Megan Reid and Nick Greene are the authors of the new book $9 Therapy: Semi-Capitalist Solutions to Your Emotional Problems. Reid works in television development for FX Networks, and Greene works for the biometric identity company CLEAR. They both live in Brooklyn.
Q: How did the two of you come up with the idea for this book?
MR: Over wine, of course.
NG: Megan grabbed my arm, said we're writing a book, and steered me to a bar where we did indeed write a book (or at least the proposal).
Q: Who do you see as your ideal reader?
MR: Self-care can seem so serious, with a high barrier to entry. We wanted to write a book that’s the antidote to that.
We thought about this book as writing for ourselves: we aren’t the traditional audience for self-help, and frankly, we often don’t feel catered to by the “self-care movement” which so often feels targeted at the white, wealthy, and married. We wrote this book like we were writing for our friends, with a mix of (sometimes absurd) real talk, and practical, actionable tips to make getting your shit together seem less intimidating.
NG: Everyone is our ideal reader. I try really hard not to talk down to myself internal, to be okay with the fact that I'm not perfect, that sometimes we all make mistakes. I hope by reading the book people pick up on that vibe and realize they deserve to treat themselves well—and that there are ways to do that that don't always involving buying things.
Q: Of all the ideas you include in the book, do you have any particular favorites?
MR: I still think my favorite is “you’re worth fresh flowers every week.” It’s kind of the heart of the book—a little, nice thing just for yourself, just to make you happy, for under $10. But in terms of ideas I think are clever, I love our completely tongue-in-cheek guide on travel, including scamming expensive moisturizers from duty-free and a rewrite of Joan Didion’s White Album packing list for 2020. It’s absurd, free, and totally practical.
NG: Take a shower. Drink some water. Go for a walk and leave your phone at home.
Q: What was it like to collaborate on this project?
MR: Great! We’ve known each other for about a decade, starting in our assistant years.
NG: It was suspiciously easy to write this book with Meg, partly because this is the kind of stuff we talk and text and DM each other about always. But also because we wanted the book to be fun to read. So we made sure we had fun while we were writing it. (Reader, we drank wine.)
Q: What are you working on now?
MR: My first children’s book, Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl came out from HarperCollins two weeks ago! Other than that…I’m working on my day job, teaching my dog to lie down, and not deleting Tinder for the 18th time.
NG: Explaining to my boss at my very much non-book writery job why I need a random Tuesday in February off.
Q: Anything else we should know?
NG: A plain brown paper bag wrapped with a cooking twine or ribbon makes perfectly acceptable gift wrapping.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb