Drew Barrymore Talks Her New Book ‘Wildflower’ [Interview]
It feels as though Drew Barrymore has lived through a few lives. At first she was the precocious adorable child actress in cult films like E.T. and Firestarter. Then, as her star rose to fame, and she became a household name, her struggles with addiction overshadowed her career.
As a result of having a mother in constant turmoil, Barrymore was smoking cigarettes and drinking by the age of nine, and being introduced to drugs at Studio 54. By the time she was fourteen, she entered rehab for alcoholism and drugs and emancipated herself by fifteen. Then there was the resurgence of her career as an adult, with hits like Scream, The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, and Charlie’s Angels, put her back on top.
Once she proved that her rock steady career wasn’t a fluke, Barrymore settled into family life, while producing films and being choosier over acting roles. Now, the actress-producer has decided to take on a new challenge in writing her first book as an adult. The book is titled “Wildflower,” and while Barrymore comes from a very dramatic background, with stories of alcohol abuse and neglect, you won’t find any melodrama or sensationalism in this book. Instead, “Wildflower” is a collection of short essays with Barrymore simply reflecting on a few moments in time — some are painful, some surprising, and others, such as a few anecdotes from hanging with good friend Cameron Diaz, are downright funny.
Drew Barrymore stopped by AOL to chat about her new role as author.
On the process of writing her book “Wildflower”:
I wrote it in an organized fashion, which isn’t my strong suit. The question “Can I see your passport?” will basically make me s–t my pants every time someone asks it. I think when you have goals in life, if you can properly carve out the time to do them, it’s a really successful combination. I think we can all talk ourselves out in ways to miss those windows, but if you really commit to them in a certain way, it’s extraordinary what you can get done.
I always dreamt of writing a book. It was something I wanted to do my whole life. I do think that the term “timing is everything” is so apt and true. I don’t think I could have written this book before I was 40 and a mom, and had this objective perspective on my life. This book isn’t about any tag line or anything sensational. It’s just quiet love letters about moments in time and to people that formed me in a way I could have never anticipated. It’s an unshuffled card deck. There’s no timeline. It takes place all over my life because that’s the way we remember our lives. We don’t think in a linear fashion, we jump around like jumping beans.
On writing to her daughters Olive and Frankie:
I got this idea while I was driving in the car to write my two daughters each a letter — Dear Olive and Dear Frankie, and I didn’t know how they would come out and I didn’t know if they would make it into the book. I didn’t know if they would be good enough, but it was a really fun exercise to sit down and write to my kids. I write in a journal to them every day, I have a five year journal so every day it gets five to ten sentences about what the day was, and I think that will be so great for them when they’re older. I wish I had that from my parents.
On struggling through writing:
I did two to three hours a day, two to three days a week, and that’s exactly how I wrote it. It took me eight months. There were definitely days where I was like, “I’m never going to get there.” Then you do and you just keep going. I started running out of ideas, and getting lost, or thinking I suck and I have no business doing this and then there were moments where I was laughing when I was writing, or moments where I was crying while I was writing.
On how writing healed her:
I wrote with my heart. I wrote the way that I speak, I wrote the way that I think, I wrote the way I remember or imagine. It was a very profound experience. I also kicked a lot of baggage. Being a mom with my two daughters, and having this 40 year long, very tumultuous, sensitive run with my own mother, I was able to truly get to places that I only wished I could get to in my whole life. The pain and the guilt were overtaken with a lot of grace and respect, and a calm that I always wished was there, instead of the storm. It was a miracle. Writing is powerful.
On how motherhood changed her:
Acting saved my life in so many ways and now that I have kids, it’s so funny how it’s on the back burner. It’s just not in my mind. As a woman when you give birth to a child, anything that anybody tells you is annoying bulls–t. If it doesn’t have anything to do with keeping this child alive, then I’m not interested. Then you worry, and say, “Will ‘it’ ever come back?” It’s just gone. Slowly but surely, like the waves of an ocean, it breathes itself back in. It starts to coalesce again and you start to remember who you are. You’re not trying to get back to you — you’re no longer you. You’re a mother.