Sometimes I feel like I live in a different world from the rest of my fandom.
Naturally there’s been quite a lot of Carrison things floating around on my dash today with the ~discovery~ of those so-cute dancing pics in France. They’re so sweet! They’re so attractive together! They so clearly were involved for longer than three months! And it’s just left me thinking a lot about the overall reaction to Princess Diarist and their affair more generally, and how I seem to have taken it all in so differently from everyone around me…
Princess Diarist is a complicated book because it’s 90% Carrie-typical humor and observations about her life as Princess Leia and 10% raw, unbridled insecurity and sadness. Or rather – part of the Carrison section (I’m thinking George’s party and onward) and the diary section feel almost like an entirely different book, something raw and scary and sad and closer to Best Awful sandwiched in between a lot of glib, clever hilarity.
I wondered a lot why she didn’t talk about her affair with Harrison until recently. This is a woman who talks about everything, and I mean everything. And on the one hand this story involves another person but guess what! It still involved another person when she published it. (That is, it’s not like she waited for him to die or anything, which sounds awful but. It’s clear that he was Not Pleased TM that she was publishing it.) It’s clear that it was a huge emotional factor in her life (… and then she just mysteriously right after starts dating another man 14+ years her senior?) and yet other than some oblique references in her fiction it’s absent.
I also wondered why she waited so long to publish this book. Or rather, why now. Why a Star Wars book now? I suppose because Force Awakens, and money, but then why include the affair with Harrison at all? If she’s kept it private this long? There’s plenty of great content there about celebrity lap dances and auditions and sexism that could make a lovely book about Being Princess Leia.
She says she published the book now because she just found the diaries and I’m inclined to believe her. The diaries are such a thin, thin part of the book – a tiny sliver. They’re also clearly very selectively chosen to be about the Harrison situation and how it makes her feel about herself – we don’t get any Dear Diary, Today George did xyz. (We don’t even really get that she was apparently making out with Mark for a bit, according to his recollection!)
So, why now, why this, why through this medium? To me the shocking thing about the diaries aren’t the ~details of their affair~ but rather the heartbreaking, unrelenting sadness and loneliness they represent. She feels awful, absolutely awful, and it hurts to read – questioning herself at every turn, psyching herself up to be emotionally withholding only to crash into giving more of herself away, miserable at their moody silences, desperate to figure out why she self-sabotages and only goes for men who won’t give her the time of day emotionally.
I wonder if in rereading the diaries she remembered viscerally not the details of what happened, which I doubt she’d forgotten, but how awful it made her feel. And if that felt like the important thing worth sharing – her youthful insecurity, and pain, and loneliness. Not that she got it on with Harrison Ford, because if that were it she could’ve told us all that ages ago. Something about that insecurity felt important, important enough to break some 40 years of promise to Never To Speak Of It Again.
She always shared so much and it helps people who feel similarly to not feel alone, and that’s how I felt reading Diarist – like I was reading into my own head about why I once pursued men who made me feel like shit, and why I felt like my personality was overwhelming and embarrassing but also my only asset (I was later diagnosed with Bipolar 2 as well), and why I once longed for some shred of validation from older men. The diaries are clearly the heart of the book – the thing Carrie wanted to share – and they’re all about sadness and confusion.
Which is why I’m really confused about the fandom obsession with their so-called love affair.
I don’t mind all the love for Harrison in the slightest – he really seems, at his core, to be a good guy who just made some not-great choices for 3 months. And how can you not love a hero of the film your love!
But I just continue to be shocked and confused about why there is so much love for the two of them as a couple, from memes to whole blogs. It just – doesn’t make any sense to me? Did no one else read that book and feel the sadness I felt? Even if that sadness was “just the emotional intensity of a teenage girl” and doesn’t represent like, Real Fraughtness in their relationship (which you could argue, given that she talks about it very flippantly), clearly it felt real to her at the time? I find myself looking at every 1977 photo of Carrie looking at Harrison and just feeling wounded on her behalf, and the comments are pure omg they were banging they’re perfect for each other I wonder if they were still banging at this point see how he looks at her see how she looks at him 3 months my ass!
(And none of this is to mention the cavernous age gap and the whole, you know, married with two children deal. Becuase, whatever.)
1977 Carrie was so confused and upset and angry at herself? Why don’t our hearts break for her rather than pulse with envy? I don’t envy her – I’ve been there, it’s awful, even if you can look back on it and laugh.
If the diaries are the key to the book, isn’t reflecting on that pain sort of contradictory with omg they had a wild, sexy love affair that no one knew about how exciting and exotic and thrilling!
I’ve seen RPF of that period. I have a lot of problems with RPF. But one trivial one – it seems so inaccurate.
If I wrote RPF of that period, it would be about sitting in your room trying to brainstorm ways to make a man laugh in the hours before you’re set to meet up so maybe he’ll deem you worthy tonight and call you clever. It would be about practicing smoking in front of your bathroom mirror so you won’t look like such a novice doing it in front of her. It would be about wondering if you’ll still remember every compliment he’s ever bestowed upon you when you’re 60. It would be about, you know, being an insecure young woman. Carrie on Being Carrie allowing me to write about and understand, fully, being me.