On Saturday, Ferris will be doing a book signing and reading from Marrying George Clooney at the BookBar. Westword spoke with Ferris about menopause, life crises and Clooney's new wife.
Westword: Tell me a little about the book. It's a memoir that I started writing in the thick of menopause. Right smack in the middle of writing the book my mother was diagnosed with dementia. So it went from being a funny, whacky middle-of-the-night musings to me actually getting to know my mother. It became about our relationship, and turned out to be really powerful for me.
Did you feel like anything was too personal to talk about? It was really therapeutic, and there was a lot that I didn't want to share. But I'm a sharer, so I decided to go balls out and not withhold anything and write my truth. A lot of what that was about for me was that I want women to speak their truth and not be afraid and step into their power. If we don't do that then we're really withholding what's important in our life.
How do you feel now that George Clooney married someone else? I'm grateful. I've been married to the most wonderful man for 22 years and he's really supportive and extraordinary. I think we all have fantasies. Maybe next year I'll write about marrying Brad Pitt or Daniel Day Lewis. I think it's great that he got married and to the woman that he did marry because she seems amazing. But I still think I would be a better wife.
What was your goal with the book? I wanted to say that we shouldn't be afraid of taking risks and speaking our truths or what we want to do with our life. For me, it was a lot about mothers and daughters and understanding who my mother was, because we had a really difficult relationship. There was a moment at the end of her life when I realized for the first time that I became the woman my mother always wanted to be. That was very powerful. Those of us who are 50 or 60, our mothers grew up in a time where they had to give up a lot to have families. They didn't pursue their dreams. They didn't have the luxuries we had or the equality we have, even though we are still far from where we should be. I hope my book gives women the courage to stand up and to say no, and to forgive their mothers and know that their mothers did the best they could.
What do you think of modern-day feminism? I think it's more of a culturally aware feminism. I see someone like Beyoncé doing her thing. She's out there saying, 'Be bold. Be audacious.' Women are using their incredible gifts of writing to say what it's like to be a bold, audacious girls. I feel like there's a younger generation of women who are so profoundly supportive of each other. My generation, women around 60, had that competitive edge with each other. I think that's getting erased a bit. With the younger women today there's a camaraderie that's profound and palpable. I think it's a real sisterhood
What's your advice for people going through a midlife crisis? My advice is to embrace it. Going through menopause and a midlife crisis is honestly like giving birth to yourself. It's messy and complicated, and it's really worth the trip and the adventure.
What about advice for the millennial quarter-life crisis? I don't think it's new, I think everyone goes through it. We go through puberty and we go through all these life crises. Any crisis that you hit, ask yourself, 'What am I afraid of and what do I want?' We have to stop seeking approval. We go through these crises because we're afraid we're not going to make someone happy, we're not doing what we thought we should do. We need to really stop and ask ourselves what we want, who dowe want to love, where do we want to be, and what do we want to be in life. Chances are when you ask yourself these questions, when you're honest with yourself, you're going to come out of that crises feeling so fucking empowered.
What's coming up next? I'm doing an anthology with Seal Press called 30 Shades of Blue. It came about from Robin Williams committing suicide. I thought I had to do something. I tried to kill myself when I was really young. I wrote a piece about it and it went viral. Now we have 34 contributors about suicide and depression. We hope that people will read it and feel that they don't need to take a drastic measure and that they can reach out for help.
Ferris will be at BookBar at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 25; the event is free.
Follow Amanda Moutinho on Twitter at @amandamoutinho.