A.) Quote From Princess Leia In Return Of The Jedi
B.) The First Thing Carrie Fisher Said To Bill Pote
The oddly arranged living room held treasures and memorabilia that competed for attention so ferociously that it was difficult to focus in on one particular item. Celebrities smiled forth, frozen in frames strewn about shelves and tables. R2D2 sat on top of an old suitcase, peeking out from behind a leather couch as I walk in and a lone coffee table cascaded with various items, including cans of Coke Zero and a prescription bottle filled with M&Ms. The only thing that shattered the illusion of entering an eccentrically rich crazy cat-woman’s home was the glaring spotlights…and the 1,300 or so seats that were lurking out in the darkness. Of course, this was not someone’s home: this was the set of Carrie Fisher’s one woman show, Wishful Drinking.
Bill Pote (the über brain of Dayton Most Metro) and I were granted an audience with the princess and she did not keep her diligent followers waiting. She breezed onto the stage as naturally as most of us cross through our living room. Bill tried to ply Miss Fisher with cookies from Ghostlight Coffee & Thistle Confections, the fantasies of his youth playing through his head. Luckily, Miss Fisher was not aware that he had worn his favorite Star Wars underwear for the occasion…you know…the ones that have Yoda saying, “Size matters not. Judge me by my size, do you?”
Anyway, after Bill presented her with the cookies and a list of things to do in Dayton while she was here, we dove right into the interview rather quickly…
Bill: So, J.T. here interviewed you on the phone a couple of weeks ago…
J.T.: Yeah, you had just gotten back from overseas. You sounded sleepy.
Carrie: Yeah, I had just gotten back from Asia. It was very exciting. Which part of Asia was I getting back from?
Carrie: Oh, Japan!
J.T.: Coming back from the ‘celebrity lap dance,’ is, I think, the way you put it. I was talking with someone, another writer, last night about you and one of the things he brought up was something that I hadn’t noticed. I had to go back and reread some of your fictionalized work. He was amazed with your dialogues and the natural way in which it flows. Is it so natural because it is based on real conversations?
Carrie: Well, a lot of it is, but I also think it’s a self consciousnesses, like you are sort of watching yourself or listening to yourself. I would also say that I write some of the stuff that I wish I had said or something that I didn’t say in that context and so I drag it over.
J.T.: That is probably the more fun part of writing. Well, he was just talking about the natural flow and the way that you craft your writing. Is all that natural or something that you have been honing?
Carrie: Well, I fell in love with words as a kid and I used to go through books and underline things. Really, I like wordplay more, but that’s also how I talk. I talk in wordplay. I once saw a line of mine, although I don’t know that they knew that it was mine, that said, “Start putting the ‘fun’ in ‘funeral.’” I hear words and they break down automatically.
J.T.: Right. Bill can attest to this: I don’t speak in the same way that I write. Most people who have read something I have written before meeting me don’t believe that I wrote it when they do meet me.
Carrie: Some of my writing isn’t how I talk.
J.T.: Well, with the show, the connectivity that you have with the audience is amazing. How do you get that when most of the events that you’re talking about are so disparate from most people’s experiences?
Carrie: Well, I don’t think that they are necessarily. Also, it’s not so much what your experiences are, it’s how it hits you. I mean, everyone has had, from a certain slant, a weird childhood. It may not be exactly like mine and it probably isn’t, but from a certain slant, you’re going to have funny stories.
J.T.: So it’s based off of the emotion rather than the event.
J.T.: So how are you finding the Dayton audience’s responding?
Carrie: They are fantastic!
J.T.: Just as receptive?
Carrie: Beyond receptive! Last night they were talking back! A lot!
Bill: I know that we have a thing about sex and nakedness here in Dayton, Ohio…
Carrie: Apparently! That was what was hilarious about it. The questions that they asked like, “Was he naked?”, “Were you naked?” That’s where you mind goes. If you find a dead body, they’re usually not naked. (Writer’s Note: A reference to Carrie waking up next to the lifeless body of Republican Party media adviser R. Gregory Stevens who died from a OxyContin/cocaine overdose in her bed)
Bill: That’s a great way to start the show too. It kind of lets you know that…
Carrie: Yeah, “This is where we are at and it’s going to get more normal from here…but not much.”
J.T.: Well, Daytonians aren’t the only nudity focused people. Look at George Lucas’ No Underwear In Space Theory… (Writer’s Note: According to Lucasian Physics, one would face many different pressure changes while tooling around in space and with all the expansion and contraction of the human body under these conditions, you would be strangled by your underwear. I think that this is based upon twisted yet justified fantasies and not on any kind of scientific protocols.)
Carrie: That’s what he said. I think it just destroyed the line of that stupid white dress and then if people were aware that you were wearing a bra, they wouldn’t accept that you were Darth Vader’s daughter. No, I think not.
