Sunday, 12 March 2017 —
Have you ever read a book so good that you didn’t want to put it down?
Has the book ever been so good that you didn’t want to finish it because it would all be over?
That is the conundrum I am finding myself in. I am approaching the end of reading Jennifer Saunders’ book, “Bonkers: My Life in Laughs”. It’s all about her life as she approaches becoming a comedy legend at the BBC. Her pairing with comedy partner Dawn French, her marriage to Ade (also another comedian). They have a relatively normal life. She loves fashion, but never gets free clothes, she buys all her own clothes and spends loads of money looking good “in her head” only to find that the mirror says different. She is one of my favorite comedy writers. Her show “Absolutely Fabulous” just kills me. Her sketches with Dawn French are hilarious. He humbleness is eye-opening.
There is NOT one pretentious bone in Jennifer’s body. She doesn’t dwell on dumb shit like not having a series renewed or even getting breast cancer. She knows she’s a procrastinator. She knows she doesn’t like deadlines. She has a healthy amount of celebrity gossip without being a witch to work with or being overly scandalous. I find that she is really pretty grateful for her life and the direction it has taken. She definitely has lived her life as a writer would. She has acquired some wealth from it and has inspired countless other female comedians, British actors and actresses. She uses the term “Actress” very loosely. She knows she’s a writer.
Something I have been taking note of is how insanely normal she is. She forgets that she’s famous. She doesn’t live in a “famous” mentality. She appreciates it, but doesn’t dwell in the ego of it.
19 Chapters and I’m on Chapter 18 already holding back moans and groans from reading the ending of the book. I want more! Her work speaks for itself. She was put up to a dare to write the “Absolutely Fabulous” movie that was released last year in theaters and the same for her book that came out a couple of years prior. She is a horrible procrastinator, but a very brilliant worker when she wants to be. She makes jokes about throwing unopened bank statements away and her husband panicking, opening them, and taking care of business.
She does not read the fine print of contracts. She asks Maureen her agent/manager to take care of the reading and has very small requests like a bottle of wine for after comedy performances and passes to get into the BBC, but overall she’s not picky.
I have lived so much of my wonderful career as a salon educator, salon owner, sought-after talent as a writer, comedian, performer, host and freelance colorist in both areas of ego and humility. I don’t think I’m the best everywhere I go, but I know I’m good at what I do. I don’t like confrontation, but I will pipe up when I feel tested. I do makes requests and I do ask and even demand for timeliness and ample time for planning.
I don’t transition well from work to home or work to an event or an event to home or presentation to car ride. I need a lot of time to think. I need a cocktail to think over. I need someone to drive me everywhere because my anxiety gets the best of me on long-distance trips. I wake up and meditate daily, I pray, I read The Zohar and the Torah and require a light breakfast after. I book three clients back-to-back and shut my book down for an hour to transition. I don’t transition well. I need space. I need alone time. Jennifer reminds me of someone like me that needs a lot time to think.
We think differently than most people, we might lay on the floor and look at the cracks in the floor boards or listen to records or eat copious amounts of French Brie and drink wine right out of the bottle, but thinking gets done. I abhor formality in meetings and I hate formal talk. I think we should all just be ourselves. I do, however, detest dirty words in a business meeting and I don’t like salacious gossip (no matter who you ask). I don’t like hearing reviews, I don’t like sitting with people in large groups unless I’m the star of the show and I expect the same respect when I ask to have a cocktail alone.
There’s alot of thoughts that have run through my head as I’ve been reading Jennifer’s book. I can see why AbFab was a worldwide success! I can understand the admiration she has from others as they gaze at her accomplishments and I can understand why she has chosen to be funny even when life wasn’t so funny.
The main thing I’ve learned from her is that life is funny. Even death and illness is funny. She does not “believe in God” she hints at in the book. I do. I am a bit more Universalist though when we talk about The Creator. I don’t think God is sitting on his iPad watching us on some heavenly Hulu marking our permanent records, counting our dirty words, our eye rolls at people and taking note of how many times we skipped church or lied to a client. I just don’t think those items are so BIG AND IMPORTANT that God will be a meany and send you straight to hell. I don’t think Jennifer is an atheist. I think she believes the Creator has blessed her and she is simply living life as an entertainer.
I think one of the best lessons I’m learning from reading this book that I want to share with you is to NOT sweat the small stuff. You’ll be alright. Pull the stick out of your ass and laugh at life when it takes a shit on you. You’ll be alright. You’ll be absolutely fabulous at everything you do… just like my sweet, dear Jennifer Saunders.