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Conner reed

Episode 10: Gay Child in the Woods

Writer and editor Conner Reed talks juvenilia written in a log cabin in the woods, going up against Stephen Sondheim, and performing his first musical during a global pandemic. 


​Conner Reed is reviews editor at Publishers Weekly, covering mysteries, thrillers, true crime, and memoirs. He's the former Arts and Culture Editor at Portland Monthly magazine, and has written for a variety of publications including Artforum and the British movie magazine Little White Lies. He is also the writer and director of the acclaimed 2020 piece Hatred, a Musical. 

Conner Reed: 

What happened was I was a gay child who lived in the woods

Eden Dawn:  0:10  

Welcome to We can't print this

Fiona McCann 0:12  

a podcast telling the story you don't know behind the story you do

Eden Dawn 0:16  

My name is Eden dawn,

Fiona McCann 0:18  

and mine is Fiona McCann.

Eden Dawn  0:20  

Every week we interview a writer of some kind about the stories behind their stories. And if you like our podcast, please do us a favor and send it on to a friend who you think would like it to or you can support us on Patreon for as little as $5 a forward slash we can't print this.

Fiona McCann  0:39  

That's right and this week, we are a little bit thrilled to welcome our former coworker  returner Conner was the arts and culture editor for Putnam one thing where he developed quite a name for himself around these parts with his sharp pop culture analysis on music and films. But then we lost him and nowadays he is based in New York City writing for the storied Publishers Weekly as a reviews editor covering mysteries, thrillers, true crime and memoirs. And we miss them we miss that kid. Do miss him. Did we maybe develop this whole podcast so we could talk to Conner again a little bit?


Eden Dawn 1:17  

Simply, possibly, and we're going to tell—well, I guess this whole episode is about one of our favorite Conner stories that we got to hear the genesis of.


Fiona McCann 1:27  

That's true. And it is very much related to a little thing I like to call juvenilia,


Eden Dawn 1:34  

juvenilia. You say it's so sexy.


Fiona McCann  1:36  

I don't. It's because I don't know how to say it. So I feel if I just do a funny voice every time Is it is it juvenilia or juvenilia?


Eden Dawn  1:44  

I don't know. I don't care. Juveniles


Fiona McCann 1:47  

are the things that keep me awake at night. juvenilia. The things we wrote when we were young. And by God, did we ever I don't think there's a writer out there who doesn't have a slew of bad poems in their attic or perhaps, in ashes who can say


Eden Dawn 2:02  

so many bad poems and also Conner talks to us about writing a play, only a play fully at play. But we do have a treat for everyone because it's a treat though. It's a treat. You and I were talking about our bad poems, and we both dug up a bad poem from around our tween years to read to each other Correct. Are you ready?


Fiona McCann  2:24  

Well, and to point at, Conners juvenilia is from he was what 11? 12 years old? something like that. Who wants to go first?


Eden Dawn  2:34  

I don't know.


Fiona McCann  2:35  

I've because I kind of think yours is better because it my defense Eden was like two years older than me when she wrote this one.


Eden Dawn  2:42  

Well, I don't think it is, but here you go to it. I was 13 I believe. And this is called Read emotions.


Fiona McCann 2:52  

I really think this is a poem you could have written today.


Eden Dawn  2:55  

This is offensive. Okay. Red is a deep hurt from long ago how long? I was 13 I don't know that I tell only my best friends. Red is the fiery personality that I have when it comes out. Red is the embarrassment that I have when at me someone shouts what 

Fiona McCannr  3:18  

I liked that syntax. I love that. 

Eden Dawn  3:19  

Red is when I blush. That is from a boy saying I'm nice. Red is a disaster that happens when you don't take good advice. Thank you so much by Eden Dawn.


Fiona McCann  3:29  

That was amazing. That was so amazing. I feel like it was profound. I felt good. I try to think about how the author used color metaphor in that poem.


