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In The Weeds: The Wrong Side of Write

September 7, 2010
By
Eat Pray Love

Shoulda.

I’m a simple girl, really.  I only have a two modest goals.  One is to become filthy rich.  And the other is to accomplish this by writing a best-selling book.

Several well-meaning friends and family members have told me on numerous occasions that I should write a book.   But that’s what people are supposed to say after you drop out of your career to wait tables, write a blog about waiting tables, get fired for writing a blog about waiting tables, and then start looking for something meaningful to do with your life.  It’s their way of assuring themselves that your decision must have some higher purpose…a way to talk themselves into still respecting you.   Telling you to write a book is also your parents way of assuring themselves that tens of thousands of dollars were not wasted on journalism school.  Those dollars could have really bucked up a recession-hit 401K plan for two parents approaching retirement age.   When talking to their friends, they have to say something like, “Yeah, my daughter was a waitress, but it was a super classy place…real expensive.  She has a college degree.  She could do whatever she wants.  She is actually thinking about writing a book.  And she could do it, you never know!  She could still do it if she set her mind to it.”

The truth is that I have been thinking about writing a book.  But the thing that stops me time and again is that nagging sense of self-doubt.  It’s the voice in my head that says, “Who do you think you are?  Why would anyone want to read anything you have to say?  You want to write a memoir?  Ha!  Not only is that such an ego maniac thing to do…but nobody gives a shit about your memories.  They are YOUR memories.  It’s like trying to tell someone about a dream you had.  It won’t translate.  And it’s boring.  You’re boring.  If only you had thought to write about vampires or wizards….but you didn’t.  Cuz you’re boring.”

Twilight

Woulda.

So I always end up putting the whole idea on the back burner again.  But last week I was walking through a Barnes & Noble store and something caught my eye.  It was First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber.  I had two immediate and competing thoughts that made my heart sink and soar at once.  1) Oh my god, even Justin Bieber can write a book? 2) Oh my god, even Justin Bieber can write a book!

Glancing around, I noticed that there was no shortage of books written by celebrities who obviously never paid heed to that little voice that said they shouldn’t write a book.  In fact, dozens of celebrities flat out ignored that voice when it was probably shouting, “DON’T DO IT!” at the top of its lungs.  Here’s a small sampling of writings by people who have managed to accomplish what I have only dreamed about:

It Ain’t All About the Cookin‘ by Paula Deen
A warning: you may be a little shocked at some of the language in this book, and that’s another weakness of mine. I tell people who come to my cooking class that sometimes I can be a little bawdy and I sure hope that don’t upset them. But I’m my father’s daughter, and I’m banking on one thing, and I’m not budging on this: my God has a sense of humor even if what I say has a four-letter word in it. I think He’d want me to laugh. What’s in my heart is not irreverence but a full knowledge that God’s laughing too.

Out of Sync: A Memoir by Lance Bass
I was raised in the town of Ellisville, about seven minutes outside of Laurel.  Despite my early sexual feelings, I had an extremely happy childhood.  My parents liked the name Lance, so that’s what they decided to call me.  They’d had it picked out for their firstborn son even before they were married. If they had a boy, they’d agreed, he’d be James Lance Bass, after my dad James Irvin Bass, Jr.  My parents considered making me a III.  Thank heavens they settled on Lance!

Skinny Italian by Teresa Giudice (Real Housewife of New Jersey)
I swear on Us magazine, I have never had lipo, a tummy tuck, a “mommy makeover,” or even a C-section. All of my children were born the old-fashioned way: with lots of pushing, screaming, cursing, and, thank God, pain medication, am a big fan of the epidural. Big knives near my body? Not so much.  I must exercise religiously then, right? Our lady of the heavens, no! I have four little ones to chase after; I barely have time for a manicure. We don’t have a workout room in our house (unless you count the bedroom, which I do …).

My Horizontal Life

Coulda.

Seriously, every single one of those Real Housewives has published a book.  One of them even wrote a book about how to have “manners and class.”  Is that a joke?

At any rate, I guess if you get even a teensey amount of exposure on TV, you can get a book deal, which is why I have applied to be not only a contestant on The Bachelor but also on Wipe Out, Candy Girls and 16 and Pregnant.

The whole world of celebrity book writing is brilliantly represented in a stage show currently running NYC.  It’s called Celebrity Autobiography and it features celebrities simply reading from the books of other celebrities.  Two words:  Hys Terical.  Now why didn’t I think of that?  Until I get my call back for Survivor Season 22, I guess I’ll keep wracking my brain for the next best seller.  Maybe mermaids with magical powers who form high-schoolesque cliques and romances with half boys/half dolphins who personify beauty and power for teenage girls?  Hmmmmm…….

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3 Responses to “ In The Weeds: The Wrong Side of Write ”

  1. KFarquar on September 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    CJ: Nothing like proving one should write a humorous book by leaving her blog readers in the dark for a month! Seriously, I’ve been checking, a little frantic that maybe you gave up on the blog thing. Your five minutes of laughs a week is IMPORTANT in my world. A whole book would be fabulous! You are an excellent writer and just need to remember that while the shelves are full of all that celebrity fluff (which they don’t even write themselves), it doesn’t sell. The same copies will be there a year from now because people don’t want to read about the famous and privileged (or famously privileged). We want to RELATE to the author, which you do brilliantly. I waited tables for a week and threw in the towel, but I always get what you’re saying – your struggles are universal, and that makes your book appropriate for everyone (maybe not the famous and privileged, but everyone else).
    If you still can’t make that push to the paper world, please keep the blogs coming!

  2. Maureen on September 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I completely agree with the above poster. I think you are a very talented writer and totally hysterical! The idea of a memoir is a great idea for a book, it’s basically what this blog is, anyway, right?
    The first blog story of your’s I read was the one about boxed wine, it made me cry laughing. For the rest of the day i sat and read every blog entry you had. It was a very enjoyable day! Similar to reading a good book. Chelsea Handler’s books are memoirs and look how well she’s done.
    I say go for it. I read a lot of books and I think you have the style and story telling talent that would make you a successful novelist. Seriously!

  3. FrothyGirlzCJ on September 13, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Lord Farquar and Maureen,
    Thank you both so much for your kinds words. They mean even more to me because we are not related….unless……Mom? Is that you?

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