Here for It w/ R. Eric Thomas, #163

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

This week: The Queen of the Westminster Dog Show! Leslie Jones on Project Runway! Plus, me on Weekend Edition and me x Samantha Irby!

I have run out of confetti and I am spiraling. Like most of my plans, this whole confetti thing start out simply enough, quickly escalated, offered a simple and clear escape route which I roundly ignore, and is now, as I noted earlier, causing me to spiral. Okay, so I don’t really know what you’re supposed to do when you publish a book in terms of ancillary products and while the answer is probably “nothing; you do nothing; books don’t have ancillary products” the answer that I told myself is “amass many pounds of confetti.” This makes sense to me for many reasons. Chief among the reasons: the cover of my book has confetti on it. It also has a hand on it but I can’t give away hands, so confetti it is! I considered hiring one of those wax hand makers to come to book tour stops but they are expensive and I do not want to be known as the Michael Bloomberg of books. My financial advisor (a Google spreadsheet with many colors) told me “The wax hands cost more per person than your book does so what are you doing?” and I answered “Having a great time like Renee Zellweger in Judy?” Apparently “prioritizing joy and general hijinks” is not something you can take off on your taxes under “Other Business Expenses.”

So, I started shopping for confetti. I only had a vague idea about what my plan was vis-a-vis the confetti when I began staying up at night comparing different cut patterns and confetti sizes and spending far too long weighing the risk vs. reward of including glitter in said confetti. I thought, maybe something cute for a thank you gift and other times I wondered is this a giveaway? and then I thought what if everyone has confetti under their seats like it’s an Oprah show????! This is how I always plan things—I am thinking of the logistics and I am thinking of the swag at the same time. I have a clipboard in one hand and a confetti cannon in the other. This is something I learned from watching my mother plan many events throughout my childhood from groundbreaking of our new church building (giant scissors for ribbon-cutting: check; choir making a dramatic entrance as they marched down the street: check) to our family reunions (complete with a theme song written by me to the tune of Whomp There It Is). We like organization, and a clear chain of command, and an agenda, and, above all, we like to wow. We don’t have a family crest but if we did it would say “Take a gift bag and souvenir whistle with you!” When we planned my high school graduation party, we stayed up late into the night stuffing the invitations with tiny metallic 1999 confetti which one of my English teachers frequently reminds me landed on her cat and took weeks to get off. FESTIVITY!

I still do not have an action plan for the confetti in the present but I know for sure I will not be throwing it on anyone’s pets. That was a mistake; I realize that now. I am writing a public apology on my Notes app. Unexpected glitter is like a Batman villain terrorizing Party City. In 2017, after I had meetings with different publishers about my book, I bought thank you notes covered in glitter because I am a menace BUT, realizing what kind of horror I was about to unleash, I wrote “caution: glitter inside” on the outer envelopes. Like a true lunatic . Somehow I got a book deal anyway and here were are, the lessons of the past barely learned, hazily remember, and covered with small scraps of shiny paper.

At the height of my wild late-night confetti shopping, I decided that one kind of confetti I bought wasn’t flashy enough so I bought a big bag of metallic confetti that I don’t like on its own but adds a nice accent. Last night, I poured the first bag into a big red bowl we’d gotten from Crate & Barrel as a wedding present from someone who probably didn’t expect us to use it for festivity purposes but probably should have expected it. And then, like I was making lemon curd for a Food Network show, I started adding the metallic bit little-by-little as I stirred. I posted a video on Twitter that I captioned “staying in tonight to make my grandmother’s homestyle confetti recipe” and one guy quote tweeted it and said “Even grandma's confetti looks like it's well seasoned” and that, folks, is black history.

