It’s Anne Lamott Friday! *Updated: Photo and Comments*

Sorry I’ve been scarce around here, there’s lots of things going on. Nothing too earthshaking, but as my friend Crescent Dragonwagon used to say (mysteriously), “More will be revealed…”

So anyway, I thought I’d officially designate another one of my willy-nilly “It’s _____ Friday!” day, and share with you some thoughts from one of my favorite writers and speakers, Anne Lamott.

Anne is as bluntly honest and hilarious as C.S. Lewis is thoughtful and esoteric, and she always just delights me. She is a self-described ‘old hippie’, raised in the San Francisco Bay-area to be an atheist by her  left-leaning parents who thought they were too educated and intellectually sophisticated to believe in God.  Anne went through an extended period of addiction before becoming a Christian as a result of discovering a tiny, multi-racial inner-city Presbyterian Church that loved and accepted her just as she was. Her conversion story is one of the best I ever read (it’s in “Traveling Mercies”). She’s just the real deal.

I actually had the pleasure of hearing Anne Lamott speak at the Festival of Faith and Writing conference I attended years ago at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. She was remarkable. If you have never read any of her books, you should run out right this minute and get some. (OK, if not right this minute then first thing in the morning. Promise.) She writes wonderful novels, but I particularly love her nonfiction work– especially “Traveling Mercies,” and also the best book I’ve ever read on writing, “Bird by Bird.”

This is a clip from a recent interview that will give you a little bit of her background story, and also give you a feel for her wonderful mind and quirky spirit. I just love her.

Let me know what you think!

22 Responses

  1. LindaB

    “I was deteriorating faster than I could lower my standards”!

    “…so I wandered in (to this church) ’cause I’d run out of good ideas…”

    “I believe in doing things badly……..’cause if you don’t, you’ll kick yourself some day when you grow old and you meant to do it…..”

    I love this woman too! She’s so honest! I like people that admit they have a hard time in the Christian life and don’t always have it together. People who DO have it altogether and say the right thing and do the right thing all the time make me feel nervous.

    I am going to find a book by her and read it AFTER the Christmas craziness! My reading lately is toy catalogs—trying to find the right gift for a three year old and a nine year old. And it’s down right FUN!

  2. ginnh

    “I believe in doing things badly…’cause if you don’t, you’ll kick yourself some day when you grow old and you meant to do it…”

    Also my favorite LindaB and she made me happy that I wasn’t the only one that ‘prayed and meditated badly’.

    Thank you Tori for posting this. A side note, we signed the purchase and sale for our house yesterday so we will be starting that big adventure and heading for Kentucky the middle of January. Pretty hectic here right now too..Hope your adventure is moving right along.

  3. rachelbaker

    “I believe in doing things badly……..’cause if you don’t, you’ll kick yourself some day when you grow old and you meant to do it…..”

    She has a very good point! Thanks for the introduction, Tori.

  4. LindaB

    You wanna see something funny? Watch someone with ADD try to meditate! LOL

  5. tori

    I’m SO glad you are liking the clip! Here’s a few more of some of my favorite quotes from Anne Lamott– the woman can definitely turn a phrase…

    “You can either practice being right or practice being kind.”

    “It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do. ”

    “Laughter is carbonated holiness.”

    “I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.”

    “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

    “Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.”

    And my absolute favorite:

    “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue”

  6. LindaB

    OH MY GOODNESS! I AM going to find a book by Ann! Those quotes are terrific stuff! “Laughter is carbonated holiness”? LOL—-carbonated and bubbly! And I especially love the one about the lighthouse! It seems to me that spreading Christianity on the street corner handing out tracts, or blaring from the TV by slick evangelists is not as effective anymore as it used to be. I may be wrong, but……maybe each of us just being a lighthouse and living Christ where we are is more effective. I don’t know. Something to think about.
    And I like that last one too! I might humbly add: Man is born with a clean slate. And then he writes a bunch of crap on it. Jesus is the teacher and grace is the eraser that enables us to wipe the slate clean and start over……..and over…….and over! ‘Til we get it right, more or less.
    How do you find these wonderful characters like Ann and Crescent, Tori? Do you just attract them………because you are one too? Anyway, keep them coming—-I love them!

    BTW, can’t wait to hear the “more will be revealed” part! Is it good? I hope so! And how is your Mom? Is Char on the swim team this year? Is she doing well in school and being the only child at home? Is Madi doing well in college? Any more coyote sightings? Are all your little yappers accounted for? Inquiring minds and nosy people want to know!

  7. LindaB

    Okay, here’s my new favorite:

    “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
    ? Anne Lamott

    Ain’t that the unsettling truth?

