I met The Bloggess

Me-Blogess cropped

Jenny and me! As she autographed her new book – Powell’s 11/14/2015

I found The Bloggess shortly after I started blogging in 2009. I was looking around this online world to see if it was a venue for me that would benefit my writing. I wanted to see what established bloggers posted.

Jenny Lawson as The Bloggess was wild, ribald, and ridiculous. I was hooked on her voice and in awe of her persona. Her topics are cringe worthy reading that produce guffaws more than snickers, and dozens to hundreds of comments by her followers were almost as good as the posts. I seldom made a comment as I couldn’t add to or improve on anything already in the threads.

Two years ago I featured her and her memoir in the Author Marketing 101 article on nonfiction personas.  Last year I featured Let’s Pretend This Never Happened on my blog.  In April this year, I shared her Bravery by any other name  post on Facebook.

So it was a really big deal for me to spend hours at the Powell’s Jenny Lawson event last night, it’s been on my calendar for months. I would be there no matter what life tossed in my way. And it was Great! A true Fan Girl experience.  And I have the picture to prove it!

However, as much as I admire Jenny as an author and businesswoman, it was meeting her fans that made the biggest impact on me. The event was standing-room-only and the floor roped off, as at the capacity limit, for hours. Jenny’s fans are real people with personal, emotional, and physical challenges who suffer with depression, disorders, phobias and manias. Now they have an example of how to step out of the shadows and help themselves and each other. Through Jenny’s authenticity and humor they have a voice, an advocate who tells it like it is! Jenny’s fans are also the counselors, friends and family who are helping dissolve the mental illness stigma.

There’s a wonderful speech on You Tube as Jenny accepts the “2014 NoStigmas Hero Award” (via skype) on behalf of everyone who shares the battle to be “Furiously Happy” in spite of horrible things.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

I recently read the final chapters of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess.

Jenny’s blog has an international readership and I am a fan. This made reading her book like a fan-girl experience for me, which is very rare.

Like most of Jenny’s posts, the stories and phrasing in this book triggered  some awe; there were many loud  guffaws, snorts, and more than a few cringes. Like some posts The Bloggess has shared through the years, there were stories where I shed an empathetic tear or two.

It’s a 5 star ribald and wandering open window into an alien world.  I personally can’t relate to anything Jenny presents in this memoir. I personally related to everything Jenny presents in this memoir. How is that possible? I’ve never been to Texas and only once stepped into a taxidermist shop.

That’s the beauty of good writing and great storytelling. The words on the page traveled through my psyche as a reader, a reader the author probably never imagined would read her book. It’s not that Jenny and I couldn’t be friends if we were neighbors or met at a PTA function but logistically that would never happen. She’s in Texas, I’m in Oregon and my PTA days were in New Jersey.

I now plan to have this book forever perched on my desk so any time I see one of those prompts to pick up the closest book and turn to page #, sentence #, I’ll have a random sentence and paragraphs to enhance the content. I usually avoid those prompts but now feel I’ll enjoy using this book.

This memoir allowed me to be a reader, and that’s a wonderful opportunity for a writer.  I am glad This Mostly True Memoir happened even if it did take eleven years, and I am totally glad I happened upon it in a local bookshop.

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