Excerpt from Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm
By Roseanne Barr
February 14, 2011
Chapter 7: On Writing My Book
If I ever finish, this will be the third book I have written. Ever since I was a girl, I have written about one to five pages every day—on napkins, on scrap paper, in notebooks and tablets, on the walls in my room as a teenager, and in orange paint on the cheap white plastic blinds in my room. In recent years, I have written on the computer every day—on my blog, in Microsoft Word, on email—for hours, sometimes all night long. That is the norm for me. What's weird about it is that every single page is filled with another attempt to write the perfect opening paragraph to a book. I have about fifty thousand opening paragraphs, and I never seem to get beyond that part of writing the book.
I read A Tale of Two Cities a few times, and the opening sentence, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." remains the most precise sentence I have ever read. It remains my favorite book, too. I find the writing so moving, and the story is so perfectly told. When I first read it, I saw all the way to my grave in the character of Madame de Farge, the old biddy who silently weaves the code of revolution into the blankets she crochets. Roseannearchy is my attempt to weave my own revolutionary code into the pages of this book.
To say that I have an undisciplined mind would not be incorrect overall, but it’s a little off the mark because I have great discipline when I write—but only for about ten minutes. Then I get mad and kick something or drink something, and then I begin to blame and curse, which is the mind-set I prefer to access before I pick up the phone and call someone to tell them what I think their big problem in life really is. Right after they hang up on me, I write another opening paragraph, get turned off, do some carbloading, get energized, blog about meditation and how it helps keep one centered, so that one (not me, obviously) can stay focused when writing, then I lose interest in that and check my Facebook page. (My kids signed me up so that I could see how fun the site is, and it is the worst addiction of all addictions for which I have ever killed.)
I actually regard Facebook as a huge bore, but I cannot refrain from participating in it. I guess I crave the feeling of hope it gives me to think that today will be different from yesterday, that I will find an interesting comment or poke or video, and on the extremely rare occasion when that happens, I am just thrilled. I like snooping through other people's comment pages and viewing their pictures and profiles and reading their blogs sometimes. But Facebook is largely just a boring bunch of unemployed and unsatisfied, middle-aged, mostly Jewish people pretending that they are not just gossiping and b******* about their lives but launching social groups and networks about feeding the homeless or the children of Malawi, or protesting global warming—when, in fact, many times these groups are just a bait-and-switch-type trick for selling açaí berry juice.
As a Jewish person, I can say that I think Jewish people are addicted to excitement in an unexciting world. We goose up more drama than we need in order to combat the creeping fear that the true answer to the world’s problems might just be to stay inside and mind our own g****** business. Jewish people take too much responsibility for the world, and that should stop for the good of mankind for a year or two.
Jews: Leave stuff alone in the world; stay home and just "chillax," as my son Buck says. I swear that's a great thing to do and makes everything easier. I know this goes against the modern idea that Jewish Baby Boomers' survivor's guilt over World War II, if harnessed, could usher in Utopian fullness, but that thinking is actually just a result of all the drugs we took in the '60s. Baby Boomers (gentile ones, too) need do nothing more on behalf of the planet, the species, or peace in the Middle East, and everything will just work itself out nicely.
If these words I write are incorrect or untrue, then please explain to me why God, in all of Her brilliance and talent and intelligent design, would have chosen this time to bring forth the pinnacle of female power and sinister wisdom, the solution to telecommunicable disease, the oracle, Nancy Grace. Her bewitching hold over the minds of the peri- and postmenopausal female is a phenomenon largely unexplored by others, but not yours truly—I'm right there with her.
Nancy sees through the layers of jurisprudence, all the way past the song and dance of lawyers, to the core of the seed wherein resides the voice of the voiceless victim of crime. Nancy embodies that voice and leverages it like David against Goliath. She is always defending the child who has been wronged, whether she is a teenage Natalee Holloway or a two-year-old Caylee Anthony, or Haleigh Cummings. Day after day, Nancy interprets criminal law for the underserved public, who unconsciously knows that one day soon it may be representing itself in a court of law, stripped as it is of the cash needed to defend itself against the myriad charges of lawsuit-happy lawyers, who wrote the Patriot Act, which says no American has the right not to be charged with a crime.
Someday soon, every American will be on trial for something, or working on an appeal to get out of jail or prison, or suing someone in some grievance or another, or being sued themselves. When the lawyers in Congress passed the Patriot Act (which is where you act like you are patriotic), they succeeded in completely remaking the law, so that every American now has the right to be assumed guilty until proven innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt.