Eden Dawn  3:42  

Okay, now you're up like oh my god no critique,


Fiona McCann  3:44  

okay, it's like I'm this is obviously just just before I was probably on the cusp of emotion, but hadn't quite gotten there. And I also hadn't realized a lot of exposition yet. I'm just saying also, I was at that time where I thought every poem had to rhyme in a diddly diddly diddly Dee diddly diddly Dee way. This is my Keatsian poem inspired by nature and my love there of it's my Ode to A Grecian Urn or and it is my Seasons of Mists . . .. Okay, fine I’ll read it now. Can I say when it was written because the date is right there? Yes, it's written on the 15th of April 1985. At sunset, when the night dews fall out of the ivyon the wall, with horns outstretched and pointed tail comes the gray and noiseless snail on ivy stems she clambers down carrying her house of Brown, safe in the dark. No greedy eyes can her tender bodies spy, Am I the snail? I don't know. Anyway, while she herself a hungry thief searches out the freshest leaf. She travels on as best she can on like a toppling caravan.


Eden Dawn  5:03  

This is what 11 year old knows clambers.


Fiona McCann  5:07  

I mean that's all I know I probably I don't even think there was ivy in my life or any snails I don't know where I got this from but there is an illustration with this of a toppling snail Did you see this Eden look at this


Eden Dawn  5:19  

amazing. Well, we will make sure and put these on the website and with that embarrassment we should get on to Conners masterpiece.


Fiona McCann  5:28  

Yes, much better than ours. In fairness it is.


Eden Dawnr  5:32  

Fiona, we have a new sponsor on the show today.


Fiona McCann  5:35  

Yes, and we're totally chuffed because it's Betsy Anya, which anyone who knows me knows I spend 99% of my life in their earrings. And I have three of their signature bridge inspired cuffs. And it's all designed and made here in Portland,


Eden Dawn  5:49  

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Fiona McCann  6:05  

Yes. And now you can support both our podcast on this rad family business by shopping with them through our special fancy link which is Betsy and Iya dot com forward slash we can print this. I'm gonna spell it for you forward slash, we can’t print this because you can probably spell that


Eden Dawn  6:26  

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Fiona McCann  6:35  

Conner, it's great to have you here. I'm so excited to talk to you because I really miss you. We miss you so much. As we have both said you're one of the best writers we ever know. But it turns out you've been practicing your art for quite some time, I believe. Tell me more often always


Conner Reed  6:53  

been operating at the level I currently am.


Eden Dawnr  6:59  

or higher level before.


Conner Reed 7:02  

That's the question. Is it not? Yeah,


Eden Dawnr  7:05  

the eternal question.


Conner Reed  7:07  

What happened was I was a gay child who lived in the woods. True actual story story


Eden Dawn  7:15  

that might be the title of this episode. a gay child who lives in the woods. Yeah. And


Conner Reed  7:21  

it's like everything you think about that. That except for like the sexy stuff. That's true. I grew up in like a log cabin. And when I say like a log cabin, I do mean a log cabin in rural Oregon, Washington County.


Eden Dawn  7:35  

I'm picturing more of Julio Torres child in there wishing wells for boys


Conner Reed  7:42  

wells wells for boys is absolutely the apposite comparison here.


Eden Dawnr  7:46  

Boys love wells for boys.


Conner Reed  7:48  

So I like when my other heterosexual male friends would play basketball. I would sit in the window of their house and teach myself the piano and watch them play basketball. Eventually, I learned how to play and I got ya know, our basketball, certainly not basketball. And I got a piano of my own. And I would just like plunk away in my log cabin every day. And my dad at a certain point sort of I held him at gunpoint at a Barnes and Noble and made him buy me this enormous thick volume of Broadway songs like classic musical theater, songs. I'm probably like 11 at this point. 

Fiona McCann  8:35  

Wait, hold on. Yeah, that was a metaphorical gun, wasn't it? I don't know where in the world that wasn't.


Eden Dawn  8:41  

This is a cultural moment where Fiona just does not trust America. So she's like, wait a minute, you're American. Does that mean you actually had a gun and held it on your father. 

Conner Reed  8:51  

So  that's totally established. 

Fiona McCann  8:54  

This is a little red riding hood with guns obviously, 

Conner Reed  9:00  

We do things a little differently in rural Oregon. So I want this this this is a book of Broadway songs. And I learned them backward and forward poorly, obviously, often just the melody line, but I learned them taught them all to yourself. Yeah, it was like 100 100 pages. And so they were always rattling around in my brain and I think it was the summer between sixth and seventh grade when I was 12. And I was just like messing around. We also didn't have high speed internet in this log cabin. And so I was messing around on Microsoft Word and I like had the clipart of two hearts in the middle of a page and then I drew a crack down on each of them with little lines and I was like That's so sick I'm that's so deep, but I just did a little emo baby in blue Comic Sans above it just typed hatred, comma, a musical and I was like this is going to be huge, this is it. 


