Casey Wilson on his writing process for “Wreckage of My Presence”

Casey Wilson is perhaps best known as an actor, with roles in “Gone Girl”, “Atypical”, “Happy Endings” and “Black Monday” as well as a stint as a member of the “Saturday” cast. Night Live ”and as a podcaster (“ Salope Sesh ”). However, she also has a full resume, including co-writing the comedy feature films “Bride Wars” and “Ass Backwards”. Now she’s about to publish her first book, “Wreckage of My Presence,” released May 4 from Harper, a collection of essays reflecting her family and romantic relationships and some of her past work, all from an angle. humorous.

“Wreckage of My Presence” talks about some of your professional experiences, but it also dives deep into your personal life. How did you know how much of each part of you was enough to include? And did you approach the behind-the-scenes stories any differently if it was past shows where you might have already told a lot of those stories in interviews?

Some stories just aren’t finished yet, in a way, and I think it’s easier to write things down in hindsight. I used to not talk about my experience on “SNL” because I think it was so mixed up it was exhilarating and really painful. And now, it’s been so many years that I’m really laughing about it and I’m so grateful that I can tell this story a little out of the way. I was really ready to write when I realized I wasn’t going to try and reverse engineer in terms of what people would think, or would they like this story, or had they heard that? I just said I was going to tell stories that are funny, that make me laugh and that mean something to me, and I hope they resonate with someone.

So when does the “Happy Endings” reveal?

To be honest, I wasn’t going to include an essay on “Happy Endings” just because people love the show madly or haven’t seen it. My editor thought it should be included, so I’m really glad I did, eventually.

How did this process start?

I wanted to do this, honestly, since I was little. My mom had these Erma Bombeck books, and she was this hilarious essayist who wrote stories about her life. [as] housewife. And I love David Sedaris and Nora Ephron so much and I always wanted to do that, and I was scared, frankly, to expose myself that way, but I was about to be 40 and I felt ready to tell a few stories. I was far enough away from my mother’s passing that I felt there were some stories to be told that would hopefully help people and make them laugh.

Was it a situation where you literally sat between takes of “Black Monday” and episodes of your “Bitch Sesh” podcast? How did some of your other creative efforts affect your work on the book?

Writing for TV and movies or playing the role of an actor, it’s such a committee-done process that there was actually something wonderful about it, once I got over the fear of writing on my own. , to be able to do what I wanted to do. I’m such a collaborative person that I’m always afraid of being left alone with my own thoughts, and really writing a book is the ultimate version of that. Fortunately, I wrote it to the Jane Club, which is that co-workspace, and I felt less alone. I’m such a social person that the idea of ​​facing a blank page, let alone digging into your darkest memories, was intimidating. But I just looked around and saw all these women banging and I felt inspired.

Did you share your work as it was in progress with any of the women present or the people who are in the book to give you their opinion?

I haven’t shown it to anyone except Danielle Schneider, my podcast co-host, and my friend Matt McConkey. They read it in the very last step before I returned it; I just wanted to make sure I didn’t say anything so blatant. But other than that, I didn’t show it to my husband or other close friends or even my family. I reached out to everyone I mentioned in even a tangential way just to get their blessing because I’m always afraid people don’t like or hate me. And I really didn’t want the spirit of the book to be afraid of it. If I mentioned anyone, I wanted it to be with good intention. I said some people were aiming and I didn’t contact them, but I was calling old boyfriends. I felt like I was making amends, calling people out of the blue and saying, “Can I read you a little passage?” Are you okay? “

What would have happened if they hadn’t accepted? Did you really forget a story?

100%. It is not worth it for me. I wanted there to be good energy around it, and my last thing I want is to hurt some feelings so I can laugh. There is too much laughter to be had at the expense of someone I love. Having said that, I laugh a lot at the expense of people, but not the people I love.

What happened with the things that were still a little raw, that you maybe didn’t want people to laugh at or even know about?

My therapist always says that when you can turn something into a funny story, it’s when you’ve dealt with something. And I try to do it quickly, in a way, and almost to be a stranger to certain experiences – to come out of them and say, “It’s crazy what’s happening to this other person.” Yes. But I also think comedy is the best way to make a point that doesn’t sound like a lesson. And so, I just tried to be true to myself. I definitely wanted to tell darker things but I also think that doesn’t mean you can laugh while you say them

Much of my mom’s story in the book, I reveal things about her, which is difficult when someone isn’t alive. And I wanted it to be a love letter to my mother, but also a realistic portrait. And so, I asked my dad and my brother about it and they kinda said what you said, “This is your story to tell.” And my brother said, “I really think mom would like her story to be broadcast and if that could help anyone, but she would love it.” So I took this and ran with it.

You have a very honest and serious essay on your son and the food sensitivities he lives with, but also the journey to diagnose him correctly. Did you have different rules about what you were willing to share with your kids?

There are certainly darker elements of these stories that I instinctively knew: “It’s too far; it’s too much to share. In the case of my son, I think there is so much guilt from mom. At least in this particular case – and that doesn’t mean there are things I shouldn’t feel guilty about as a mother – but in this particular case my son ended up having a health problem. so bad that, almost in a slightly comically way, had nothing to do with me – even if it had to do with my genes, so I’ll take care of it. But by sharing this and just sharing this notion that moms have such an instinct about our kids, I want to empower moms. We know when something is wrong, and we don’t always have to do something wrong.

You talk a lot about your anger, and there’s one line that stands out that says anger has served you well as an actor.

A lot of the roles that I play are the friend and the person you want to be friends with, which obviously I like that. But I always had a really angry side and had to tap into it and really learn where that line is, just like a human on Earth. How angry you can be and how does it impact another person? I think mastering that, and by that, I don’t mean not being angry, but controlling it in a professional setting, whether in playing or elsewhere, has really served me well. I think anger galvanizes in a good way.

How did you determine how many “housewives” to include, given that you’ve already talked so much about the franchise in your podcast?

I wanted to write something about housewives to talk to, what I’ve said before is that it’s not just OK to love them, it’s wonderful. But also, I wanted to give it the context, which I don’t think I really ever have, is where I was in my life when I found the show and what a dark time it was. And I hear from so many people that these types of shows are actually really weirdly there for them or that they play in the background of heartbreak. And I think that’s something wonderful about the shows. So I wanted to tell this story in particular – that when and how you get to things sometimes is more important than what they almost are.

May 4th is “Housewives” New York premiere day and it was such a beautiful coincidence. It’s fascinating and we feel divinely guided.

So you are going to focus on “Housewives” and not the launch of the book or the new season of “Black Monday”?

[Laughs.] Exactly, I told my publicist to clear my calendar for this week because I have to settle in with “Housewives”. There are priorities!

What can you preview about where “Black Monday” Season 3 finds your character Tiff?

All I can say is that her fashion empire is booming and that she may or may not become a full-fledged gay icon, and that’s thrilling and exciting. And I became blonde.

Was it a wig?

It’s a wig, but it’s exciting to have a great tan and a blonde coming out of your 40s. It seems fair. This is what we all need. To be told you need tan spray? How lucky am I?

What you didn’t know about Casey Wilson:

Age: 40
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
Because she cares the most about: The Kathy Wilson Foundation
Hidden talent : “I have a perfect pitch.”
If she wasn’t in entertainment: “I hesitate between being in politics or being a floral arranger. “
Childhood hero: “Alex P. Keaton minus his political leanings.”

Scott R. Banks