  8. tori

    LindaB: I knew you’d appreciate her, you have similar senses of humor! Although I will warn you– she is possibly way more of a liberal than even I AM!!! You may have to swallow hard a few times when you read some of her opinions, but hey– you are able to do that with me and still love me, so it shouldn’t be a problem…

    And in order:
    1. Yes, hopefully the “more to be revealed” part will be all good.
    2. Mom is doing pretty well, however her short-term memory issues are really sobering. Rest of her mind is still working just fine, though!
    3. There isn’t really an official swim team at Char’s tutorial, but she still goes to the Y and swims laps. She’s doing very well in school, and though we miss Madi, she is totally enjoying her time as an ‘only child.’
    4. Madi is doing very well in college, and loves it– adjusting beautifully!
    5. No more coyote sightings.
    6. All yappers present and accounted for– and they are so funny during the house showings, they have apparently designated themselves the official welcoming committee and prance around charming everyone in sight.

  9. tori

    LindaB– P.S. I recommend starting with “Traveling Mercies.”

  10. LindaB

    I looked her up on the internet this morning and yes, I’ve already noticed she has some unconventional views on some things. And some even more way out than YOURS! LOL But then I have to think: we can learn something from everyone. No body is right all the time…..and no one is wrong all the time. If my views cannot be challenged and defended intelligently and convincingly, then maybe I need a change…..or to look further and to think outside the box a bit. And some “way out” folks are just plain good entertainment……like Ann!! And let’s face it—–Jesus was called a fanatic and completely unconventional by His neighbors down here. He enjoyed turning “convention” upside down! And it’s funny—–I love it when He does it, but I’m not much into doing that myself. Don’t feel I have the authority, I guess.

    Yeah, if I can love a mojito sipping, left leaning, proud and fearless Democrat like yourself, I may be more “unconventional” than I realize! LOL You crack me up! And I adore ya! After all, any adopted children of Mommalloyd can’t be all bad! LOL

  11. LindaB

    Where is everybody? Out Christmas shopping? “Settling down for a long winter’s nap?”

  12. kay

    “Traveling Mercies.” Is a very, very good book!!!! Very unique lady, very honest with her writting. Almost feels like she is telling you the stories while you are reading them.
    Bonnie recommended to me…a MUST read.
    Blessings during the Christmas Season.

  13. rachelbaker

    Ooo LindaB the idea of ‘settling down for a long winter’s nap’ sounds very appealing. I always did like the idea of hibernation. Alas, this time of year is just a whirlwind of activity and naps are really, really hard to come by. Not that I’d change a thing – December with little kids is FUN.

    I love all the extra quotes and will definitely have to read more. As for the ‘liberal’ warning – how dull would life be if we only read, learned from, and enjoyed the company of people with indentical world-views to ourselves? (Actually, I would never have been able to read anything and would have lived a very lonely life)!

  14. LindaB

    “Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere… You don’t have to dress up, for instance, and you can’t hear them boo you right away.”
    Anne Lamott

    Ba ha ha ha ha!

  15. LindaB

    “You can either practice being right or practice being kind.”
    ? Anne Lamott

  16. LindaB

    I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.”
    ? Anne Lamott

    Ba ha ha AGAIN! (We’ve all had those thoughts, haven’t we?)

  17. LindaB

    “You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town”
    ? Anne Lamott, Grace [Eventually]: Thoughts on Faith

    (I’m sorry Tori! But you’ve given me a lot of fun things to do today! And I have to share!)

  18. delightedabroad

    Love her honesty.

    LindaB, you’re so right that we can ‘learn something from everyone’. And I remember a bible verse saying that you should prove everything and keep the good things…

    Oh, in terms of good things: The first small orders (french to german)just came in :-)

  19. LindaB

    YAYYYYYY DELIGHTED! And it’s so good to hear from you!

  20. meb

    So for some reason my Google reader didn’t update and tell me there was this new post on Friday, so here it is Sunday evening and I’m just getting around to it, a little late to the party.
    Now that the craziness of November has passed – I participated in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and managed to squeeze out of my brain 50,062 words. The story isn’t finished yet and I’m not sure how much sense it actually makes either, but it was quite the fun time for me – my family may say differently however since many chores and tasks were abandoned in favor of words.

    I have Bird By Bird sitting on my end table waiting for me to dive into, but reading for pleasure was not an option. Now that I have a little more time I think it’s perfect to pick up and start reading. And based on the quotes and comments above I have now added Traveling Mercies to my list as well.

    Looking forward to hearing good news as well. And hopefully when it comes my reader will update appropriately.

  21. Gramma Jac

    More A.L. quotes.

    “Expectations are resentments under construction.”

    “Joy is the best make-up.”

    “I liked those ladies! They were helpers and they danced. These are the words I want on my gravestone: that I was a helper and that I danced.”

  22. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well, I actually enjoyed her once we got around to where either she started talking slower or I got to hearing faster. Hey, I do my best…..and I think we made a connection. I’ll probably read one of her books after Christmas…..the beauty of talking tapes is I can make them at my own speed…..and if she gets on a too-liberal trip I can fast forward and pretend I didn’t even hear what she was about to say. I tell you, sometimes handicaps can be a blessing….cause you can get all of the joy and none of the frustrations…so to speak.

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