Zeum sat down with Monica Heisey, author of the new book, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better, a Woman’s Guide to Coping with Life. We asked her a couple of questions about her book and found out what would happen on her ideal day of nothing-ness. There would be a lot of pizza and bad Jennifer Lopez movies involved.
Her new book is a compilation of essays, how-to’s and even thoughtfully crafted poems about frozen pizza. Her writing style follows the satirical footsteps and views of Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling’s biographies. Monica is your cool big sister advising you in all those pivotal and not-so pivotal moments in your life, like how to break up like a “G.D. Adult” to knowing when and how to leave a party early.
When we asked her how she chose what to advise women in the never-ending black hole of female worry, she said, “I went home and wrote down what my friends and I talk about the most and just tried to cover what would get covered in an average conversation. It’s just suppose to feel like you’re talking to a friend.”
Monica has been writing plays since she was in fifth grade, and recalls writing one of her first pieces about Shakespeare and Copernicus’ fictional meet up called the “Odyssey of the Mind.” Pretty heavy stuff for an eleven year old. These days Monica’s writing veers away from analyzing the great thinkers of all time and focuses on what really matters- female friendships and how to selfie.
Monica traces her influences to her friends who are also writers in Toronto, including Anna Fitzpatrick and Jasmine Hughes, and stresses the importance of having friends who you can look up to creatively.
The book covers everything from the mundane to the more difficult topics, such as coping with anxiety. When asking her about how writing helps her combat anxiety, she told us that it serves as a trigger and therapy. “I mean sometimes it makes it worse. I stress out a lot about conveying exactly what I mean. But in general it helps me think through what I do mean. Instead of saying, “I think juice bars are full of shit, you think about why or a weird short story that is set in a juice bar or makes fun of one. It’s a good way of thinking through how I feel or think, and try to amuse myself.”
Aside from writing, Monica also does stand-up. However, she admits stand up is much more difficult, teetering on the spectrum of interesting, stressful and fun. “I just feel like I don’t have as much control with the comedy I’m doing in stand-up. You really do have a lot of control of how people experience a joke when you’re writing it, being able to set it up how you want. Where as on stage, if you put emphasis on on a wrong word, the whole joke is ruined.”
So what’s next for this rising Toronto writer? Heisey is moving to New York in the fall to work for Vice’s new segment devoted to a female audience. She tells us, “They’re working on an oral history of glitter! There’s gonna be a nice mix of serious and silly, well-researched coverage of big and small issues.” She also plans to work on book number two, which we cannot wait for. We’re just hoping it will be a fictional tale about married Monica fostering Copernicus in modern day New York City.
You can follow Monica on Twitter @monicaheisey