Author Susan Lieu joins Zibby to discuss her stunning, devastating, and intimate memoir (and Zibby’s April Book Club Pick!), THE MANICURIST’S DAUGHTER. Susan describes her childhood as the daughter of Vietnamese refugees in California. Then she talks about her savvy and charismatic mother, who, after setting up two successful nail salons, died from a botched tummy tuck when Susan was only eleven. Susan describes her long journey to understand her mother's untimely, traumatizing death—from memory, through detective work, and even by spirit conjuring. She also talks about her own struggles with body image, her relationship with her family members, and the challenges of navigating intergenerational trauma. Finally, she talks about her creative process, including the evolution of her one-woman show and the experience of writing this memoir.


Zibby: Welcome, Susan. Thanks so much for coming on Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books, our very first live studio edition where we have cameras and phones and lights and computers. So I don't know we'll see how it goes.

Susan: Thanks for having me. It's my first podcast interview.

Zibby: Oh my gosh. How is it so far?

Susan: It's pretty wild. It's pretty wild. 4D. It's a 4D experience right now.

Zibby: 4D. Oh my gosh. And, as I will have mentioned in the introduction, I picked this for my book club because I just loved your book so much.

It's so good.

Susan: Thank you so much.

Zibby: I couldn't stop reading. I wanted to know everything about you. Now I feel like, you know, as you do with memoir, right?

Susan: Now you do know everything about me that relates to the through line. That's right.

Zibby: That relates to the through line and that's like the whole thing with memoir, right?

There's all this stuff you can leave out, but people feel like they know you anyway. That's right. Yeah, what did you leave in?

Susan: Oh my god. I mean, there's like, um, different stories related to the food. So there's this one story of me and my mom eating this noodle soup, and she keeps pressuring me to keep finishing it.

And the description of me eventually vomiting it up, it goes on for many paragraphs. And my editor was like, Strike. She's like, I think we're good. I think we got the idea. I was like, are you sure? Talking about Traveler's Diary in Vietnam, the first time I went as a kid, she's like, Strike. I was like, Okay, I just wanted to be authentic.

She was like, we got the idea. Maybe those graphic things related to my body.

Zibby: Interesting. Maybe you could do like a little, like on the website, you know, very graphic and then just put the graphic section for anyone who wants to like dive deep.

Susan: Explicit.

Zibby: Yeah.

Susan: Explicit.

Zibby: Yeah. Comes with a warning. Okay. The Manicurist Daughter, a memoir.

Tell everybody what your book is about, please.

Susan: Oh my gosh. It's my story to know my mother. who died from a botched plastic surgery when I was 11. And the issue here is for the next two decades after my mom died, my family has never spoken of her or how she died. And so on the brink of motherhood. I was getting all this pressure from my dad, my aunts to have kids, and I was just like, hold on, how can I become a mom if I don't know her?

So I go on this wild goose chase to know her, I seek the help of spirit channelers, read thousands of pages of depositions, even track down the plastic surgeon's family so I can get answers. And every time I learn something new, I put it on stage in a one woman show, which I eventually tour across the country in a way to, to know her and to know myself.

Zibby: Way to take your pain and make it art. Do you know what I mean? Like you do that on a daily basis. You do it in here in the book, all of the loss and confusion and unanswered questions. It's like we get to go through it with you.

Susan: Yeah. I wish, like, my actual life experience was that, like, streamlined, though, like, I think when I was going through it and living through it, it was so confusing, like, to grow up as a young kid and your entire family just pretend it never happened is a pretty strange experience.

It was very lonely.

Zibby: I bet. I mean, my heart broke for you in this book. There was a moment where you went to school and finally told the woman, like, in the playground, some teacher, and you were, like, sobbing and you were finally, like, my mom died and you cried for the very first time. It, like, broke my heart.

And you got that hug that you so needed and your family was just like, are you okay? Yeah, your family was just like, you know, plowing ahead, you know?

