Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.
Remember when Rosie O’Donnell got conned by a woman pretending to have a pregnant 14-year-old daughter…and then wrote about it? How about when Anne Heche attributed her semi-nude stroll through Fresno to childhood abuse…and then wrote about it? The impulse to confess and confide in a group as fickle and varied as the American public seems arrogant and foolish, but then Hollywood would be a post-apocalyptic wasteland were it not for arrogant fools. (Of course as a reader, I’m blameless, right? And if I gorge myself on Double Downs, KFC made me fat.)
I approach self-revelatory celebrity memoirs with a cocktail of anticipation and dread (also with a cocktail, full stop), so recently, when the gossip blogs were ablaze with news of an impending celebrity outing and tell-all memoir, I rubbed my palms together and cackled, not out of excitement, but because I don’t like it when people sit next to me on the bus. I find cackling a particularly effective method of controlling my personal space. The hand rubbing just kind of happened. I’m method.
Once the info leaked that the imminent celesbian was none other than country singer Chely Wright, or as D-Listed put it, “Who?” my brief disappointment did not stop me from snatching up her autobiography, “Like Me, Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer.”
Aside from a deeeelightful moment in which Wright refers to Sandra Bullock’s ex Jesse James as “a gentleman” (note: on the bus, chortling and cackling prove equally effective), the book is less gossipy-confession, more mea culpa meets gay acceptance primer. When not reiterating that “homosexuality is not a lifestyle, it is not chosen,” Wright condemns herself for her closeted life and attempts to anticipate and deflect the criticisms of both liberals and her largely conservative audience; a hefty task for a scrawny girl.
This Saturday, just in time for Pride Weekend (or as Wright might refer to it, Conflicted but Ultimately Resolute Weekend), Wright comes to Borders in Lincoln Park at 4 p.m. to perform songs from her seventh album, “Lifted Off the Ground,” as well as discuss her book and sign any and all exposed flesh.
Due to the anticipated popularity of the event, Borders will distribute free wristbands when the store opens to organize the signing portion of the line. So fans, show up early and try not to chortle – that’s the kind of thing that gets you kicked out of bookstores. I should know.