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Friday, May 25, 2012

Jenny Lawson, ‘The Bloggess,’ Tells All

Author Jenny Lawson. (Courtesy Jenny Lawson)

How does one describe Jenny Lawson?

On her blog, she writes about Beyonce, her five-foot tall metal chicken which now has its own Facebook page.

There’s also her post about a Harry Potter-themed wig a friend knitted that’s supposed to resemble Ron Weasley’s shock of red hair. She also Tweeted Star Trek star Wil Wheaton to ask for a photo of him collating papers.

But “The Bloggess” is not all chickens and superhero capes. She’s upfront about her struggles to get pregnant, and her crippling anxiety.

“I’ve always felt that it’s very obvious to everyone around me that I am anxious, and nervous, and just about to hide under the table, which I probably will do at some point during this interview,” she told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Lawson has been named one of the top 100 bloggers of the year by the parenting website Babble, and her site gets two to three million hits a month.

Now in her new book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir),” Lawson writes about the bizarre upbringing that fuels her writing.

Robin’s Note: So many of you have enjoyed the Jenny Lawson conversation that we thought we’d throw in a web extra.

Here is a section that didn’t make it for time,  but  we think terrifically reflects her frank approach to life! Enjoy. As she would say, “You’re welcome.”


Book Excerpt: “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)”

By: Jenny Lawson

Advisory: There is explicit language in this excerpt

 An Open Letter to My Husband, Who Is Asleep in the Next Room

Hi. I know. The weird pattern in the butter dish, right? By now you’ve surely discovered it and are probably freaking out. Well, last night I discovered that if I make Eggos I can skip the butter knife and just drop the waffle directly in the butter tub. It’s awesome. Except that the hot waffle melts a weird pattern in the butter, like an all-yellow plaid, and the plastic tub melts a bit. I know you’d prefer I use a knife, because you’re kind of neurotic about this stuff, but honestly, I’m just not that kind of girl. Mostly because I’m trying to save the environment by not dirtying a knife that would have to be washed. I’m kind of a hero. Also, the knives are, like, all the way on the other side of the kitchen. Poor planning on your part. And by “on your part,” I mean “by letting me unpack the kitchen whenwe moved in.” I mean, I guess we could just switch the utensil drawer with the take-out menu drawer, but that seems like a lot of work. Unless I just pulled out the drawers completely and switched them!

Okay, now we have two drawers lying on the kitchen floor. I got them both out, but I can’t get them back in. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Don’t look in the butter dish.

P.S. If anything, you should be thanking me for the butter texturizer. Remember that fucking ridiculous Burberry-plaid car we saw, and you were all, “Wow! I wish someone would do that to my car and/or butter!” Well, Merry Christmas, asshole.

P.P.S. I’m sorry I called you an asshole. That was uncalled-for. Also, by now you’ve read this letter and will surely claim that you did not ask me to Burberry the car or anything else, but really, you’ve got more important things to focus on. Like fixing the three drawers that are on the kitchen floor.

I know.

But I thought if I took one more out slowly I could see how it worked, and then I could fix the others before you wake up, but that totally didn’t work. But I stopped at three. You’re welcome.

P.P.P.S. Shit. Okay, I thought maybe one more would give me the secret putting-the-drawer-back key. Turns out? Not so much. At this point I’m considering setting fire to the kitchen to cover my tracks, but I’m sure you’d just blame that on me too. So I won’t, because I know you’d be a jerk about it. And also because that would be wrong. I would never set fire to our house.

P.P.P.P.S. Okay, I just set fi re to the house, but it was totally on accident. I was trying to make you a pizza for breakfast, and I accidentally put a bunch of towels in the oven. I know it seems suspicious, since I was just talking about burning down the house, but it’s just a horrible, horrible coincidence.

I have to think that this never would have happened had our builders not put the bathroom so close to the oven. It’s like they wanted me to set fire to the house. Those guys are the assholes. Not you. I love you.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I’m going to stop at the store on the way home and buy you your very own tub of butter so you don’t have to see the melty Burberry one. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I didn’t just think of that in the first place.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. None of this is actually true except for the butter part. Aren’t you relieved? I know you are. And now you’re much less likely to freak out about the butter, because, Jesus, it’s not like I tried to burn the house down (except for that one time when I did, but that really was an accident, and the builder’s fault too, because who the hell leaves the oven instructions inside the oven? Someone who wants us all dead, that’s who). This was all just an exercise in perspective.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Don’t look in the butter dish.

Reprinted from LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED (A MOSTLY TRUE MEMOIR) by Jenny Lawson with permission of Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, a member of The Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright (c) 2012 by Lawson


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  • Kansas32000

    I think in addition to her real issues there is a heavy overlay of narcissism.

    • Jenny, Bloggess

      I write 2 blogs, 2  column and a book about me.  I honestly can’t argue with that.

      • NB

        I freaking love you, Jenny the Bloggess.

        That is all.

      • Dazie

        Not everybody from Kansas thinks you’re a narcissist, Jenny.  The rest of us think you’re pretty damn funny.

      • Marjorie

        You are awesome! And unbelievably funny!

