37 Questions with Caitlin Hartney

Originally published in July 2019

Block Club’s director of strategy Caitlin Hartney embarrasses easily, but that didn’t stop us from making her participate in the latest installment of 37 Questions! In this installment of 37 Questions, a humble nod to Vogue’s 73, she talks exchanging ideas, podcasts worth listening to, and the “click-y” words she can’t get enough of (among 34 other random topics).

  1. How did you start your day?

    Silence, coffee, and a little writing followed by a quick run

  2. How did you take your coffee?

    Joyfully and with half-and-half–I’ve never met a cup of coffee that wasn’t improved by fat.

  3. What did you write about?

    Making condiments from scratch. (Did you hear that, Pulitzer committee?)

  4. Was it for a Block Club client?

    No, it was a freelance assignment.

  5. Do you do your best writing in the morning?

    From 4 to 6 a.m. yes, my brain has yet to be cluttered by the rigmarole of life, and I’m still too sleepy to get in my own way, so words and ideas seem to come more easily and with more clarity.

  6. What word do you love?

    I love cozy words like tuck and nestle and words with “click-y” sounds and words that combine to make lilting sentences.

  7. Did you always want to be a copywriter?

    I was probably 25 before I knew what a copywriter even was.

  8. What did you want to be?

    A primatologist, a physical anthropologist, or an archaeologist

  9. When did you discover a future in writing?

    In middle school, I watched a documentary on ape poaching in Africa. I was incensed and couldn’t bear the idea of keeping my emotions or opinions contained, so I took the family computer and hammered out an impassioned essay on the issue. I didn’t recognize then that writing was in my future, but I guess I should have.

  10. What did you do with the essay?

    I probably had big plans to send it to policymakers that I never saw through.

  11. Where do you find inspiration now?

    In American culture and the echoes of history

  12. Speaking of American culture, do you have any guilty pleasure TV shows?

    Outlandernow streaming on Netflix! I’m a sucker for period pieces, emotional intrigue, and women-positive graphic sex. But I think it’s a British show?

  13. What book did you last finish?

    An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

  14. Do you have a favorite fictional character?

    In childhood, I had really strong feelings about Jo March, Jane Eyre, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

  15. What makes you nervous?

    Being seen

  16. What do you fear?

    Not being seen

  17. What does the last text you sent say?

    “At least they are well-intentioned and stand for something.”

  18. What does the last text you received say?

    “Guys, Sandy’s a f—-g MOM!!!!!”

  19. How old are you?

    I’ll be 34 at the end of July.

  20. What did you do for your last birthday?

    I went on a hike in the Niagara Gorge and drank grower champagne along the river.

  21. What will you do this year?

    We’re headed to the Berkshires to visit Mass MOCA.

  22. What are you looking forward to?

    My birthday plans! And discovering my next truth

  23. What’s the best costume you ever wore?

    Angela Hayes on a bed of roses a la American Beauty (It was a 90s-themed party, and I was a much younger person.)

  24. What are you passionate about?

    Consuming and sharing ideas that try to make sense of our world and the human condition. Also, good food and wine

  25. Where do you do your best idea-consuming?

    I try to keep up with The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the Journal of Women’s History. I am a fan of “The Cut” from New York Magazine, and I love (certain) podcasts like This American Life, Longform Podcast, The Daily, and Still Processing.

  26. If we went into your fridge, would we find good wine?

    There’s an almost-empty bottle of Weingut Keller Riesling in there. I can’t get enough of it.

  27. What about good food?

    I just got my biweekly CSA share from Oles Farm. So, yes.

  28. What cause is close to your heart?

    Racial justice and women’s issues and compelling our country to live up to the ideals it has long espoused but always fallen short of

  29. What’s your best habit?

    Eating lots of vegetables

  30. What habit can’t you shake?

    Fixating, catastrophizing, and procrastinating

  31. What’s the best place you’ve ever lived?

    My new house!

  32. What makes it the best?

    It’s full of natural light and love and laughter. That sounds like something off a wall hanging from Home Goods, but it’s the truth.

  33. What embarrasses you?

    It would be more time efficient to ask what doesn’t embarrass me.

  34. What makes you proud?

    Someone telling me they connected with something I wrote.

  35. What sound do you love?

    My niece’s laugh and my boyfriend’s voice

  36. Do you have a nickname?

    I have at least five.

  37. What are they?

    Aren’t you out of questions yet?

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