The television star and writer spoke about the anniversary of Tulsa’s independent bookstore as well as the publication of her memoir.
On Saturday, Oct. 12, the IDL Ballroom opened its doors (and its bar) to Tulsa’s literary lovers and fans of nostalgia. For Magic City Books’s two year anniversary, the bookstore brought in self-proclaimed “fourth-tier actress” Busy Philipps. Philipps’s memoir, “This Will Only Hurt A Little,” set to release in paperback next week, was given in advance to attendees of the event. It was somewhat serendipitous that Magic City Books was celebrating their two year anniversary when Philipps’s book was celebrating its first.
Philipps began the evening with a writer’s inside look at the ridiculousness that is the book industry. “It’s a fucking mess” she announced, following her tale of approaching her local bookstore in Los Angeles on the day her hardcover was supposed to be released and discovering that they had already sold two copies before the release date.
She admitted to the audience that she had been writing this memoir in her head since she was around five years old and that she had to write the book chronologically or the writing wouldn’t get done. Furthermore, Philipps told the audience that she “crashed” her book, meaning that she didn’t turn the completed product in on time, and her editors only had about two weeks to polish and publish the book. Her deadline for the book was in December, which she thought was “outrageous, unreasonable and stupid.” As a college student, this immediately resonated with me.
Philipps proceeded with a description of her education, explaining that she would take a variety of college courses at a variety of higher education institutions while she was in between acting jobs. In 1999, Busy Philipps starred on the cult classic, “Freaks and Geeks,” which she spoke passionately about. “The networks thought that people weren’t ready for a show like that,” Philipps claimed. This led to a tangent and a theory that Philipps had about how the world broke in 1999 with the rise of mindless, cheap entertainment that men in power promoted and produced. “I’m so glad I didn’t have a boy,” Philipps proclaimed.
Philipps would go on to star in the teen drama, “Dawson’s Creek,” where she would meet lifelong friend Michelle Williams. Her adult career was mostly confined to “CougarTown” with guest appearances on popular sitcoms such as “How I Met Your Mother.”
However, what Philipps’ claimed she was proudest of was her six-month talk show on E! Network. The show came about after Philipps earned notoriety for her Instagram stories and her very public opposition to abortion bans and legislation being passed around the country.
Philipps took a moment to explain that her speaking out was in no way to detract from or to overpower the stories and experiences of women who had been speaking out about these topics for years, but rather to use the platform she had to add to the conversation.
When Philipps wrote about the abortion she had when she was 15 in her book, she was terrified that that would be what readers and critics caused a fuss about. She was surprised, and frankly annoyed at the fact that the storm came from the section about the on-set harassment she experienced at the hands of “Freaks and Geeks” co-star, James Franco, a story which she had told publicly several times prior to the release of the book.
Philipps spoke candidly and fondly about her two daughters, Birdie and Cricket, both of whom she claimed to be “woke as fuck.” This led into a really heartwarming story, and a few joyful tears shed from Philipps, about how her daughters were best friends with her ex-boyfriend’s daughters and that they all went to the same school.
It was at a school performance that she received an email from her publicist asking Philipps to testify in front of congress regarding abortion legislation. She said “of course.” For every woman, for her daughters, she would speak publicly about her decision and her experience. She said before congress, “Believe what you want to believe, but you can’t impose your beliefs on me. I am a woman. I have a body. It’s mine. I get to choose.” Phillips couldn’t resist taking a shot at government officials who she had to sit with as they spouted off religious ideologies and beliefs. “I’m sorry,” Phillips sarcastically began, “I thought there was still this thing about separation of church and state.” The audience roared and applauded.
Philipps discussed many more hot button topics, such as the gender pay-gap and the need for diverse representation in media and Hollywood. She fondly recalled a conversation with Michelle Williams in which she asked, “Who would have thought some random ass girls from Dawson’s Creek would be having to take down the patriarchy?”
Philipps concluded with a Q&A session, moderated by her childhood best friend Emily BB, who had travelled to Tulsa with her. Philipps ended the night with a bit of advice: “If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout this whole book writing process, it’s that I’m going to embrace the fucking weridness that is me.” I don’t think there could have been a better way for her to close out the evening.