If I could go back in time and talk to my twenty-year-old self, the fi rst thing I would say is: “Lose the perm.” Secondly I would say: “Relax. Really. Just relax.
Don’t sweat it.”
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t anxious and fearful that the parade would pass me by. And I was sure there was someone or something outside of myself with all the answers. I had a driving, anxiety-filled ambition. I wanted to be a working actor so badly. I wanted to belong and feel like I was valued and seen. Well, now I am a working actor, and I guarantee you it’s not because I suffered or worried over it.
As I look back, the road to where I am today has been a series of happy accidents I was either smart or stupid enough to take advantage of. I thought I had to have a plan, a strategy. Turns out I just had to be ready and willing to take chances, look at what’s right in front of me, and put my heart into everything I do. All that anxiety and fear didn’t help, nor did it fuel anything useful. Finally releasing that worry served to get me out of my own way. So my final piece of advice to twenty-year-old me: Be easy on your sweet self. And don’t drink Miller Lite tall boys in the morning.
I don’t know why, but i was born with an extra helping of angst. I would love to be able to blame this on my parents, as I’m told this is good for book sales. But I can’t.
I grew up in a family that was pure Americana. We lived in Dolton, Illinois, one of the newly founded villages south of Chicago created to house the burgeoning middle class. We were like the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting, except it was the 1960s and ’70s, so he would have had to paint us with bellbottoms and a stocked liquor cabinet. I didn’t settle into myself as a child, but the family I had around me was entertaining and embraced the life we had.
My dad, Frank, was a classic Irish-Catholic cutup. He was always singing a ditty, dancing a soft-shoe, or cracking wise while mixing a cocktail. He was almost bald by the time he was nineteen, and every day he’d smear Sea & Ski sun lotion on top of his naked head, then slap a little VO5 onto his hands and smooth the ring of hair around the sides with a flourish. “How do you like that?” he’d say to himself in the mirror, and sing under his breath, “I’ve got things to do, places to go, people to see.” And after that daily Sea & Ski ritual, damn if he still didn’t end up getting skin cancer on his pate. However, it would be lung cancer that took my dad from us in 2003, and I miss him
I can remember my dad, when I was really young—so young, it’s like Vaseline over the memory—dancing with me in the living room. “Do you come here often?” he’d ask, twirling me around and singing along with Sid Caesar: “Pardon me miss, but I’ve never done this . . . with a real live girl . . .”
Excerpted from HAPPY ACCIDENTS by Jane Lynch. Copyright © 2011 Jane Lynch. Published in the US by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.
Jane Lynch is, hands down, one of our all-time favorite celebrities. In Happy Accidents, her much-anticipated and deliriously entertaining new memoir, the 50-year-old actress waxes poetic on her slow and steady rise to fame, from her terrific stint in the Second City comedy troupe to her genius appearances in Christopher Guest films and, of course, her ever-awesome performance on "Glee." Thanks to her wit and intelligence, the book is an absolute treat to read.
At length, Lynch discusses getting sober and how it ultimately bolstered her acting chops and self-esteem, as well as her struggle to come out in the face of homophobia (some of which, she admits, was hers and hers alone).
As to why she decided to write a memoir, Lynch recently said, “If I could go back in time and have a conversation with my 18-year-old self, the first thing I’d say is, ‘Lose the perm.’ Second, I would say: ‘Relax. Really—just relax. Don’t sweat it….' Having finally reached a happy place—a happy accidents place—I want to share my story with others, to let them know things aren’t as bad as they fear.” In an ever-uncertain world, one thing remains clear: Jane Lynch is totally awesome.
Hardcover Book : 256 pages
Publisher: Hyperion, Walt Disney ( September 13, 2011 )
Item #: 13-397212
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.8inches
Product Weight: 13.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I felt that Jane Lynch let me into her fascinating life. She is honest and even a little self-deprecating about her adventures on the way to fame and fortune.
Reviewer: Terry T