Julia Gets Wise with Isabel Allende
Today on Wiser Than Me™, Julia gets schooled by 80-year-old award-winning author Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits). Isabel teaches Julia about organic justice, letter writing, and blueberry weed edibles. The two compare notes on everything from postpartum experiences to otherworldly visits from the other side.
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Isabel Allende, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Judith Bowles
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 00:07
From 1982 to 1985, I had the privilege of being on Saturday Night Live. And there was one sketch that I did in which I played Christina DeLorean, the wife of John DeLorean who I guess he invented the DeLorean car. And he had some big cocaine scandal at the time. I mean, could there be anything more 80s than that? Anyway, for the scene, the hair and makeup people gave me a blowout, you know, they straightened my hair because Christina DeLorean had straight hair, and I had really, really curly hair. And the scene was, you know, funny or whatever? Probably not. I think my husband Brad might have played John DeLorean. But it doesn’t matter. That’s not what I’m talking about. What matters here is that it was the first time I had ever had straight hair in a sketch. Usually, it was just my own curly hair or a wig, right? So the Monday after the show aired, when we came back to work at 30 Rock, one of the very big bosses called me into his office, and he sat me down specifically to tell me that he really liked how I had done my hair in the John DeLorean sketch. And then he tells me that he had gotten a call from somebody at NBC, saying that at least five NBC executives wanted to, and I quote, fuck me, because they thought my hair looks so good. Ah, lucky me. He actually preface the whole thing by saying, I’ve got good news. Yeah, he did. Even now, as I’m telling you, this, I’m speechless. I didn’t know what to do. I started laughing, in fact, and that’s really all I remember. But it stayed with me. And I didn’t change my hair. But for the rest of my entire three year run there, they kept trying to get me to. A couple of years later, I’d already been on Seinfeld for a while. And this same producer came up to me at some NDC event. I hadn’t seen him in like ages. And he goes, hey, holes, because that’s what he called me. He goes, holes, I see. They’re letting you do your hair the way you want. And I’m thinking to myself, and I see you’re still clueless. Now, I cannot in good conscience. Honestly, I cannot stand by my big wall of hair that kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger on Seinfeld, that truly does not stand the test of time. And I want to apologize to all watchers of that show for that look. But I can and do stand by doing whatever the fuck I want to do with my hair and my body and my brain, no matter what the men in the room have to say about it, which should be by the way, nothing. Back then the implied powerlessness of women in the workplace was just the expected norm. Early in my career, getting producer credit when I was in fact, producing a show was like squeezing water from a stone. And look, I know I am lucky. But even for me in my oh, so privileged showbusiness sphere. That imbalance has been in place in various forms for my entire career. So many years later, when I first heard about the show Veep, a series about a female vice president who was unhappy, a bitter, angry, thwarted female politician. This rang so true to me. And even though Selina Meyer was out of her pea pickin mind, because, you know, let’s face it, she’s really a villain. Her struggle identified with and her self-hatred, identified with her hatred of other women and of her own femininity made a lot of sense to me because it’s real. And it comes from somewhere that feels so familiar. I really, truly love leaning into that part of Selena. I love being a woman. And I totally understand how being a woman can keep you from your goal and keep your ambitions restrained. I understand why being a woman for Selena was so hard and so goddamn funny. Selena even says at one point, she said, I can’t identify myself as a woman. People can’t know that men hate that. And women who hate women hate that which I believe is most women. By the way. There’s a little Selena Meyer performance for you. The power of women and the powerlessness of women and how we hold those two things together at the same time is very interesting to me. And today, I’m talking to a woman who’s right Writing so thoughtfully examines these themes of womanhood. Isabel Allende. Hi, I’m Julia Louis-Dreyfus and this is WISER THAN ME. A show where each week I get schooled by women who are wiser than me. So you’re a six year old little girl in Santiago, Chile right after World War Two, and you’re going to a little convent school with nuns and everything, and for some reason, they kick you out. So here you are just six years old and you wonder maybe even through tears, what the heck is going to become of me? Do you think if you were a kid in that situation, even a kid with an absolutely wild imagination, do you think you’d imagine that you’d grow up to sell 77 million books, be translated into eight zillion languages and be the first internationally successful female South American writer? You would, If you were Isabel Allende, if I had to say only a few words to describe Isabel I n days writing they would probably be oh my god. She writes the sweeping multigenerational stories about grief and sorrow, rage and displacement, power and sex and ghosts, and much of it is inspired by episodes from history or from her own absolutely fascinating life. And she doesn’t stop with just the writing. She was a feminist long before the term was invented. In fact, she says she knew she was a feminist before she could even utter a word. She’s the founder of the Isabel Allende foundation and recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Not bad for a little girl who got kicked out of a convent. So if you’re ready for some serious inspiration, maybe some killer writing tips did I mentioned she’s also a renowned teacher, and maybe a little magic in your realism? Then you’re in the right place. Please welcome a woman who is way wiser than me, Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende 07:22
Julia, I’m not wiser than you. Just your imagination.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 07:27
I guarantee that you are.
Isabel Allende 07:30
I pretend a lot. I lie a lot. So that you get the wrong impression.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 07:37
So you’re a faker? Why gets to a certain extent. We’re all fakers. Right? I mean, we have to sort of fake our way through certain situations. By the way, are you comfortable? If we say your real age?
Isabel Allende 07:47
Of course, I’m 80. I’m so proud of being at Julia.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 07:52
You should be proud. It’s so gorgeous. You are so gorgeous. How old do you feel? Do you feel 80?
Isabel Allende 08:02
When I compare myself to my husband, who is six months younger than me. So let’s say that he’s 80. I feel that he’s 80. And I’m not. Because I can still run up the stairs and I can touch my toes. And I will jump out of bed and I work 18 hours a day and I’m fine. So probably because I’m healthy. But also because I have a purpose. And I have a very good life. I’m very happy. I’m so happy Julia, really. I’m so happy to be alive. I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be looking through my window right now. I live very close to a lagoon. And I see the ducks and the geese. And it’s fantastic.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 08:45
What do you think the best part about being your age is?
