Friday, October 17, 2014

Writing Some Letters

I'm writing some thank you notes in my official capacity as a committee person, trying to draft these so I can get some input from other committee members before I send them out officially.

But yesterday, I started reading a new novel, Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher.  First, I was sitting waiting to pick folks up in an airport, and kept laughing inappropriately loudly, but I couldn't help myself.  And here in the upper midwest, loud laughter in public is pretty unappreciated unless you're a white male, drinking, and watching your local sports team or something.  At any rate, I got some weird looks in the airport.

Second, beyond the amusement, the novel makes me want to get a little more action into my own letters.  (These letters are very sincere, but it's hard to say much beyond "thank you for doing this extra work" at this point.  I'm trying.)

If you haven't read it, I recommend the novel.  And if you have, I wonder if you're reimagining the various letters you write for recommendations or whatever, as I am.


  1. I read it a few weeks ago and found it hilarious, if a little too close to the truth!

  2. That sounds like a delicious read. Putting it on my list!

  3. I was excited to read it after all the recs, but have to admit that after only a few pages I was over it (though I did finish it). It struck me as pretty thin--like a New Yorker "Shouts & Murmurs" piece stretched out way too long--while at the same time not incisive enough or quite getting to the heart of the problems faced by humanities departments or the modern university.

    But there were a few chuckles to be had, still.

  4. I just finished it last week, and greatly enjoyed it, though by the end a bit predictable. And while you might want more action in your letters, his kind of action, maybe not. In the end it really wasn't about the humanities, but about the letter writer; insofar as he wasinteresting, it was because you gradually saw the person emerge and become much more sympathetic. For all the bluster, he still cared about writing and teaching. And he gained a certain self knowledge,

    But yes, some of those letter are hysterically inappropriate.