Eden Dawn  10:06  

You know when I think of hatred, I'm not sure the emoji that comes to mind is the heartbreak emoji. I feel like aesthetically that's just an interesting choice for you to see heartbreak be like I'm going hard here. Oh, yeah.


Conner Reed  10:23  

The other thing was I was like, okay, cool. I have been listening all day to what is this feeling from Wicked, which is it's Glenda and Elphaba living like we hate each other. And so I was like, Cool opening image, a bunch of people come out on stage, they stand back to back and they don't really hear each other and they sing this song from Wicked and I was like, Cool. Now we're cooking with gas and I set this this musical up as a quote, this is the I believe the subtitle is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet told through a collage of hit Broadway songs.


Eden Dawn  10:57  

Subtitle at age 12 

Fiona McCann  11:03  

Hatred, A musical, a modern retelling

Conner Reed  11:08  

of Romeo and Juliet told through a collage of hit Broadway songs and it's like the editor in me now says retelling told like a little redundant, buddy, but we let it slide. Crucially, when all;s said and done hatred a musical had very little to do with Romeo and Juliet. As a quote unquote modern retelling goes about as deep as the family's last name is being Montgomery and Capuline which is super, real fascinating. 


Fiona McCann  11:34  

Oh, I see what you did there.


Eden Dawn  11:36  

Wow. Were you afraid of intellectual property rights at all? 


Conner Reed  11:40  

Yeah, I heard. I heard William was very litigious. And I just decided to back off.


Fiona McCann  11:48  

You don't want to take them on?


Conner Reed  11:50  

Yeah. So I think it amounted to about 80 pages. I like wrote it over the course of the summer like it was a to act like multiple timelines. And it's about like, oh, it's about like a rich boy who falls in love with a poor girl. But then his mom's like, no, no, no, no, you have to marry this like rich snobby girl. And then the rich snobby girl get snubbed. So she kidnaps both of them and then tries to murder his mom. But then instead, the rich snobby girl and her mom get killed. while, people are singing the music of the night.


Fiona McCann  12:29  

So many things are coming together for me now.


Eden Dawn  12:33  

 So it could not get any more emo and then you add the music of the night from Phantom of the Opera. It is I mean, I have to say artistically, I am backing every decision here.


Conner Reed  12:46  

So So yeah, so I was like, This is amazing, right? Like, I'm 12 years old, I'm sitting down there and my my computer and I'm like, I am saying so much about what it is to be in love. It's like I'm closeted. I have never kissed a human being, the American Theatre is hungry for my thoughts on monogamy. There's, there's no two ways about it. And I would like go to my neighbor's house, and they had like a very masculine father, who's also like, chopping wood, much like mine. And I remember like, telling him about it being like, so I'm actually working on something. I'm gonna be like doing his best to be like, totally, yeah, whatever. And I'm like, beat by beat going in. And I'm like, and then would you believe it I'm pulling in, Where is Love from Oliver, didn't see that coming. 


Fiona McCann  13:43  

And he has to react to every line because you're like, No, I'm not gonna stop there. Yeah,


Conner Reed  13:49  

I like my friends or have standards. No, no, please. I just like it says everything about me. Like when you read it, it's like this is so what I'm like, This is amazing. I've done something huge. I like get a group of my friends together. And I'm like, you guys, we're going to put this on next year. It's going to be everything and more. It doesn't happen, obviously. And then very quickly.


Fiona McCann  14:15  

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Pause, pause, pause. You tell all your friends we're putting this on and all your friends


Eden Dawn  14:21  

are Yeah, what's the reception totally. Like,


Conner Reed  14:25  

everyone's down. I was like a very I think at that age. I'm sure to the to the chagrin of many of my peers, but just to the delight of some I was very, like we're doing a project like we're gonna make a movie like I was I was sort of organizing


Fiona McCann  14:40  

those kinds of things to do in the woods in fairy. Oh, it's truly


Conner Reed  14:43  

so I think like my, like, dorky little girlfriends were like, Yeah, this sounds really fun. Like this is for myself. We wouldn't. Everyone was of course playing you know, 30 it's one of those classic texts that you that you write as a middle schooler where it's like the ages are very unclear. It's like okay, So they're in school, but they both also have jobs.


