This post is dressed up as a homage to a fellow writer and blogger when really it’s bordering on weirdness *pulls stealthy mac and hat disguise combo together whilst she sits outside her object of appreciation’s home*
For those of you who have not encountered Jenny Lawson, aka ‘The Bloggess’, where have you been? Possibly nursing genteel propensities against profanity and telling it like it is. That’s my blog buggered for your future readership then.
Today I am paying my respects to this woman in a manner that will attempt to be unstalkersish but possibly gushy. I will probably fail.
I discovered Jenny Lawson when I was considering writing a novel about a woman’s experiences with depression. I thought that it may be gloomy to read because, duh, it’s about depression.
Sure there are writers who do it well. Sylvia Plath I’m looking at you, kind of, in your grave… *attempts to not be creepy are now well and truly blown* However, it’s bad enough going through the crappiness of depression and anxiety, without dragging everyone else down with you.
Then I read Furiously Happy.
That was my ‘aha’ moment. Not Aha of ‘Take on Me’ fame, although that video is still pretty cool and I am jealous of the woman on the other side of the mirror in how she achieves that ‘Phantom of the Opera’ style walking through mirrors business. As usual, I digress.
Furiously Happy showed me that mental illness and being an oddball can be entertaining and of value.
So I had a moment where I realised I could write a novel about depression and, shockingly, it could be funny and honest. Jenny (I’ll use her first name now in a ‘not strange at all, I feel like I know her’ manner) showed me that we can make choices about how we approach this sad and sorry business.
Sure, there are the truly dark days where the duvet is your friend. But there are also days when you say ‘Up yours’ to the illness and just mock it, attack it and be inappropriate about it. This is how you gain a semblance of control.
This approach may seem vulgar to some but everyone copes and communicates in their own way.
From also reading Pretend This Never Happened and following Jenny’s blog, The Bloggess I found a kindred spirit.
I really am bordering on a fixation now aren’t I? Note to self: halt the fan fiction, call off the P.I. and stop rooting through her bins. Lay low for a month and then it is back ON.
I previously struggled as a woman who thinks she should be good and proper (I’m a psychiatrist’s dream), but harbours a mouthy, sweary and largely inappropriate being inside, with how to pitch my blog and my novel.
I’d just started writing both and I was preoccupied with the delicate Dorises who would be shocked when I dropped the occasional ‘arse’ or ‘cockwomble’ in as description. I’ve come to realise they’re not my audience. As you can tell, I don’t give a f**k now. Okay maybe a little…
Let’s be clear, I’m not nicking Jenny’s writing style. Possibly a little when I first began but all writers do it in the beginning stages don’t they?
I found myself writing about my experiences of growing up surrounded by stuffed racoons and how my husband Victor did not always understand my gibberish. The husband, who is most certainly not called Victor, had some questions, as did my dad who is a lover of living, breathing animals as opposed to those who have been down the taxidermy path.
So I moved on and learnt from Jenny and other writers that you have to find your own unique voice.
I look forward to posts from ‘The Bloggess’ because her writing conveys someone I think I could relate to over a cup of coffee, if only she would answer my messages *my stalker senses are tingling*.
Being honest about mental illness
‘The Bloggess’ showed me that I can be me and if someone does not like that, they’re not part of my freaky clan anyway.
When I decided to be honest and write a post about depression returning, called The Enemy Strikes Back, I felt more secure in knowing that other bloggers and writers with mental illnesses, such as Jenny, had paved the way for me. I decided that if they could find the courage to do that, then so could I.
I received an overwhelming amount of responses to this post, of support, encouragement and gratitude. Thanks Jenny, and Abbie from Sidereal Catalyst, to name but two bloggers, for inspiring me to be able to do this.
For the love of cats
It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that I now have the World’s Cutest Kitten ™ named Feegle. The lines between Jenny and I may be blurring now with the addition of writer’s cat.
It’s possible that I could be more of a fan of Ferris Mewler, Hunter S. Thomcat and Rolly than ‘The Bloggess’. Darn her and her gratuitous use of felines in her writing. I’d never do anything like that * sheepishly remembers Kitty, Cat, Moggy, Feline Fest and Lessons in ‘Kitten‘*
Jenny Lawson/ ‘The Bloggess’, I thank you.
Thank you for brightening the shittiest of days with your shenanigans.
Thank you for showing the world and me that mental illness is part of life’s rich, and literally mental, tapestry.
Thank you for opening my eyes to the revelation that the addition of a cat makes life great.
Thank you for writing so honestly about dodgy brain chemistry and scraping yourself off the ceiling level anxiety so it felt, almost, ‘normal’ (whatever that is).
More than all this, thank you for hopefully not taking out an injunction or consulting your lawyers at this early stage of my ‘appreciation’. I’ll lay off calling myself your Number 1 fan as I’m sure you value your legs and it’s not at all sinister to reference Misery as a finishing note.
P.S. Hey lovely readers, help a weird woman out here and share who the objects of your inspiration or appreciation are and why (writers/bloggers or not). I can’t be the only one. Can I?