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Phone Call From the Edge: Carrie Fisher Dishes her Friends, her New Novel, and, Most of All, Herself

NEW YORK -- "Hello," a groggy voice moans across the telephone line from the other coast. "Sorry, I'm a little bit out of it. My daughter got sick, so of course I got it. It's just a bronchial thing, but it's a drag. I feel like I'm under...

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"This is why I don't date -- the other person doesn't show up for ages. Talking is an area of certainty for me. I'm invited out to do, I'm expected to be a trained seal. Someone once wrote about me, 'She's the Dorothy Parker of L.A.' It meant 'trained seal.' When David Geffen and Barry Diller picked wits, Geffen picked me and Barry picked Fran Lebowitz. I like her. We're collected by the same people. We both know that."

And some of these people have turned up in Fisher's admitted romans ê clef, "Postcards From the Edge," about the adventures in rehab of a daughter of a famous star, and "Surrender the Pink," about a woman's relationship with a famous man.

It wasn't hard to spot Fisher's mom, Debbie Reynolds, and ex-husband, Paul Simon, between the lines, not to mention some other glitterati.

"I've never told anyone else this," she says, "but I do give the people I write about the choice of taking it out. I'm usually fairly flattering. If I exposed all the negatives, I'd lose my privilege, and I really do enjoy leading the life I do. I didn't do much to Paul except expose he was occasionally selfish. Believe me, I know a lot more than what I write. I could expose a lot of people, but I probably won't. I wouldn't want to be Julia Phillips. She took a swipe at me in an article, said I was 'small, witty, and eager to please -- just like her books.' All I have to say about her is she can't write. That's the end of her career."

You can't say Carrie Fisher's career isn't cruising steadily ahead. After two successful novels and one screenplay (of "Postcards"), she's now the most famed script doctor in Hollywood, punching up dialog in more comedies than Robin Williams has ad-libbed in.

"I was watching 'Lethal Weapon 3' the other night," she snorts, "and I suddenly remembered I'd done some of that dialog. Well -- I've got a very expensive house to pay for and a 20-month-old daughter to bring up."
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