Stories by Michael Patrick Welch, 2020
I published around 170 separate pieces of writing this year.
1. Before beginning my Famous People I Have Met series, I worked for several years compiling memories and lists. In January 2020, I finally took up the challenge of writing 140 essays about the 140 famous musicians, actors, and politicians I’d met. A couple weeks into it, George Floyd was killed, and writing about famous people felt like the silliest thing in the world I could be doing. Still, I trudged forward, committed to the challenge. Then the pandemic started and it seemed even sillier. But like doing pushups in a rainstorm, FPIHM remained a challenge for me to write every single day, and finish all 140 stories. By May, I’d written the equivalent of a book. Many of the stories turned out very good. Many people read them, and some of them went crazy viral. The complete list of famous names can be found HERE, so you can pick the ones that interest you.
2. I got so tired of begging big magazines to trust me to write for them, that I sort of stopped asking. But The National Review did contact me and commission me to write this piece about Hurricane Laura decimating Lake Charles, LA.
3. 64 Parishes published this piece about a young New Orleans artist who, inspired by his grandfather, created a plastic Mardi Gras Indian action figure.
4. I was lucky enough to hook up with the local website Bayou Brief, where I’ve kinda been allowed to publish whatever I like — four stories so far — including New Orleans’s very first obituary for famous publishing icon, Gypsy Lou Webb.
5. You never wanna write your friend’s obituary, but I was honored to pen this love letter to my departed buddy, guitarist and videographer Geoff Douville. I cried the whole time writing this, but it felt good to write, because I meant every word.
6. Louisiana Weekly let me write about the state releasing non-native rainbow trout into New Orleans ponds.
7. I wrote nine reviews for the website Book and Film Globe, including breakdowns of the movie Wendy my daughter starred in, the movie Cut Throat City my man MC Gregory helped produce, and the TV show #BlackAF, for which my girl Helen Krieger wrote. But I mostly wrote reviews of stand-up comedy specials (including Louis CK live in New Orleans), which I feel are undeniably excellent.
8. I published a few other stray, high-quality essays at Medium, after I couldn’t find other homes for them.