Some years ago, I’m told, there was a wonderful series called This Is My Best (TIMB), which encouraged Community members to share their own writing that they were most proud of, rather than the writing of others. One part self-promotion, one part self-confidence, all parts awesome, TIMB encourages writers to press pause on their role as their own worst critics and take some time to toot their own horns.
So let’s go! This week’s stories are intimate and reflective, deeply researched and political. And they mean a lot to the people who wrote them. So give ‘em a read!
And remember: If you don’t see your story below, we’ll be keeping the party going right up until our joyful 20th anniversary on May 26!
Who the hell am I? (2007)
I like it because by writing it, it caused me to reflect on who I was and how I am perceived. I don’t reflect on the writing. I mostly write like I am writing in a journal. I put my thoughts into words for me. But, then I know that there are others who read my words. But often what I write just sinks and disappears. So my feelings don’t get hurt all the time if they do.
[I did] a lot of research on a subject of vital interest to many in the Bay Area, and links to several cool Kossack events.
Obama’s scold is a good sign (2005)
I keep coming back to this diary, written after then-Sen. Obama had publicly criticized lefty bloggers for being mean to Democratic senators who voted to confirm John Roberts for chief justice of the SCOTUS, because of how prescient it has turned out to be in retrospect. We knew that the GOP was going to pack the Supreme Court and use it to wreck our democracy, and we knew that Democratic senators’ obsession with bipartisan comity was being systematically taken advantage of.
Obama did turn out to be a great statesman, but as citizens we deferred far too much to his leadership in his first two years, instead of applying maximum pressure, and so the tea party pushed the historical dialectic in the opposite direction, until the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter and Indivisible movements (and a ton of stubborn, unheralded grassroots organizing to take the Democratic Party over from the bottom up) pushed it back again. We have grown and matured as a movement of citizens, online and off, and our organized pressure has gradually moved the country in the right direction over the past decade and a half.
But the best part of this is that Obama posted a rebuttal linking to my diary! High point of my blogging career.
FISH OUT OF WATER
My best diary on COVID-19. This diary was spot-on, warning us accurately about how immunity would fade, and how policies based on the concept of herd immunity would lead to pointless mass death.
One of the things I am proud of writing is a five-part series about the overthrow of democracy in Argentina, and the resulting seven-year military dictatorship. I wrote it back in 2016.
What I like about it: It surprised me by taking on a life of its own. I intended to write up a short summary of events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the coup, but I quickly realized it would be woefully inadequate for bringing understanding of the period to many people. So, I started writing it with more and more detail, and ultimately it turned into a major project: five lengthy, researched, and footnoted diaries, written over a period of eight days. It was an intense period, believe me.
What else I like about it: As I said, it was to be short summary, so I began with the the initial moments of the coup. Rather than the typical presentation of historical events, beginning long before the salient point and trying to anticipate and explain its origins, I began with the event itself. From there, I moved forward in time, then backward, then forward and backward, and finally forward to current times, sort of peeling new layers of the complex onion of the relevant historical foundations, causes, effects, and aftermaths in Argentina. I think it made it a more interesting tale to present things that way.
Finally, I like it because it was my small contribution to aiding interested readers in understanding my adopted homeland of many years now.
A gang, a gun, a murder (2013)
A long and detailed personal look at the insides of a murder trial. Jury selection, testimony of witnesses, how it felt to have somebody’s life and future in my hands. Details of Latino criminal gangs that I knew nothing of beforehand.
I’m a failure (2014)
This is something I wrote after the death of Robin Williams. These are the things I’ve struggled with every day. I’m trying to communicate what depression is, and why it is so mystifying to others.
Part memory, part reflection on our role in the Iraq war, which seems timely today. We were the aggressors then in an ill-fated war. My son served in that war and came home safely, only to commit suicide after a two-year struggle in 1993.
One thing I liked most about my diaries was the wonderful comments that others posted when they shared their reflections of my subjects.
Whom do you shoot? (2007)
Wrote this way back in 2007, and I think of reposting it every time there’s a mass shooting. Thirteen years and we are still watching people walk into schools, shopping malls, and everywhere else and murder people for no sane reason. And we STILL have to pander to the pathetic gun loony, cosplay KKKommandos, and their sad little pew, pew, boom, boom fantasy lives.
Most of my diaries have been environmentally based, such as my Antiquities Act series and my National Park Series. As for which is my best, its really hard to pin down. I would say the introduction diary to the AA series. Both of my series have involved a lot of research, particularly the NP ones. Some states have lots of public areas, others, not so much.
This was my very first Daily Kos diary and is still one of my favorites, because it highlights a common economic fallacy about poor people and money. It proves why giving poor people money strengthens the economy for everyone. I have never understood why the business community opposes giving their customers more cash: It obviously helps all of them. It’s the opposite of Reagan’s “trickle-down” theory, because it shows that injecting money at the lowest tiers of the economic pyramid is way more effective than at the top. I think it didn’t get much attention because it had too much math, LOL.
Not my best Animal Nuz cartoon, but I really like [the] first panel. I am just happy with how it looks like a real kick, and maybe the idea that the Pope can kickbox.
WIDE EYED LIB
For a little more than two years, on almost every Sunday during the Northeastern growing season (roughly March to November), I published a story on how to forage edible wild plants. I started on March 22, 2009 and the last one was June 19, 2011—I published a total of 53 diaries in between. All of them included original photographs of numerous edible wild plants and describe their characteristics, growth range and edible and medicinal properties. I’m proud of so many of them, but I’m choosing this one because I outline my whole philosophy of how foraging creates a lasting bond with nature.
GLEN THE PLUMBER
My little one and I had spent many months canvassing for our favorite congressmember. And we used Daily Kos to recruit others to join us. While I had written many diaries covering the race, I never wrote about our experiences while canvassing. But that changed after an experience on one of the final days before the election, I had to share.
Our little family had put a lot of effort into the race. And in the end, we had an effect.
It’s not too late to submit your own TIMB story, of course. To make my job easier (and data entry much faster—give some love to Christopher Reeves for his help on that front), please use this format for your submission:
Linked title of story (year published)
A sentence or two in your own words—not an excerpt—about why it’s your “best.”
See you in the comments!
One more thing: If you’ve already submitted, there’s no need to do it again, and we are only accepting one story per person. And if you simply can’t narrow down your choice before comments close, we’ll be back with another installment (and opportunity to submit) next week, when I’ll have even more Community submissions from the last four weeks.