Susan: Yeah, I mean, I think growing up Vietnamese American, like, we are very emotionally repressed. We don't hug. We don't say, how are you? What are you up to? I'm proud of you.

Like, we don't connect on that way. The only way we connect is through food, which is rotten in this book because there's so much body shaming that happens even after my mom dies from a botched tummy tuck. But that's exactly right, that the first time I was able to actually cry was with a stranger.

Zibby: What you say about body image runs through the book and, you know, there's a particularly powerful scene sort of at the very end, sort of like bookending, like you finding your voice and being able to sort of stick up for yourself.

There was a moment where you realize your mother is just very much like you, right? Like, you're like, Oh, maybe we have the same body and there's like nothing wrong with that. And you know, why is there so much pressure? And then you look into the, to the cultural reasons why, like what were, what was your mom being fed?

Right? What, what ads was she seeing and where are you? Okay. Yeah.

Susan: I mean, I'm like, I'm in it right now. I'm like, yeah, this is so sad. Sad. Yeah, it's, it's, my mom grew up in rural Mekong Delta in Vietnam, post Vietnam War, and she couldn't finish high school. She had to drop out in ninth grade to support her family and then eventually get married to support the family, right?

Like, the options that women had at that time was very limited, and so your value was determined by how you look. And so in a way, for my father and my aunts to put a lot of pressure onto me. About like no one's gonna love you if you're too fat, you know, and and it's like the word fat I mean, it's like I use it generously, but basically if I wasn't a double zero, right?

Yeah, and that was the context in which they're growing up And that's what women were subject to in terms of what their worth was, right? So I understand that at the same time as an adult. Now with my own kid, I'm like, you know, that was pretty messed up.

Zibby: Isn't it funny how like, I mean, I come from a Jewish family where people guilt me about weight all the time.

Like we have our own way, but it's a little different. Right. It's not as overt. It's almost worse. No, I'm kidding.

Susan: What's an example?

Zibby: No, like, you know, my grandmother, I would go visit her and she'd say like, Oh honey, like, maybe you put on some weight and I'd say like, you know, yeah, or no, or whatever. And then I would come home and like, on her calligraphied stationery, I would have like, you know, five script pages of how I need to work on my body and my weight and what I should do.

Susan: Oh my god.

Zibby: You know what I mean?

Susan: Yeah, she did it with elegance. With

Zibby: elegance! Maybe that's the word. She, yeah. Not as like, lose weight, you know, but more like, let me convince you why.

Susan: But maybe even more painful because she thought about it for an hour.

Zibby: Right. I know. I'm like, oh my gosh, the amount of work that went into this letter and how troubled she was by it.

You know? Anyway, I won't even go into, I mean, a lot of families and a lot of cultures prioritize weight and body and do it in like different ways, but it is a shame and I feel like now we've at least reached a cultural moment where, women our age like what can we do with our daughters? Yeah, totally her kids But so I don't know although I feel like I'm already messing up my kids.


Susan: You and me both, you know, I just came out with my TEDx talk. It just dropped on Friday.

Zibby: Oh my gosh I didn't see it.

Susan: Yeah, and it's called how to make peace with your belly fat and it was like it was about how my ancestors slapped me around in a sweat lodge trying to get my head on straight about all this This pain, this intergenerational trauma that I'm trying to process.

And then I started looking at the comments and it was the worst. It was like, well, maybe you should eat salad. And then it goes on and on. And I was like, Oh my God, like I've just interacted with trolls.

Zibby: Yeah. It's a, it's a scary place out there. Yeah. You can't, you just don't, no more comments for you. You know?

Susan: Yeah. But I mean, it's, it's still very tempting, but even in this age of body positivity, where we think we're at a new place. It is. We're not.

Zibby: Okay. Talk to me about the fact that your family can channel spirits. I mean, you put it as like, Oh yeah, that's just something that happened the way like, you know, we might go to the movies or something.

