Jane Pauley 'Out Of The Blue'

For three decades, Americans have come to know Jane Pauley on television, but there is much more to learn from her best-selling memoir.

"Skywriting: A Life out of the Blue," is now out in paperback, and it tells of the highs and lows in a charmed life, which, to Pauley, seemed to come out of thin air.

In her book, she reveals her struggle with bipolar disorder; her feelings about landing in one of the most prominent positions in television at the age of 25; family secrets; and her "tangled feelings" about juggling work and motherhood.

"Skywriting," as she puts it, is her "personal process of discovery."

She visits The Early Show to talk about it. Read the following excerpt from the book:


Truth arrives in microscopic increments, and when enough has accumulated, in a moment of recognition, you just know. You know because the truth fits.

I was the only member of my family to lack the gene for numbers, but I do need things to add up. Approaching midlife, I became aware of a darkening feeling—was it something heavy on my heart or was something missing? Grateful as I am for the opportunities I've had, and especially for the people who came into my life as a result, I couldn't ignore that feeling. I had the impulse to begin a conversation with myself, through writing, as
if to see whether my fingers could get to the bottom of it.

It was a Saturday morning eight or ten years ago when I began following this impulse to find the answers to unformed questions. Skywriting is what I call my personal process of discovery, because it seemed that I plied blue sky—so much of the work went on unconsciously. I imagined the "boys in the back
room" toiling while I slept, because often I knew things in the morning that I hadn't known the night before. Writers sometimes say they write to see what their fingers know; my fingers seemed to have their own agenda.

It was a fascinating exercise, but in time I started to wonder what the point was—was I headed somewhere or just doomed to wander? Frustrated, I described my writing process as "wandering purposelessly."

When I encountered that phrase years later in an inverted form—"purposeful wandering"—I recognized its significance immediately. It turned "wandering purposelessly" on its head.

"Purposeful wandering" is to be actively available to moments of recognition—the portals to insight. Words in frequent rotation in our heads, such as purposeless, aren't circling in and out of our consciousness for no reason, nor are fragments of songs, or the snapshot images from long ago, burned into an otherwise faulty memory. They are expressions of unconscious meaning, and I think of them as moments of pre-recognition.

For instance, why did the discovery of a red swizzle stick in my father's suitcase give me a bad feeling as a little girl, and why was the memory engraved on my brain? It had significance just beyond the reach of my understanding. Nothing stronger than ginger ale was ever served in our house; I liked mine in a martini glass. Nobody but me ever reached for that set of martini glasses in the top cupboard. A swizzle stick with a martini-glass decoration on the top didn't belong in Daddy's suitcase; it didn't fit us.

This was a moment of pre-recognition. Many years later, recognition arrived amidst a bundle of evidence my sister, Ann, and I could not ignore—it fit the truth.

When I was still little, a doctor told my mother that "Jane is a nervous child, and she'll have to be careful her whole life." I was sitting on the examination table, listening. I didn't ask why or how—much less, would a career in television be okay? I don't know what symptoms provoked the visit or what the doctor meant by "nervous," but I'm pretty sure there was a correlation between those childhood "nerves" and an EKG tape forty years
later that inspired my doctor to say, "I don't see this much tension
in twenty women!" She didn't get it. I didn't, either. I was happily
married, with three lovely kids, dogs, a successful career—a perfect
picture. What was wrong with it?