Yesterday’s Q&A session with Matt Weiner, as Roberta has already told you, was a joy.

(First, because I’ll probably forget to say this later, it was fabulous seeing a great print of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes on a huge theatrical screen, with a large, appreciative audience. The experience of theater just belongs with the experience of Mad Men, and the Jacob Burns Film Center is a fantastic venue.)

Back to Matt Weiner. He is infinitely interesting because he is infinitely interested. He’s smart and charming, and he’s just fascinated by the world. He’s fascinated by his own writing process. He doesn’t know why certain images compel him, but he’s eager to write towards those images and see where it leads. Some of the questions people asked were maybe not that good: It didn’t matter. Weiner can take any question to a place that’s meaningful and insightful and smart. I could quote him all day. (And I undoubtedly will.)

A few months ago, I saw an excellent interview with the screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz. He was amazing and fascinating and I never wanted him to stop; the word that popped into my head was raconteur. But with Matt Weiner, I wouldn’t use that word. With him, I’d say he’s a great conversationalist. The difference is, with a great raconteur you want to shush everyone else so you can just listen and listen and listen. But with a great conversationalist, you want to ask more questions and leap right in and engage. Matt Weiner is one of the best conversationalists I’ve met in a good long time.

Here’s another thing. If I met, say, Jon Hamm, I’d turn red and humnah-humnah and try not to do something humiliating like touch his pants. And then I’d go home and bang my head against a wall. Starstruck is a terrible feeling. But I didn’t feel starstruck by Matt Weiner. I felt admiring, certainly, and incredibly pleased to be able to meet him, and even more pleased that he knew some of my work. I’m a writer with some success, he’s a writer with a lot of success. So, not starstruck. A little verklempt, sure. A little thrilled and amazed to be able to meet and talk with such an amazing person. But definitely a person, not a star.

And seriously? If he wasn’t married, I’d have totally flirted. Charming intellectual bald Jewish writers totally turn my crank.

Roberta, Matt Weiner, Deborah
Roberta, Matt Weiner, Deborah

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