Yeah. Yeah. Like we just have people in the family who like convulse and take the spirit of somebody else and then get really tired and we have to pick them up and drop them somewhere else. That's really cool. I'm like, cool. It's amazing. It's amazing. Is it like, this is totally, like tell me about this. It was amazing.

How, tell me about this.

Susan: Okay, so growing up my dad could channel spirits. So it's kind of like when you watch the movie Ghost and Whoopi Goldberg like gets channeled by Patrick Swayze and you're like, wait what's happening here, but she can convey messages. And so that was really normal. My, my dad used to do it growing up and we would sit around him, watch him, hold him, hold space, see what messages he had from the ancestors.

And so this was, this is super normal to us.

Zibby: Did you ever, like, go to school or say, like, this is what happened?

Susan: No, that's, that would be crazy.

Zibby: But, like, you knew it was something, like, not to talk about, or what?

Susan: Uh, yeah, I mean, I was already weird enough, you know what I mean? Like, I had, like, banh mis where there's, like, pork floss that looks like carpet.

Like, there's, like, you know, like, we don't eat cereal for breakfast, we eat, like, fish and rice, you know, it was, I was already knowing that I was different enough. I wasn't gonna, it was, it's hard to be like, hey, we're playing pogs, my dad's channel spirits, you know, like, it's hard to, like, kind of weave it in, but it wasn't like my friends would come over and they would see it, it was a very private thing that would happen with the family.

And I stress this in the book, that my dad is a super introverted person, so it's not like, He's kind of faking it and getting attention like this is a thing that it was kind of a little uncontrollable for him and we would hold space for him, but like growing up we would go visit other fortune tellers, psychics, spirit channelers We would go to their apartment my mom and dad It was just like a you know you go get nail salon supplies on the weekend groceries and go to the spirit channeler like it was just like on the punch list the fabric of what we did growing up.

I run into other people with talents along the way. And so you're gonna see Cindy, the psychic.

Zibby: Yes.

Susan: And uncle number nine, . And they're also delivering messages from my mom on the other side throughout the book.

Zibby: So do you totally believe that all people who have died can come back and talk to us at any time?

Susan: I mean, it kind of depends on your karma. Like I, I kind of try to unpack that too, of like the particulars, the writ of it. I'm not really sure.

Zibby: Yep. But I think you haven't figured out the entire universe.

Susan: No, I haven't. I mean, Cindy the Psychic says my mom's like, because I haven't crossed over, she still has to fulfill her duty as mother and daughter.

And so that's why she can still communicate to me. Like, I don't know after I cross, like, if I can still find her, you know, or, you know, what that's all about. Like, do I think like I have past karma with my brother? And sometimes I think he was my past husband. Yeah, a little bit, you know, but like, do we ever talk about?

No. But yeah, I mean, spirit channeling, it's just, it was just part of growing up.

Zibby: Does that give you comfort about death?

Susan: Grief comes and goes in so many different ways. You know, like, there are times when I'm like, Mom, it's by my side! And then sometimes I'm like, I'm so alone! Like, I don't What about your

Zibby: Own death, though?

Susan: Oh yeah, I'm good on that. Yeah. Like, I think that's why I live life the way I do, is because I don't know when I'm gonna die. So, and I want to minimize regret. So if there's something I want to do, I'm going to go do it. Which has always been an awkward thing with HR professionals because they like look at my resume and they're like, you're kind of a flight risk, but you're really passionate.

I'm like, yeah. Yeah.

Zibby: It's funny you mention your career because you talk about different jobs and different quests to figure out what to do when. This job was working, then I was fired, but then I, what should I do this? Should I pursue the play? Should I, you know, and you've jumped around a bunch, but it all still works out.

But in the time, you didn't feel like anything was working out.

Susan: Oh, of course not. Like, my family was always concerned. They're like, Susan, do you have a job? Because you went to Harvard. And I'd be like, uh, you know, I'm following a bliss, you know, Oprah. And then they'd be like, no, where's your job? Like, my dentist brother can't keep giving me free cleanings.

