Sign in

Harris Sockel
i work @medium

“When did you come out?” is a question I’ve been asked on numerous dates. (I’ve also asked it, usually when there’s not much else to say.) It’s a question that stands in for other questions: How well do you know yourself? How risk-averse are you? How liberal were your parents, your peers, your places of worship? Where would you situate your family, socioeconomically? Mostly, it’s a stand-in for: How new are you at this? And: Can I trust you?

Gays like me are conditioned to divide our lives in two: Before and After. Year Zero is the day we decide…


Six years ago, I sort of forgot how to write. I’d been publishing on the internet for a little over a year — that first, embarrassing, thrilling, bringing-a-laptop-to-parties year (I’m fun at parties) — and I’d run out of things to say. What used to be casual, fast, easy breezy bloggy beautiful, had become… slightly boring. Slow. I’d have an idea, stare at my laptop for an hour, Command-Tab over to Gmail, and then walk four blocks to buy an overpriced panini.

So, I did what I always do: I walked into a bookstore feeling vaguely depressed, and left with…

You don’t need to be a voracious reader if you want to write well, but it certainly helps. I had a friend, someone whose writing I really looked up to, who told me point-blank one day: “I don’t read.” And then they laughed. This freakishly talented writer (who will go unnamed) is the exception that proves the rule. And it was funny because… I do read. Most people do. Writing well is imitation at first, and most of us learn to imitate through reading. A lot of reading.

In case you haven’t heard, Medium is hosting an essay contest this…

Hub Talk

A few weeks ago, we asked you to drop a link to a great story (or writer) you’ve discovered on Medium lately. The goal? To help us to explore beyond our comfort zones (or at least beyond the writers and publications who populate our homepages). It was an opportunity to celebrate great writing hiding beneath the surface of Medium.

Thirty-something responses later, we have a lot of bookmarked tabs and some excellent new writers on our “following” lists. You plugged everyone from poets to illustrators to music bloggers. Here are a few highlights:

A million shades of happiness

Melissa Toldy recommended Matthew Perpetua, music critic…

Hub Talk

Name aside, Medium is actually pretty big. Most of us have a shortlist of writers we’re drawn to, people whose names appear on our homepages and digests. But there’s always more to discover — so we thought we’d ask: What’s the best story you’ve read on Medium recently? Why do you love it? (Bonus points if it doesn’t already have thousands of claps, but feel free to share anything you enjoyed.)

Hopefully, this will give us all a bunch of great new writers to follow. And at Medium, we’re always looking for new stories and ideas hiding beneath the surface.

As Jimmy Kimmel tweeted last night, “This is like being awake during your own surgery.” When will it end? Who knows! We’re caught somewhere between refreshing the same four websites, stress-eating what’s left of our election night snacks, and thanking our forefathers/mothers for blessing this country with the confusing mess that is electoral politics.

It’s a great system. Super easy to understand.

Our uncertainty will probably continue through today — and tomorrow, and the next day, and maybe even the next. Maybe this is the feeling we’ll remember when we think back on 2020, long after we’ve forgotten the names…

This Is Us

A photo of coffee cups lined up.
Photo: Mara Ohlsson/Getty Images

Do you remember coffee?

Not beans, which you buy in silence, mask stretched over your face, eyes darting under fluorescent lights. Not the glass carafe on your kitchen counter. Not your Keurig, which doesn’t count and never did.

I mean paper cups. Plastic lids with small embossed brand names. Loud rooms with retro light fixtures and overpriced banana bread. Strangers yelling at you to stop looking at your phone, it’s your turn, and oh my god, sorry, can I just have a small coffee? A small coffee. Hot cardboard juice that costs $3.25. Or iced coffee, all ice and no…

Internet Time Machine

Illustration: Jesse Zhang

This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.

Connor is 27, with green eyes and a dorky grin. His favorite emoji is the shaka (🤙), which he uses to express a casual DTF energy. He’s tan and toned, athletic yet approachable, and his profile photos resemble ads for a millennial lifestyle brand. There goes Connor, throwing up a peace sign on Runyon Canyon. Surfing as the sun sets over Manhattan Beach. A mirror selfie, an action shot, an abdominal V.

Connor is your average thirst trap next door. …

Marianne Williamson and Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2019 In Goop Health summit in San Francisco. Photo: Ian Tuttle/Stringer/Getty Images

By the time Marianne Williamson took the stage at the In Goop Health summit in November, I’d had my face depuffed twice. On the floor of Goop Hall, a sage- and eucalyptus-scented showroom with giant windows framing the San Francisco skyline, a sales associate cheerily sold me a $45 jade face roller. In a skincare masterclass later that day, Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal facialist pointed at me — the only man in an audience of 60 — and said I was holding too much tension in my jaw. “I’m a Leo, I’m Greek, and I will kick your butt,” she said…

Illustration: Alex Eben

Three years ago, I was paralyzed from the neck down for six weeks.

If you know me, you know this story. I’ve told you at a birthday party, or maybe a wedding, during a lull in the reception when everyone’s a little too drunk to really get it. Dessert’s been served and the DJ is getting ready to play “Uptown Funk,” so soon I’ll have to start shouting this story at you, yelling over Bruno Mars about how lucky I am, how magical and wonderful it is that I can walk — dance, even! …

Harris Sockel

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store