Hi friends. I’ve been at The Awl just over one year. Can you believe it?? Shut up, I haven’t accidentally tweeted as The Awl in MONTHS!! Anyway I’ve found a nice rhythm and got some great regular contributors feeding you weekly content, like advice you did not ask for, and great pieces of classical music you should listen to in between all the Harry Styles loops, and bottles of wine that have been enjoyed.
But something I would like to see more of is um, well I hesitate to use the word “features” because too many people think that means “8–10,000-word whopper.” No, I’m talking nouns that are more in the 1,500–2,000-word range. Pieces. Articles. Content items. Investigations. Stories. Essays? Sure. Opinions? Only if they’re good. Personal Histories? I don’t know, are you interesting? Most people aren’t. Here’s what I do NOT want: thinkpieces about The Show, feelpieces about your job, tellpieces about trends, first-person narratives about leaving the internet and then coming back to it, or anything that has been previously published.
I care less about subjects than I do about quality and enthusiasm. If you have (or think you have) one or two thousand very compelling and ideally funny words for me about earthworms, or types of tweezers, or The Rural Purge, or language, or Swedish television, or very large cats, great. Everyone loves the internet, our main engine of cultural creativity. I personally love the spelling bee, my main engine of athletic excitement. Maybe you like video games or workaday television or the absurdity of high fashion. The more specific and peculiar the subject, the better. These are all topics, but it’s up to you to find the stories in them. Here are some other prompts:
- What is the one book to read about [X]?
- When did everyone become an expert on [Y]?
- What was the golden age of [Z]?
- What don’t you want to see on the internet anymore?
Entertain me! Make an argument! Explore a problem. Profile a clown. Visit a groundskeeper. Talk to a weaver. Tell me a secret. Send it to email@example.com.