      • Hodges Sheldon

         You write brilliantly. You actually help thousands of others, solely by your own efforts and abilities. You genuinely care about strangers. You are a very talented artist, singer and highly accomplished in choreography of the post morte.  Roadkill has never looked so good. Your applying all these and more talents is not a function of narcissism but a manifestation of that tremendous talent and natural ability. Also. you have a beautiful singing voice that you do not use nearly enough on your videos. This fact alone gainsays the accusation of narcissism by (jealous much?) Kansas32000.

      • Caitlin McCabe

        Jenny, Bloggess:

        You are my hero. 

        Thank you.

    • WingedBook

      Wouldn’t narcissism count as a “real” issue?

  • Seraphaeme

    Meh… Yet another self-absorbed narcissist on parade. 

    • Simon Brown

      I’ll take one funny self-absorbed narcissist over a hundred tedious yawners.

    • iambe

      Sometimes when you write things about yourself that other people can relate to it makes them feel less alone. And then when those other people write you back and you are really supportive you create a culture of support. And the next thing you know you’ve created an entire community of people helping each other, through mental illness issues, through chronic pain, through anxiety, by donating thousands and thousands of dollars of toys and school supplies to poor children…

      I only WISH I could be as “narcissistic” as Jenny Lawson.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505646558 Lauren Lindley

         Well said.  Dance on in your red dress Jenny!

    • Hodges Sheldon

      Yet another self-absorbed, self-important narcissist commenting on an author from within a miasma of jealousy using the only means at her disposal to get some attention. Seraphaeme, please don’t hesitate to bugger off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eva.kenworthy Eva Kenworthy

    I love Jenny! This book is awesome and funny. I’m glad it’s doing so well – she makes me laugh! I’m also impressed with how much she helps out all kinds of issues. Thanks for doing what you do, Jenny!


    OMG! Spare me all this angst! 

    • Kimbo

       Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Angst? You clearly have not read much by Jenny Lawson. In fact, did you even read the excerpt above? Did the amusing anecdote about BUTTER seem very angsty to you? I know I get upset about melted dairy but I thought I was alone in that.

      Her stories about getting her arm stuck inside a cow, or raising a raccoon in the bathtub, and various other fantastically written episodes are equally full of angst so you should definitely stay away from her book.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/IOKFVNJCLA4UWYAQMXPTU32WKU Linda

      I think it’s pretty clear that you don’t know what “angst” means.  Which is fine.  It’s ok to use words you don’t understand.  My 10 year old does it all the time…like when he said he was feeling kind of horny when he was imitating a goat.  Mistakes happen.  OR…you just commented a snarky drive by comment on a post about a book you didn’t read and an interview you didn’t listen to (because Ms. Lawson is a lot of things, but angst-y isn’t one of them).  That would just make you a D-bag though.  Maybe we’ll all just think of you as ignorant and not really very literate.  That would be better for you.

      • Brian

         angst : an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety or inner turmoil.  I love Jenny, and she laughs about her angst instead of wails about it, but the word was used properly.

        • Brian

           I was thinking about this some more, and I think people dislike angst because it seems like a type of purposeless complaining or an act, but Jenny’s writing is very different from this, she makes us laugh at the same time she is showing us how the pain and how we deal with it makes us who we are.

  • Dee

    Great interview – I can totally relate to the anxiety. I am going to order your book for myself and my 2 kids. We are all “slow to warm up” (shy, the word you are not supposed to use) and reserved. Our family had to move last summer because of a job change and it’s been a rough year with two high school age kids that have had to start at a new school and learn how to make new friends. I’m in my 50ies and still find it hard to make new friends! Soon, I will be job hunting and I have tremendous anxiety about that prospect and the interviewing. We all need to laugh more!!! I have my share of very weird stories…

  • Anna

    I liked this interview and look forward to her local reading next month.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1419240871 Melissa Yvonne Markle Webster

    As a lover of all things Bloggess, perhaps our own narcissism brings us to her table. Whatever it is, I am never going to argue with laughing until I wet myself. We can never have enough laughter…or urinary incontinence, apparently.

  • Richard Warriner

    owww! my head hurts! I am sure that given my wife left this page open for me to encounter, this is a vague precursor to a giant metal chicken to magically appear on the back door step.

    well, at least it isn’t towels

    • http://seriouslyreallyseriously.blogspot.com StephanieC

       See, you’re a man with the right priorities.

  • Chacha

    After reading Jenny’s book I think what she has accomplished is wonderful and I am very proud for her. My upbringing was very similar except substitute drunk guntoting parents for  eccentric animal parents and you get the idea.  I love the fact that at the end of the book she realizes she wouldn’t trade that for anything and I concure! 

  • Frubs

    Narcasstic? Buh? She’s so self-deprecating at times she’s practically an honorary Brit…

  • Katie

    Jenny’s awesome. The intro’s proofreader is not.

  • http://www.drpauladurlofsky.com/ Paula Durlofsky, Ph.D.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1517624880 Raeann Thomas

    Wow, this totally sounds like how my day usually starts out.  For example, today, I was going to put a spider in a glass and take it outside but on my way out of the kitchen the paint by number set my husband bought our daughter for christmas fell on me and so naturally I decided to paint the one of the golden retriever, but my daughter saw me and wanted to do the horsie one.  So, as fate would have it there was only one appropriate paint brush and we got into a fight over it. As I’m sure you can imagine, by the time I made it to the living room with the glass the spider was gone.  I hope it’s not down my shirt or something.

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