Isabel Allende 08:48
That you don’t have to please anybody? Oh, yeah. Only the people you love and the people you care for, but not the world and not everybody else. You don’t have to follow anybody’s lead. You don’t have to follow fashion or nothing. If I try to look good is because it pleases me. Not because I’m trying to please anybody else. I don’t care. Really.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 09:12
Did you arrive at this place that you’re describing later in your life? Because I get the sense this is a little bit who you are?
Isabel Allende 09:20
No, I think that it has taken me years to get to this freedom, this absolute freedom that I feel now. But because during my youth and my mature years, I was trying to prove something I was trying to do something to become someone you know everything raising kids having a marriage or divorce or exile all the things that I have gone through. Were like tests that I had to I had to go through and now I feel that I don’t have to. I know that the final test will be real old age being ancient when you are dependent and then death. That’s going to be the final test. But right now I’m in this wonderful period in which I don’t feel tested.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 10:14
God, I cannot wait to be 80. I can’t you really, really selling it well, for real? Can we talk about feminism? Because first and foremost, I have to say in your writing. I was saying this earlier, before we have this conversation, I was talking to my producers, and I was saying what’s so extraordinary to me about your writing is that your feminism is baked into the writing. It’s in the fabric of the writing, when you’re not talking about it, it’s there. And I love that. What was the moment you realized you weren’t treated the same as men? Was there a moment because you said you’re a feminist when you were a little girl? What was that?
Isabel Allende 11:05
I think I realized very early on that my mother wasn’t treated like, like the men in the family. It wasn’t so much about me because I was a child. But very early on, I saw my mother, I wouldn’t say as a victim, because the victim is someone who can’t get away from a situation and maybe she could have been able to get away. But my mother didn’t have any money, any power of decision of any kind, any freedom. My father had abandoned her with three kids. So she another marriage, and she became a single mother with three kids in a country with no divorce. So she went to live with my grandfather. And she was totally dependent. She couldn’t make a living. She had to depend on other people to support the kids. She had a roof over her head. schooling for the kids, everything that was the basic was there. But nothing else. Because in a way, society, and probably the family punished her for divorcing for making the wrong decision for marrying against her parents will for all the mistakes that she could have made. And she was so young, so young, my mom was 21 she married, 24 when she was alone with three kids. One of them newly born my father never met that kid. My youngest brother.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 12:34
And did you feel that your mom recognize the sort of injustice in the culture? Was she aware of it or you just witnessed it?
Isabel Allende 12:43
I witnessed it. And I don’t think she recognized the injustice. But she recognized her dependency and her poverty of resources. She had to ask for everything. You know, recently, I published a book called Violetta, yeah. And that was after my mother died, because many people said that I had such a fantastic, unique relationship with my mom, that I could write about her. And she was also a fascinating character. But I couldn’t, I couldn’t write exactly about her. But I created a character that would be like my mother, even physically, like my mother. But with one difference, my character can support herself. And therefore she has a life that my mother didn’t have, because she depended first of the Father, then the husband and the second husband, then MI, et cetera. She could never be herself fully.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 13:41
Was this something you were able to talk about with her?
Isabel Allende 13:43
Later in life? Yes, my mom was scared of feminism, my feminism because she thought that I would get a lot of aggression. And at the time, when I was preaching against the patriarchy, I was 14-15 years old. No one was talking like that. I mean, I was a lunatic. And yeah, and my mother was scared. She thought that there was something wrong with me that I will never be able to grab a husband or have. Because, right, who would want me on? She thought that I would get and I have gotten a lot of aggression for that. Yes. Because I belong to the transition generation that, we were the bridge between my mother’s values and the way she was brought up. And the new wave of young feminists that were changing the world, but we were in between, because we were raised like our mothers and we had to act like our daughters.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 14:44
But you know, it’s funny because I think even today, you know, to say that my experience is when I say yes, I’m a feminist. I don’t really say that very much. I behave like it. I live my life like it, but I shy away from the word, which is something I guess should be explored. I don’t really know why that is.
Isabel Allende 15:11
Because you don’t need it. You don’t need it, Julia. Because you belong to a generation in a country where you don’t need to say it, is just there. But imagine my life 60 years ago in Chile. That’s right. You had to say it, my mother would say, yes, yes, I understand. You can do everything but do it quietly. No need to make a fuss. And also, mother, how can you have a revolution without a fuss? Without making noise? It’s impossible. You have to really articulate, say things so that people will acknowledge that that’s a problem.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 15:52
That’s right. So speaking of motherhood, well, first of all, you said, I don’t know if you wrote her, you said in an interview, said, your mother, who has since passed, but your mother was ahead of you 20 years ahead of you. And she was showing you the way, which really struck me because first of all, it’s very much sort of the notion of what this podcast is about. Show us the way. Can you talk about that a little bit about your relationship with your mother?
Isabel Allende 16:24
My mom and I lived separated most of our lives. She was married to a diplomat. So when I was 15, I was living with my grandfather in Chile, my mother was in Turkey. And we started writing letters to each other every day. Of course, the mail would take a month or two sometimes. So it was not a dialogue. It was just an ongoing, keeping a diary thing in monologue. And we kept that habit of writing to each other every day, all our lives. In the garage of my office, I have 24,000 letters. And that’s it. I’m not kidding, Julia. It’s my letters on my mother’s letters that I have collected only in the since 1987. Because I don’t have any other letters. I know everything about my mother, we shared our lives, she knew less about me than I knew about her, because she was much more open than I was. Partly because I didn’t want to hurt her many times. She had no modesty with me in any sense, where she could talk about money, about sex, about relationships, about their ailments about everything all she would say my miseries.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 17:41
Was any of that inappropriate, or was it all appropriate?
Isabel Allende 17:44
Inappropriate, most of it. That’s why I can never share those letters. Oh, I see. A lot of it what you could not, you could not share with anybody. Wow. And that the confidentiality of it made it so extraordinary. And of course, there was a lot of domestic stuff and little stuff, but also the big issues were there. So I knew my mother’s so well. And when I say she was showing me the way, many times the showing of the way was what I would not do because she had done.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 18:19
Yes. And would she say as much don’t do this, or you would come to that conclusion?