Eden Dawn 15:04  

They're like married. And it's


Conner Reed  15:07  

like they have to decide who they're going to marry. Like, it's a it's very that. And I was like, This is great. This is amazing. And I'm like, Okay, let's do it. We don't do it. Obviously, I enter middle school, because at my school, elementary school ended at sixth grade. 

Fiona McCann 15:22  

So you wrote this whole thing in elementary school 

Conner Reed  15:25  

at the very end of elementary school. So I go into seventh grade, and I'm like, Cool. I'm an adult now I go on to bigger and better grown up things


Eden Dawn  15:35  

You're acting like you're going away to the factory every day.


Conner Reed  15:41  

And I'm like, oh, you know, I, I am sure this is a relatable phenomenon to many. I was like, Well, that was like, baby shit. And like this, like, I distanced myself from it, and go like, Oh my god, isn't this so stupid, but like, secretly, I'm so proud of it. And I'm like, yeah, there's a crazy thing. Isn't that like, shows are so stupid. And so that calcifies is like the take on it. Right? Like, okay, this is this insane, dumb thing I wrote a long time ago. And then a couple years later, it like, becomes funny, because like, by the time I'm 16, I'm like Jesus Christ. That's crazy. But I wrote that. Yeah. Because like, this is like everyone in it talks like the way that like a John Green character. It's like, it's like, it's like a child's approximation of like, adult wit, like, there's so much of that. And, and I read it at 16,17. And I'm like, I see the ways this is funny. And by this point, there was no like theater program at my school because we were poor and rural. And so I had really gotten in with Northwest Children's Theatre in northwest Portland, which like,  love them. But one of my last stories from Portland Monthly was about their move to their new space. That was on Broadway. And actually, just like some of the friends that I met there, even when I was 15 years ago, like I just went to a club in Bushwick with them last weekend. In New York City now, it's very sweet theater.


Eden Dawn  17:03  

Kids are friends for a lifetime. I know that because I'm literally in wills to take on my god, children from my feet or crew. So


Conner Reed 17:13  

a gorgeous glimpse into my future.


Eden Dawn  17:15  

Oh, it'll happen, baby. Just wait until you get made a legal guardian.


Conner Reed  17:20  

I'm so excited. But it's the best i Yeah, yes. Anyway, so I'm


Fiona McCann  17:27  

so I'm so relating to this on many levels. Not that I've ever written a musical like this. Although I did write a movie with my friend, Nora Walsh, about a prostitute. When I was probably 13, total, about a prostitute and a guy, a teenage American who falls in love with the prostitute. process. And the thing is, I thought, I also thought it was genius. And then pretty woman came out. And I was like, Oh, they've kind of they took my idea.


Conner Reed  18:01  

Yeah, Julia and Rick. But I do think I think it's like, it was really funny. But I think there's something to this where like, at that age, obviously isn't good. But like, I us as writers, like we've absorbed stories and media that are like way above our pay grade. But we are doing them on like a structural level. I'm like a fanatic. Like we get it, because that's what we're going to do later. And like, there are other kids who watch it and like, whatever. And they like because I like that some of that filters down. And so you do right, you're like, This is good for you.


Eden Dawn  18:35  

Right, like you set up your characters you had like some kind of motive. Right. And you had you were raising the stakes with the kidnapping.


Conner Reed  18:46  

And it's like, the same with the with the film. Like it's like, we these are hilarious to look back on. But there is something in them that it's like, yeah, there is that spark that you can see like become your career.


Fiona McCann 18:56  

Which is why a pretty woman makes so much money, right?,

 Conner Reed  18:59  

because they stole your spark


Eden Dawn  19:01  

So you're 16 and you're looking back and you're like, Oh, God, it was so nice to be a child prodigy if only I had gone with it. So I just want to know what happens and do you convince people to do it? Do you start recognizing the brilliance of hatred, comma, a musical, colon, a modern retelling something, something something.


Conner Reed  19:26  

I wish that that was the way that this went? I see the reasons it really is funny because it really really is funny. There is I have to call out a scene where the rich girl and her mom are talking and her mom decides to tell her the story of how her father died. And it's that immediately after the rich girl is born, the mom is in the hospital and she's really thirsty and the nurse tries to bring her tap water. And then she tells her husband No no, I will not drink tap water. I will only drink the finest bottle bother so she sends him across the street to get her water bottle from the car and then he's the victim of a random shooting and it's like so stone face like I was writing and I was like God thinks he's like real like everyone is drawing some some motivation out of this like the pathos is jumping off the page.


