Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Brush with Greatness~Random Meeting with Anne Lamott

Yes, one of my life's dreams has been fulfilled and I have met the inimitable Anne Lamott in person.

Anne is one of my favorite writers. My personal favorite of her books, Traveling Mercies, was tremendously moving to me, as was the follow-up, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I can completely relate to her idea of the Good Bad Christian, because that's what I am too, I think. Bird by Bird is the indispensible writer's handbook (I read it every year or so), and her novels are terrific too! I love Anne's little sayings about life, such as:
"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."

"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor."

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
I always loved these kinds of pithy sayings from Anne, but I appreciate them even more now that I am in recovery. *SMILE*

Which brings me to another great thing about Anne Lamott. Anne's candid sharing of her issues with drugs and alcohol and how she finally got help were part of what eventually helped me seek out the help I needed, too. Through her books, Anne had shared her experience, strength, and hope for anyone who cared to read her story. While I didn't pay a whole lot of attention for a long time, the message began to sink in over the years and along with Stephen King's discussion of substance abuse in On Writing (his memoir), I eventually saw enough similarities that I could no longer ignore the clanging bell of Truth in my head.

You can see why I adore Anne Lamott. I have wanted to meet her forever!

Yesterday, I was shopping in the market with my kids and saw a petite, pretty woman who looked sort of like this:

There are not that many people who look like this, so I stared for awhile (she probably thought I was nuts), just to make sure I was right. Anne Lamott lives in Marin County, about five miles from me. In fact, I am almost certain I saw her driving her car once about a year ago.

Anyway, I was pretty sure it was her. I got in line to pay; Anne Lamott was paying at a nearby register. As she was leaving I stopped her and said:

Me: Excuse me, are you Anne Lamott?
AL: Yes (smiles)
Me: I just have to tell you how much I love your work, especially your writings on faith and spirituality. They're the kind of books you can just read over and over again.
AL: Well, I'm so glad (humble smile, seems genuinely happy to hear this)
Me: I know you're on your way somewhere but I just had to tell you that.
AL: No, it's OK. (smiles again) Thank you so much for telling me!

Then we said our goodbyes and Anne walked out to the parking lot as the cashier is now asking me who the famous person was that was in her store. ***GGG***

I am so glad I got to meet the Amazing Anne Lamott IN PERSON and tell her how much I like her work. I only wish I had said something about Bird by Bird and her novels! Oh, well.

Oddly, since I have told this story a few times, every single person has asked me why I didn't say something about MY work.... "I'm a writer too, may I send you a copy of my book?" something like that. To be honest, it didn't even cross my mind.

(Now, I'm sure Joe Konrath, the book promotion machine, would dismember me if he knew I didn't take the opportunity to do so, but it would have polluted the moment with horrid black dreck and mold. All wrong. Ya know?)

No, no, the moment was not supposed to be like that. Really. It was just about me telling her how much her work meant to me. If we are meant to meet at some time in the future to discuss work, that will unfold on its own. If not, well, that's the way it's meant to happen, too.

Yesterday was a beautiful moment with a beautiful author. I'm so glad it happened.

Here's a montage of Anne's incredible, inspiring, moving work. Please check it out if you have not already done so and prepare to be bowled over.

If you CLICK HERE, you will be taken to a page where you can visit each book's Amazon location. Remember, please buy books NEW to support your favorite authors! Authors receive no funds from used book sales.