J.T.: True. With Shockaholic, is that kind of a stepping stone to the next memoir?
Carrie: God no! I think that I’ve said about all I can say.
Carrie: Well, about…the stuff that I’ve written about that was the toughest is that I exposed my daughter to any kind of drug abuse and it would be something that you would figure would happen, (whispering) but I didn’t do a lot. The fact that it happened at all is probably the thing that is most shameful about my life. But most of it was already out. They (the tabloids) wrote about me being in a mental hospital, so then I’m going to write my version and I’m going to say my version. Then they (the tabloids) write stuff saying that I’ve had a facelift and that just kills me because this would be the worst facelift ever! I’ve seen online…go online and I read that I’ve had a facelift and it’s not that good and there’s like three doctors commenting how it looks pulled here and pulled there (Carrie demonstrates by tugging at her face). I’m like, no, but I’ve been thinking about having one…
J.T.: Ryder: That’s another thing about the show, since you kind of brought it up: Somehow you have managed to avoid it seeming tabloid-ish. It’s not sensationalized.
Carrie: It’s not sensational. If you were in the situation, it’s just people. I mean, they might wear more make-up or they might have gotten where they are because they have…(pause)…more well ordered features, but they are just humans. It’s not…now I’m intimidated by the ‘good looking’ people, but you shouldn’t treat ‘good looking’ like it’s an accomplishment. It’s kind of valued that high, like you did something amazing and it was just that they were born with really nice features. Those are the people inHollywoodwho…I don’t know how to talk to them and I’m not really curious about them either. ‘How did you get those eyes? Oh! Your mom had them?’ Those are the people who got where they are purely on their features.
J.T.: That is across the board. People being ‘proud’ of genetics. A lot of people equate that with celebrity…
Carrie: It would have been a bigger trick to stay out of show business than to go in. I didn’t go in. It was…I had to tiptoe out. No. I wouldn’t have picked it, because I was sort of introverted, watching all those people.
J.T.: Which is hard to believe when one sees your stage show.
Carrie: Well, now I’m older and it’s now it’s acceptance run riot. Self acceptance. I mean, you get to a certain age…
J.T.: ..and you say to yourself, ‘Ah, screw it!’
Carrie: Right! ‘What the fuck!’
Bill: So if you weren’t thrown into that at an early age…
Carrie: I might not have chosen it.
Bill: What would you be doing?
Carrie: Well, I might have been a writer because of the whole word thing. It killed me, the word thing. I would have liked to have been Beethoven….not for his whole life, but just the part where he wrote his music. I want to be someone who can hear music like theat. Where does that come from? There are those people like that that have that kind of gift, but I do have a thing with words and I am grateful that I’ve got it because it a distraction for me and I listen to people better so it makes me enjoy reading and listening to people’s points of view and the way people say things.
Bill: You mentioned last night (during the opening night performance) that poetry was is something that you started at an early age and it actually helped you.
Carrie: I started writing, but you wouldn’t call what I wrote ‘poetry.’ It would be more like lyrics. But, I like some of what I wrote and I remember getting into states where I would be kind of taking dictation from somewhere that had nothing to do with me, but it did have to do with my emotional state. The way that it organized itself into…it’s an intense experience, then your way of managing it is basically to photograph it verbally so that you’re not just at the effect of it then, so you’re not saying, ‘Okay, now what is this like?’ It’s finding some way to say it. Otherwise, I’m just an incredibly emotional person, which I am.
J.T.: Well, at least when you’re performing, you have the ability to emote and convey a tone or meaning more than writing.
Carrie: Well, I’ve also gotten to the point where I’m also able to receive it. You just kind of get out of the way, so it isn’t me. I’ve been given something where impressions come to me and I can say, ‘Oh, that’s what that feels like!’ If I just wait, I let this thing in me that does that anyway…I can’t ignite it, I can just get out of the way of it.
Bill: Well, that leads me to this then: after watching your show last night, which I enjoyed a lot by the way…
Carrie: Thank you.
Bill: How much…I know it’s mostly scripted, if not all scripted, so how often do you go off script?
Carrie: A lot! I open it up for questions and the because the people that you (the audience) are talking with, I’ve never met them before…
Bill: Well, not even talking about audience members, but even with bringing up stories from your life, how often do you just think of something like, ‘I haven’t even told anybody this.’
Carrie: I said something the other night and…I say things by accident and it is sort of leaving it open to mess with, so there is a lot more I could say about any of the things I talk about and sometimes I will go off into it…and it’s more fun if I do. You really have to be alert…hyper-vigilant and hyper-alert, and that’s exhausting, but it’s interesting.
J.T.: Yeah, it’s great fun when you shut off all the filters.
Carrie: Yeah! And you’re in front of a lot of people and that can be very interesting.
(Photographs by Blush Boudoir, then heavily edited by J.T. without permission nor any sense of artistic content.)