It's no secret that I love cacti. So much so that I decorated my office to be a little paradise of these prickly pals.
Now that I've shamelessly showed off one of my sanctuaries, let's get back to our regularly scheduled (and equally shameless) show-and-tell of my crafts and closet! Still stuck on saguaros, I decided to make more cacti barrettes. I've always been a fan of that whole iconic cactus against a sunset aesthetic, so I decided to play with that. To me, the contrast of cool green against the red/pink, orange, and yellow explosion of a dying sun is dazzlingly dramatic.
Anyway, cacti come from Arizona, and so does Busy Phillips. I just finished reading her autobiography, This Will Only Hurt a Little, and binged her new E! talk show "Busy Tonight," and I can say that she's as sharp and tough as the Southwest's spikiest succulent.
I was expecting This Will Only Hurt a Little to be a laugh-out-loud lark. But it isn't. Busy's breezy, conversational writing only ups the intensity of her memoir, which is emotional, raw, and sometimes hard to read. (You know, hard to read as in contains heavy stuff. Like all those Oscar-nominated movies that are hard to watch. Which is also, incidentally, the title of Tracy Jordan's [Tracy Morgan's] EGOT-bait feature film on "30 Rock." Fun fact: Tina Fey produces "Busy Tonight." Coincidence? I think not.) I should've realized that This Will Only Hurt a Little wouldn't be a sitcom anecdote-studded giggle fest made R rated by a few f-bombs. First of all, there's the title. Sure, it'll only hurt a little -- but that means it will still hurt some. And then there's the front and back covers, which feature a pink suit-clad Busy perched hopefully yet apprehensively on what can be only a waiting room chair on account of its uncomfortable-looking 1970s-era harvest gold pleather. It might be the waiting room of a doctor's office or for an audition, but the message is clear: whatever's on the other side of that door has the power to make or break you (and Busy. Because this is her book.).
So, what makes This Will Only Hurt a Little an uneasy read? It isn't just the Time's Up/Me Too-tinged accounts of chauvinism in Hollywood -- although those certainly make an impact. It's Busy's teenage years. Some seriously scary things happened to her, the kinds of things that could destroy a girl's faith in herself and in men for the rest of her life. We all know that high school can be awful and about as far from a sock hop as a corn dog from a vegan buffet. So, it's all the more meaningful when Busy describes rising above her own chilling chapter to follow -- and achieve -- her dream of becoming an actress. Even when one of her high school boyfriends steals the credit for writing Blades of Glory. That's right; Ms. Phillips is responsible for that hilarious Will Ferrell (and okay, John Heder) movie about competitive male figure skating. Which, now that I think about it, makes perfect sense, as it's funny and glitzy and raunchy and has lots of heart, just like Busy. As for that old plagiarizing ex, no one even knows his name. He's probably selling corn dogs somewhere.
Now, there is a part in the book where Busy says that fellow "Dawson's Creek" star Katie Holmes was "very sweet," but "wasn't really like a hang-out-and-smoke kind of girl," (171) which gave me pause, as I'm no hang-out-and-smoke kind of girl either. But then I reminded myself that for better or worse, this book is Busy's truth (she says so on page 8), and if she and Katie didn't click, then so be it. Also, Katie doesn't have a book or talk show.
That said, here's a part of the book that I love:
"Have I talked about being a sparkly human yet? Well, I have a theory. There are certain people who are what I call sparkly humans. These are people who have things just happen for them or to them because other people see them and seemingly inexplicably want to help them. Because they sparkle. From the inside out. I was always a sparkly human (still am, for the most part, on most days). Adults just liked me and wanted to help me. Not kids at my school. Sometimes sparkliness isn't recognized by peers until much later. Sometimes sparkly people are even bullied as kids. Because other kids want to put that light out. They don't understand it and they want to kill it. The secret is, if you're truly sparkly, you survive all that bullshit and you don't let them put it out. And at some point, you started to get rewarded for it. Sparkly humans aren't always entertainers, and they don't always become famous. There are sparkly humans everywhere. And there are also plenty of people who are wonderful and amazing, but aren't sparkly. It's a very specific thing." (126-127)
I think this is cool and interesting, this idea that some people are marked for greatness like characters in a fairy tale. And also, that this greatness can take many forms. But that all of the forms are united by this one intangible but unmistakable thing.
Busy brings her sparkle and pioneering, take-no-prisoners attitude to "Busy Tonight." In her book, she talks about being tired of waiting around for casting directors to decide her fate about this or that project, or to tell her that she doesn't have the right look or that she has to lose weight. Why not do something where she calls the shots? Why not create a safe space for topical issues and girl talk and silliness? Why not host her own talk show? I'm glad she did because "Busy Tonight" is so fun! The set is bright and eclectic, like, as Busy herself says, a sitcom living room. Busy wears great outfits, and her enthusiasm is infectious from the time she runs out onstage to the time she puts on Mr. Nightgown. So far, some of her guests include Mindy Kaling, Kristen Bell, John Stamos (the first dude, and a gracious one at that), and even Julia Roberts, all of whom Busy ushers into her photo booth before commercial breaks. And then, at the very end, she comes out in a long, floral, Bohemian-style muumuu (the aforementioned Mr. Nightgown) and sings a goodnight song so endearing and clever that you can't help but hear it in your head all day. Listening to it, I always think, I really hope this works out for you, Busy, because you seem to really want -- and deserve -- it.
As they (don't) say, cactus makes for imperfect. Bring on the smudged glitter.