An evening with Anne Lamott

by Starla J. King on November 29, 2012

” ‘I hear you…I get it… Me too.’  That’s what we all need to hear.” ~Anne Lamott

I spent last evening with Anne Lamott.  Just me, Anne, my friend Tina, and a gazillion other fans wrapped in Anne’s words within the majestic embrace of stunning cathedral architecture.

It was heavenly and earthly all at once.  Real… and inspired.  Deep… and full of laughter.  Humbling … and uplifting.  Reverent… and a smidge acerbic.

Just like real life — this human experience of extremes and complexities that has us reading some brave author’s truth in search of understanding … a word-salve  of hope from a revered demi-god/dess.

But here’s the thing: Anne Lamott is a mere mortal (ach! blasphemy!).  Yes, she has the gift of words, but even more so, she has compassion… and the courage to make that public.  Which means, perhaps, that more of us than we realized can be writers or speakers or whatever-ers.

Anne began her speaking time by ribbing the folks who arrived late and had to parade across the front of the sanctuary, then mentioned she had “nothing prepared” so she was simply “going to talk.”  (Good lord, can you imagine???)

And talk she did!  She talked about prayer (the topic of her new book, “Help. Thanks. Wow:  The 3 Essential Prayers“), and life, and death, and writing, and parenting, and insecurities, and Al-Anon, and aging and grace and healing.

She never feels inspired to write.  But she has a writing habit, and look what comes from it.

Her first drafts are always awful, “a mess.”

She has enough material for books because she’s always “scrawling things down.”

And she feels that “laughter is carbonated holiness.”

But the one thing she said that is still reverberating through me?

“No one has the right to keep you silent.” 

No one.

No one has the right to keep you silent.

I suspect we need to hear your voice as much as you do.

We need to hear the voices brave enough to acknowledge the harsh realities of living … delivered with a side of hope, an example of rebuilding and “resurrection” (a word that holds new meaning for me after Anne’s talk last night).

We need to hear how you survived that crushing defeat or that you lost faith or that, as Anne mentioned, that sometimes as a parent you just want to leave your kid outside for a few nights.

We need to hear how your heart aches to heal those around you, yet you found a way to give yourself permission to first do the work of healing yourself.

We need to hear how you came out of the closet — spiritually, sexually, creatively, or any other way that you opened your previously-closed door of truth.

We need to hear you tell us:

“I hear you.  I get it.  Me too.”

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If you think you are ready to tell your story — or even some part of it — consider getting support through my Writing Coaching.  Chances are, I hear you… I get it… and Me too.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Daryl November 29, 2012 at 11:30 am

Amen, sister. We have a need to speak and hear each others’ stories. That’s how we learn things we haven’t experienced ourselves — and how we learn to understand things we *have* experienced. And in the process we find ourselves really engaged in life together.

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Starla J. King November 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

Daryl — and an AMEN to you too! Beautifully stated… thank you.

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