Isabel Allende 18:25
My mother would say do it. Because my mother was a lady she wanted. She wanted me to be a bit like her. Well, there was a point when I had success with my books. And I got some recognition that my mother sort of started seeing me under a different light. And then she acknowledge that what I had done was valuable. And it was a better life than hers. So at the end of her life in the last 10-15 years, we could talk about that. And she often said that she wasted so much time that she was so scared. She regretted that she could not explore fully her talent for painting, for example. She was always copying instead of trying to express herself. I think that that she got fed up with the idea of being the perfect housewife and spouse and the wife of a diplomat and chair it didn’t pay off, you know. And she thought that my life was so much better in spite of the of the losses and the risks.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 19:33
Was she a good writer?
Isabel Allende 19:35
Yes, excellent writer. And she would be my editor at the beginning when I didn’t have anybody else she would. She would read my books, and all often she couldn’t edit in the way a good editor does you know, but she could say she could make it look more beautiful read more beautifully by choosing another adjective and an unusual noun but also sometimes she would say, You know what? I don’t like the ending. And she couldn’t say why. But if she didn’t like it, I knew there was something wrong with it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 20:11
Oh, wow, amazing. You’ve learned a lot about writing from her. From everything about her, I would think I mean, it was the first, the first real critical relationship in your life, right? With your mom.
Isabel Allende 20:23
I’m very critical because she didn’t like any, any of my writing until she read the reviews.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 20:35
My father was very critical of what I did, as well. Yeah, he was. And it was kind of gutting because I revered him so tremendously. And he was incredibly opinionated. And, and very often, right.
Isabel Allende 20:53
What did he do, your father?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 20:54
Oh, well, my father had an interesting life, because he was a businessman, he was in the commodities business. But in fact, he was a poet. He was the head of the Poetry Society of the east and, and was published. But he was incredibly intelligent. And he had a law degree. And he was charismatic. And I don’t know, he was somebody whose opinion I valued. And when we butted heads, it was pretty brutal, but it seems like you know, people like that in your life, you, I think, to a certain extent you need them. And then you also have to figure out a way not to need them, or to need them the way that works for you best, right, which is what it sounds like, was with your mom. Do you go back and read them? Or you let them be?
Isabel Allende 21:45
No, I’ve never read them. I have only read some of the letters when I have written a memoir. Because every single day of my life is in those letters. So if you asked me what happened July 7 1996, I can go to the garage, take 1996 books out and find the day. And I can tell you what happened that day. So for a memoir, it’s very useful, but I don’t read them. It makes me sort of sad to know that it’s there. And I will never receive another letter. When she died. I kept on writing to her for a couple of months. And then it became something very artificial. I couldn’t do it anymore.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 22:34
But you have talked about how you in the morning, you have your time. You wake up early, I don’t know if this is still the case you wake up early on, you have your time with your mom and your daughter at Paola, whose past? And you have time with them. Is that in your head? Do you talk if you don’t mind talking about that?
Isabel Allende 22:54
Well, I don’t see ghosts on I don’t talk aloud. I’m not gonna be crazy. But we have a king size bed and two dogs. In the morning I get. I wake up around half past four. Yeah, sometimes five o’clock. And I have half an hour at least if not an hour, to sit in my bed in the darkness accompanied by these creatures. I love my husband and the two dogs and be grateful. Remember, think of who I am, where I am. What am I doing? When I say I talk to my mother? Because often I have questions. And some of the questions are from my mother. Some of the questions are for Paola, some are from my grandfather. Some are from my stepfather, because I know what they would answer. I know, for example, I know that if I have some issue with one of my grandchildren, and I’m unhappy about something I would call Paola. And Paola would say, Mom, what is the most generous thing to do in this case? I know the answer. And if I call my mother, I know what she would say are my stepfather. So that’s when I say that I talked to them. That’s what I mean. And I remember them, I am surrounded by their photographs.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 24:24
And what was like a question that you asked today, for example, or yesterday, does anything come to mind?
Isabel Allende 24:31
Today, I read an article in The New Yorker about marriage. And it’s about a philosopher, a woman philosopher, who is happily married with two children and she falls in love with a student and decides that she Anna analyzes this from a philosophical point of view and decides that she has to follow her heart. So she ends her marriage with another philosopher and gets together with this younger man. And so there’s a long, long piece about what relationships are all about. And this morning, I was thinking about my mother’s marriage, and about how unhappy it was. My mother was married for 65 years with my stepfather. And it began like, an incredible passion. But they had very little in common, really. And at the end of their lives, I think they were disgusted with each other. So I was thinking of me are at with my husband at ad and this new relationship, because we have been married for a very short time. And thinking, how do I tackle this? And at my age, it’s more about patience, tolerance, understanding, good humor, good manners are very important. Respecting each other’s space.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 26:06
But what was the question, then? What was the question that you?
Isabel Allende 26:09
My question this morning? Was? Is my marriage working? Could it be better? How are we doing? So trying to think about it without analyzing it too much? From an intellectual point of view, trying to feel it from the heart more. And it’s hard, Julia. Because life gets in the way, you know? And at our age there, for example, Roger has been sick, he had surgery, it took him a long time to recover. So for a while, I felt trapped, taking care of someone, I’m not good at it. And then thank God, he is now much better. He’s going to university he’s studying, he’s doing stuff. And so I see him coming back to life. And I’m so pleased that that’s the case. Because how long would I have loved him really, if he was not the person I married? Right? I married him three years ago, and everything changed very, very soon. First of all, the pandemic hit, and I was gonna lie. We were locked in a small house with two dogs. And we couldn’t go anywhere. Working on Zoom.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 27:31
Well, it’s really a blessing. You still like him.
Isabel Allende 27:33
I love him. I really, I really love him. I asked myself today, why do I love him? What attracted me of him when I met him? kindness, kindness, and a person who is completely transparent. You don’t have to guess anything. He’s totally the person you see. That’s what you will get.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 27:58
How did you meet him?
