Growing up, most of my role models were schoolteachers. There was my high school band director, who could make me cry and earn my respect all at the same time. There was my AP chem teacher who managed to be brilliant, funny and strict simultaneously, and made me love science. In college, there were the directors of student publications – one of whom has passed and the other who has remained a friend for the last ten years.
I’ve never looked up to celebrities. There’s never been an actress or politician or singer who made me stop and give things in my life a second look. I had favorite writers, sure, but none that I truly identified with. None whose hand I would be so excited to shake.
Until I discovered Jenny Lawson – The Bloggess.
The way she puts words together makes me think of a juggler. A juggler on stilts. A juggler on stilts juggling chainsaws. That are on fire.
It shouldn’t make sense. It’s probably dangerous. But it’s amusing and exhilarating and it speaks to me just about every time.
I wish I had the courage to write like her. I wish I could lay myself bare, take the chances, “open that vein” for my readers.
Jenny writes with humor about her family, her hobbies and her illnesses. She makes videos like this that make me want to hug her.
When I read that she was writing a book, I knew I’d be getting a copy. I just didn’t know how awesome the events surrounding that acquisition would be.
It began with an email from my semi-retired lawyer/librarian uncle. The one I wrote about here.
“The Bloggess is in town for a book signing,” it said. “I don’t know if you read her.”
I wrote back something to the effect of how I’d sell an organ to be able to see her read and sign books in Houston that day.
My uncle assured me that no such surgery should take place, and bid me wait and see.
Then my aunt called that evening to tell me that my uncle had gone down to the bookstore, reserved a copy of the book for me, and was planning to actually go see The Bloggess himself the next night.
And they went – my uncle and my aunt in their fifties, fine, upstanding church goers that they are. They went to hear The Bloggess and meet her in person. I was a little nervous. Jenny drops F bombs and talks about, well, un-deaconly things and I was thinking that my respectable kin might be appalled.
Turns out they were pretty much as excited as I was.
Look, y’all. That is my aunt standing right there with The Bloggess. Two of my heroines.
They called me afterward to tell me how funny she was, how real, how friendly. They laughed about her reading of “The Psychopath On The Other Side of the Bathroom Door.” I loved them so much right then, I wanted to teleport through the phone to be beside them in the car as they giggled their way home.
I waited by the mailbox for the next few days and was rewarded yesterday with this.
Not only did my uncle have the book signed and sent to me, but he mailed along some funny goodies in his signature manila envelope.
I haven’t the foggiest idea what to do with The Bloggess on a stick, but I bet it will come in handy with things like solicitors and other annoying people. Nope, don’t want to talk to you. Talk to The Bloggess.
But it gets even better. Yesterday my grandparents were in Houston to visit MD Anderson. My grandmother has been living with a blood disease for the last couple of years, and she visits this awesome treatment facility pretty frequently.
While she was waiting to see her doctor, she read out loud parts of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened to my family as they waited with her.
And this is where I started to cry. My grandmother is a testimony of love, strength and endurance, but I know things are beginning to taking their toll on her, mentally and physically. To know that she was sitting in that hospital, carrying on with her treatment and evaluations that are obviously not any fun and that she was laughing her granny ass off at the irreverence of it all – well, it made me sad that I couldn’t be there as well but it also made me so grateful.
So I tweeted to The Bloggess, who was kind enough to follow me back on Twitter when I started with all that silliness last year, and she wrote back. And I wanted to hug her again.
Squee! I’ll take a picture with twine for her anytime.
*Aunt Jan and Uncle Mark: Thank you for doing this for me. Thank you for being invested in me and taking the time to understand my interests. Thank you for taking such good care of all of us every time we’re in need. I miss you, I love you both so much, and I’ll see you soon.