You know, they're like, get it together. And I think the gift that I was born with that I inherited after my mom died is that I just, I can't fake it, you know, like I have to do what I feel is the right thing to do. And it's very hard for me to not do that, which is ironic since I'm also a performer. Right.

And it's like about. Taking on a role, but it just gave me a sense of like, I must do the thing that I intuitively feel is the right thing to do.

Zibby: Wow. Speaking of your brother, who you mentioned a minute ago, and I'm, I feel like I got to know everyone in your family a little bit through the book. The only piece we don't get to see in the book is how the people in the family react to the book itself.

So, how are they reacting? We see them reacting to the show and how that ends up informing all of your performances and refining everything and getting to the bottom and healing and all of it. So, now that it's also this beautiful memoir, what now? How is everybody?

Susan: Everyone's in a different place.

Zibby: Okay, okay.

Susan: Everyone's in a different place. So, like with my sister, she, when, after the editor green lighted it, and she was like, Okay, I think we're gonna go into production. I was like, give it back to me. Let me edit it one more time. And then I gave it to my sister and I said, Wendy, is there anything you want to tell me?

Like, you don't have editorial rights, but like, just tell me. She had three small notes and I said, great, happy to, to edit that. And then we went into production. It was after I, it went into, to the printer that I showed it to my brothers. One brother is very down and one brother, Pretends we're not doing this.

He never came to the show. So there's two brothers. Yep. And then with my dad, I just, he just received a finished copy. We haven't talked about it yet. He has never come to my shows. Oh my gosh. He said, if you come to Houston, we, we won't have a relationship. So consider if you really want to come here on tour.

So I didn't go there for the theater tour. I am going for the book tour, but I haven't told him yet. And he's like, when are you going to get a real job? Like loan officer. I want you to be a loan officer. And I'm like, what? That's all you think? I mean, it's fine to be a loan officer, but it's like, it's such a distance of what he knows about me.

So two siblings are, are really down and then they're going to be a part of the San Francisco book talk and they're going to come up on stage. And they're both throwing me parties and I also have a chocolate company with my sister and she's making a collab chocolate with the book. Oh my gosh. So, super supportive.

And then my brother.

Zibby: You can send some of that here. Okay.

Susan: Okay. Noted. And then, and my other brother and my dad just. It's, we don't speak of it. And I think I've come to a place where I've just accepted that. Like I don't, I'm not expecting anything more, but I did give him a copy after I went to the printer and, okay.

And that's where we're at.

Zibby: Well, I do feel, I know you said the book is really about your mom and coming to conclusions about her and, you know, Rediscovering her, honestly, in this story, but it also I feel like is a love letter to your dad, because by the end of it, you come to a totally new place about your relationship.

In the beginning, when we're reading about your relationship with him, as I know you felt about it at the time, you know, it's like, oh my gosh, this poor girl, like, there is no love being thrown her way at all. Like, it is just, you know, some of the things, I'm like, I don't know how, people reading are like, how do you think you would respond in that situation, right?

To be going through grief and have your aunts leave and, I'm sorry, you're crying again, and all that. And then to come to an understanding about his background and his makeup and how, yeah, did he do the best he could? Is this what he knew? He obviously loves you, you know?

Susan: Yeah. No. I think, so I think it's an 11 year old.

No one is explicitly talking about PTSD and being a boat person and what that brings to you and that he was orphaned by the time he was like a tween, you know, like we didn't talk about that So I got zero context and there's this really intense scene at my high school graduation party I got into Harvard people come and celebrate me and then he says, after everyone leaves, they're all lying to your face.

And, and like part of me was like, how cruel of you and part of me wondered if it was true, right? And it like really messed with my psyche about trusting people. But what kind of trust did he have in people too based on his life experience? So I, I think it's, it's been my own journey to have compassion for my father.

And Susan, the performer, was really grappling with a lot of the intergenerational trauma. And I would say. Truly, when I had my son, March 2020, great timing, that that's when I started doing my inner child work around my father. Around, like, I, I love my son. I love my son. Perhaps my father loves me too.

