Discover more from MAGICAL OVERTHINKERS
My favorite Sounds Like A Cult episode yet…
Plus, a Halloween-y writing prompt and some highly entertaining media recs.
Happy Halloween! It is my and Casey’s most cherished holiday—we throw an immersive rager every year, where we turn our front yard into a cemetery and my office into a witch’s apothecary. We can’t help it—we are recovering theatre kids.
I am delighted by how much humans enjoy festivity. So, today’s writing prompt: If you could invent a holiday, what would it be? What would it celebrate? At what time of year? What would the rituals look like? And why do you think you personally and/or our society at large would benefit from this new holiday?
Now please perceive this photo of my cat Claire dressed up as a lion.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s Sounds Like A Cult episode (featuring my dad)!
At long last, the man, myth, and legend, my dad Craig Montell, whose riveting stories of his childhood spent in Synanon planted my cult fascination, joins me as my special guest on Sounds Like A Cult! For this week’s episode (dropping tomorrow), listeners submitted stories of personal experiences they’ve had with “culty” groups—from military wives to circus performers—and my dad and I analyzed each one, comparing their stories to the surreal mindfuckery he witnessed in Synanon in the ‘70s to determine whether each one was a Life Your Life, Watch Your Back, or GTFO-level cult. The episode mostly focuses on the “cult” of military spouses—faaaaascinating stuff. It drops tomorrow at 2am PT / 5am ET wherever you get your pods! (Content warning: dad jokes galore.)
Snag a copy of my Harper’s Bazaar feature while it’s still on shelves.
I have a new feature piece in the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar—my first major print article, if you can believe it! It’s called “How therapy-speak became the love language of the modern workplace” and investigates the recent rise of mental health jargon in office environments around the U.S. I conducted some fascinating interviews with linguists, psychologists, and workers for the piece, and it’ll still be on newsstands for the next few days, if you’d like to pick up a copy! In case you have no idea where to buy print magazines anymore (I didn’t lol), I got mine at Barnes & Noble.
Want to level up your writing/publishing career? Consider this pair of workshops.
Sign up for How to Hustle: Becoming a Published Writer and/or How to Launch: Promoting Your Book (and You!) with Amanda Montell and Alisson Wood. Both events are 90 minutes long and begin at 4pm PST / 7pm EST on Sundays November 5th and 12th. Leading these workshops is SUCH fun and so inspiring/productive! Sign up here.
You still have one day to enter my book giveaway!
Last week in my “cult faves” roundup, I shared that anyone who preordered a copy of The Age of Magical Overthinking this week would be eligible to win a copy of Marisa Meltzer’s new, instant-New York Times bestselling book Glossy. There’s still one day left to win the giveaway! All you gotta do is preorder my new book, upload your proof of purchase here, and type GLOSSY next to your name :)
Digging the newsletter so far? The paid version is better :)
Especially this week. My Cultish audiobook commentary and book BTS are too good to miss, if I may say so! Upgrade your subscription to come along for the ride.
A weekly roundup of books, podcasts, TV shows, tchotchkes, and anything else I’m currently “cult following.” This week, some earnest recs from my inner theatre kid.
MOVIE: Theater Camp
I went to the movies and watched this indie parody of a struggling drama camp in the middle of a Tuesday while navigating an emotional crisis, and for those jubilant 93 minutes, I forgot all my troubles. This is an example of two creatives making the exact film they were meant to make: Broadway baby Ben Platt and Molly Gordon (Carmie’s love interest from The Bear Season 2) literally attended theater camp together as kids, so every detail of this movie—from the inside jokes to the casting—was chef’s f*cking kiss. I grew up going to theater camp in Maryland, those summers meant everything to me, so this movie made me feel called-out in the best way possible. It’s now streaming on Hulu!
TV: Jury Duty
Casey and I recently marathoned this one-of-a-kind, Truman Show-esque series, which I would actually describe as Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal meets The Office. You’ll see what I mean when you watch it (it’s on Amazon Prime). I hope it’s not dramatic to say that the show restored my faith in humanity for a second. I hope they figure out a way to make some sort of second season.
I loooooove the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus. Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl’s is my all-time favorite play—I saw its original New York City run when I was 15, and I swear it was Ruhl’s whimsical way with language that first made me want to become a writer. Anyway, Hadestown is a musical take on the iconic myth; it won the 74th Tony Award for Best Musical and is now on National Tour! I just saw it in LA and thought it was gorgeous. The musical styling is very New Orleans jazz/blues, which I love, not only because my mom is from NOLA but also it reminds me of the choir in Disney’s Hercules. The blend of Greek myth and gospel never misses!