Why I'm Pressing Pause on Advocacy / by Tim Querengesser

I grew up reading, a lot, thanks to a mom who was a teacher. And thanks to my dad, who was a typewriter repairman for IBM, I also grew up writing before I was able to construct actual words. My first typed letters, as a four-year-old, taught me that putting it on paper, even if it was gibberish, did something profound. It made your thought permanent. 

Over the past few months I've jumped, forehead first, into advocacy and away from my original life mission, which is writing. Why? I fully believe our city is designed to put some people at risk and that it doesn't really care about this fact, despite its easily-published puffery in high-level strategies. I think this needs to change. And I feel enabled to speak up. I feel burdened with the stories of people I've met profoundly changed by the effects of our indifference and I can craft an argument. I want safer streets. I have volunteered to show up and speak up.

And yet.

I'm a writer. Advocacy fits, sure, but it's not my best shirt. It's like the shirt I can't bring myself to throw out or donate because it has been with me, forever. And yes, seeing problems and telling stories that matter to me is what guides me toward or away from stories. That's just human nature. 


As a writer masquerading as an advocate, I think it's time I call time on this little experiment. I'm tapping out. Leaving the advocacy to the advocates. Writing demands I come back and show it some love. Come write some stuff. Like some books. 

Do I feel my advocacy has mattered? Who knows. I'm hard wired to give a shit, so I'm a bad judge of all of that. I just throw myself in rather than opt out. 

Anyway. Hope we can find a way to make a better, safer, more amazing city somehow. Support the advocates around you. They are likely exhausted.