Friday, October 20, 2006

Jennifer Weiner Comes to Cleveland

My introduction to Jennifer Weiner was through the movie, In Her Shoes. I loved the movie. I am a fan of both Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette. I laughed, cried and was moved by the plight of both the sisters and their tragic family history of learning disabilities and mental illness. I was especially touched because I love a young, bright soul that is struggling with Autism. Soon after, while cruising the aisles at Tar-get I saw the book and her first book, Good in Bed.

Recently Jennifer attended an event in Cleveland. I was eager to meet and perhaps interview the author. When doing a bit of research on her I discovered her "For Writers" section on her website. Hillarious and spot on. I was more geared up to meet her than ever before. Yet, somehow the day of the event I felt tired, drained and was making every excuse in the book why I should just stay at home staring at my computer and hoping for some inspiration. There was the "I don't know what I'm going to wear" excuse. After all, everyone would be there to see me - wouldn't they? Then I pulled out the "I don't wanna pay for parking" excuse. Parking turned out to be a whopping $1. I even trotted out the "I can't go now, I am going to be late" excuse.

I removed my jacket and tossed it on the chair and was taking off my shoes when I realized that I was doing it AGAIN. Being a complete self-defeatist that was busier killing my own dreams than any outside force could ever be. Dammit! Why do I do that to myself? I high-tailed it out of my house, made it to the venue - without killing any small animals I might add - parked, managed to find my seat and even sweet-talked a server into resetting my place and bringing me lunch. And I did not miss a moment.

Jennifer Weiner is as charming and as funny as I'd imagined she'd be. She chatted about her family, her life and how she got her start writing as if she'd known us all for years. As I listened to her I thought about some of the conversations that my best friend and I have had over the years. The ones where we'd laughed until we cried. No matter how dire the situations seemed - family, love lives, kids...for those moments life wasn't so bad after all and we were inspired to pick ourselves up and try again the next day.

That's what Jennifer Weiner gave me that day. Inspiration. And the realization that there was no magic potion. Just someone telling a story that they needed to get out. The fact that someone identified with it, enjoyed it and wanted to make it into a major motion picture...well that is just the frosting.

I didn't get to meet her. I didn't get to interview her. Yet, she helped me that day. More than she'll ever know.

Samara Leigh

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