Fiona McCann  20:22  

It has some it's such social commentary at the same time.


Conner Reed  20:26  

Ya know the class strata, strata.


Eden Dawn  20:31  

Fiona, how do you feel about as the only person in this in this chat who's given birth, do you feel you would decline tap water and only require the finest bottled water post post having you're


Fiona McCann  20:46  

just gonna say she just had a baby, she's allowed to ask whatever she wants. Okay, really invested in this now.


Conner Reed  20:53  

And I could not appreciate it more. I'm like, this is really funny. And I told my friends about it. And I'm like, lol, I wrote this thing when I was like, No way like, oh my god so long ago. It's like four years ago,


Eden Dawn  21:03  

that is a quarter of your life at that age. So that's fair. It is


Conner Reed  21:07  

a significant chunk. Totally. So I forward to my friend Francesca. And then like, you know, that summer we're drunk in her basement and a bunch of us are like, Frankie's, like, Oh my god. Conner, I still have the script, we should read it. Read through it. And we're like, Haha, this is so funny. And then I don't think about it forever. Eight years go by. And I'm like, that's the thing I've done every once in a while. I'll call it up or whatever. 


Fiona McCann  21:33  

And then did youever get a little bit worried that that was going to be the last piece of art that you ever finished? 


Conner Reed  21:43  

Absolutely. So this is that actually really does tie into this this next stage, which is like in college, I directed a couple of shows. And I was like, good at it. It was like, Oh, this is the first thing I've done that's new that I'm good at and I was like, oh shit, what if I never do anything like that again? And whatever. Like, throughout college, I went to journalism school at Boston University, but I'm still dipping my toe into theater. I like performed a bunch in this extracurricular theater group and it was very fun. And then I moved back to Oregon. A little something called the Coronavirus pandemic hits. 


Eden Dawn: Yes, I recall. 


Conner Reed: 

But a group of people from that children's theater phase of my life. We all started during the Coronavirus pandemic starting very early every single Friday, we would get on Zoom and we'd watch a bad movie together. It started with Cats. But we watched a movie called LOL which is a bit so bad. It's remake of a French film shot for shot but it stars Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus. And like I'm watching it and it ends and we usually at the end of it talk about the movie that we've just seen. And I'm like, oh my god, it's so funny. Like, the way that people spoke. This reminds me of this like musical I wrote when I was 12. Where it's this like child's approximation of adult dialogue. And Frankie, Francesca, she's like, wait, you emailed me to script to that, like 10 years ago, and she forwards it on to all of us. And it's like, 11pm, maybe it's 1am. We're all kind of drunk. And we're like, Should we read it right now? That'd be fun, right? And then we're like, I don't know, I'm tired, like, and then we go to bed. And then we wake up the next day. And we're like, okay, it's April 2020. We're like, what if we, like really stage it? What if we assigned roles? And we're like, what if we like got costumes? And what if we like did it for like our family and friends? And everyone's like, totally, totally. And I was like, yeah, it would be so funny if we like, I don't know, like, created like virtual backgrounds like for the set? And I was like, Yeah, well, and then we're like, Well, how we tackle the music. I guess we'd have to take instrumentals from YouTube rips, and then each record our vocals individually, and then someone would have to compile them on GarageBand obviously,


Eden Dawn  23:58  

obviously, that's what we do here. I mean, we're all trapped.


Conner Reed  24:02  

Right? Exactly. Like we're all gnawing our fucking arms off being like we I wish I had anything to do.


Eden Dawn  24:08  

This is when we were like, flattening the curve, but also completely afraid of dying every single day. And so we're like, what thing can we do to occupy our brains? And also, we're all going absolutely nuts. Stage A musical in your house?


Conner Reed  24:25  

Yeah, we decide like so. It's my roommate, my friend. Dear, dear friend, Jenny and I live together. She was from Northwest Children's Theatre. We were in it. Francesca who had sent the script to a long time ago. She lives in LA with her boyfriend and then my friend Alyssa was also home in Portland. So like it was three locations:  Alyssa's house, my house and Frankie's house, all zooming in to try to make this happen and then we decide cool, we're going to stage it we're going to like, do a production of it. We're going to sing the music. We're going to livestream it from Zoom to YouTube Live. We created a fake playbill. Jenny was talking about the only time that she's ever cried about our friendship was when I was interviewing. I think Amine or like someone really famous in my in my room. And Jenny was recording her vocals for one of the songs and I texted her like hey, can you not? And she started crying.  Because we were all taking it so seriously, it was like this is really funny this is but we're like, what if this was the only thing any of us cared about at all? 


