I have been battling the never-ending cold over the past week. In its early days, when I thought holing up for the weekend would cure, I mentioned that all I wanted was for our local bookstore to deliver Amy Poehler’s new book, which was released that day. All I wanted to do was cozy up with some tea and let my cold be healed while turning those pages. To my utter delight, Daniel walked out into the rain to get me a copy. I read it in three days. Unfortunately, my cold is still here a week later, but Poehler proved to be great company to a pounding head and congestion and the next-best option if I couldn’t be out gallivanting in fall leaves.
Obviously, this book falls into my favorite category of nonfiction: the ones that I will go back to for the rest of my life: Tina Fey’s Bossypants, MIndy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Basically, books written by women in entertainment who I’m pretty convinced I’d be best friends with if ever given the opportunity. All three of these women represent intelligent, kind personhood in Hollywood to me (as well as playing some of my fictional heroes on TV).
Though Poehler’s book wasn’t quite the same on a literary level (though I did find myself appreciating and laughing out loud at her “extras” throughout the text), I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and highly recommend it. One of my favorite parts was reading about the friendships she has had with her co-workers over the years. At first, I was jealous and wishing I had inside jokes with Seth Myers, but then I remembered how awesome my co-workers are and what a difference it makes to spend half of my waking life with people I enjoy so much and know so well. I loved that she also has a kind grace with people in general and left her divorce mostly out of the book, unless she was complimenting parts of their relationship or Arnett as a father. I also loved how she explains the years of hard work and risks that shaped her career. And, of course, I love the thinking behind her Smart Girls at the Party. LOVE. LOVE.
My brain isn’t working at it’s usual speed this weekend, so the best I can do from here is to share some gems:
“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.”
“Telling me to relax or smile when I’m angry is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You’re just asking to get your nose and genitals bitten off.”
“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
“Calling people sweetheart makes most people enraged.”
(One random conclusion/food for thought I came to is that I think being involved with improv comedy has the potential to make someone a better person. Learning more about its principles was fascinating. I, of course, would name improv comedy as one of my number one fears and most-uncomfortable situation. Though if you knew me in college, you know there was a time when Missy Sue and Kathy Rose made frequent appearances, which was kind of like improv. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s probably better that way.)
(Also, If you are looking for other essay collections, after the above three I also recommend anything by Sloane Crosley if you are looking to laugh and Anne Lamott if you need general life or writing advice.)