Everything was going well. David, my long-suffering and always game husband, was filling cellophane envelopes with precision so they were celebratory but not stuffed, like me at a birthday party buffet. We’d done some product testing with a sticker I’d had made and decided that the confetti work better on its own. Jarrod had come to visit and stared at this whole thing skeptically from across the room. (I just looked up from writing and told him “I’m writing about you in my newsletter.” He responded “No.” Hmm, wasn’t really asking for opinions but thanks for your input! After declining to be involved [unsuccessfully!] he then smirked and told me I should sign this newsletter “Confettily yours”. He is my favorite nemesis. I’m going to make sure he has a gift bag when he leaves.) Anyway, we had a whole little system going. And then I ran out of confetti before I ran out of bags! So then I ordered more confetti. But then the bags were going so well, I thought I should make more so I ordered more bags. Then I ordered more confetti again. And now I’m just sitting in my building’s package room, flop-sweating, waiting on shards of recycled paper to arrive in the mail and trying to avert this crisis at the confetti factory. Book publishing is going very well for R. Eric Thomas!

Speaking of which…

Here for It, or, How to Save Your Soul in America comes out on Tuesday! There’s so much buzz! I don’t know how to quantify buzz but it sure is noisy! People who have read the book in advance really love it, which is exactly what I’d dreamed. There’s so many great Bookstagrammers who have written thoughtfully about it and I’ve had a number of interviews with people who have been exceedingly kind.

If you’re an NPR listener, you might have caught me on Weekend Edition, talking with Scott Simon, who is just as extraordinary and kind and curious in reality as you’d hope he would be.

Vivid! What a world! I hope you’ll love the book, too! You can get it from a local bookseller, request it from your library, order it online, or download the audiobook or ebook on Tuesday! You’ll get one (1) additional email from me this week on Tuesday with links and a reminder and some choice quotes. If you feel like forwarding it to a friend who likes books by a person who does too much with confetti, I definitely won’t hate that!

Feel free to search for it wherever you buy books or use one of these handy links!

Hardcover & ebook
Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | Books-A-Million | Parnassus Books | Hudson Booksellers | Target | Google Play | Kobo | Apple Books

Audiobook (read by me!) | Kobo | Audible

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Many headlines are referring to Queen Siba as a standard poodle, which is technically correct as that is her breed but also a shockingly inaccurate bit of journalistic negging. Siba is anything but standard. The disrespect, honestly, it's galling. Is the Hope Diamond standard? Is the Mona Lisa standard? Is Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit standard? Calling Siba standard is like calling universal income basic. It makes sense but I don't like it.


Project Runway Season 18, Episode 10 Recap: No Time To Dye

Okay, the challenge itself is brutal. Not only do they have to make their own tie dye, which apparently involves zip ties and huge vats of boiling liquid like they're running a meth lab, but they can't sleep! At all! Well, I guess they could if they wanted to, but with only 24 hours to complete the challenge, no one does. I've pulled many an all-nighter back in the day but that's just because I used to prefer eating mozzarella sticks at the campus diner and gossiping to being responsible, not because Karlie Kloss told me to. Although, if I could have used the excuse, "Karlie Kloss told me to wait until the last minute to write this paper on Mary Wollstonecraft," I would have at least tried it.



The Rumpus: I started writing a newsletter because your newsletter is the only bright, bright spot in the miserable depths of my inbox. What made you start writing it? Is it still fun? Will you keep writing it forever?

R. Eric Thomas: It’s funny that you say that because I started writing the newsletter because I so love your blogging. Let all readers be forewarned that this entire interview will be comprised of the two of us telling each other how great the other is. It’s the Frost/Nixon of our times. I’m just kidding; keep reading, please. I’ll starve without attention.

So, the second reason I started the newsletter is that about three years ago, right before the holidays, my husband casually mentioned that he was going to get off social media. I flew into a rage. I mean, did he not realize that social media is the only place that I exist? What about my needs? What about what I want? What about what’s best for me? (This is a direct quote from Dreamgirls but it was also applicable and so I used it.) (No, he did not get the reference.) It occurred to me that there might be people who were also growing tired of social media in 2016 and needed a break but maybe wanted to keep up with my columns, so I brainstormed ways of helping them to give me attention (benevolence!). My first thought was to go door-to-door like Paul Revere, but I don’t know how to ride a horse or where to find a bell. My second thought was a newsletter.



Get event details here!

Confettilly yours!