Wednesday, August 17, 2011

'On Writing' with Fran Drescher...

Growing up, I had a "thing" for celebrity autobiographies. I only wanted to read the authorized ones-- the ones written in the words, or at least the voice, of the actual person whose life was on display. It fascinated me to learn about how seemingly regular people shot for the stars and actually stuck the landing up there. The Nanny's Fran Drescher was a particularly remarkable, and inspiring, one for me. Just like me, she was just a girl from a borough of New York City. Just like me she loved her little dog more than anything. But unlike me she had already gone out to Hollywood and made her mark. I still wanted to do that, and I was eagerly gobbling up anything that would show me how.

Because even in the early days, Drescher wasn't "just" an actress. She was a force behind-the-scenes, as well, having a hand in crafting the story arc of her show, as well as telling her life's journey in more traditional form: a book. "Enter Whining" was something I read early on in its printing and even referenced it in an English paper.

Years later, Drescher is still doing it. She co-created two other sitcoms, one which is currently airing on TV Land, and wrote two other books. "Cancer Schmancer," chronicling her fight with the disease and her ultimate triumph over it, was another autobiographical best seller, while her third book is a divergence from the norm.

"I have a children’s book coming out in November, which I’m very excited about," Drescher told Made Possible by Pop Culture when we caught up with her over the summer.

"It’s called "Being Wendy." It’s my first children’s book, which I’m very excited about, and it’s based on-- well, it’s total fiction, a charming story, beautifully illustrated by Amy Blay. And I think that it will be a valuable message story for all children who think outside of the box, are maybe a little bit different, have a vast assortment of interests and are unconventional. That’s who Wendy is, and that’s who I was, as well," she shared.

Drescher has always believed that those who are artistic or otherwise different need to be "nurtured and encouraged" rather than told to conform or adjust their personalities to fit in with those around them. She hopes that her book will inspire young children-- boys and girls-- to embrace what makes them unique and to know from an early age that they are special and will do great things. It's a message I took from her all of those years ago, simply by seeing her living it out on-screen. Now, though, she just has a more traditional platform to share that message.

But Drescher herself still has more stories to share, too. After all, through her post-divorce life and brand new sitcom working in a much different television industry than when she first started, her life is arguably more interesting and unique now than ever before. Her life is on-going, so why wouldn't her documentation of it be?

"Yes, I have a fourth book rattling around in my head that will continue my own autobiography," Drescher assured. "‘Cancer Schmancer’ ended with me kind of finding myself and surviving cancer and divorcing and The Nanny ending and growing into my own womanhood. And from that point until now-- that decade has been big and huge and wide and funny and well worth talking about, I think."

I can't help but agree!

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