You and Her and Everything She Knows

Miranda July—now an author, too—discovers the fine art of the epileptic fit

Anyone looking to the book for insight into the artist will find it in "This Person," a story she does say is especially autobiographical. One day, the lead character wakes up to find that all the mean jocks, terrible teachers, and ex-lovers of her past have come back to throw a party in her honor. They explain that all the pain they caused her was done intentionally, to transform her into a better, stronger person. "Certain jerks and idiots and assholes appear from time to time, and it is as if they have had plastic surgery, their faces are disfigured with love," July writes. But the party only makes her feel worse, not better.

"Certain jerks and idiots and assholes appear from time to time...": July
photo: Tina Zimmer
"Certain jerks and idiots and assholes appear from time to time...": July

In July's early days, she shared bills with indie-rock and punk bands, and the audience often left scratching their heads. Now she has Hollywood studio executives popping up at her performance pieces. But July says those years of struggle have made it easier for her to turn down more glamorous offers. "It trained me to kind of hold on to what I have and not assume things would be better with money. And now that's who I am. I can move between worlds without being too affected." Then she adds, with a smile: "There's something I like about struggle."

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