheelhouse (which feels more expansive than a beat) because it is where we derive the meaning of our lives. And life is just about finding the meaning that we can while we are here.

We have found a nice rhythm, you and I. I am grateful.

I am also excited about what comes next. Beginning Tuesday, I will be a regular Opinion columnist. The news was announced a few weeks ago. Many of you emailed and tweeted your questions about what this change means. It means that I will be focusing on more long-form essays on topics that I also care deeply about. The meaning of a migrant, the value of motherhood, the politics of network television and the racial imagination of Pop Art.

I will still sign in on the newsletter from time to time to talk about process and what is sparking my imagination. I will also stay on the scam culture train. There is one big story at the heart of scam culture about the limits of consumer capitalism to handle the very real crises bearing down on us. Climate change is just one of those, but it may well be the one that changes everything.

You can continue to reach out to me with your feedback or cute puppy pictures at McMillanCottom-newsletter@nytimes.com.

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