Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Princess Diarist

The Princess DiaristThe Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher

We listened to this on a road trip, after starting out with Postcards from the Edge. We abandoned Postcards because it's written in epistolary form and not as conducive to listening. The Princess Diarist worked better.

It is pure Carrie Fisher--self-effacing, funny, biting, sarcastic, acerbic--and reveals both her uncertainty as a young woman and her feeling of being overwhelmed when she suddenly became famous.

Harrison Ford doesn't come across as particularly endearing, having an affair with the much-younger Fisher during the filming of the first Star Wars movie. He didn't treat her very well.

Fisher is candidly open about her mental illness and alcoholism. She is refreshingly honest in a Hollywood culture that is all about image. She appears not to give a f*ck what anyone thinks, although the truth is a bit deeper than that.

These quotes from the book exemplify it well:

"What’s the riddle? Me talking so much And saying so little"

"I wish that I could leave myself alone. I wish that I could finally feel that I punished myself enough. That I deserved time off for all my bad behavior. Let myself off the hook, drag myself off the rack where I am both torturer and torturee."

"I act like someone in a bomb shelter trying to raise everyone’s spirits."

"I am someone who wants very much to be popular. I don’t just want you to like me, I want to be one of the most joy-inducing human beings that you’ve ever encountered. I want to explode on your night sky like fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong."

"My panic is rising again. My sense of isolation and worthlessness. And no other senses worth mentioning apparently. It's not nice being inside my head. It's a nice place to visit but I don't want to live here. It's too crowded; too many traps and pitfalls. I'm tired of it. That same old person, day in and day out. I'd like to try something else. I tried to neaten my mind, file everything away into tidy little thoughts, but it only got more and more cluttered. My mind has a mind of its own. I try to define my limits by seeing just how far I can go, and I find that I passed them weeks ago. And I've got to find my way back."

"If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing."

"It’s not nice being inside my head. It’s a nice place to visit but I don’t want to live in here. It’s too crowded; too many traps and pitfalls."

"Anyway, I suppose in part I'm telling this story now because I want all of you - and I do mean all - to know that I wasn't always a somewhat-overweight woman without an upper lip to her name who can occasionally be found sleeping behind her face and always thinking in her mouth."