Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pieces by Chiarella on a bartender, Lukach on mental illness, and Junod on Stephanie Lee

Three stories to post on here included a profile of a longtime bartender at a Chicago landmark and two incredibly poignant and painful to read first-person pieces.

For Chicago Magazine was "Consider the Bartender" by Tom Chiarella, with the longtime Esquire writer providing a look at Jeff Magill, bartender at the Billy Goat Tavern. It was a really well-written and insightful piece that brought to mind another one from Chiarella, one pointed at himself with "Celebrity Profiler: Tom Chiarella, in His Own Words" for Indianapolis Monthly.

For Pacific Standard was "My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward" by Mark Lukach. Really powerful writing that just after that title has "We met at 18. We wed at 24. At 27, I checked my wife into a psych ward—for the first time. How mental illness reshapes a marriage."

The last piece to note here was an awful one to see that it was written with "The Death of a Friend: Stephanie Lee" by Tom Junod. Stephanie's story of terminal cancer and efforts at a groundbreaking treatment was written about the 2013 Esquire feature "Patient Zero" by Junod and Mark Warren and that same issue included the following from Esquire editor in chief, David Granger...

"October 18, 2013: We've never done anything like this before.

   I've been working at Esquire for more than 16 years. I've been doing magazine journalism for almost 30. I'ts not only that we-especially executive editor Mark Warren and writer-at-large Tom Junod-made a connection between two people. It's not only that a story we published two years ago, about an eccentric math-driven biologist, allowed us to introduce two people who needs each other very much. It's also that we, especially Mark and Tom, are all in on this one. We're involved. We saw an opportunity to arrange for a man in New York who is on the cutting edge of math and science and medicine and has endless resources to help a young mother of two girls from Mississippi whose husband was killed in the Iraq war and who was told earlier this year that her cancer is terminal... to maybe live.


We don't know how the story ends. We know Stephanie Lee has fought every way she knows, with the help of a military hospital in Mississippi, to stay alive for her daughters. And we know when we first talked to Eric Schadt, who runs the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai hospital, he told us there was virtually no chance he could help Stephanie. And we know that at each of the dozens of points at which hope and possibility could have been derailed, they were not. And now Stephanie is here, in New York, staying with Mark and his family, visiting the city for the first time, to hear what Eric and Several of the best minds in cancer treatment have to tell her about her cancer and about the course of treatment they developed for her through the application of a combination of techniques that she is one the first patients to receive, ever."