Because it's really, really hard for him to show. And there are moments and moments of hope, but it's still like, with family, I always feel like there's a reset button. Every time we hang out again, like, we're just, it's so easy to go back to the past. It's Right? Of like, where we were then.

Zibby: I know. I would take this. I would be concerned if I didn't, if I hadn't read that in every show you like cry the whole time. Yeah, so I, I'm prepared.

Susan: Oh, I'm in touch with my emotions. Yeah, I see that. Tear machine. Tear machine.

Zibby: Do you want a tissue? Do you want me to Here, hold on. I can Hold on.

Okay. Okay. We'll pause this for one second. Let's talk about the show itself a little bit.

Susan: Yeah. 140 lbs. How Beauty Killed My Mother.

Zibby: Yes. And it's gone through some iterations and here we are. So now you're touring with this particular version of the show. Just tell me the whole thing.

Susan: Sure. So every time I wanted to learn something new about my mom, I'd put it on stage.

The fifth one was called 140 Pounds. Debuted February 2019 in Seattle. Sold out run. It was also snowpocalypse. And it was like super snowing and crazy.

Zibby: I remember that.

Susan: I had to put on crampons to walk down to my bus stop. to even get to the theater but somehow everyone else came those two weekends and I play 15 characters in 65 minutes to tell the arc of the story of me, the last conversation I had with my mom where I told her I hated her, the morning where she told me she hated me.

I can't go to volleyball tryouts. And my discovery to know her, and the family dynamics, and a little bit about our family history. Mind you, I do not have an Evan Thay in theater. I have no training in theater. I have an MBA, and I only got an MBA because my dad was so upset with me that I don't have a master's degree, and that was the only thing I could qualify for, right?

And so anyways, I put on this show, and after that I was like, and then once I do it, I've proven I'm not a coward, and then I can take out my IUD. Like I am, I am, I can do this, right? Because this is. Because performing, I had started in stand up comedy, and I loved it, and I was doing really well, and then I got heckled really bad.

Like, so bad that that night, my, my siblings didn't mess with me, they just bought me a drink and didn't even talk about it. Like, it was really bad, and I, and I left the stage for three years, and I, I, I said, this is a dumb hobby. Who am I kidding? And it was coming back to saying, like, I want to step into my own shadow work and explore my demons and my anxiety around this because I can't become a mother.

And say, hey kid, do what you want in life, follow your dreams, if I know I didn't. I know I'm so competitive and ambitious that I'd project onto them and make their childhood terrible being like, you didn't get, like, first chair, you know? Like, I just felt like, now that we're middle class, like, I would, I would expect things from them, from their enrichment programs.

You know, I just knew I'd be that mom, and so I needed to check myself and take care of my stuff. And so that's why I started going on stage and after the show was over, I was like, I guess I'm done, but that's when everything just began. Because then I look up, and I thought I was just dealing with my stuff, I look up and everyone's like crying and laughing with me.

And they're telling me all these stories that are resonating for them around their own broken families, around their own body image issues, mental health, unresolved grief, like the list goes on, right? So you don't have to be a child of Vietnamese refugees to identify. You just need to just exist on this planet and, and, and have a broken heart.

And so I said, okay, well, I guess that was great. Uh, I'm pulling out the IUD. I'm going to have a baby now. Right when I find out I'm pregnant, I do the math and I realize, okay, well, if I want to give this arts career thing a shot, the second trimester is when I'm going to feel the best. Why don't I just put on a 10 city national tour? I produced myself. Great idea. And I did. And that's where I, because I wasn't sure after I had my kid if I was going to have postpartum anxiety. I just didn't know what the state of my life would be, was going to be. And so I thought, I just need to put all the momentum I can into this and then see what happens.

And little did I know, my lit agent was sitting in the New York premiere. Asked me if I wanted representation. We worked on the proposal all 2020. And then I got my book deal.

Zibby: Oh my gosh. So you didn't even write, you hadn't written it yet.

