More Happier: The Thrill of a Creative Spark, the Anticipation of Tickets to a Show, and We Enter the Debate on Thank-You Notes

Something Making Us (More) Happier

  • Elizabeth: She’s going to see Isaac Mizrahi’s cabaret show. In episode 249, we talked to him about his terrific memoir, IM.
  • Gretchen: I’m happy that this episode airs on March 4, which is “March Fourth.” I love any entry on the Calendar of Catalysts!

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

Certain books, like Wayne Koestenbaum’s Jackie Under My Skin, Michael Kurlansky’s Cod, Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, and Lisa Birnbach’s The Preppy Handbook showed me new ways that a book could be structured.

These kinds of books often influence my own writing, as in my books such as Forty Way to Look at Winston Churchill, Outer Order, Inner Calm, and Power Money Fame Sex.

I love it when a book shows me an entirely new approach.

I just read a book like that: the brilliant, haunting People Who Led to My Plays by Adrienne Kennedy.

Spotlight on a Tool

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I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You

We discuss our thoughts on handwritten notes.


My laboratory is a place where the lights are always on. My laboratory has no windows, but it needs none. It is self-contained. It is its own world. My lab is both private and familiar, populated by a small number of people who know one another well. My lab is the place where I put my brain out on my fingers and I do things. My lab is a place where I move. I stand, walk, sit, fetch, carry, climb, and crawl. My lab is a place where it’s just as well that I can’t sleep, because there are so many things to do in the world besides that. My lab is a place where it matters if I get hurt. There are warnings and rules designed to protect me. I wear gloves, glasses, and closed-toed shoes to shield myself against disastrous mistakes. In my lab, whatever I need is greatly outbalanced by what I have. The drawers are packed full with items that might come in handy. Every object in my lab—no matter how small or misshapen—exists for a reason, even if its purpose has not yet been found.  — Hope Jahren, Lab Girl




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