Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
Oh my goodness, hello! I've missed you! It's been so long! (In case you're legit like "Okay, who are you and how did you get into my house?" the long and short of it is this is my weekly newsletter where I send out a lil funny essay, kind of similar to the essays in my book Here for It, or How to Save Your Soul in America, but much shorter and woefully under-copyeditedd [I did that typo on purpose! That's comedy!] You're receiving this email because you signed up for it. You signed up for it, most likely, because your friend told you to. Please extend my gratitude to your friend.)
SUMMER IS HERE
Ugh, it's been so long! I've been on hiatus for the last three months not because I wanted to go on summer vacation, but because I had too much work and started to get very overwhelmed. I took off of work so I could do work. But now some of that work is done and my summer can finally begin!
I last wrote this newsletter on June 12, and I noticed something when I went back to read it (and to remember how I do this and what the login is and what, in general, I think I'm doing here... TBD, TBH.) One, in that last newsletter I told you that the night before I'd won an award for playwriting from Lamba Literary. Well, wouldn't you know--yesterday I got that award in the mail!
And you know what that is? Narrative arithmetic! Papa Chekhov called and was like "We don't do cliffhangers over here, sweetheart. You introduce an award in the first act, you best believe that, Lord-willing, you're going to see that award in the third act! They call me Chekhov because I check off plot points."
Anyway, here it is.
Isn't that lovely? It came in the nicest little box! I want to use the box to store chocolates and loose buttons!
During the hiatus, I was briefly tempted to turn on the desktop and log into American Online so that I could chat with you about all the controversy surrounding the movie Don't Worry, Darling. Now, we don't need to go back over it--we're trying to heal as a society--but I do love that it reached such a fever pitch that for, like, 18 hours of unbridled universal chaos and psychic disturbance, a large part of the internet believed that Harry Styles had spat upon Chris Pine, unprovoked, in a theater in Venice! (If you want to full download on all the controversies, Hunter Harris, as always, come through). SpitGate was truly some of the most frenetic and extraordinary moments I've spent on the internet. And I have no shame in admitting that I absolutely thought Harry Styles did it. I looked at the video like I was on the Warren Commission. And it seemed exceedingly clear to me! GAVEL GAVEL GAVEL!!!!
I didn't understand what I was seeing or why I was seeing it, but I believed it. This is what's wrong with America, we're all just waiting for the right conspiracy theory. We're a nation of true crime podcasts and ponzi schemes. But, it's nice to have a hobby.
It turned out that what I SAW WITH MY OWN EYES did not happen. (oH, OHKAY.) And Chris Pine's publicist released a statement straight up excoriating the numbskulls on the internet for suggesting otherwise. The publicist was like "NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I BEEN MORE DISAPPOINTED, MORE DISPLEASED, MORE DISGUSTED THAN I AM RIGHT NOW. You bots think you know what happened but you don't know anything. How dare you! I come in here, I give these things to you, you check, you make your phone calls, look suspicious, ask questions. I'm sick!!!" (You know you're really in trouble when a harsh talking-to suddenly becomes the Julianne Moore speech from Magnolia.)
So where does that leave us? With the truth? DoUBTFul!!! With our own thoughts? Yikes!
I gotta say, I love having "zero stakes, no damage" conspiracies to tend to like a zen garden. It keeps me feeling alive and young and vital and deranged and chaotic and un-spit-upon, and that's just energy I'm taking into this summer!
Finally, I have to tell you about the phenomenal book event I did the other day for Kings of B'more at the Carroll County Public Library. It was a partnership with A Likely Story bookstore in Sykesville, Maryland, which was interested in having me come out because Here for It has been a big seller for them. Well, I will go anywhere I'm invited and I was thrilled to go out to Sykesville to give a talk. I was even more thrilled when I found out that everybody who signed up for the event would get a free copy of the Kings of B'more because the library had gotten a grant! Librarians are my favorite people in the world, ONCE AGAIN!
There were 105 sign-ups, which is huge, amazing, fantastic. And I had a great time, talking, laughing, carrying on. BUT THIS LIBRARY! My goodness! The first floor is all the book collection and then you go downstairs and it's gorgeous community and maker space with a couple different meeting rooms, a lab (with sewing machines, a podcast studio, and 3-D printer you can use for free), and a TEST KITCHEN! A chef was leading a knife skills class when I walked in! Can you believe this?!
I just love libraries so much because they are possibility in action, they are community as a verb; they are so vital. I am envious of my books because they get to spend so much of their time in libraries.
What a dream, what a delight! What a treat!
(Also, yes, I will absolutely come to your local library or bookstore. I am already on my way! Tell the events manager to expect me!)
Let's hang out
Upcoming events and Big Foot sightings
September 24th - I'll be on a panel about banned books at the Reading The Culture Reading As Resistance Book Fair at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore. My books have not been banned, so my role on the panel is mostly just to complain about being ignored by bigots.
October 1st - I'm having dinner with my friend Kristen. I just thought you should know.
October 15th - Speaking at the Evolving Faith Conference in Atlanta (to be broadcast online)
Random thing on the internet
I'm listening to the audiobook of Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm, which is excellent. It comes out September 27th and I highly recommend you get it. If you want the audiobook, do like I did and get it from Libro.fm, which helps support independent bookstores.
The audiobook narrator, Nicole Lewis, is simply phenomenal. It's honestly one of the best audiobook performances I've ever heard. Here's a video of her talking about her process.
I check off plot points,