What Would Fran Say About That?

December 20, 2022 | Paul Richardson

It’s more than a bit ironic that Fran Lebowitz makes her living traveling the country giving talks and answering questions. She hates traveling. As The New Yorker wrote, she is “the patron saint of staying at home and doing nothing.”

The problem is, of course, Lebowitz has lots of opinions. And, since she has been stymied by “writer’s blockade” for forty years (after two widely acclaimed books), well, that leaves talking.

“I am a psychotic perfectionist when it comes to writing, which makes it very hard,” she told the Guardian recently. “It’s a combination of that and the fact that if I’m not the laziest person that ever lived, then I’m certainly among them. Writing is really hard, and I’m really lazy – and talking is easy for me.”

Lebowitz also loves the format of her talks, where she speaks for 30 minutes, then opens it up to questions from moderator and audience. “Answering questions from the audience is, for me, my favorite recreational activity,” she said in the Guardian interview. I like it because it’s surprising. You never know what people are going to ask, and I’m very amused by it.”

Factoids about Fran Lebowitz, gleaned from the internet she boycotts:

  • She owns 12,000 books
  • She was expelled from high school for “nonspecific surliness.”
  • She is a bit of fashionista. Her signature outfit is comprised an Anderson & Sheppard coat, a white shirt, jeans, and chunky boots.
  • She does not have a cellphone or internet. (“Not having these things is not an accident. I know they exist. It’s like not having children: it was no accident.”)
  • Her greatest fear is rodents.
  • She doesn’t know how to cook. (“I hate to cook. I find it incredibly tedious. Last night, I was peeling a cucumber and I was infuriated. Like, why am I peeling this cucumber?”)
  • She is not a hugger. (“I was so shocked when hugging started. I thought, Are you out of your mind? I would put my hand out and people would go in for a hug. This is when someone’s introducing you to someone. I think it would be great if hugging stopped. Hugging apparently is less virus-producing than shaking hands, but hugging is its own kind of contagion..”)
  • She considers her greatest achievement that she has never killed anyone (“but has been tempted numerous times”).

Lebowitz will share her thoughts (and answer questions) on March 8 (International Women’s Day) at Festival Boca. Tickets are expected to sell out. Get yours here.

(Quotes in bullet points from a 2020 New Yorker interview.)

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