Sunday, March 4, 2012

Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project) is ready to tell her story
Heather Donahue is ready to tell her story.

The 38-year-old former actress and native of Upper Darby, Pa., best known to film fans for her starring role in the 1999 box office smash “The Blair Witch Project,” is back in the public eye with a new memoir, “Growgirl: How My Life After ‘The Blair Witch Project’ Went to Pot.”

“For me, it was a wonderful chance to tell my own story from my own perspective,” Donahue, now living in San Francisco, said in a recent phone interview. “That’s one of the things I don’t miss about acting, interpreting someone else’s story all the time. There’s something to be said for that — I think it’s engendered empathy in a lot of ways — but for me, I was ready to share my own story.”

That story, as told compellingly in “Growgirl”: Around 2007, Donahue had left her acting career and moved to a northern California community she calls “Nuggettown,” where she spent a year growing medical marijuana as part of a group know as “the Community” before departing that world to write what would become “Growgirl.” Her memoir was published in January by Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin Group.

“I think a lot of people are really just curious about this world no matter who would be writing about it, and I think it’s time to see the medical marijuana community really become more mainstream, simply because people are in difficult economic circumstances right now, and they’re looking for options, and this is what I found,” she said. “It wouldn’t be for everybody, but it was for me.”

Reaction to her book has been diverse in the medical marijuana community, said Donahue, who entered that community after a chance meeting at a meditation retreat.

“People that I know in that world have been very supportive, actually, but people who I don’t know are a little bit more like: ‘Oh, who do you think you are to write about this? You’re going to get yourself in a heap of trouble,’ and I kind of understood that, and that’s fine,” she said. “I knew I was taking a risk by writing this. I knew I was taking a risk by growing.

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