Editor Abbey Dean recently joined the Hammock team, returning to her hometown of Nashville after a stint in Madison, Wisconsin, as editor of Manufacturing.net. She previously held a variety of editorial positions at magazines such as the Oxford American. Exploring the world and reading like a fiend get her heart pumping when she’s not busy writing about healthcare or dozens of other topics. In the following Q&A, she reveals how impressed she is by the workout of the Notorious R.B.G (Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg), how much she’d like to know what (beloved/smug) Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek really knows and lots of other fun facts.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up and/or get in the office each morning?
After snoozing my alarm at least twice, I drag myself out of bed and zombie-walk over to the coffee pot. With the coffee a-brewin’, I feed Emma the Cat before she starts yowling.
Once I’m in the office, I make a to-do list for the day, grab yet another mug of coffee and check my email. I feel lost if I don’t start the day with a fine-tuned to-do list and my daily dose of caffeine.
What’s your favorite organizational tool, whether electronic or otherwise?
A thick stack of brightly colored, lined sticky notes and a pen, preferably. Although I have been known to jot down reminders or ideas on the back of receipts with lip liner—you know, in a pinch.
What are your favorite three apps you use in your personal life?
The iPhone Notes app, my Gmail app and Google Maps. I’m a Nashville native, but I haven’t lived here in 11 years, so I’m constantly checking the best ways to get just about anywhere.
What’s your favorite book you’ve read in the past year?
I adore books, so choosing my favorite of the past year feels a tad impossible. Certain genres of both fiction and nonfiction appeal to me more sometimes than others, so I guess you could say I have seasonal favorites. This past winter, for instance, when I was still living in Wisconsin, I did a deep dive into science fiction and graphic novels. Sub-zero temperatures will make you yearn to be about anywhere else, real or imagined. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer was excellent: incredibly well-written but creepy with magical realism vibes. I also read the new Black Panther graphic novel series that Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote (and is still writing) for Marvel. If you saw and loved the movie, you must, must check out the original comics. I also devoured a collection of short stories called American Supernatural Tales. I picked it up while visiting the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, and it’s a great compilation of early work from Stephen King, Poe (of course), H.P. Lovecraft and Shirley Jackson, among others.
Which three people, living or dead, would you want to invite to a dinner party?
I’d invite the most senior producer of “Jeopardy!” to get the dirt on how much Alex Trebek actually knows, which I’m just assuming is very little. I’d also invite Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to talk accessories, work out tips and world domination. Lastly, to round out the group, I‘d invite Katharine Hepburn. If she offered to bring anything, I’d suggest her famous chocolate brownies.
How do you spend your time when you’re not in the office?
I read, do yoga, watch cooking shows and attempt to keep Emma the Cat from gnawing on or otherwise destroying my houseplants.
What new skill (or superpower) would you most like to develop?
I’d magically know whenever Alex Trebek was asked anything and then have the “Jeopardy!” thinking music start playing.
What’s your favorite travel destination? What’s on the bucket list?
London. I lived there for six months back in 2010, and it was absolutely dreamy. You could live there your entire life and not see everything it has to offer.
I don’t have a travel bucket list per se; I just want to keep exploring. I just got back from Madrid, and I’m still buzzing. The world’s so big and traveling is humbling; it’s a reminder that there’s much more to life than whatever drives your day-to-day worries or hopes.