'I've plucked my eyebrows while I've talked on the phone to people,â?� offers writer Jancee Dunn on the phone from New York, with a giggle. 'I've bleached my mustache.â?�
Dunn's life is the stuff of teenage dreams with tacked-up posters, but it's also one of middlebrow humility with depilatory issues. Such is the life of a rock journalist. But Enough About Me may be her first book ' a memoir of sorts ' but it's probably not the first time you've heard of her; a fortuitous Jersey party mingle nearly 20 years ago thrust her into the music journo grind at Rolling Stone, which in turn lent her a hipster cred that would translate into VJ-dom at the launch of MTV2 and tousled-talking-head status at Good Morning America. She's seen everything. She's talked to everybody. And now she's telling her story.
'When I proposed the book, I just included all of the celebrity stuff,â?� she says. 'Because I think that's what everybody loves to read. â?¦ Celebrities transcend all social strata: Rich people love them, poor people love them, old people love them, intellectuals will talk about them. It's really a can't-miss topic. And then my publisher came back and said, 'Can you put some stuff in about your own family?' And I suppose that when you distill everything down, everybody's family can be kind of eccentric.â?�
But Enough About Me initially reads like two books in one: Each coming-of-age indulgence (first job, black rubber Madonna bracelets, Jersey hair, cocaine nose, etc.) is quickly matched by a celebrity anecdote or some sort of advice about how to deal with rich and famous in a professional manner. 'How To Approach an R&B Artist When You're the Whitest Person in the Western World,â?� reads one entry, before detailing a slumber party with the girls of Destiny's Child over Cool Ranch Doritos, makeup removed. But there's a method to the duality in tone, some sense that Dunn is growing into personal realization while the stars are becoming more human, coming down just a little.
'Somehow, I came of age in the midst of this crazy job,â?� she says. 'And I guess I learned, through manipulating and maneuvering in this world, how to apply some of those lessons to my everyday life. After a lot of trial and error, I guess I figured out what was important. Is that too trite? But it's true. It's such a seductive world in some ways.â?�
But only as seductive as eating Spam with Dolly Parton, or interviewing Madonna while she (Dunn, not Ciccone) was on over-the-counter sedatives. Both situations are included here. Still, the rule of thumb is never to get so close that you believe it all.
'It's kind of a strange thing to have to construct your sense of self as you're growing up when you're not really part of the equation,â?� says Dunn. 'I was a very small cog in the giant wheel of publicity for other people. So every time I tried to get my sense of validation from famous people, it so very much came to grief. They're not your friends. They're not bad people. But I've been with people for days at a time and they don't even learn your name.â?�
But Enough About Me may be a memoir ' and as such, there's a good chance that the name Jancee Dunn will be learned in its own right ' but Dunn is hesitant to lump it in with the recent crop of self-important flag-wavers with Oprah tendencies.
'It made me a little paranoid to triple-check everything I did,â?� she says of the inevitable James Frey comparisons. 'I hesitated to put out a memoir. I'm not Winston Churchill, I'm not even Bill Clinton. I'm 39 and I haven't even lived a full life.â?