Following hot on the heels of her successful and wickedly funny books What I Would Do If I Were You and Boy¬friends We've All Had (But Shouldn't Have), comes Home Truths by come¬dian Mandy Nolan. For anyone who has ever dreamt of owning, building, renovating or perhaps bulldozing their home, or for those who have actually done it and survived, this collection of witty insights and reflec-tions on how and where we live makes compulsory reading.
In Home Truths, Mandy explores poet Anne Sexton's asser¬tion that -women marry houses'. With great humour, she explores who are we in the place where we live, why we live there, and how this influences our everyday behaviour. Man¬dy is a self confessed FOMOOLSB sufferer (Fear of Missing Out on Living Somewhere Better) who uses her latest narra¬tive for a peek over the fence at how the rest of us live.
This cushion-collecting, OCD-afflicted, cleaning-obsessive covers everything from the joy of renovations, lost socks, pets and the use of neutral colour schemes to working from home, visiting display homes and homelessness and milks a few sacred cows along the way, even giving Feng Shui a kick along by asking: -Why change your behaviour when all you have to do is move your bed?!'
Nolan is combining stand-up and written humour in a five-month long tour that starts at the Melbourne Internation¬al Comedy Festival in April, moves through NSW, ACT, and Queensland before coming full circle to finish at the Mel¬bourne Writers Festival.
Mandy Nolan is an accomplished comedian, artist and jour¬nalist, a self-proclaimed expert on all matters feminine, a regular contributor for The Hoopla, and an occasional guest on ABC's Q&A and SBS's Mums The Word. In April/May 2015 she will appear on SBS talking about the humour program she and husband Prof John Stevens have developed to help people with dementia. A study on their program has been published in the international journal DEMENTIA.
Author: Mandy Nolan
Question: What inspired Home Truths?
Mandy Nolan: My first book was about family and my rather less than conventional approach to becoming a mother, and my second book was about my long search for love and my talent for disastrous relationships. In Home Truths I wanted to write about self and identity -its really about who we are 'when no one is looking'. I was interested in exploring themes of belonging, of what home is - on how we make our mark in our human nests - how we mark our territory - I wanted to explore our need for safety, for comfort, for more than we have. I explore the theme of the home as a metaphor for self. In dream analysis its purported that when one dreams of a house, its about one's inner life. I guess it was the inner life that I was interested in exploring and exposing - our choices, our values, our idiosyncrasies. I see myself as the modern day David Attenborough peering through the lens of humour to try an analyse human behaviour. While that sounds terribly noble, I usually end up talking about myself!
Question: Can you talk about the research that went into Home Truths?
Mandy Nolan: I am excited that I can finally claim the total cost of building my new home as a tax deduction as 'research'. And 20 years of back rent. My income should be tax free now until I die! I talked to a few architects, a town planner, some builders, and of course lots of friends. I researched most of my work through the wonders of Google. And of course I returned to my home town where I was promptly removed and told 'don't come back'.
Question: What will we learn from reading Home Truths?
Mandy Nolan: That deep down humans are very shallow. Non indigenous people struggle with their sense of place - I guess I wanted to get people thinking about how they live and where they live and what they find important in their lives - and why? I was interested in who we are before we walk out the door - what don't we show to people - what do we show? I think you will also learn that I really really love cushions. It's a stereotype I know, but in the book I justify it. I find this attack on women's love of cushions another form of patriarchal oppression. How can you call softness and beauty meaningless?
Question: How's it feel to have Glenn Robbins and other celebrities endorse your book?
Mandy Nolan: I am always extremely grateful that very busy people take time out to read my book and then go the extra step by saying something nice. Having people I admire like my work is very good for my self esteem, and I hope it encourages people who don't know me to read my book and to like me as well. If they like me a lot I might even include a quote from them on the jacket.
I could use the quote from Mum I guess: 'Don't encourage her.'
Question: What's next for you?
Mandy Nolan: I have a few more book ideas - I have been playing around with a rollicking humorous feminist read…the problem is I have so many ideas I can't possibly achieve all of them! I have also promised myself I'd at least start my first fiction this year. By midyear I"ll be touring a show with fellow comedians called Women Like Us - I have my Stand Up for Dementia Humour Therapy being featured on SBS Insight in late April - I am looking at setting up a crowd funding platform for more deliveries and facilitator trainings. I was going to have another crack at pole dancing - really, there must be a pole that can hold a 90 kilo woman? And I wanted to learn to knit. I'm serious. I'm worried I won't be a proper nanna. I have just filled in my application for the CWA..oh and I was intending on selling a million books. Then I can put in the pool.
See I'm actually terribly shallow.
Interview by Brooke Hunter