Exploring Carrie Fisher’s Strange Writing Style

Since reading Carrie Fisher’s memoir The Princess Diarist, I have been bothered by Carrie Fisher’s strange writing style. As a casual fan of Star Wars, I may have had an unrealistic expectation of who Carrie Fisher needed to be. Perhaps I expected her to be too much like her iconic character, Princess Leia. Putting my expectations aside, I still found her writing style bizarre and decided to find out if her interviews were just as disconnected or if writing was not her ideal medium.

When searching for videos of interviews with Carrie Fisher, I stumbled upon this interview with the Today Show. Carrie Fisher is asked about her book and its contents. Despite being asked questions that were answered in her book, Fisher appears confused, flustered, and confrontational throughout the entire interview.

What Makes Carrie Fisher’s Writing Strange

Although I briefly mentioned some of strange things about her writing in my previous post, the following are the things that I found strange about Fisher’s writing style:

  • She went on “rabbit trails” frequently. While I do not mind rabbit trails, her use of them made her train of thought difficult to follow.
  • Her stories seemed to divert from reality. When reading memoirs, regardless of whose memoir I’m reading, I’ve generally chosen to believe that everything in it is true. However, some of what she wrote was so far from reality that I find it difficult to ignore. While none of those things were related to her affair with Harrison Ford (the main topic of the book), they are still significant. Most notable was one entry in her nineteen-year-old diary about a fish coming to her on a flaming pie, then falling out her window and later going on to show business. Perhaps she was speaking in metaphors, but that whole entry was so strangely written that I read it a few times. Other passages, though not as strange, similarly seem to divert from reality.
  • The tone of the entire book seems angry. Yet in several places she actually writes things to try to say, “I’m not angry about this,” or “I don’t hate this; I actually love it.”

Carrie Fisher’s Style is Her Own

After watching this interview, I have come to the conclusion that the strange writing style Fisher adopts is not because of her being an actor first and a writing second, but because her writing truly reflects her personality. Throughout the Today Show interview, I saw many of the same things that I saw in the book.

Carrie Fisher appeared very confused by the questions that the ladies were asking her. At one point, they asked her if Harrison Ford made the first move in the affair, and she immediately said no. Getting flustered by the question, she began to protest their questions, and they pointed out that nothing they were asking wasn’t already in the book. Fisher joked that they should read the book, then. They re-worded the question, then, to ask if she made the first move, and she said that she was drunk and surprised, implying that she did not. She answered “no” to both questions, implying that she did not understand at least one of them.

I also saw some of the same angry tone that I saw throughout the book in this interview. Perhaps some of the questions she misunderstood put her on edge, but Fisher appeared to be very aggressive in some places in this interview. While she also tried to keep it lighthearted, it felt to me as if she was just angry about the whole thing. She even mentioned at one point that she was not sure how she felt about having confessed what she did in her memoir. Perhaps the consequences of publishing the book have been upsetting to her, putting her on guard for these interviews.

Finally, I noticed that she was changing topic and getting stuck in the middle of sentences. While that is a perfectly normal thing to do while being interviewed, I believe that it also reflects her writing style well. It is my conclusion that while the whole of her style of writing seems strange to me, it is very authentic to the voice of Carrie Fisher and who she is.

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