The Tao of Bridget

How Bridget Jones and the gals of chick lit teach us what's sacred about sex, chocolate, gossiping, drinking, and smoking.

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is someone who resonated with many people I know. And so I thought, why not look at her as a model? Let's look at somebody who's close to us, rather than somebody who feels so far away.

How is she a spiritual model? Did you see her that way immediately?

I didn't think of it the first time I read the book. It just made me laugh, and I could relate to it. And I loved the fact that all my friends were reading it, and that we could talk about it, and we could laugh about Bridget. Then I went to graduate school, where when you're studying spirituality and women, everyone points you toward people like Julian of Norwich or

Hildegard von Bingen

or Mother Teresa. And nobody points you toward somebody who looks like you. One of the things I started asking was, Why couldn't Bridget Jones be a mystic? Why don't we look at Bridget? Because she was very accessible. I had re-read Bridget Jones's Diary and thought about the fact that she's a character telling her story through a diary, through confessing. And then I thought, "Hmm, that's what St. Augustine did." And then I looked at this inner-poise thing that she was searching for. And I started thinking, Maybe she is a contemporary spiritual figure.

Can you explain the concept of "inner poise?"

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Inner poise

for Bridget is a compass that guides her sensibility about how she wants to be as a person and who she wants to be in the world with respect to her friends and her relationships and her family I think it has an inner component and an outer component. It has to do with how she sees herself as a person and then also who she sees herself as in relationships. So for her, it's like her moral compass, her overarching sensibility about her goals in life.

At one point she drank too much.and she was like, "There goes my inner poise down the toilet." It's a sense of balance in her life. She knows that she drinks to excess, she smokes to excess, and she eats to excess and she loves to excess sometimes. And she has this sense that extremes don't work for her. And she wants to have a more balanced sense of who she is--and so she goes on this journey toward inner poise.

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Interview by Deborah Caldwell
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