Ask the Author: Anne Lamott

“Ask me a question.” Anne Lamott

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Anne Lamott Well, as I quote in Stitches, Mr Roger's mother always said, in the aftermath of tragedy, "Look to the helpers.". There's always SO amazing. Wow. Go outside and look around--and up--and at the green shoots breaking thru the concrete at your feet. Wow. Can you BELIEVE how you are managing your care and healing and attitude? Wow.
Anne Lamott I write about stuff that is personal but that I KNOW is universal, too. I share my private with family and just a few friends. I would never tell family secrets, because I am so close to my brothers and cousins. I I don't want them showing up and wrecking my holiday dinners.
Anne Lamott I don't personally find it useful to talk about abortion, Obamacare, immigration, or the environment with my conservative friends. We will NEVER change each others' thinking, and will ruin the meal or coffee or mood by trying. I ask myself frequently, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?". That settles for me.
People get to think what they want, and I do, too. But I hate arguments and debate--I always have since I was a little child. I do what I can to advance the causes I so passionately believe in, and I try to tell the truth, and then I have it to let it go at that.
Anne Lamott Well, I began it the day after the shootings at Sandy Hook, because I wanted to be able to talk and listen to any Sunday School kids who might show up a few days later. I was sick with shock, and wondered, "How can there be meaning and a sense of safety for kids and parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles after Sandy Hook?". And I remembered novelist Barry Lopez saying that ultimately, as we have in the face of anything is compassion, and stories. So I started there, with a few stories that I thought might help in the chaos.
Anne Lamott Thank you. The modern reality is, in one very important realm, the same way it's always been: you have to write a terrific book that people will want to read, because you have labored over it to get it just right. You have poured your heart, soul and intelligence into it, for a long time. You have addressed important aspects of our lives--love, family, meaning,betrayal, aging, coming through hardship--whatever. And you have told us your version, in the truest, most reliable voice you can muster, so that we want to spend a week with you, every night after dinner or before bed. If you display a wonderful sense of humor, so much the better.
I've never actually heard the word "platform" in this context, so there are better people to ask, ie, people who know what the word means.
But first--write the best, most amazing book you can, the wisest, most honest, most human book you have inside: we are starving to death for this ina culture that mostly traffics in appearance and surface. Let a couple of friends read it and give you their opinion. Write the book one more. We used to call this putting in through the typewriter one more time." I'm talking about RE-TYPING it, so you can get to know it at the most intimate level--not gussying it up on the computer.
Then find someone who critiques and edits professionally--have garage sales etc to raise 1500 dollars. Sell the treadmill. Someone good will read it for $1500. If you think his or her comments are good, make the necessary changes.
Keep making the book better. Cut it by 1/4. (Sight unseen, I bet it is too long. Takes out half the details, descriptions, and lies.)
Have more garage sales. Hire a good editor to mark it up. Make the changes. Then send it out. I think if it is unique, interesting, well written, and ABOUT something, you'll find an agent.

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