As many of you know, I’m relatively new to WordPress and Twitter as I only started this blog in August, but I think I settled in pretty quickly. Those of you who are fellow bloggers remember ‘breaking into the scene’ and trying to read 1,000 different blogs hoping that maybe 6 of them reciprocate and check you out too.
I don’t quite remember how I met Don Holley, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget him. We met via Twitter somehow, and I started noticing that he tweeted me relatively often – and that he was kinda funny on occasion. You could say he was my first “Twitter friend.” At some point I realized that he’s actually the screenwriter of the movie National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Lovitz, and Emilio Estevez, which I thought was pretty neat. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never seen the movie, though that’s largely due to the fact that I was 8 when it came out – but hey, I thought it was kinda cool knowing someone who’s been in ‘the movies.’
The more I learned about him, the more I realized he’s very much like you and I, and that his struggles are very similar to mine. Over tweets and private messages, I discovered that Don also struggles with depression and he really relates to Robin Williams’ story. I was particularly saddened by the loss of Robin Williams because he is the epitome of what goes wrong in mental health. He brightened so many lives and made so many people smile with his unmatchable talent, yet he was suffering the most serious battle within himself and no one knew the extent or could help him. I understand this battle as I fight it myself, and Don can see a lot of Robin in himself as well.
I’ve never communicated with a ‘celebrity’ for more than a few moments before, so I’ve had questions come to mind over the course of getting to know each other. Of course, they were kind of ridiculous questions like “How the hell does one just become a major motion picture screenwriter?,” and “What was growing up like, were you just…normal?” You know, things an adult feels kind of bizarre asking another adult.
Fortunately, my questions were answered.
Don decided for the hell of it to write a memoir entitled, Half-Loaded, (can you see the potential there already?) and he has it for sale on Amazon. The price couldn’t be better and I’ve wanted to know more about him, so I figured, “why not?”
I knew I’d love the book when I saw how smart and poignant the opening poem is, and how I burst out laughing after the very first line of the first chapter. The poem is a short little number about fame, or lack thereof, and questioning mediocrity. At the time I thought the poem was perfect for him because it really describes him from what I know, but after a quick Google search I realized he did write it. Now I’m really impressed.
With sarcasm rampant throughout the book, I feel like I can really relate to Don because we’re very similar in a lot of ways. He attributes his “overwhelming and therapeutically unresolvable character flaws” to his family much like I do, but we both still love them unconditionally it seems. We both appear to have attended a similar useless bartending school in which the greatest thing we learned is that no one hires a bartender without experience – but at least we know how to pour “67 different drinks.”
Half-Loaded was incredibly hysterical the whole way through, but it was not without its tender moments. Much like Robin Williams, Don is a funny guy, but he has his struggles like the rest of us. Caring for his mother and living with depression often drains Don of a will to live, but he finds solace in writing and making people laugh. He also has the ability to laugh at himself, which is a sign of a true and humble comedian. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and even encourages the idea that we’ll all get through this.
Don’s book had me both laughing and crying in equal amounts, and it was a pleasurable experience reading it. I even read several paragraphs twice because I was enjoying it so much or he said something hilarious. It kept making me want to go message him and ask a question about a story he told, or laugh with him about something he said. I think it’s cruel that writers can’t hear their readers laughing.
For someone who has experienced Hollywood, he really is quite ‘real,’ and I highly recommend reading his book. If you want intelligent writing, a laugh, a cry, some great stories, and a whole lot of shenanigans on mopeds, buy Half-Loaded on Amazon.com for just the price of an expensive cup of coffee. It’s worth every penny, and it’s definitely good for more than one read.
And those are my thoughts with a book in hand.