I got to hear Anne Lamott twice at the Festival of Faith and Writing. She was in classic Lamottian form, weaving many of her classic lines with some off-the-cuff stuff. Here are a few nuggets from my notes:
Quoting Geneen Roth: how you do one thing is how you do everything.
[On life’s mysteries and needing an explanation] “Figure it out” is not a good life slogan.
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor. It keeps you from having a sweet dumb regular old life.
[On our culture’s discomfort with pain] When we the abyss opens up at your feet, you go to IKEA and buy a nice area rug.
If you’re multitasking, your life will be diminished.
Laughter is carbonated holiness. [a classic]
[On the discipline of writing every day] I am like Dr. Spock with myself: firm and friendly.
Don’t tell yourself that you’ll start writing when X or Y happens. If you cannot find me an hour, not even Jesus can help you.
We’re not hungry for what we’re not getting.
We’re hungry for what we’re not giving.
[On embracing the imperfections of others] I want to sit with the screwed up and the fascinated and the ones who wonder.
You don’t need an office, you need the discipline.
[On making excuses to take a break from writing and/or doing those things that are good for you] “Anyone would understand if…” is the voice of the devil.
The hour before the world gets to you is a precious and sacred hour. Evening is OK, but you’re sleepy and you have information toxicity.
Mary and Mary Magdalene didn’t know what the hell was going on at the cross, but they didn’t leave.
Barry Lopez: all we have are compassion and stories.
Five rules of adulthood in America, according to Father Tom (reported in Operating Instructions)
1. There’s nothing wrong with you.
2. If there’s something wrong with you, fix it.
3. If you can’t fix it, pretend you have.
4. If you can’t pretend, don’t show up.
5. If you insist on showing up, you’d better at least act ashamed.
One way to change a community is to subversively sneak books into their hands.
People like to say, ‘You can’t have faith and fear at the same time,’ and I don’t want to sit with them at lunch.