Eden Dawn  25:29  

And and you're like, what is the last like thing any of us ever does because the world might end and


Conner Reed  25:34  

we all Yeah, we all attacked it with that level of like it was like we're gonna read the lines seriously, like, and we because because we were like, we know it's absurd. It is self evident how funny this is. Like, if we don't need to underline that and be jokey about it. We can just go at this. Yeah, take it seriously. And it was the most fun any of us have ever had, like, we live streamed it on YouTube, I think it's peaked like 150 devices,


Eden Dawn  25:58  

including us, including us. We did watch it live. And it was I'm going to say maybe the peak of my 2020 because I mean, it was certainly so good. Because it was just so ridiculous. And it was so earnest. Like you guys did not pretend to be like haha, look at this. You went for it. You were like, hold, hold my beer, Patti Lepone. I'm fucking in.


Conner Reed  26:33  

And one of the amazing things that that that brings up is that we realized as we were sort of getting it together, it was like I created a Facebook group. And we were writing up to have a program,a playbill and we were trying to figure out costume stuff. And I was like, Oh, no. Stephen Sondheim's 90th Birthday concert stream is on the same night. And we were like, do we move it? We've already sent out the invitations.


Conner Reed  26:59  

But we end up Doing it and actually Stephen Sondheim 90th Birthday concert had like big technical difficulties. And the first Yeah, so a bunch of people who were like, we were gonna watch that came to our stream, because it was working.


Eden Dawn  27:11  

Look at that. Yeah, take that Broadway.


Fiona McCann  27:15  

So much has to be said an award, I think for the Zoom backgrounds in that. Because that that was the real added visual. Imagine you an 11 year old child in the woods thinking, I'm going to write this play that's going to be staged on Zoom. What are you even saying during a massive global pandemic? Also, what are we talking about here?


Conner Reed  27:40  

That kid you there's like, there was this person, this music director at Northwest Children's Theatre, who's an angel, and who, when when I was like, 12,13, he was I think he he's a jazz composer in Portland. And he teaches , I believe, at University of Portland at Portland State. But in any event, he like, took the job very seriously, like treated all the kids as adults, and you really did not want to disappoint him. And he would teach us like complex harmonies, and you would stand on stage being like, Did I get it? Did I get it? I get it. And then he would if you didn't get it he'd like, lower his head and sigh and go. No light went off of his glasses.


Fiona McCann 28:24  

I do kind of feel for him. No, no, no.


Conner Reed  28:28  

I actually am obsessed with him. But I think he made me like a good artist. And but but also, like, all of us have a little bit of the fear of God when he was in the room. And he was our number one supporter, like when we were posting it on Facebook. He was like, I can't wait to come. This is so exciting. Every video I posted he followed. He came. He was so excited. 


Eden Dawn  28:57  

So sweet. Oh, I love that.


Fiona McCannr  29:00  

Were you nervous knowing he was watching it?


Conner Reed  29:03  

No, because we knew we were bad, right? Like this point. None of us are 13 years old and like really hoping to like make it in the theater. Like we did have a friend Melissa, who is on in the show, has a theater degree and is a gorgeous singer. She sounded fantastic. Jenny and Alyssa sounded amazing because Jenny else went to theater school for a semester and like they like so I think the joke was that between the five of us there were one point two who were genuinely good the rest of us maybe not so fly. So it was it was like we I think we're able to relinquish the idea that we would be impressing this person and in doing so there's the lesson, we impressed him and


Fiona McCann  29:45  

I love that.


Eden Dawn  29:47  

How do you feel about it now now you've had even more time. First of all, you review other people's works at Publishers Weekly, like that's what you do for a living. You review people's works. How do you do review Hatred, A Musical? 

Conner Reed  30:04  

Yeah. etc. I would say that is I would say it's precocious. I would say that it's structurally bumpy. I would say that it shows signs of promise and I can't wait to see what this —actually the big the kicker is after I wrote hatred, in like sixth grade in seventh grade, I did start writing a sequel, which is lost to time, but it opened in the afterlife. Wow. The first scene is like, the two characters that have been murdered are like scheming in the afterlife.


