Here’s the second edition of Longreads’ Best of WordPress! We’ve combed through the internet to put together a reading list of some of the best storytelling being published on WordPress. (You can find Vol. 1 here.)
As a reminder: If you read or publish a story on WordPress that’s over 1,500 words, share it with us: just tag it #longreads on Twitter, or use the longreads tag on WordPress.com.
On grieving after the loss of a parent at a young age:
My father died on November 14th, 1995, when I was 14. Every day since the day he died I am one day farther away from him than I was before. This is the truest thing about me. It is the most important and worst thing to ever happen to me. It is me. My father died when I was 14. I will tell people this forever. It is the truest thing about me. I was 14 when he died. My father. I was 14.
“There was a time, perhaps 20 years gone by now, when the Valley was different.” Michael O. Church looks at the state of the software engineer — perhaps paid well, but not elevated to leadership roles even within Silicon Valley companies.
“After learning to hover you were taught to land, then what to do when an engine failed, then to fly off your instruments in the clouds.” A marine learns to fly a helicopter and goes to combat in Afghanistan.
Esmé Weijun Wang writing for The Toast on her experience with psychosis:
“Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum.”
Scientists may not be able to predict what the world may look like 100 million years from now, but they may be able to look at how diseases like the flu will evolve in a few months, which has the potential to save lives:
Lässig hopes to be able to make predictions about future flu seasons that the World Health Organization could consult as they decide which strains should be included in flu vaccines. ‘It’s just a question of a few years,’ he said.
The victims of police shootings are often people with mental illness. The city of Memphis, Tennessee, has found a solution:
Memphis, one-quarter of Toronto’s size but with a homicide rate nine times higher, has developed a progressive approach to de-escalate high-tension confrontations, improve police attitudes toward those suffering from mental illness, and divert them from the criminal justice system. The Memphis Crisis Intervention Team model centres on dispatching specially trained beat cops to emergency calls as quickly as possible, and giving them the authority to take charge of the scene. That approach triggered a revolution in policing that has now been emulated in 2,700 jurisdictions across the US, including large urban centres such as Chicago and Los Angeles. A handful of Canadian cities, among them Hamilton and Vancouver, have also adopted the CIT model. While the TPS has not, senior officials claim that all of its 5,500 uniformed officers receive some training in how to handle mental illness, which makes the recent proliferation of shootings that much more perplexing.
The Bee Gees were pop music geniuses whose work in 1978 “accounted for 2 percent of the entire record industry’s profits.” Yet they were still underappreciated — and also still capable of making ill-conceived creative decisions.
Seth Mnookin reports the story of how one couple, Matt Might and Cristina Casanova, worked with researchers to diagnose their son’s disease and connect with other families whose children also had the same genetic disorder. Mnookin’s story also exposes some of the problems within the cloistered research community.
A personal story about dealing with the feelings of loss that come with unexpected fertility problems.
A young social worker fights Medicare to cover a homeless teenage boy’s medication, forfeiting her own idealism in the process:
The year I worked at Hudson Outreach, we found mistakes in over half the Social Service denials we saw. Of the cases we argued, we overturned a third. People who had previously been denied heating assistance or rent got much needed checks from the state. Another third of our clients received grants from us. The final third received nothing, not from us and not from Social Services. Often they became homeless.
“You mean to tell me,” I said to Mrs. Stafford, “that the caseworkers at Medicaid are making your son wait for the medicine he needs to survive?”