Even if you don’t recognize Tim Kreider’s name, there’s a good chance you’ve read his work. In addition to his two collections of essays, We Learn Nothing and I Wrote This Book Because I Love You, he’s published many short essays in the New York Times opinion section, nearly all of which seem to go viral. The first such essay was The Busy Trap, published more than 10 years ago, wherein he called out Americans’ perpetual condition of being “crazy busy” as “a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously, your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy.” He’s also famous for an essay about knowing people are talking about you behind your back, which Meghan has mentioned several times on the podcast and which has been immortalized in a famous meme. In this conversation, Tim shares his thoughts about writing about yourself, writing about other people, teaching writing to college students and (unrelatedly) getting stabbed. He also talks about the process of deciding not to have kids, the difficulty of living with another person as you get older, and a phenomenon he describes as the “soul toupee.”
For paying subscribers, Tim stays overtime and talks about (among other things) being 56-years-old, contemplating mortality, coping with a diminished attention span, and dating his fans – although he insists they’re not really fans once you start dating them. To hear that portion, become a paying subscriber at https://meghandaum.substack.com/.
Tim Kreider is the author of the essay collections We Learn Nothing and I Wrote This Book Because I Love You. He has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog, Men’s Journal, The Comics Journal, Film Quarterly, and Fangoria. His cartoon “The Pain–When Will It End?” ran for 12 years in the Baltimore City Paper and other weeklies and is archived at thepaincomics.com. Learn more about him at timkreider.com