Isabel Allende 27:59
He heard me on the radio. And then he wrote to my foundation. And I answer every first message of a reader. So I answered, as I always do. And then he wrote again, and he started writing to me every morning and every evening for five months. And I wrote back sometimes. And then eventually, I had to go to a Planned Parenthood thing in New York, who worked in Manhattan. So we met, and he invited me out for lunch. And I said, Look, what are your intentions? Because I’m 74 years old, and I don’t have any time to waste. Therefore, well, he choked on the ravioli, but he didn’t panic. And two days later, he proposed he said, Let’s get married. And are you kidding? We can be lovers, but I’m not going to get married. But he lived in New York, and I live in California. So he had to take a plane and come to visit for a weekend. It was not comfortable. And after a year or so he moved. He moved to California who sold his house, he was a widower, gave away everything he owned, and move to my house with two bikes. If you close for some reason, some crystal glasses, go figure why the glasses, I still have them.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 29:30
Ask him why, I don’t know.
Isabel Allende 29:32
He brought the glasses. So we started living in this small house for a while. And he always brought up the idea of marriage. And I always said it’s not necessarily we’re not going to have kids. Why are we going to get
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 29:49
Right? I agree with you about that. So I’m curious to why but what’s his argument
Isabel Allende 29:54
for him it was important because he had been married in a wonderful marriage for 48 years. With a fantastic human being his wife Grace. And, and I think that for him, the idea of marriage was full commitment. And I don’t project. I don’t give the impression that I will commit to anything except my writing, because I am always like, temporary here or temporary there. And he felt maybe insecure, I don’t know. But what really tipped the balance was that once his granddaughter Anna, who was seven at the time, it went to the librarian in her school and said, miss, have you heard of Isabel Allende? And the librarian said, yeah, I think I read a couple of her books. And then there was this pause and the child said, she’s sleeping with my grandfather.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 31:00
And that was it, you walked down the aisle at that.
Isabel Allende 31:04
Okay, let’s get married. This is a bad example for the kids.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 31:10
That is hilarious. God that makes me laugh. My conversation with Isabel Allende continues in just a moment. And believe me, you won’t want to miss a single word of what she has to say. Let’s talk about motherhood and what they don’t tell us about motherhood because you you’ve talked about how it can be very boring, but also very thrilling. And I’m curious about that. And I want to share my experience too. I have two sons at age 30 and 25. And motherhood has absolutely not been in so many ways what I thought it would be. And I mean that positively. But in the beginning, I found it very shocking. And I definitely was completely whacked by postpartum, particularly with my first son. And I remember thinking when he was born, it was like you didn’t realize what motherhood was until you had a child. And it was like all of a sudden, there’s this whole other part of life and the world that you didn’t know existed that was ongoing, that you had no idea about, like there was a huge wall, and you didn’t even know the wall was there. And on the other side of the wall is this whole new way to live your life, which on the one hand is very exciting, on the other hand, positively terrifying. And I remember my father in law was at the house and our son Henry had just been born. And he was talking going on and on about I don’t know what just some things a little bit mundane, maybe telling stories about his life. And as he’s talking in my mind, I’m thinking, how can you all be talking like this, as if my life hasn’t been just completely up ended? And I burst into tears, because in the middle of him talking about some college story, so you can imagine they thought I’d gone completely out of my mind. But there was this feeling of great shame about that, too. And that’s, I guess, really what I want to talk about is the feeling. There’s this sense that you’re not allowed to feel that way. Can you talk about that in your experience?
Isabel Allende 38:10
Well, I wasn’t terrified of the idea of being a mother. But something happened that is hard to explain. All my life before I became a mother. I was lonely. I was profoundly lonely. I was a child. That was I think I was a smart kid. The only girl among boys and ankles and grandfather, all male. Always feeling unseen. Always having the feeling that if my mother, something happened to my mother, and my mother was sick all the time, I would end up in an orphanage so that I didn’t have anybody. And the message I got from my grandfather’s mostly who was a great person, but this was my family was don’t ask for anything because you won’t get it. fend for yourself. Don’t whine, don’t cry, be strong perform. That was the constant message and great loneliness. And then I fell in love. But I never now that I look back, I fell in love with the idea of getting married and having kids and the idea of love. But I don’t think I admired or respected much that man who was a very good person, by the way. But I knew that I was smarter, that I was more capable, more hardworking, that I was more organized that I could do much more than he could that he was like a like a child that I had to bring along. And then Bala was born. And for the first time in my life, I felt that I was never going to be alone again that I was I had this person in my life that I would take care of for the rest of my life. Yes. And it was thrilling. It was something extraordinary. And then when my son was born, I felt that the three of us were unity, like a table with three legs.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 40:20
Like a table with three legs in house.
Isabel Allende 40:24
Table with three legs. And husbands can come and go, exile could happen, whatever. But we were together. And amazingly, you just saw my son. My son is 50 something, I don’t even remember. He’s with me all the time. We work together, we live to not, we don’t live together, but very close. 12 minutes away, as I did with Paola, so really, that that table with the three legs, stands, it’s incredible.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 41:01
By the way, just to clarify, because if my boys were listening to this podcast, I don’t want them to think that I was hysterically unhappy when either of them were born.
Isabel Allende 41:12
You’re stressed out you I mean, that’s a terribly stressful situation. Nobody tells you about it. And now we live in a country where you’re supposed to have many children, even if you don’t want them.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 41:26
Yeah. Now tell me Oh, my God. Don’t get me going there.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 41:31
But you did. You talked about two at a time in your life as a mom, were you did take off for a period of time. Yeah, I abandoned my children, abandoned them.
Isabel Allende 41:40
I abandoned them. And if you ask me, what is the thing I regret the most in my life. That’s it. I fell in love I was we were living in Venezuela. After the military coup in Chile, we had to leave. And we were living in Venezuela. My husband found a job in the other end of the country in another province. And I was alone in Caracas with the kids. And I fell in love with an Argentinian musician. He moved to Spain. And I followed him. And I left my when my parents were living in the same building, but I left my kids. And I went to Spain with this man. And a month later, when I realized I could never get my kids back. My husband was never going to allow it. I returned. My husband picked me up at the airport. I came in a very early flight in the morning, back from Spain, and he picked me up at the airport. And he said, everything that happened was my fault. Because I neglected you. I wasn’t paying attention. You told me and I didn’t believe it. So all is my follow. We’re never going to talk about this again.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 42:53
By the way, was that true?
Isabel Allende 42:55
Yes. In a way, but I cannot blame him. He was not to blame. It was me. My I was impatient. I was alone. I was terribly frustrated. I couldn’t find a job. Everything that I had done in Chile was meaningless in Venezuela. And we didn’t have any money. I didn’t know anybody. So the situation was dire in many ways. But I cannot blame him because he was working. He was doing what he was supposed to be doing. And I was supposed to be taking care of the family. And instead I fell in love with somebody else. So I when I returned, my husband went back to his work. And I tried to make up with my children who had felt abandoned, especially Paola, who was 15 years old. And she was furious, absolutely furious. And my son, Nico was depressed when I left, he had an accident broken arm, and then he didn’t want to eat. So I came back to a very bad situation. And it took years for the kids to, to want or, or accept to talk about it. Because they never wanted to talk about what had happened, although I tried to bring it up. Because I think that there are certain things that you better talk about. You cannot just leave them there in the darkness festering. And so eventually, I think they forgave me, but I hurt them badly. And have you forgiven yourself? No. Really? No, because I understand that I was another person then we change a lot Julia in our lives. Yeah, I mean, life shapes us. The person I was at 35 is not the same that that was holding my daughter when she was dying. And I was 50 or the person I am today at 80. It’s like reincarnations. And I tried to be gentle to the person I was then and understand. But the idea that I heard my kids is very hard to live with.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 45:17
Did you go to therapy with your kids?
Isabel Allende 45:20
No. I went to therapy with my husband alone, many times at first husband, you mean? Yeah. And I lived with him nine more years trying to trying to fix the marriage. And then it was broken. It was broken. And after all those years, we were together for 29 years. And the last 9 years was a huge effort, I think on his part as well. To be again, a couple. But we, hadn’t I think we had never been a good couple before. I we just had been together, sustained supported by the crutches of society. And when we left all those crutches behind, when we went into exile, everything fell apart.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 46:10
And your son, Nico, is he married?
Isabel Allende 46:13
He’s married and he’s very happily married. And my daughter in law runs my foundation. And she’s my best friend. And we work well together.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 46:23
Oh, my God, what a fabulous thing to hear. And you have grandchildren?
Isabel Allende 46:28
I have three grandchildren who are now adults. And they had, of course, one is 32. The other one is 30. The other one is 29. Yeah. And they have their lives and they communicate with me one of them more than the other two, but I don’t miss them. You know, one thing that, one thing that I’m sorry to say that. I love them, but I don’t miss them. Because when you reach this time in life, you let go of a lot of things. So that is the great freedom to let go. First of all, all the material stuff. If my house burns to ashes tomorrow, as long as I can get the dogs out, I don’t care.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 47:16
I need you to come to my house and clean it out.
Isabel Allende 47:20
Can you need that? Well, my house has very little in it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 47:24
You want some of my shit because I got I mean, if my house burns down, I’m gonna cry and cry and cry.
Isabel Allende 47:32
Why Julia, you’re going to die and you’re not going to take anything with you. So who cares?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 47:37
Yeah, you’re right. You’re right. No, I hear you. I hear you. Yeah, I think you’re right.
Isabel Allende 47:41
And then to get rid of all the relationships that are not worth keeping that some of them are really toxic, but others are just boring, right? To let go of ambition, of greed of trying to do or be someone. You let go of everything. And then eventually you let go of your grandchildren. Not because you’re going to abandon them. But because it doesn’t hurt you. If they don’t call you for your 80th birthday. Doesn’t matter.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:13
When is your birthday?
Isabel Allende 48:14
August 2. I’m a Leo, what are you?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:18
Capricorn I’m, January 13. That makes sense?
Isabel Allende 48:23
I don’t know anything about horoscope.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:26
Yeah. Like you knew what I’m talking about.
Isabel Allende 48:30
I used to do horoscopes at a certain time in my life, but it was just faking the whole thing. You know, I worked in a magazine in this women’s magazine. Yeah. And we had a horoscope. Every magazine had a horoscope then, right, I think still. And the astrologer lived in Peru. And this magazine was published in Chile. So one day I went to the director of the magazine, I said, Look, I have the February horoscope, but I don’t have the January and she says, Oh, it doesn’t matter. Just put the February in January. So I said, Look, if that’s how this works, I can do it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 49:11
That’s fun. So you got to sort of be […] and start Yeah, exactly.
Isabel Allende 49:15
I found out what science my friends were and I would write the horoscopes for them.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 49:23
But you are a very spiritual person. Are you a religious person? Are you a spiritual? No, no,
Isabel Allende 49:30
I’m not religious at all. And I am very skeptical of the word spiritual because in the name of being spiritual people are really abusive sometimes,
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 49:40
but explain how you identify with I don’t know what do you want to call it then if we don’t use the word spiritual?
Isabel Allende 49:47
I think that I’m aware that the world is a very mysterious place. And that many things there’s a lot most stuff we can’t explain and most stuff we can’t control and we are just part of a chain part of nature part of everything that is alive. And when I die, I will go back to some other form. Like, I don’t know, fertilizer for the ground or something. Yeah, I don’t believe in heaven. I don’t believe that there is a God watching what I do that is going to punish me. But I do believe that there is organic justice, or whatever I do, I will have to pay for the good and the bad. So I’m very careful. I step carefully. I don’t want to hurt anybody.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 50:34
Do you have a death sort of plan? Have you thought that through?
Isabel Allende 50:38
No, I haven’t thought much about it. But I’ve talked with my son about it. I don’t want to be kept alive. Beyond the natural time. No artificial life. If possible, I don’t want to die in pain. I want to die, knowing that I’m dying, conscious and living my death to the very end. Because I think it’s an extraordinary experience. I held in my arms. My daughter when she died, she was in a coma. So she was not aware. But then I helped my mother when she died. And she was totally aware. At one point. She asked me, am I dying? And I said, yes mom, are you afraid? And she said, no. I am curious, and I am content. Oh, my God, what a blessing, what a blessing. And she died in my arms. And then three months later, my stepfather died in my arms. And we were best friends he and I. And he was terrified of death, absolutely terrified, screaming in terror. So when I compare those experiences, I see that my mother was prepared. She prepared herself for that point. My mother wasn’t religious in the sense that she was had been brought up Catholic and she would listen to the mass on TV on Sundays. But she was not fanatic at all. But somehow she had an idea of the soul she prepared herself. My stepfather was a social being a diplomat, a civil servant, someone who lives a very gregarious person. And in the last years of his life, when all his friends had died, even his children had died. He was alone. And he was scared of everything. And the purpose of his life, which was this gregarious life ended. And the last years were very sad.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 52:44
I had the experience of being with my father when he passed away. And he died at home. First of all, it’s a complete gift to be with a loved one when they pass. Absolutely. And in a weird way, this might sound strange, but in a weird way, it reminded me of waiting for somebody to give birth. And we were there just all like, frankly, in the bed lying next to him. And when it came time to go, he was ready to go, which I was surprised by actually, because he was a fighter. And he kept saying, let’s get this show on the road. You know, but he has been, certainly he died. I don’t know how many years ago. It’s been 2016. So eight years ago now. But he’s with me all the time. And I’ll tell, are you clairvoyant. Do you have any sort of are you? Do you get signs or things like that?
Isabel Allende 53:49
Very few, I do but few, not like my grandmother who was totally magical. But what you’re saying. And Julia reminded me that when that my daughter died at home, also Paola, and she died in a large family room that we sort of created a sort of hospital there for her. And it was a very long night. She died finally around three o’clock in the morning. And we were all there with her. And there was this sense that something mysterious and sacred was happening and it was like, a stillness in the air. Yeah, a stillness is the only way that I can describe it. Right? Like, waiting and not waiting. Like just everything was like a photograph, not moving. And then a few months later, my granddaughter Nicole was born. And I was there with her when she was born. I took her out of her mother and cut the umbilical cord And when the process of the mother walking the corridor, and then the effort of giving birth and the long time, and then the calming and the stillness in the room, that sacred moment when, when, when that happens, it was it was very similar to the moment when Paola died. And I remember I was holding this little baby. And I said, it came out of my gut. I said, tell me, tell me how it is before you forget. Because I had the feeling that she was coming from the same place that Paola was going to.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 55:45
Oh, God. That totally makes me cry. I love it. I had this experience. Sorry, I’m choked up by that. But I have this experience. That was really bizarre. But I took it to heart, which was the year like to the day after my father died. Two things happened. One, I won an Emmy for the show Veep I was doing. And I got diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a 24 hour period. Yeah. And it was like, out of nowhere, man. It was really scary. I mean, cancer is scary. Period.
Isabel Allende 56:36
How are you doing now?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 56:37
I’m fine. Thank you so much. I’m fine. But my father his whole life. He used to drink. He had a favorite drink Diet Peach Snapple. I’m sure that’s what the worst right? It’s an utterly disgusting. And if he came to visit, and I had to make sure to have it on hand, and not all the stores sold it and we’d have to go around trying to locate it. And he drank it incessantly. Go fucking crazy. But anyway, he was. And so after I got diagnosed, I was immediately scrambling, of course, to get a team of doctors together to figure out who they were going to be. I interviewed a bunch of doctors. And I finally found this one oncologist with whom I had come highly recommended. And I was sitting in her office with her talking with her about my particular kind of cancer. And as I’m talking to her, I noticed on her desk diet peach snapple,
Isabel Allende 57:45
No way. Yeah, it’s like a sign. That’s a sign.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 57:50
And I thought, I’m gonna be okay. Yeah. And that’s something.
Isabel Allende 57:58
Yeah. I see signs like that.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 58:02
I see signs like that, too. I mean, I don’t mean to sound like a lunatic. It sounds like I’m a lunatic on a podcast.
Isabel Allende 58:09
No, no, but if we pay attention to everything that happens around us, there are signs, right, there are signs. You know, Roger’s wife, Grace. Loved ladybugs. And it has happened often, that when they are talking about her, there’s a ladybug. And they are not so common. You don’t see lay dogs all over the place. It’s not like not like flies. Right? And yet, you have to think maybe we are interpreting it as a sign. But it makes us conscious of the mystery, the mysterious dimension of the universe.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 58:56
And even if it isn’t a sign, which I would like to believe that it is even if it isn’t to think of it as a sign. It’s okay. It’s comforting. Yeah. And as you say, it is an affirmation of the mystery of life and we can all agree on that.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:02:39
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:02:41
There’s more with Isabel Allende coming up after this short break. So, my gosh, we’ve talked for so long, and I haven’t even talked to you about your writing. Oh, I haven’t even talked to you about your beautiful writing. You’re so prolific. And you obviously I’m stating the obvious. You say that your writing is not a product of discipline, but that you have to do it. Right. So can you talk about your process?
Isabel Allende 1:03:11
I am very disciplined. I am very disciplined. But because I was trained to be since infancy and to really work. And also because I love it. Right? I love the research I love I can be sitting down 12 hours in front of a computer, creating a story and then when I get up, I can’t even move. But I don’t feel the time passing because it’s so I’m so engaged. So involved, so entertained, so happy. So when I hear those writers that say that the torment of writing the torture of the blank phase, well don’t do it then. Why are you doing it?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:03:55
Yeah, walk away from it.
Isabel Allende 1:03:57
You know what I get asked all the time. Some advice for young authors, for aspiring authors. And the best advice. I heard it from Elizabeth Gilbert. She said to an audience who someone asked in the audience the same question and she said, don’t expect your writing to give you fame or money. Because you love the process. And that’s the whole point. Love the process.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:04:26
That’s the point. And by the way, apply that to any passion.
