Meet our client and friend Phillip Maciak! He is the TV critic at The New Republic and a Senior Lecturer in English and American Culture Studies at Washington University. A few years ago, we helped Phil and his family (Mel Micir, also a professor at WashU, and their daughters, Maeve and Phoebe) buy their first house in Tower Grove East, and in fall 2022 we helped them sell that one and buy their new home in University City.
We are shining the spotlight on Phil because he has book coming out this month, Avidly Reads Screen Time. Published by NYU Press, the book is described as “a funny, insightful work of cultural criticism and history about how we define screens, and how they now define us. From Mad Men to iCarly, Vine to FaceTime, binge-watching to doom-scrolling, Phillip Maciak leads us on a sometimes heartwarming, sometimes harrowing tour of the media that brings us together and tears us apart.”
How Avidly Read Screen Time Came About
Phil came up with the idea for the book during a roadtrip to visit family in Pennsylvania the summer of 2021. He and Mel worked it out during the long drive and he wrote the proposal when he returned home. He wrote the book between January and August of 2022. “It was stressful but also really exhilarating to write it that fast — I hope that the reader can feel a little bit of that energy on the page,” says Phil.
I had a great editor for the book, and, luckily, we had Dawn and Lance for the move, so none of it was too bad.
About a week after submitting the final manuscript, Phil and Mel made the decision to move. Phil explains, “The pressure and anxiety of writing a book did a nice neat little hand off with the pressure and anxiety of buying a house, moving, and selling our old house. I had a great editor for the book, and, luckily, we had Dawn and Lance for the move, so none of it was too bad.”
How Phillip and Mel Ended Up in St. Louis
Phil, originally from Pittsburgh, met Mel in her home town of Philadelphia while they were both in graduate school. Philly remains near and dear to their hearts. They had shorter stints in Baton Rouge and Erie, Pennsylvania but landed here. “One of the things I like about St. Louis is that, while it’s tangibly different in lots of aspects, and “Midwestern” in ways our hometowns are not, it feels roughly like a piece of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It didn’t take us long to *get* the city, in other words, having lived where we’ve lived.
What Phillip and Mel Love About Their University Home
“We love that our oldest Maeve can walk to her school — Flynn Park Elementary in University City — and we live on a little street that seems to inspire devotion in the people who live on it. SEVERAL of our neighbors are living in the second home they’ve owned on this block. Nobody wants to leave! And we love our adorable house too — so much stained glass and big, old, heavy gingerbread doors. A thing I particularly love is the textured plasterwork on our bedroom ceiling. It reminds me of the house I grew up in, and it just makes me think about the care and intention that went into every decision when this old house was built in the 20s. Arts and Crafts for the win!”
More About Phil’s Work
Left Bank Books will host a discussion of Avidly Reads Screen Time on Thursday, Amy 25th at 5:30pm. Phil will be in conversation with fellow author and Washington University English professor Martin Riker. Meet Phil and get an autographed copy or watch the reading via livestream.
- RSVP for the discussion at Left Bank Books or to access the Livestream
- Pre-order book from our favorite local bookstores – Left Bank Books, Novel Neighbor
- Read Phil’s TV column for The New Republic or his work at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
- Follow on Instagram @pjmaciak
Congratulations to Phil on the publication of his book. We can’t wait to read it!
If you are a client who would like to be featured, feel free to reach out to us. We love sharing the interesting work and projects you are working on.