Fiona McCannr  30:42  

Amazing. Yeah, it's called hunger. . .


Conner Reed  30:44  

I don't remember. I just remember that. Yeah, it's each of the seven deadly sins.


Eden Dawn  30:50  

You know, it's, I really love them. This has come up a couple of times on the podcast, like when we interviewed Renee Watson, she also wrote her own screenplay when she was seven, or in the seventh grade, and you wrote it. And I just feel like, it is such a thing to look at all of us now who went into writing as a career, we always did have it, you had elements of it. And it goes back to this thing of like, encouraging young writers. So much like even every adult who listened to you or your friends like that is so sweet, and helping make baby writers into adult writers.


Conner Reed  31:29  

Yeah, especially it's so true. It is so true. And I think that so much of it, too, is like, if there's a lesson that I look at it now if it's like, Oh, I'm so glad I learned that I like could be a kid and like, could be age appropriate. Because I think there's, there's like a very, like, in order to like, have gravity, I had to mimic the adult stuff I was consuming, right? Like, which is so funny and really sweet. But it's also like, I think, a good lesson that I'm still learning and being like, Oh, you don't have to like shoot above or outside of like the box you're in like sometimes the box you’re in is, okay? Sometimes, like, you're actually just 12 and like write about being 12. You know,


Fiona McCann  32:03  

right. But you don't need a prostitute.


Eden Dawn  32:05  

You don't necessarily need one. The other things that I think is a really, I remember thinking when I was watching it is, so much of the work I do is for other people, right? When I was watching you guys do Hatred, you were having so much fun. It was like the most joy had seen in a while. And I was like, oh look writing can be just for joy. And that is such a thing is we're always so caught up in the like, who's going to consume this? How do I get this ou?t But like you wrote this precocious, structurally bumpy piece to just have with your friends. And it was like, such a good reminder writing can just be fun and people and like maybe we should all sometimes write just because it's also fun.


Conner Reed  32:58  

I was gonna say that. That is one of the craziest things I've ever heard. Anyone say? No.


Fiona McCann  33:04  

I mean, I will say as well going back to an earlier thought that sometimes when I think of like, oh, well, little baby writers who wrote Hatred, A Musical. I do sometimes also want to tell people who want to write but haven't done that since they were 12. Because sometimes it's intimidating when you hear somebody like Renee Watson going. I've been writing since I was able to hold a pencil, like so much all the time. And you're like, Oh, if I haven't done that, does that mean I can't be a writer. And I find kind of think like, it's great if you have done it, and you should be encouraged. But also, if you're just suddenly deciding at the age of like, 43 or something I really want, I've always wanted to be a writer and I've never been able to do it like go ahead and do it as well, I suppose.


Conner Reed  33:46  

No, it's true. And I think that maybe 15 years down the line, maybe you'll be able to perform what you've just written on zoom in the middle of a global disaster.


Eden Dawn  33:58  

Dial that back. In the right, maybe then you'll be able to perform for


Conner Reed  34:06  

maybe the machines will perform it for each other or they'll


Eden Dawn  34:09  

be forcing us to be writing plays for chat GPS. Conner, we love you and we miss you. And I have to say and thank you for joining us everyone. We will put Hatred, a Musical on our website on So you will come there to watch this masterpiece. You can read more of Conner’s work at connerreed.meand follow him on Insta at connereed1. Conner Are you still on Elon Musk's Twitter or did you abandon that? No, you abandoned it


Conner Reed  34:46  

mostly abandoned it Yeah, I have the account I have your account and my app


Eden Dawn  34:49  

is oh yes I forgot is that NBC’s Smash which is a very entertaining other story but we are on social Twitter and Insta at wecantprintthis. And obviously tell your friends how great this podcast is because we like doing it. And we like interviewing our friends. So


Fiona McCann  35:07  

great. Also, thank you to our producer Miranda Shaffer and to Dave Depper for our music. This podcast was recorded at the writer's block in Portland. And the biggest of thanks to our third work wife, Rachel Ritchie, for organizing karaoke. Also, I do want to say to the writers of  Pretty Woman, I want my money here. And if you're a writer with a great behind the story story, write to us at weekend print You might get on here, you might get into the next production of Hunger, comma, the musical, colon. Stop there,


Conner  35:47  

Love you guys.

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