This article is about Jenny Lawson and her new memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. She’s going to sign it at 7pm at Barnes & Noble. Tonight is when she’ll do this.
But this part of the article is not about that at all:
My mother apparently didn’t know the difference between a banana and a wooden spoon. They were interchangeable, two words for the same thing. As far as she was concerned, they both grew warm and sweet somewhere with giant spiders in a Harry Belafonte song. Peel it back and it’s something fleshy and organic. I’d like to imagine she was really drawn to the dark lines in the wood grain of those spoons. They do rather look like drips of syrup mixed in. If you look at it alone, long enough – with the big eyes – you could imagine it tasting like gingerbread. You might want to taste that. Lick it. Put it in a blender. Mix up the splinters with milk and strawberries and ice.
And now it’s in a glass. And now the glass is on the table and I’m drinking it and it doesn’t taste anything like gingerbread. Not at all. The sharp brown splinters look like baby sharks.
Mama, a wooden spoon is not a banana. Mama, don’t put wooden spoons in the blender. It’s not the same.
It’s fiber, she says.
No, Mama, it’s not.
This is a true story.
If I were to write a book, this True Story would go in the section about the woman who gave birth to me and told me there were dead spiders in her coffee – hollow ones, spiders made out of shells, looklook! There weren’t.
The woman who sat in the unfinished side of our basement at the ironing board for hours and used it like an office. The ironing board was her desk. And she would chain smoke. It was her business. She was in the business of always sitting in the darkest corners with big eyes. Sometimes she made watercolors of plants down there. They were really good.
If I had a question about life or dinner, I would descend. Step over the green hose pumping water into the drain in the floor. The mix of rust and gray lint from the dryer in orange puddles around it – thick, the vegetable soup from a can. Our dirty clothes in piles on the concrete. Lights. Darks. Colors. We had crickets that jumped higher than I was tall. Bare feet over all this. And her in the corner with the ironing board – giant silver-gray ironing board like a trained seal under her arms. She was never ironing. Hi, Mama. We lived in a nice house in the suburbs.
I have this memory a thousand times over. In all seasons. And I know because sometimes I have this memory and I see the little marshmallow hills of snow piled in that tiny basement window – two-paned, level with the earth, our dog would look in at her. Sometimes I can see my bare legs in the memory, and it’s hot and I haven’t started shaving them yet. There are a lot more crickets in our basement when it’s hot.
Tell me what to do, Mama.
Don’t touch the stove, Punkin’.
I know, Mama.
This is not a good article, and I am not good journalist, but surely this is all a True Story.
I like to read memoirs. I like to read memoirs because people are good at saying what they really want to say when it’s typed out, what they really did, what they really want to have-done-did – when it’s typed out. When someone opens their mouth and speaks in the real world a lot of times it’s just about the weather. You have to write True Stories down and cover your body in the paper to stay safe and have people take you seriously.
Today there was a tornado warning. That’s the weather. And tonight, Jenny Lawson is going to be really good at saying True Stories that happened as she presents her new memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, for a special signing at the Summit area Barnes & Noble  at 7pm (our Nice House In The Suburbs was really close to this. You can walk there).
A book described dually as irreverent and poignant, Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened tells the “mostly true” account of her unbalanced childhood, finding the humor and beauty in the dark and twisted moments that shape us as human beings. Lawson, a fellow journalist and blogger, has published columns for the Houston Chronicle and Sexls magazine. Her blogs, “The Bloggess” and “Ill Advised”, have been recognized for their content by Forbes in the top 100 Websites for Women and earned her nominations for several awards, including Weblog’s Best Writing, Most Humorous Writing and Weblog of the Year. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is Lawson’s first book.
I really want to be your friend, Jenny Lawson. And I’ll read your book. I promise. Folks, I think you should go to the Summit area Barnes & Noble tonight – at 7pm – and let her sign her book for you. I can’t, so I’m not going to. I hope there’s not another tornado.
I feel like it’s ok if my writing here is extra ridiculous.
I had a good childhood. And I was always clothed and fed and safe because I knew how to recognize a banana all by myself and never touched the stove.
The Summit area Barnes & Noble is located at 4100 Summit Plaza Drive. For more information, call (502) 327-0410.
Image: Courtesy of Amazon www.amazon.com