Susan: No! No, I haven't written it. I mean, it's like, but at this point, the fifth show, I mean, I'd have five drafts for every show.

And then I had my drafts for the book proposal, and then, and then eventually the, the memoir. So, I say that, that book you're, you're holding is 38 drafts in the making.

Zibby: Oh my gosh. Well, that's great. It worked.

Susan: Oh, good. I'm glad.

Zibby: You know, I feel like the book is one of your ways to help. That you tried to heal yourself, right?

Soothe yourself. You started with this cultish, like yoga, breathing spiritual person that you tried to make your whole thesis at Harvard and didn't know what to do about. And we see you as you, as you just try like in such a pure way to feel better and to feel like. Closure. So you can move on and do your thing when you look back at all the different steps.

Like what advice would you have to someone who's similarly? I mean, not like we can ever, it's not like it's conscious that you were doing this necessarily, but I don't know what things worked, what things don't work. What should we be careful about? knowing that you fell into some people who, you know, slightly took advantage of you financially and all of that.

Susan: Yeah. Don't join a cult. I joined a cult in college. It's called Dawn Yoga, everybody. They've rebranded since then because I wanted to feel belonging and that I couldn't have that with my family. Right. Like I was a black sheep in my family. I just felt like every time I asked about my mom, they're like, you're being too emotional.

You're stuck in the past. And, and I believed them because they're my family and I'm the youngest of four, you know, you defer to your elders. So yeah, I was great candidate for a cult. I mean, I've done years of therapy and I guess for me art has been a pivotal way for me to shift all that energy. I mean, I do a lot of hippie other stuff, too. You know, I do a lot of meditation do all this stuff and I think at the end of the day, you know It's pub day for me today I've gotten a lot of I should have started.

Zibby: I'm sorry. Congratulations.

Susan: Yeah, you're my first Zippy. You're like my first like...

Zibby: Congratulations on pub day. I should have started everything by saying that.

Susan: I just got bored out of the womb and the first person I saw was you.

Zibby: Perfect. People put me first in a lot of people's tours because like I'm very nice.

And like, all I want is to help, you know?

Susan: Thank you.

Zibby: I'm not trying to like, you know, get people.

Susan: But let's turn to page 168 and unpack this thing. Right?

Zibby: I mean, I'm just like, use the stage. Yeah. See? Yeah. Oh my gosh. That's so exciting. You had, uh, this near death experience at the end.

Susan: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Oh, I want to wrap up that last thought.

Zibby: Okay, go ahead.

Susan: Which was about what really works in healing and yes, it's also a therapy having a professional and all that, but on pub day I have been blessed with so many kind messages from friends. Text messages, Instagram messages, emails, all these things and they're just pure love. And I think what really works is remembering to listen to the kindness, you know what I mean?

Like, there's still awkwardness and pain and there's negative energy that still comes to me and it's like, what do I want to accept as truth? As what is going to dominate my day and my world, you know? And it's like, remembering that there's still, like, kindness out there and that, and I can let that in, and that can also be my truth.

Instead of just remembering the last negative person and the last negative thing. So I think part of it is just consciously choosing, and allowing that in instead of thinking like, I am alone in all of this, right? And then, and to look that there, there is this amazing community of kindness out there, and let that in, and receive that.

Zibby: This is heartbreaking.

Susan: Why is this heartbreaking?

Zibby: I don't know, because I know it's so beautiful, but I just know you've been through a lot of stuff, and, you know, obviously you're processing it and moving on.

Susan: I would not encourage anyone to do a one woman show. I would not encourage them to write a memoir.

It's, it's a lot of work. Just let the people who love you in, and, and welcome them as your tribe. And don't think, oh, well, if, well, this person doesn't like me because of this or whatever, and it's like, Maybe that's not yours to own anymore.

Zibby: Well, I don't even care. I was gonna ask you about your near death experience, but I'm like, whatever.

Susan: Oh, I was like, which one?

Zibby: I meant the hike.

