Q&A With Author Jenny Lawson
The popular mom blogger Jenny Lawson, self-dubbed “The Bloggess” (more on that later), released her first book yesterday, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The novel shares hilarious, “mostly true” anecdotes from her, er, unusual upbringing. We talked to Jenny about being a mother, a blogger, and surviving her weird childhood.
Let’s start at the beginning. What was your childhood like?
My childhood was “violently unorthodox,” as I like to call it. My dad was a taxidermist, so I had some interesting childhood “pets” growing up. From the outside looking in, people might think it was a struggle. We were quite poor, and my family was odd, but overall I’d say it was great. Despite the quirks, I was loved and accepted for who I was.
How does that lesson translate in your book?
I’ve embraced my weirdness, and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened shares stories about my life in an informal, fun, and irreverent manner. After all, diversity is what makes the world go around and that includes the need for a lot of bafflingly strange people in the world. I’m happy to be one of those people.
When using your own life as the fodder for your first novel, did you worry what family or friends might think?
My friends and family aren’t easily thrown. My parents enjoyed the book, and all my close relatives and in-laws have either read it or have vowed not to read it to preserve their idea of me. I have a strong family who supports one another no matter what. That’s sort of the main theme of the book, and it’s one that stands true in my life, as well.
Did you always hope to be a published author?
Growing up, I wanted to be a cowgirl ballerina. Or a writer. But I wasn’t thin enough to be a cowgirl ballerina, so I started writing instead.
Your blog, The Bloggess, is wildly popular. How did you come up with that name?
“Blogess” is just the feminine of “blogger.” Think about it: Actor/actress, mister/mistress, blogger/bloggess, jogger/joggess. Although, those last two never quite caught on…
What does your daughter, Hailey, think about your blog?
Hailey is not allowed to read my blog because it’s a bit too cursey for a seven-year-old, but she desperately wants a blog of her own–she even makes these long video blogs that she wants to post on the Internet.
So then is Hailey the next “Bloggess” to be?
I’ve told her that she needs to wait until she’s at least sixteen before posting her video blogs to make sure that’s what she really wants. Kids today live in a tech-savvy world we could never imagine, and I’d hate for those to haunt her when she’s a teenager. Kids can be cruel, and stuff on the Internet never goes away.
Has your own childhood influenced the choices you’ve made in raising your daughter?
My family chose their own road with no regard to what others thought, and I think that made my life incredibly special. I’m trying to do the same thing for my daughter. Hopefully, she’ll appreciate it one day the way I appreciate it now. Or we’ll spend a lot of time together in therapy. Either way, the key here is that it’ll be time spent together.
What do you two do to spend time together now?
We play a lot of Monster High–it’s like Barbies, except with zombies. We also have a lot of “girl talk.” That was Hailey’s idea when she was little, and it’s now one of the best parts of my day.
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