Thursday, December 11, 2014

Poehler Wisdom

I read the new Amy Poehler book this week. I didn't think it was great. It surely wasn't a bad book. It was entertaining and funny, a touch preachy at times. There are interesting insights into some of Poehler's comedy and career. Mostly, though, it was a solid reminder than famous people really aren't any different than the people we spend time with everyday (other than often fabulous wealth, incredible egos and a maniacal drive to succeed). Amy Poehler's book mad me a bit sad for her. Like, I'm happy her life is less awful than it used to be, but it's more of an "I've accepted how messed up I am," sort of way. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not fantastically satisfying to read at this point in my life.

She does make an overall point - and my praise of it will immediately look like hypocrisy, given the way I ended that last paragraph - that resonates with me deeply. My two favorite quotes come in the same section. The first, "Success is full of MSG." The second (maybe credited to David Simon) is "Ambivalence is the key to success." Her point being that striving for something will never be fulfilling and almost always disappointing. Live life for life. Do things you're passionate about, things you believe it. Make your own life, not yours or someone else's expectations of what life should be.

When we seek for something, we'll never be happy, even if we find it. It is in those moments where we don't need anything that whatever we're looking for seems to have arrived. Of course, once we start seeking an absence of seeking, we enter an existential death spiral that will eventually fry our brains.

But anyway... it was an interesting book that produced in me a profound ambivalence, which seems to be (unless there's some insidious sadism lurking inside that tiny comedian) exactly what she was going for.

No comments: