I Finally Finished The Blogess’ Book And Promptly Called 911

I started Jenny Lawson’s memoir Let’s Pretend This Never Happened when I boarded the plane for New York City for BlogHer ’12.  And I just finished it today (almost 4 months later).  I stalled on completing it because I was afraid it would make me suicidal to see how funny and excellent her writing is.

So, as soon as I read the last page, I called 911 and told the operator that I was despondent because there was no point in living any more, even for my passion– writing– because Jenny Lawson had already done everything worth doing in her recent memoir and her wildly popular blog.

The operator asked me if I had a family. “What about them?” I asked.  The operator seemed to think that maybe I should consider living for them, instead of being a selfish coward by doing myself in just because Jenny Lawson is funnier than I am, had a wackier childhood, has a much more colorful array of stuff to write about, and is staggeringly talented.

“But, I grew up in boring old Dallas. My parents’ hobbies were 12-step meetings, antique-ing, and collecting wooden statues of praying monks. I can’t compete with taxidermy; Wall, Texas; and wire chickens!”

The operator was not impressed with my plaintive cries.

“Actually, collecting wooden statues of monks praying is the same thing as antique-ing, so really they only have 2 hobbies between them.  Goddamn it! It’s worse than I thought.”

911 operators are really obsessed with family.  She kept bringing the conversation back to my children– “how old are they?  what are their names?”

I hate being distracted from my pain, so I answered her questions and steered the conversation back to Ms. Lawson, the darling of the blogging world, who is not only wildly successful, but by all accounts, sounds nice as hell.

I read every single word.  Even the acknowledgements were hilarious, and turns out that Ms. Lawson thanked Brene Brown, whose book I read a few weeks ago.  Those two know each other?  If I lived in Texas, could I be friends with them? When I thought about how sad I would feel if I lived in Texas and wasn’t friends with Ms. Lawson and Ms. Brown, I started feeling depressed again, but didn’t call 911, but that operator should not have been so shaming to me. I was in pain. I thought 911 operators were trained to deal with “cries for help.”

Of all the bloggers-turn-book-writers I have read, and I try to hit them all, there is something about Ms. Lawson’s that got me the most. I know I wasn’t supposed to be crying at the end of those stories about her smuggling a stuffed alligator or being attacked by wild dogs, but I was.

Because she did something magical in her memoir, something I don’t know if I will ever be able to do.  But, with her book as my north star (or white whale, if you prefer), I will trudge through the rough drafts and crappy blog posts.  Because she set the bar almost higher than I can see, but not so high I’m not willing to make a running leap for it.

I guess she’s an idol of sorts, even though my first two books are fiction and not supposed to be funny, unless I find an agent who thinks they are hysterical, in which case, comedies– they are totally comedies.

As for Ms. Lawson’s book, you should read it– it’s seriously funny and light without being vapid and the writing is sharp and insightful.  I want you to read it and love it, but before you tell me how much you love it, just be sure I have taken all my medication and can tolerate your gushing over her.


27 thoughts on “I Finally Finished The Blogess’ Book And Promptly Called 911

  1. You are better than The Bloggess. I said it. No, I won’t take it back. I mean it. YOU ARE. She’s awesome, mind you, but she’s also been blogging since we were back in our law firm days. You are just getting started taking over the world. DO IT (and take me with you)

  2. Damn. Like I needed another reason to feel bad about myself. Now I gotta go out and get this durn book. Or I could just read your blog, because your blogging puts my blogging, well off the mutha fuckin’ map. I’m with Carinn – you my dear need to take on the world.

  3. I haven’t read her book, yet, although I want to. But I can tell you that I absolutely loved this post! So funny 🙂 And I can guarentee that I would read any book you write and be suitably suicidal myself from envy.

  4. C-I HATED this book. Didn’t even finish it. I thought her voice was way too over the top, self congratulatory, and self indulgent. You are a much sharper writer, way more in control of yourself, and what I especially admire about you (that she lacks) is the way the hilarity and self irony (subtle in you, SCREAMING for attention in her) (almost)always wraps up into something tight and neat and profound in you. But then again, read what I just wrote (while making yummy yummy waffles and choking down the leftovers that still haunt us!) and realize that I am no writer- just a fan of YOU!

  5. It’s kind of funny, but I kind of avoid “big” blogs. Sure, Scary Mommy is a LinkedIn friend, but she doesn’t really have a clue who I am. I want to create and be a part of a community of people who know me and about whom I genuinely care. I’d like to think that includes you. I don’t know that my goal is to write a book, but I am pretty sure that unless something tragic happens, my life is boring-with-a-capital-B. This is OK because it makes it much easier to live my life, though I don’t have a wealth of blog fodder or book topics.

    Having a blog crush on someone is hard — the content is always so current that it’s hard to avoid and even harder not to compare. And there is reason abounding for envy — for example, my Voices of the Year submission last year was self-submitted. And got one vote (mine). 😛

    • I am with you, SoupMama. I don’t read the big blogs either. I’ve never been to Bloggess’ blog for some of the same reasons. I used to follow Dooce religiously, but it got to weird with the whole “join the community” thing and I would prefer to read you or Louise Ducote or Carinn Jade or Sara Lind, because you, you are my people. And my life is boring too which is why I am all over fiction.

    • The big blogs are big because they’re well written and (usually) funny, but the real sense of community is usually found on the smaller blogs. I don’t even like commenting on them because I usually feel like I’m just talking to myself. And hell, I can talk to myself on my own blog; that’s basically why I have a blog!

    • You seem so sure, so I guess I’ll just shut up and work on my manuscript and bless the hell out of the Bloggess and all of her success. Long may it last for her and for us.

      On Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM, Outlaw Mama

  6. (I’m catching up on my 600 emails of blog posts…)

    It’s funny you say what you say here about The Bloggess’ book, which I have yet to read because I can’t even find time to read 600 blog posts, let alone a book. The reason it’s funny, is because your blog is what I aspire to. I’m being sincere here. I find you hilarious in a way that I am incapable of being. I love your style. Please don’t get sad reading other people’s books. You can write one of those funny books. I’m sure of that.

    That’s why none of your posts get deleted out of my email until I read them, even if my total unread emails is over 600.

  7. Pingback: 2012 Book Review in 140 Characters (Or Less) | Outlaw Mama

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