Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Anne Lamott, writing, feeding the babies, and the sunny side of control

I treated myself to an author talk that wasn't free. This is a big thing for me because I'm a library events kind of girl, meaning absolutely free. It's also a big thing because we're talking about Anne Lamott and I love her. I read her in college and felt like I really got her. I read her again after I was a mom and her words hit me in a completely different way. She helped me through a rough no-writing patch. I have a long list of reasons I stopped writing for a few years and some of them are good, we're talking starting my life over good, and still, all that matters is getting the words down. Make the time and write even if you suck. Write to write and it's that simple. So I got back into it. I wrote a new story in a new genre. Juvenile fiction if you can believe it. I love it but I can't tell if it's any good. Anne's talk didn't help me figure that out, but she said so much that spun my head around.

If you've heard her talk at all, you know she's big on Jesus. She told us to feed the hungry, feed the babies. It was the most important thing to Jesus. She hands out a water bottle, a box of crayons, and a cigarette to the homeless. The cigarette because she's not about judging. She's a save the world kind of person who also knows she can't save the world, but sometimes thinks she can and should and is failing and so is the world since they aren't being very saveable. Feed the babies, it's a line that's been flying through my head like those skywriter planes writing floating messages in the middle of bright blue sky.

She also said, "Help is the sunny side of control." I still do not know how to process this. I can tell it's deep. Take the line, "I'm just trying to help you!" I imagine that being whine/shouted at a person who apparently needs help. And then I imagine Anne perching herself on this helper's shoulder singing her sunny side quote. When is help simply that? Like handing out water bottles to the homeless. So I need more Anne Lamott talks. She's an inspiration, but she also feels like a friend, a kindred spirit kind of friend where you don't have to know her, just know she knows how you feel.