Weekend-ing

Saturday I was on top of my game. We swimming lessoned, we cleaned the apartment, we went to target, AND had a date night where Kamel and I went out to a GROWN UP dinner and then to see Lena Dunham pimp her new book.

Sunday I was a failure. We had birthday celebrations for my dad at my parent’s where I forgot the camera and my dad’s PRESENT. GAH! The rest of the day I moped and watched Outlander until I fell asleep on the couc hat 730! What?! (Reason why there was not a Monday blog. Sorry guys.)

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Oh look! you can see the semi blurry spec that was Lena Dunham! I had several requests on instagram to fill them in on how her book tour was. I have a few thoughts:

First, I have been to several readings of amazing writers. I have never really been to an invent for a famous person. I have always seen Lena as a writer more than a famous person, but I was wrong. She is a famous person and there is a big difference.

I was really surprised by the amount of fan-girl-ness there. The woman in front of Kamel pretty much sobbed the entire time. The host of the evening, the manager of the University Bookstore, got choked up while introducing her and speaking about her book. It was kind of bizarre and a little embarrassing.

Lena is incredibly approachable-seeming. The way she speaks to the audience is really disarming, almost like we COULD be best friends if only there weren’t so many goddamn people here. She isn’t the greatest reading-out-loud person, but she can speak to a large amount of people beautifully.

Instead of taking questions from the audience, she had them pre-screened and on note cards. I felt that enhanced her unapproachable-ness. By comparison, Margaret Atwood (much older, much more accomplished) took questions from the audience for a long period of time, completely off the cuff. That, and Lena’s books were pre-signed, so you got virtually no face time after paying $$ so that she can promote yet another thing she is hoping you buy.

After her reading/chat was over she left before anyone else and hid in a back room somewhere like a rockstar, where she took special visitors she had specifically requested come to her reading. The rest of us milled about and then left. I thought maybe she would come out after the majority of everyone had left, but while walking back to our car we noticed a back exit with a black SUV, motor running, waiting for Lena. And another car blocking the ally like Lena was the president or something. I was really surprised and pretty eye-rolly about it.

It was a total adventure though! And we had suc ha good time on our night out! There’s just a genuine difference between famous writers and famous people and I definitely enjoy the famous writers way more.

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12 thoughts on “Weekend-ing”

  1. I totally agree with your assessment re: famous writers vs famous people who are also writers. I’ve been to many readings/book-signings and the worst one by far was the one for Tina Fey’s book, Bossy Pants. She barely took any questions, wouldn’t pose for pictures at the signing table, and practically ran out of the room when she was finished signing. On the other end of the spectrum, Jenny Lawson (of thebloggess.com fame) was SO laid back and funny. She posed for pictures, signed, read from her book, and joked with the audience. It was even more impressive, because she is very open about the fact that she has terrible social anxiety, so she easily could have chosen to avoid the chaotic scene entirely.

    Anyway, I’m glad you and Kamel got to have a date night so you could spend grown-up time together! 🙂

  2. I’ll be curious to hear what you think about Dunham’s book. I’m not a big fan of “Girls”, but think maybe her other stuff might be enjoyable? Maybe?

    1. I definitely think Girls jumped the shark in the second season. Her other projects and short films were basically short stories of the novel Girls. All buildups to that one big thing. (from what I can tell)

  3. I’m not too surprised to hear about Lena Dunham being that way. I think she probably is nice and personable in individual settings, but she got something like a $3 million advance for her book and probably does think she is kind of the voice of her generation… so why put in the extra hustle? We saw Cheryl Strayed last night and she seemed like kind of a famous person. There were definitely women there who were fan girling HARD and the audience was huge. But she still stayed to sign books and took audience questions, even though she mentioned “Reese” rather casually. I kind of think writers who are writers first remain sort of surprised and amazed that writing is really working out for them, and want to remain a part of the community that supported them first.

    Also, that pink shirt you wore to date night is cute!

    1. She reminded me of that person who wants to seem super approachable so that everyone likes her, but also secretly or not so secretly loves her exclusivity, loves being in the cool kid crowd. It is confusing for me to navigate those types of people.

  4. As someone who has also been to a Margaret Atwood book event, I have similarly high standards for author readings. I think MA basically just screwed us for everyone else because she is so lovely and approachable and amazing at her events, no one else can measure up.

  5. I am curious about her book, just today I was at the American Book center and I was wondering whether I should pick it up or not (didn’t in the end because I have a pile of books waiting to be read and hardly any time), I am wondering if it is good and if it explains things. I feel conflicted about Girls, some parts are good, some parts I hate. Pretty much its her character I can’t stand, I kept waiting for her to get better and become a nice person but it never happens, she actually gets worse. (And then we stopped watching because her annoying character made me angry).

    I went to a reading with Elizabeth Gilbert (2 books after her movie deal for Eat Pray Love) and she was very, very nice, kind and approachable. She stayed for signing books, took pictures with people and wrote personal notes on the books that she signed.

    I don’t thing her being a famous person justifies her behaviour, like at all. I think at least she should have spontaneously answered questions, otherwise it does not really feel like a conversation. Maybe she knows there are people who do not like her and she is afraid. In which case she should get over herself and listen to Taylor Swift…

    I always love to see your weekend photos, so much fun!

  6. I’m so glad you told us all how Lena was! I admit, I picked up that book in the bookstore, read ten pages, then walked out without it. It felt kind of like my diaries when I was 19. Which is fine, but … I can probably just go back and read those, if I want to. (Spoiler: I do not.) It makes sense to me that she was more there as A Personality. I will be interested to hear what you think of the book, though!

    I think author-authors (as opposed to famous people authors) just spend so much time (SO MUCH TIME) preparing for total disaster and disappointment and having day jobs and being invisible, that then when they do events they act like fairly normal people because the idea that they are somehow famous for …writing?!… still feels completely insane. (I mean, imagine if it was you. Really. Like, in six months.) So they are still just people who (like all of us) want to be liked, rather than people who know they are liked and want to fend off the bears and stuff?

    Also, authors are incredibly not-recognisable on the street. Rare is the occasion that you will see an author at Starbucks (or wherever) and recognise them and then introduce yourself and say how insanely amazing you thought their book was. Probably more common for Lena/Tina Fey/TV people? So maybe they hide away because (especially as a woman) you are equally likely to get “OMG I LOVE YOU” and “So, how much of this is about your real sex life, hey hey?” or other gross personal nonsense.

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