“You Are Here” was born during Lawson’s book tour for “Furiously Happy,” a humorous memoir about Lawson’s battle to live life to the fullest despite dealing with mental illness, severe depression and a host of disorders. In order to avoid wounding herself while “trapped in hotel rooms waiting out anxiety attacks,” Lawson began doodling to “keep my own hands from hurting me.” Creative beyond spectrum, she drew to fill the “empty spaces and patterns and faces and words that I needed to get out of my head.” Lawson shared these doodles online and to her surprise, requests for copies came pouring in.
“To color, to frame, to tattoo onto their bodies to remind them that they aren’t alone,” she writes. “And somehow the small magic I used to keep myself whole and safe stretched out and enveloped others.”
As people lined up for autographed copies of “Furiously Happy,” Lawson also found herself signing prints of her online drawings. “And that’s how this book was born,” she writes. “It’s a combination of notes from the road, advice I’ve learned and have been given, pictures for when words aren’t there and words to explain pictures that baffle some and speak to others.”
Inspirations for coloring therapy and advice are designed on perforated pages for tearing, sharing and hanging. Lawson’s words run the gamut of emotions – sad, silly, bold, vulgar, sarcastic, witty, derisive and in some spots mere genius. For Lawson, life constantly rears its head in a messy magnificence. Empty pages allow readers to compose their own thoughts, sketching’s and colorings. Lawson presents “You Are Here” to be entirely your own.
According to Lawson, the art therapy works because “you are here.” The artistic dabbler recognizes the present moment and encourages readers to take a breath, relish life and forge to survive even when things get “dark.” She writes, “It’s a moment to remind myself of the things I appreciate and take for granted. It’s a moment to look up and realize that one day, I’ll want to come back to this spot and the only way to do that is to live in the moment entirely so it doesn’t pass me. I feel the pain and the joy and sometimes the utter lack of emotion in that moment. And I reassess. And I learn.”
Lawson described “You Are Here” as a “misfit’s atlas, a signpost, a place to escape.” This guide for “safe passage” serves as a reminder that “dragons” exist. Her outlet for misdirected energy, creativity and meditation is used as an avenue to explore, lose or find oneself. “You Are Here” is “a do it yourself starter kit,” she writes. “It’s a journey that starts with you. You are here!”
Jenny Lawson is a “Bloggess” humor writer and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author who writes with grace, ease and comedic flare about her lifelong battle with mental illness and crippling depression. Touting humor as therapy, “You Are Here” is quoted as a book “only Jenny Lawson can write.”
“This book was a bit of heaven and a bit of hell and it refused to move out of the way until it was finished,” she acknowledged.
“This is your book. This is your life. You are in charge. This is not the end. Start again, continue, reinvent yourself, become the person I see in you. Take a deep breath. We can start whenever you want. Begin.” Jenny Lawson, “You Are Here.”