There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a friend and talented writing colleague achieve her dreams, and being there at her side when it happens. Such was the case on Thursday when Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson came to Beverly Hills for an exclusive reading of her new book “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened.”
I was thrilled to receive a VIP invitation to the event. Sure, it cost me twenty dollars in cash, I had to wait in a long line, and they lost my reservation when I reached the booth, but boy was it worth it. Jenny was glowing on stage. And she is funny as hell, whether talking about her unusual upbringing in Texas or her time hiding in the bathroom at BlogHer during an anxiety attack.
As I watched Jenny trade barbs with the hostess, Soleil Moon Frey of Punky Brewster fame, I mused on the fact that despite her new friendships with Hollywood lumanaries and best-selling authors, from Wil Wheaton to Neil Gaiman, Jenny was still ol “Jenny from the block,” that is if they call sections of the street blocks in Texas like they do in New York. Jenny was dressed comfortable, reflecting her modest background, in her black Louis Vuitton dress and “F**k me” eight inch heels that she bought hours earlier on nearby Rodeo Drive. She hadn’t changed a bit!
The venue was packed with fans and for some, seeing Jenny in the flesh was akin to a meeting with the Pope himself (if the Pope spoke about vaginas a lot, which surprisingly he does).
Everyone in the audience was grasping a copy of Jenny’s newly released memoir, a best-seller, a project ten years in the making, a life dream! I was the only one without a book. I told the others sitting in the front row with me that the book was on my Kindle Fire, which was a lie, since I don’t even own a Kindle, but I was afraid of the consequences if I told the truth — that I had no intention of ever reading her book. After all, I just spent twenty bucks to get into this theater.
Besides, my main motivation for going to the event was to hopefully get laid by some of Jenny’s anxious fans, and saying I wasn’t going to read the book would have been like saying I’m a premature ejaculator — never good to say up front.
But I had a plan. I would tell some of the women that Jenny recently said in an interview that “Neil’s blog is 100x better than mine,” which of course, she never said, but then again I doubt every line in HER book is completely accurate. James Frey, Jenny? Is it a coincidence that Soleil Moon FREY, possibly a close relative of James himself, was the moderator? The shadow of Frey is hanging over you.
But, seriously folks, my friendship with Jenny goes back a long time. I’ll never forget the special moment we had last year at BlogHer.
From My BlogHer 11 Recap
“I pass by “The Bloggess,” one of the funniest women online. She is sitting on a bench, her suitcase standing in front of her. I seem a whole lot more excited to see her, than vice versa.
“Hey, it’s Jenny, the famous Bloggess!”
“Uh, hello, Neil.”
I point at the suitcase.
“Where you going?”
“I’m going home early. I’m exhausted after the People’s Party.”
“I can imagine. Hey, when is the book coming out? I’m so excited.”
“I’m not sure yet.”
“Why don’t you sent me an advanced copy? I’d love to read it.”
Jenny pauses for a moment.
“My publisher decided not to send out advanced copies,” she says.
“You mean when the book comes out, you want me to BUY the book? It’s going to be like $25 dollars in stores!”
“That’s how much books cost, Neil.”
“C’mon, Jenny. Surely your old blogging friends will get a reader’s copy in the mail.”
“Not even Laura?”
“Well, Laura read it already. But she’s more of a real friend than a blogging friend.”
“What is this shit? I’m not going to pay $25 bucks on your book when I can read your blog for free.”
“The book is going to be very different than the blog. It is about my real life.”
“I see. So the plan was to put your shitty superficial material online, and then force us to buy your f*cking book?”
“Well, I do have a family to feed.”
“You’ve changed, Jenny. You come off as a sweet cutesy Texan mom, but you are a fucking shark. I bet William Shatner was part of your marketing plan all along.”
You know, f*ck you , little man. I could destroy you in a second with my Twitter followers.
“Suck my c*ck, Jenny.”
“Yeah, I already saw your tiny c*ck in that photo you sent me last year. Don’t make me laugh. Be happy I didn’t put it on Flickr.”
“Go to hell.”
Ha Ha. Now you know why I go to blog conferences. It is one of the rare times that you can sit down with your online friends and get to know them on an intimate level.
Jenny is famed both for her sense of humor AND her heart. One of her most profound and beautiful posts started a entire movement called “The Travelling Red Dress.”
I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies. I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”. Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better. Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.
After reading the post, I thought it would be funny to mock this inspirational movement that was helping so many women achieve self-acceptance.
Jenny blocked me on Twitter that day. So, the joke was on me!
But that’s how old friends behave — each trying to outdo the other with practical jokes! I love you, Jenny. It’s time to unblock me!
The line for the book signing after the reading snaked through the lobby and back into the theater. Most of her fans were glad to wait for a moment with their heroine, but I figured that Jenny would want to see me first. I arrived at the signing table just as Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, was getting HER book signed. It was so cool to learn that this super-successful author asking for Jenny’s signature. But as they say in Texas, blood is thicker than cow piss, so I cut in front of the line AND Stephanie Meyer, my Iphone raised.
“Jenny, hey there sexy, let me take a photo of you for Instagram and put it on Twitter, too, so I can show everyone that we are friends!”
“We’re not really, friends, Neil,” she said, and two burly Filipino men, both former wrestlers, escorted me out of the building. I later discovered that these men were hired to be Jenny’s personal bodyguards during her book tour.
She’s such a joker!
Several of my blogging friends were at the event, but since so few of them talked to me, I figured it was because they didn’t recognize me. I decided to grow a beard this week!
Taking a page from Jenny’s book, I used my beard-growing to create a viral internet phenom, much like Jenny did with Beyonce the metal chicken. I took an instagram photo of my white scraggly beard and shared it on Facebook and Twitter.
“Yay or Nay,” I asked.
It was unanimous. I should keep the beard. (Believe me, it doesn’t look as good as it does when I hide it under three Instagram filters)
“You are sexy as hell.” said one mommyblogger.
I was instantly the blogosphere’s George Clooney.
I had created a social media trend — my Yasir Arafat-looking beard — that made everyone forget Jenny and her best-selling book.
Later that night, I presented a new question for all my good friends on Twitter and Facebook.
“Jump off the Brooklyn Bridge to see if I can survive the fall — Yay or Nay?”
The mob overwhemingly voted yay.
Social media sucks.
Congrats, Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson! You are an inspiration. Sometimes.