Conan O’Brien graduated from Brookline High School in 1981. As a junior, the teenager who was not yet a beloved TV writer and late-night host apparently wasn’t feeling much love for the game. Until he got a hold of some E.B. White.
White, a longtime contributor to The New Yorker known far and wide for authoring Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, and co-authoring The Elements of Style, was in his early 80s himself.
Today, O’Brien treated us to a #TBT surprise, writing on Twitter: “A few weeks ago on my podcast, I mentioned a letter I wrote to E.B. White when I was in high school. The good people at E. B. White’s archives in @Cornell_Library managed to track that letter down.”
O’Brien wrote as a young fan, having read White’s essays via a gift as well as his English class. “It was there that I discovered (actually I was told) that the reason I enjoyed you so much was because of your honesty and natural style. Whatever the reason, I thought I should tell you that I enjoyed both your letters and your essays very much. I’ve been thinking of becoming a writer, but I hear that even the best are criticized and I don’t take criticism well.”
Teen O’Brien closed by writing, “Thank you for restoring my faith in education, and especially, essay writing.”
Here’s the reply!
A good reminder to keep the faith, let the ones you love know you love them, and also keep your facts straight.