On Billie Eilish and Binging 'One Tree Hill'

This week's edition of Simon Says.

This is Simon Says, Rachel Simon’s weekly newsletter that’s part life updates, part pop culture recs, and part whatever else is going on in her brain at the moment. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for more, and subscribe here to get this in your inbox every Sunday night.

Hi, friends! We’ve made it to the last day of February, which feels very weird to say because it is somehow 75 degrees (!) in Raleigh today. My brain is confused.

Anyhow, here’s what’s been going on this week:

What I’m writing

What a good week it was for my book-to-be! In some stroke of magic I refuse to question, I really hit my stride a few nights ago, writing nearly 2,000 words in one sitting and getting totally lost in ~the flow~ of it all. The next night, I wrote 1,000 more words, and they all felt stronger, smarter, and truer to my voice than anything I’ve written so far. Fingers crossed this magic continues, because I’m feeling good.

Also, the March issue of Raleigh Magazine is out, and I have a story in it! Click here to read about a local restaurant group that’s persevered throughout the pandemic and a nearby fire.

What I’m reading

I’m nearly done with Uncanny Valley, Anna Weiner’s memoir about sexism and hypocrisy in the Silicon Valley tech world, and it is excellent. It’s totally different than I expected it would be, and I’m going to be sad to put this one down.

On the article front, I highly recommend taking the time to read Tavi Gevinson for The Cut on Britney Spears, consent, and growing up as a teen girl. What a beautifully written, exquisitely painful piece.

What I’m watching

Now that Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry is available to stream, I can tell you that it is goooood. There’s not too much of a narrative other than watching Billie become more and more successful, but the footage is intimate and compelling enough to make it worth your time. Especially the part where Billie meets Orlando Bloom and thinks he’s just a random dude Katy Perry met, lolol.

This past week, I also watched Nomadland, which was as beautiful and moving as I’d heard—I’ll definitely be rooting for this one at tonight’s Golden Globes. On a very different note, we also watched Tangled last time for the first time (don’t judge), and enjoyed it very much.

Also! After getting a lot of encouragement on Twitter, I decided to start watching One Tree Hill for the very first time. I’m only a few episodes in, but it is just as dumb and funny and ridiculously melodramatic as I’d hoped. Ball is life!!

What I’m listening to

Honestly, I haven’t been listening to much new music in the past week, but I did rediscover my teenage love for City and Colour via Spotify and it really brought me back to late-night suburban car rides cry-singing “so this is my lifeeee” out the window. What a time.

Closing thoughts

It’s not too late to sign up for either of my upcoming writing classes: the 6-week Writing for the Internet course with Redbud Writing Project that starts mid-March, and the 6-week Creative Nonfiction course with Gotham Writers Workshop that starts April 7!

I didn’t know I needed a deep dive into what happened to A*Teens, the Swedish teen group whose song “Upside Down” is permanently cemented in my brain, but I am so glad it exists.

All hail Jonah Hill, who gave the perfect eff-you to the media for its continuous body shaming.

Julia Roberts and George Clooney are reuniting for a rom-com! I cannot wait.

The Golden Globes are tonight, and while they will probably be weird and boring and seriously messed up, I am here for the Tina and Amy (kind of) reunion.

Lastly, want to test your Taylor Swift knowledge? Try my custom crossword puzzle, which has 11 clues all about her. Then order a personalized puzzle of your own!


I hope you all stay as cozy as Mim Mim in this blanket this week. Talk soon!

-Rachel