To mark six months of this project … I took last week off.
There’s a lot of stuff going on at Saturday Letter Headquarters, not least of which is prepping for the new semester at my other job — the one that I get money for.
I’m excited about what’s coming up in this project in the months ahead (including a major backlog of author interviews). Today’s post is a compilation of some of my favorites from the past six months. Perhaps there’s one you missed?
It’s also the occasion for me to ask you for a favor: would you be willing to share this post (or maybe one of your favorites below) on a social medium of your choice? Or perhaps just a friend or two you think might enjoy it?
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And now, on with…
The Clip Show
Remember these? Back in the late-80s/early-90s, along about season six or seven of your favorite sitcom (except for The Golden Girls, which apparently featured one in just about every season) the creators would phone one in. There would be some loose set-up, but most of the show would be scenes from previous episodes.
An archetypal example is in this Who’s the Boss episode, in which Sam (Alyssa Milano) defies her dad, Tony (Tony Danza), and heads to Vermont for an illicit ski weekend. But again, that’s just a setup for some interstitials of Milano saying “And then there was that time…” which commences a series of scenes of Tony Danza overacting.
This is not a thing that exists anymore with the bingeable streaming series. Why would you watch an episode that was just clips of episodes you’d been watching for the last three hours?
As I understand it, the clip show was a way for a show’s production team to fill its order of 28 episodes or whatever while only “really” producing 27.
Now that we’ve indulged my inner 12-year-old couch potato, on with the clips.
How Do You Finish a Book?
I think of this interview series as the spine of the newsletter. It keeps me accountable to people other than just me. (And yes, Matt, Brian, and Margo — your days are coming!)
Check out Annie Hartnett’s interview here. That second novel she talks about is now several months closer to coming out:
And of course there’s my first celebrity “get,” this interview with comedian and podcaster Tom Scharpling:
Did I Mention I’m a Dad?
The first “real” post was this close examination/head-scratching of the first children’s book I ever bought, “Little Monkey’s Big Peeing Circus.”
I’ve also written more than my share of parenting essays, like this ill-starred journey to Story Land, or this one, occasioned by the seven-year-old’s newfound interest in pranks:
That seven-year-old has featured in a number of these letters, including one where I turned a critical lens on some of his first-grade writing:
I don’t exclusively exploit my kids in this project. I also write about those golden college days:
Two (2!) posts on the music of Bob Seger (!?) of which the first is here:
That one inspired the most reaction early on, so I inevitably ran a follow-up.
Sometimes, I just… write an op-ed:
And, finally, if I’m not running a clip show, I’m sharing an essay I wrote elsewhere:
Maybe you found something that ran before you signed up? Or you remembered something you liked? In any case, I’d appreciate it if you liked, shared or took out a Washington Post banner ad on the day of your choice.