Susan: Oh, the bird. Yeah. The bird chapter.

Zibby: Yeah, the bird chapter.

Susan: That was one where my editor was like, I don't get it. I don't get it. Like, what? Well, yeah.

Zibby: I loved that.

Susan: Yeah, well, I had to rework that. Okay. And I gotta tell you, this is so ridiculous. I'm an extrovert.

Writing is like kind of like an intruder exercise and for, for months I was going nowhere with the book. It was just going nowhere. And finally I said, you know what? I need a show. I need to put on a show. And so I did a four day reading of my book of different excerpts. Also, had my community watch me on Twitch, I rented out the theater again, and, and I did it.

But, at first I was like, oh, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna be like Andy Kaufman and read the whole thing over four days. And then I was like, no, I'm gonna read the first chapter so everyone's on the same page as me, and then I'm gonna work through some stuff that's really bothering me. And as a procrastinator, this was the worst.

Perfect, because then I, like, all the way to the last night, I'm like, reworking it. I read The Bird Out Loud, and it was the act of reading it where all of a sudden I was like, I, it was so clear how to edit it now. Like, I loved everyone's comments, but I just, right when it came out of my mouth, I saw it, I reworked it, 48 hours, that's the chapter you see now.

Because I had an audience, you know, so I actually, like, co wrote this with the community.

Zibby: Wow.

Susan: But I'm glad you liked the bird chapter.

Zibby: I loved it.

Susan: It's so intense. And here's the cute thing. I was just in this fancy grocery store with my son, and he saw this book. He saw this bird. He saw this tiny bird and we had potted one when he was younger, but we lost it.

He found it and he just gravitated to it and we just had spring picture day and he was like, this is what I'm going to hold and it was like, I was sitting there going like, Ooh, and if you like, when you're older, you're going to understand how significant this spring picture is to me.

Zibby: To him. Yeah. I mean, you know, yeah.

It's like his grandma was watching. It's like amazing.

Susan: Such a teaser, like, now your audience is like, what's with this bird and the hike?

Zibby: I know, you're just going to have to keep listening, because that was really powerful, as it always. You just said you would never recommend anybody write a memoir. For real?

Susan: Oh, I mean, it was really cool. I mean, I'm so proud of it. I'm so glad it's done. But in the middle of it, man, I was clawing on the floor. Structure was totally crazy. Even the act of just writing this stuff and revisiting these very traumatic memories was really intense. Like, yes, I've already performed the show 60 times to 7, 000 people one year.

Like, I have worked through that material. But doing something on stage where the scene changes are minute by minute and this is like, Oh, let me just tell you about the kitchen counter for pages, you know? Like, it's like, to really go into every detail into that moment. and like really be there is excruciatingly painful to even visit and then eventually being like, oh, but I got to make it like witty and charming and like, and succinct and all this stuff.

You know, it's like, that's like later on in the memoir process. I mean, I feel like everyone has a story to tell. If you want to do it in 300 pages, go for it. If you also want to go through the machine of publication, go for it. Fine, you know. If there's something that you want to write for you, do I think that there is power in writing the unspoken?

Yes. Do I say when we feel we heal? Absolutely. So if it's to write it for you, amazing. If it's to Be in a bookstore one day, I'm just gonna warn you that it is excruciatingly painful and it is a process. I'm very proud of it. I feel like it's like something very special and tender, like it's a life milestone for me for sure.

But it is very painful. Just like, you know, trigger warning.

Zibby: Trigger warning. Yeah, lots of trigger warnings. Yeah. Susan, congratulations. Congratulations on your pub day. Congratulations on the manicure starter. Congratulations on all of the things you've lived through, and how you've shared it with the rest of us.

So we can all send our love to you, and you can feel that, like, in a way that you don't even know what's coming. You don't even know how much is coming your way. It's amazing. So, congratulations. And I hope you, I hope you continue to soak it up.

Susan: Thank you very much. I will be a sponge.

Zibby: Excellent.


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