Isabel Allende 1:04:32
What do you do right now. You are loving it. Absolutely. So you love the process?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:04:39
Yeah, yeah, totally. Has your approach to writing. Or how has your approach to writing evolved since you were young? Since you were say 25 or 30?
Isabel Allende 1:04:50
I started writing at 40, I wrote the house of the spirits at 39. It was published when I was 40.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:04:59
Well, so since you were 40, how is that process evolved? If in fact it has or is it sort of remained a constant?
Isabel Allende 1:05:13
When I wrote the House of the Spirits, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no plan. I had no script. I had nothing. I just sat down and told the story of my family. Yes, of course, I changed the names and I fictionalized it, but all those characters are my relatives. With a family like that you don’t need to invent anything.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:05:34
Right. As you were talking about your stepdad, I was thinking of Esteban and Clara.
Isabel Allende 1:05:39
But that would be more my grandfather, and my grandmother, my grandmother was just like Clara, I and my stepfather was not an assassin. And he was not a rapist, like in the book, but he was, but the character, the personality was very much like him. I wrote with innocence, and with spontaneity that I could never have, again, after the first book was a success. And then after that, I realized that there was a world out there that the book industry that I had never imagined it existed, editors, agents, publishers, marketing, publicity, distribution, I didn’t know anything about it. Yeah. And so when I wrote my first novel, I had the freedom that I never had again. But in time, I think that I have acquired experience. Now I know how to research, I know what I will use of the research and what is just for my information, but shouldn’t be in the book. I know how to edit, and correct and cut, I’m merciless cutting, before I would fall in love with a paragraph. And even if it didn’t fit there, or even if that if that scene was too much, I would leave it in the book because I love it that taken me so long to write it. Now I don’t care. Whatever time it takes, it’s what it takes, and it will go.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:07:10
That’s funny, because that’s something that is very present in my life to just as a producer. And if I go into the edit, you have to be really quite willing to sort of kill your darlings, just get rid of them. Yeah, it does take experience to really recognize that and not be in love with
Isabel Allende 1:07:30
And then the other thing I know now, after 40 years, I’m 28 books, yes, that I can only write about what I’m passionate about. Once I gave myself a subject, but I really, I have to feel in my gut, that this is something I need to tell. And if I don’t have that feeling of being passionate about the subject that I’m tackling, it’s a chore, and I cannot do it. The only time that I gave myself a subject and wrote about it was after Paola died, I went into a writer’s block, like for three years. And I would try to write and everything that came out was so flat, so dead, that it was just impossible to get around it in a way, then I remembered that I am a journalist by training. And if you give me a subject on time to research, I can write about almost anything. So I gave myself a subject that would be as removed from death and pain and sorrow and loss, and illness and death as possible. And I decided to write about lust, and gluttony, the only deadly sins that are worth the trouble. So I wrote a book that is the connection between lust and gluttony, and those that’s aphrodisiac. And that’s what the book is about.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:09:03
Wow. And the name of the book is aphrodisiacs?
Isabel Allende 1:09:07
Aphrodite is the name of the book. And it is about aphrodisiacs, and about how the polygamous culture has started in China, Persia where the emperor or the other king, who would have many concubines and would have to produce many children. Because the well-being of the nation was reflected in all these children that the emperor could have. And so it was very important to perform. And of course, you can perform to a sex and certain extent only. And the idea that food or herbs or different combinations of things could make the man more potent. That was the origin of aphrodisiacs. They don’t work by the way. The only thing that works is Viagra.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:09:57
Do you feel sexy?
Isabel Allende 1:09:59
Now? Do I feel? Well, I’ve never had to ask myself that question in many years. But yeah, I do.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:10:11
Do you like to have sex?
Isabel Allende 1:10:13
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:10:14
Has sex changed for you as you’ve gotten older?
Isabel Allende 1:10:17
Of course. Yeah, of course it has changed. And also I have an 80 year old husband. We’re not spring chickens here.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:10:27
But you still enjoy sex?
Isabel Allende 1:10:29
Yeah. I enjoy sex with marijuana, especially. Sorry, but it’s legal here in California. So I can’t tell you.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:10:37
Why are you apologizing? That’s fantastic.
Isabel Allende 1:10:40
So I get these blueberries that have marijuana and I take my blueberry and it’s much better than without it. Partly because I get like getting a spacey, which I forget the book that I’m writing, which is always inside my head. I always have one book inside my head. So when I take marijuana, I forget about the book. So sex is much better.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:11:04
But wait a minute, just to be clear, because I’m going to go get myself some of those blueberries.
Isabel Allende 1:11:10
I can send you some,
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:11:14
What I mean it’s like a blueberry gummy. Is that what you mean?
Isabel Allende 1:11:17
Yeah, it’s a blueberry covered with chocolate. Very, very small, like a blueberry small blueberry. And it has marijuana. I don’t know if it’s, it’s in the chocolate or in the blueberry. I don’t know. And then I eat that thing. And 45 minutes later, I’m like another person. And then after that I can sleep 15 hours. So it’s perfect. I should have it every night.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:11:39
I gotta get off this podcast. I gotta go down to med men and find that for myself. Does your husband take it too?
Isabel Allende 1:11:49
No, no, he doesn’t. Because he says he has a hangover. I gave him once a one. And he didn’t feel good about it. I think that you know what? He was raised by the Jesuits. And I think that yeah, I think that he has something inside his brain. That is like, a prejudice against this.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:12:08
God, I just, I just love this. So listen, let me. So happy to have this tip about the chocolate blueberry. Is there something you go back and tell yourself at 21 is well?
Isabel Allende 1:12:24
Yeah, calm down. calm down for God’s sake. You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to do so much. Give yourself some time. Be more compassionate with yourself. I was merciless with myself, demanding and I treated myself as I would never treat anybody else. And I would say stop it. That’s not worth it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:12:49
Is there something you would go back and say yes to that you said no to?
