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Actress Lauren Weedman digs into the creative process

The comedian and actress Lauren Weedman has a long list of roles to her credit, such as Doris in HBO’s “Looking,” and a house in Santa Monica, Calif. In “Miss Fortune: Fresh Perspectives on Having It All from Someone Who Is Not Okay,” she reveals the dark side of this seemingly sunny life. Weedman talks about her new book with writer Steve Almond at 7 p.m. Thursday at the UForge Gallery in Jamaica Plain. Tickets are $6.50. The event is sponsored by the bookstore Papercuts J.P.

BOOKS: What are you currently reading?

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WEEDMAN: Last night I got down the novel “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami. I read about a quarter of it previously. I’m also reading “The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World” by Lewis Hyde. It’s a little dense for me but I love it.

BOOKS: Do you read about creativity often?

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WEEDMAN: I do because I teach, but in my 20s I did it to educate myself. I only had two years of college. I love Carl Jung’s memoir, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” which in one chapter he analyzes himself. I find that comforting because I often feel like I’m looking at my life as if it’s a story I’m not in. I have “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott and Stephen King’s “On Writing.” I read a lot of Pema Chodron, the Buddhist writer who wrote “When Things Fall Apart.” I give myself a little hit of wisdom and comfort to keep from feeling panicked about life in general. I used to get a little hit from Eckhart Tolle’s books but I would never read those in public.

BOOKS: Do you read memoirs by artists?

WEEDMAN: For the first time in my life I’m interested in Nora Ephron. I used to make fun of the whole genre. “Oh, I hate my neck, blahty-blah.” Now I’m about 47 I realize what a brave statement that is.

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BOOKS: How would you like to change yourself as a reader?

WEEDMAN: My problem is more of a drinking problem. I’m such a wino. I’m talking sometimes drinking two, maybe three glasses of wine a night, I mean I’m not vomiting and passing out, but I’m too drowsy to read. What happened to daytime reading?

BOOKS: Do you find many other readers in the TV and movie world?

WEEDMAN: Oh, no, no, no. If you do read it becomes part of your description, like “Do you know Charlene, the one with the book?” On a set, everyone is too panicked.

BOOKS: Do you judge people by what they read?

WEEDMAN: Yes. I have a friend who loves true-crime books, and I think that says so much about her. She’s an actress who’s so stressed out that she has to read about a body being cut up to relax. The guy I was dating doesn’t read. I knew when he told me that we would never be a partnership. Why would you even say that. To be honest, I would lie.

BOOKS: Do you look for comedy in your reading?

‘For the first time in my life I’m interested in Nora Ephron.’

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WEEDMAN: It’s not my main focus. I want to read people better than me, like George Saunders, Lorrie Moore, and Aimee Bender. Bender’s short-story collection “Willful Creatures” is so good.

BOOKS: Who would you like to read more by?

WEEDMAN: I still want to read “War and Peace.” I know that sounds like a cliché but I want to read it not just because it’s Tolstoy but because I love the edition I have. It’s such a satisfying looking book. I even like the font.

BOOKS: What other kind of books do you own?

WEEDMAN: I have a lot about creativity and myth, such as Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” I have all of Augusten Burroughs’s books, which makes me look obsessed with him. I have a lot of books my friends wrote. I put them up in case they come over. The book I’ve had the longest is Stanislavski’s “An Actor Prepares” because I knew early on that I wanted to be an actor so I thought I better get it. I don’t think I ever read it.

BOOKS: Do you have any general advice for readers?

WEEDMAN: Buy books.

Amy Sutherland

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