Parker Posey's new book, You're on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir, is a delight. Part autobiography, part self-help instruction manual, and part imagined conversation between friends, it's breezily perfect reading even if you're not on a plane.
Parker's presence has always been 100, as the kids say. I don't need to recap her resume, do I? There's her scene-stealing turn in You've Got Mail—"Patricia makes coffee nervous"—and her constant excellence as a member of Christopher Guest troupe, including my personal favorite, Waiting for Guffman's Dairy Queen herself, Libby Mae Brown.
There's proto-mean girl Darla in Dazed and Confused and the gloriously imperious villain Fiona, which (along with Alan Cumming) made Josie and the Pussycats way better than it could have been. (Not to mention her one-offs and character arcs on shows like Parks and Rec, The Good Wife, etc. I could go on.)
You're on an Airplane distills all that wonderful Parker Posey essence and makes you feel like you're in on the secret. It's surprisingly life-affirming, despite her legitimate, well-deserved rage at the Hollywood system and all that.
Not only is it full of insider details, it's full of insight. So herewith:
3 Life Lessons from Parker Posey's You're on an Airplane
Be kind to your neighbors.
Because maybe you'll need someone to boost you up the fire escape so you can break into your own apartment after you lose your keys for the millionth time. (Seriously, Parker is always losing her keys, like a modern Holly Golightly.) Or you'll be out walking your dog and through a series of coincidences, become friends with the girl across the courtyard who makes amazing pies in between her painting work.
The point is, you never know, so just be kind and see where life takes you.
Forget aging gracefully; just age into yourself.
Parker directly quotes Nora Ephron on this, so I should too: "You know, Parker, you will always feel the same. You will just keep getting older." And like Parker, I take comfort in the fact that I'll always feel a little like an "impish woman-child" instead of "another womanly-type woman," and I'll probably be wearing Chucks and hoodies until the day I die.
There's also a wonderful bit in the book's opener about headwear and turbans, but that's a treasure for you to read on your own. I can't share every secret.
The best response for any creative who's confronting career angst
When asked "what are you working on?" and you're feeling a little fragile and self-defensive about your life, just respond like Parker: "Other career options, new media ideas, new forms, courage, a positive attitude, gratitude."
That's my mantra moving forward, anyway.
And a bonus:
Trust your animal instinct.
"I don't trust people who don't like dogs but I trust dogs who don't like people." Enough said.