Maggie Rowe had intended to title her second memoir, “I Am Not Nice.”
The writer and performer began following her acclaimed 2017 book “Brave Sin: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience” with a “self-exposure,” which peels off the layers. layers in her public persona as she explores issues of image and “true generosity.”
Unexpected events will turn the memoir into “Easy Street,” in which Rowe tells the story of an unexpected and complicated friendship with another woman as the two go through very different crises.
Rowe, who has written for TV’s “Arrested Development” and “Flaked,” said: “The book took two big turns that I didn’t anticipate.
A fateful meeting
About 15 years ago, Rowe’s husband, TV writer Jim Vallely, met and befriended a mother named Sunny and adult daughter Joanna while they were sautéing outside a Koo Koo Roo restaurant. The couple recognized his name as a writer on “The Golden Girls,” their favorite show, and Sunny and Joanna ended up becoming a part of the couple’s lives, going for a swim or watching “Keeping Up With.” the Kardashians” with Rowe and her husband.
But after years of attending Christmas parties and celebrating Halloween, Sunny broke her hip and after a while in a nursing home, she passed away. Joanna, in her middle age and suffering from polyneuropathy, was left on the brink of homelessness. Rowe will help.
Meanwhile, Rowe is going through her own challenge: a resurgence of a form of OCD known as Pure O — “meaning obsessions without corresponding physical compuls,” explains Rowe. – and are struggling to find proper treatment.
Rowe, who began writing the book before the two events that would shape it, decided to pause the project amid these crises. “I definitely took a break from writing for at least the first six months. I didn’t do anything except survive,” she said.
As Rowe continues to write, she realizes that there is now a “hero’s journey” for her and Joanna.
“As these two events changed my life, they changed the perspective of the book,” says Rowe. “Anxieties about my place in the world and envy and how I am perceived and how I perceive myself eliminate the more pressing concerns of my own sanity and Joanna is still alive.”
One underlying topic is how difficult it can be to get help. Rowe said: “Joanna and I went through two very different mazes at the same time.
“I had a great insurance coverage. I already have Writer’s Guild insurance. In a way, the world is my oyster as far as I am approached,” she added. However, finding the right mental health professionals who can help her has been a difficult journey.
For Joanna, the maze involved navigating the Social Security system, finding resources to prepare her to live alone and obtain housing. Rowe said: ‘Her life was completely the same. “She was completely dependent on her mother and when her mother died, my husband and I were the only people she knew.”
It was a detail Rowe revealed a bug in the system to help people, especially in Joanna’s case. Sunny is Joanna’s agent paying Social Security. After her mother passed away, Joanna’s disability payments simply ended and won’t start again until she has someone new to collect the money for her.
“Social Security cannot appoint you an agent. They don’t do that and it’s illegal to pay for one,” Rowe said. “It puts people in a position of having to find someone willing to do the paperwork and the accounting. That’s a big ask for someone who’s in a position to need someone to help them do such things in the first place. I bet a lot of people fall into the system when their agent dies. “
Despite its heavy theme, “Easy Street” contains humor, such as when Sunny tells Rowe she looks like Katherine Heigl to which Joanna adds, “But not as pretty.” Rowe’s astute, astute observations of life in Los Angeles say a lot about the wealth, privilege, and class in the city. For example, her excuse was to want Joanna to relax before they checked out.
For one thing, getting a haircut is a confirmed urban icon of disposable income and should signal to homeowners that Joanna is more likely to pay rent on time than someone who cannot, Rowe writes. stroke your hair with both hands.
“I totally feel that way. It was silly,” Rowe said. “If I can tame my hair, I can fix this problem.”
Overall, though, “Easy Street” is about what Rowe has learned through helping Joanna as she’s going through her own struggles.
“I think it becomes more about reaching outside of yourself,” she says, “and having some other focus can really be a saving grace during a mental health crisis. .”
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/22/how-the-golden-girls-and-a-chance-meeting-led-maggie-rowe-to-easy-street/ How ‘The Golden Girls’ And A Chance Meeting Got Maggie Rowe To ‘Easy Street’ – San Bernardino Sun