The undeniable charms of Anne Lamott.
11 March 2014
by Anne Lamott
I think Anne Lamott is an interesting writer.
I say this in part because even when I don't think I'm going to read a book of hers, I often end up reading it anyway. I forget why I brought her book Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair home, but I know it wasn't for this jacket copy: "We begin, Lamott says, by collectig the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time." (I hate sewing, and I hate sewing metaphors.)
I only looked at the book when it was time to take it back to the library, and then I got started reading it. In it, Lamott attempts to answer these questions: "Where is meaning in the pits? In the suffering?"
And I must say, although I think there are no answers (no satisfactory answers, anyway) to those questions, I can't help but be charmed by Lamott's writing. This is how she describes the process by which people start wondering, a little more deeply, about the meaning of their lives:
"You're thinking about this for the first time when maybe it's a little late. Your life is two-thirds over, or you're still relatively young, but your girl went from being two years old to being eleven in what felt like eighteen months, and then in what felt like eight weeks to fifteen, where she has been now, sharply dressed as a bitter young stripper, for as long as you can fricking remember.
Oh, honey, buckle up. It gets worse." (p. 5.)
I was also charmed by her chapter on "the overly sensitive child," and how she was considered one, and how people were always telling her to get a thicker skin:
""As far as I can recall, none of the adults in my life ever once remembered to say, 'Some people have a thick skin and you don't. Your heart is really open and that is going to cause pain, but that is an appropriate response to this world. The cost is high, but the blessing of being compassionate is beyond your wildest dreams. However, you're not going to feel that a lot in seventh grade. Just hang on." (p. 28.)
I'll say this for Lamott: she does not give me the heebie jeebies, the way most spirituality/religious writers do. I think it's because she has a sense of humor. At any rate, this book's only about 100 pages long. I'm doing a horrible job of describing it but it wouldn't take you a lot of time to investigate this title for yourself.