What a smart bunch lawyers are! Now they have ensured their own survival for decades to come. Who would have thought that you would one day need a lawyer in order to defend yourself against the very laws that were designed to protect your inalienable rights? Nancy never seems to mention this fact, though. I guess she feels it is not as important a legal point as whether or not Lee Anthony is the father of his sister's murdered baby.
Yes, this is the perfect time for a fifty-two-year-old mother of two-year-old test-tube twins with gargoylelike eyes and pursed lips to rise up on behalf of the aging female demographic that views cable news shows and buys the products sold on cable TV—Snuggies, mood-altering drugs, and Nutrisystem diets.
The Age of the Female is dawning all around us, and it seems I am the only one who sees it in all of its manifest glory! I have always known that the female is the stronger of the sexes, that she is the one who gets things going and makes things happen. Growing up in a Jewish matriarchal world inside the patriarchal paradise of Salt Lake City, Utah, gave me increased perspective on gender issues, as it also did my gay brother and my lesbian sister. Our younger sister is the perfect Jewish-American wife and mother, and is fiercely proud of that fact. I am the most unconventional one in my family, as all of my siblings have been in relationships of twenty or more years with the same person. My brother is a grandfather two times over and still in college, becoming a doctor in his fiftieth year; my sister married her best friend from preteen Zionist camp, and they have eleven-year-old twin Zionist daughters. My big, fat Jewish family has always been in the eye of the storm, as the winds howl around us and we duck down to protect ourselves and one another from the flying debris and the damage that nature naturally inflicts on all living things—the smarter the creature, the better the target.
Nature is a b****, and so am I. A big, fat, loudmouthed, pushy, Jewish b****, as I have been lovingly called by admirers all of my life. I am, indeed, all of those things—and proud of it, too. I have always tried to live up to that role, as I find that it truly suits and defines me.
People sometimes think my being a loudmouthed, pushy, fat Jew b**** means that I don’t care. But I do care—probably too much! I care about "not caring" more than I care about anything else! I simply do "not care" to remain silent and docile and passive when it comes to the way women, children, and the poor are treated on this planet, no matter whom that offends, no matter what crimp that puts in my money hose, and no matter whose "God" doesn't like it. I am free to take action and speak out whenever I see fit. Speaking out against what one considers wrong is the very definition of freedom. Democracy is based on female freedom! Silencing old, loudmouthed, pushy women is the first thing a smart despot tries to do.
As an aging female member of the Love Generation of the '60s, I have always enjoyed giving my opinion honestly when asked. I have been lucky enough, since the age of thirty-three, not to have to give a fucking rat's a** what anyone thinks of it. Fame and wealth have been very, very good to me. The best part of all of it is being able to avoid people I don't like.
Your Domestic Goddess may very well be the last hedge against Totalitarian One World Rule, people! The following is a list of Domestic Goddess decrees:
Triple teachers' and policemen's pay and raise the bar accordingly.
Establish a union of the working poor with the Attorney General as their lawyer.
Replace organized religion with strict observance and enforcement of the Golden Rule.
Foreign policy statement: "Hey, how’s it going? We’re your global neighbors. Here's our number if you need something."
Back our currency with yummy baked goods.
Abolish the IRS.
Put birth control in the water supply for the next five years.
All sewer and septic tank maintenance will be performed by convicted corporate criminals.
All medical testing will be performed on child molesters and animal abusers.
Minimum weight for supermodels: 140 pounds.
Righting the ills of the world on a global scale begins at home—in our own country, in our own homes, and within ourselves. Like Nancy Grace, we must take a hard look at injustice and fight for what is right, beginning with our own families. With that, I leave you with my
Recipe for Peace and Democracy in the Home
*children are allowed a vote—
a say in the world in which they live from day one.
Without democracy in our homes,
we will never have it in the world.
*however, during the teenage years, when they have become a severe nuisance to the general public, they must enter a time of service to the community in which they live. They must be paid fairly and taxed for hanging around in malls. At this time, they are not to be around too many people their own age, unless under the constant supervision of a grandmother figure. Teenagers need their grandparents more than they need their parents at this age, when they compose their own sense of style. The grandparent is able to help balance and correct teenage whims and dreams. That is because grandparents are secretly having a good-natured and loving laugh at the utter ridiculous futility of a teenager's dreams behind their back, and thinking of ways to help cushion reality’s blows. It is definitely one of life's great pleasures.
Printed from Oprah.com on Wednesday, March 12, 2014