Isabel Allende 1:12:53
I think that I never really learned to have fun in the way that other people have fun. That let yourself go and get drunk and dance and flirt. And I wasn’t like that at all. I was really very straight. I dress like a hippie. I was completely bohemian looking. And I was this outrageous feminist I had a TV program that was outrageous too, and always with humor and doing crazy stuff. But my life was so rigorous. I was a mom and I was a daughter and a granddaughter and a wife and always performing and always doing my duty. And I everybody around me in the 70s was doing drugs. I never did any, any at all. And I didn’t drink but look at you now. Well now it’s just the blueberry once in a while. It isn’t every night either.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:14:04
Is there something you would like me to know about aging? That you haven’t told me already?
Isabel Allende 1:14:08
Yes, then you need to have good health and aging to have to have a good old age you have to prepare for it. It doesn’t just happen. The same way that you will have good skin if you take care of your skin otherwise it won’t happen. You have to prepare for everything intellectually. Your domestic life, the way you live the way you think the way you eat, your relationships, all that you have to prepare. Don’t think it will happen just by chance. And other people who are totally mean and horrible think that they will have a good old life. Why would you have a good old age? If you are a bastard, why would you?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:14:53
Yeah, right completely.
Isabel Allende 1:14:56
Why would you be loved if you have not loved? Why would you be taken care of if you have never taken care of anybody, if you have never given anything, if you are not generous. Why would you have a good ol life? It’s not going to happen.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:15:10
Generosity, giving. That’s the avenue.
Isabel Allende 1:15:13
It makes you happy. It comes back to you. Multiplied by 1000.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:15:24
Well, this has been a dream and a half to talk with you.
Isabel Allende 1:15:32
I suppose. I suppose you Eddie told them the bad words.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:15:36
But you didn’t say anything bad. Did you? That’s the way I talk. I cannot thank you enough for taking so much time out of your day to have this conversation with me. I feel very honored and blessed to have had it. And I hope our paths crossed. I hope that perhaps when I come up north, I could grab a cup of coffee or something
Isabel Allende 1:16:04
Yes, of course. I would love to meet you person.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:16:08
I would like to do the same. God, what a treat. I’m just so happy.
Isabel Allende 1:16:15
I’m happy to. You’re wonderful. You are absolutely wonderful. And good luck with your kids with your man with the marijuana with everything else.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:16:25
Yeah, thank you. I love all those tips. Love it. Okay. Ciao. Well, that was just about the most astonishing conversation I have had my entire life. I have to call my mom. I gotta tell her about it.
Judith Bowles 1:16:52
Hey love, how are ya?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:16:54
Mom. I wish you could have been with me for this entire conversation with Isabel Allende.
Judith Bowles 1:17:01
When I heard that you were going to do her? I was like it like there’s some people will be speechless, in front of, I think would have been speechless.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:17:12
Mommy. Well, first of all, you wouldn’t have been speechless because she is incredibly warm hearted. And opens up very easily, in a way without errors. She is just present and real. So you would not have been speechless, she would have brought out the best in you for sure. Because she is an extraordinary human being. I mean, I really cannot get over this conversation.
Judith Bowles 1:17:39
I’m so glad. Oh, I just wonder you want to hear every word in it she said.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:17:43
First of all, you know, she had this extraordinary relationship with her mother. She has, mom, 24,000 letters, all stored chronologically, year by year, in a space of the correspondence between her and her mother. She and her mother wrote letters back and forth every single day.
Judith Bowles 1:18:07
Oh, extraordinary. Yes. Wow.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:18:10
It is extraordinary. So you better start writing me a letter something?
Judith Bowles 1:18:16
Well, you know, when you went to college, I got a file. Yeah. And it was for […] letters. And I wrote to you, beginning and I wrote to you and nothing ever came of it. And then finally you had your birthday, which would have been the you know, the January of your freshman year, wrote me a letter than saying how wonderful it had been and how fallen and they had a surprise party for you. And Joe was that I read it to you. I gave it to you on your 60th birthday. Because it was so rare. And I saved it in my file.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:18:59
The one single letter.
Judith Bowles 1:19:02
Yes, one single letter. And so I decided that there was not going to be much exchange here. I wish I had done that I would give anything to have known you know, day by day when you were little. And your sisters were little all the things they did and said and I mean, it would have been priceless. But who doesn’t?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:19:26
Well, Isabel does. And her mom did. She’s 80 now and she said the best thing about being 80 is that she doesn’t have to please anyone except those that she loves. And she only looks good if it pleases her and she went on and on about it in such a way that I thought sign me up for 80. She did really was incredible. She feels freed from certain obligations that she used to be burdened by, do you feel that way at all? Or Not really?
Judith Bowles 1:19:28
Oh, I do. I do. Yes. It’s a wonderful thing. I quite agree with her. I probably am not quite as free as maybe she is. But there is a definite freeing feeling because you, you can see through it, you can see through How stupid do is to put on, you know, lipstick to go to the local store. I mean, you know, there was a woman in we used to live and she used to get dressed up to take out the trash. I just thought to myself, that’s the most critical thing. I mean, you saw her she put on high heeled shoes to take the trash out. And but there was nobody there. I mean, it wasn’t as if.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:20:44
She may have been enlightened because she might have been doing it to please herself.
Judith Bowles 1:20:49
Well, now you got it that because I never did ask her the question. She was sort of famous in the neighborhood.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:20:56
You should have gone up to her and say, are you doing this for yourself? Or are you trying to impress us? Because if it’s us, it ain’t working. All right, Mommy, I love you so much.
Judith Bowles 1:21:11
Love you so much, honey, and I will talk to you and thanks for doing this. I’m so happy you’re doing I’m so proud of proud oh my god, it’s so good.
There’s more WISER THAN ME with Lemonada Premium, subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts. WISER THAN ME is a production of Lemonada Media created and hosted by me Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease , Alex McOwen and Hoja Lopez. Brad Hall as a consulting producer. Our senior editor is Tracy Clayton. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paula Kaplan and me. The show is mixed by Kat Yore and Johnny Vince Evans and music by Henry Hall. Special thanks to Charlotte Chrisman Cohen, Ivan Kuraev, and Kegan Zema. And, of course, my mother Judith Bowles. Follow wiser than me wherever you get your podcasts and hey, if there’s an old lady in your life, listen up.