Ask Anne Lamott - Thursday, December 12th! discussion


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message 1: by Cynthia (last edited Dec 09, 2013 10:20AM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) UPDATE! Anne will be answering questions on Thursday, December 12th in this thread only.

Welcome to the group! Anne Lamott will be answering questions throughout the day on Tuesday, December 10th in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for Anne, or just want to introduce yourself, feel free to do so in this thread.

message 2: by Cindypbarnard (new)

Cindypbarnard | 1 comments I will simply be thrilled to follow this thread on the 10th. There is no other author I would be happier to "listen" to. I am an Anne devotee having read all of her non-fiction, most recently "Stitches".
Thanks for making this happen!

message 3: by Dianna (new)

Dianna (diannaandrews) | 1 comments I am a huge fan!! I would love to know if she is going to be in the Jacksonville, FL area anytime in the next year. I will follow this thread and jump in if I can. Anne is one of my heros of the faith!

message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris | 2 comments Hi Anne, I was at your talk in Atlanta recently and wish I'd thought to bring a pen. Who's on your list of authentic voices who inspire you spiritually? I recall Barbara Johnson. PS Thank you for sharing yourself. It looks hard.

message 5: by Pam (new)

Pam Reeves | 1 comments Hi Anne, you are my favorite author. I discovered you in Traveling Mercies before I found out that being irreverently reverent was not the unforgivable sin that would send me straight to hell. You were one person who helped me to recover from fundamentalism. Thank you! My question is... I have an idea for a book that involves the stories and lives of a few people I'll interview them. How is this handled legally and financially? It will probably be a book containing about 7 smaller books, each about one of them.

message 6: by Shelley (new)

Shelley S. | 1 comments I've read all your books and I've seen that you do cruises and other speaking engagements. I wonder if you have other offerings planned for the future? Politics?
Thanks for all your work.

message 7: by Andrea (last edited Dec 09, 2013 12:55PM) (new)

Andrea | 1 comments Anne. Having read a number of your books including Stitches, I wonder how you would translate your ideas and advice for purpose and meaning in one's life to those of us who are chronically ill, and therefore not able to have close friendships, go for hikes, etc. I get such joy from your words, but unable sometimes to really apply them to my life as it is. I have CFS and am mostly bedridden. Thank you, Anne, and God Bless.

message 8: by Kim (new)

Kim | 2 comments Hi Anne, I love your books and you give me so much joy. I am currently working through difficult times with an addicted son. Working so hard on having faith and "Giving in to God," Any words of advice? (p.s. I have a cat dish on my desk at work, in case I have bad thoughts."

message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 1 comments I love you so much I try not to hold the time that you're not writing for me against you. Also, I love that your first name has an 'e' and your last does not ~ it's all about balance.

message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1 comments Hi Anne, oh you who have taught me such wisdom. I'm caught in a whirlwind of bad, sad, tragic's been going on for 11 years now...It's time to STOP already. Not sure if I'm venting or asking for a bit more wisdom.?

message 11: by Karen (new)

Karen Deyle | 1 comments I enjoyed "Some Assembly Required" on CD while traveling back and forth to my new home in Vermont. I was particularly struck by the chapters about your travel to India. Such a departure for you! Not fiction, not spiritual, not kvetching (much) not writing advice. It so captured the colorful and bewildering chaos with a pilgrim heart and voice. Might you consider a foray into travel - perhaps with a spiritual eye? (We can offer you a start here in VT where the Shrine of St. Anne is located on Isle Lamotte.)

message 12: by Sue (new)

Sue Haley | 1 comments hi Annie,
I've been rereading "Joe Jones", and wondered if you're writing much fiction these days? also, what are you reading lately?

message 13: by Carla (new)

Carla | 1 comments Hi Anne-I just finished Stitches, and recognized the Overly Sensitive Child. Hello, me! Fitting in, although I really really wanted to, was just not an option. Remember the Bowie tune Space Oddity? So, thanks for the encouragement to young Carla, and the oldish one ( see Bowie ref above) recognizes that having a thick skin isn't all that valuable.

message 14: by Teresa (last edited Dec 10, 2013 03:57PM) (new)

Teresa Curto | 1 comments Hi Anne - Could you tell us about your dogs? I liked what you wrote about not being able to make it at all without your dogs. I am owned by three Jack Russells and a Whippet, and I feel like they are the closest experience to heaven we can have in this life. Thank you. And please keep writing. Even though I know you just want to post your essays on your Facebook page!

message 15: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Sommers (jackieleasommers) | 2 comments Anne, if you were writing Bird by Bird TODAY ... what would you add to it, if anything?

message 16: by Michele (last edited Dec 10, 2013 07:02PM) (new)

Michele Schrotenboer | 1 comments Hi Anne (and everyone else!),
I love your writing style--funny, touching, relatable, insightful--and all of your beautiful descriptions of Marin County and growing up in Tiburon. I grew up there too, so your writing brings me back to that special town. I admire how far you have come in your own life, and how much overcoming and healing you have done. Crooked Little Heart was the last work of yours I read. I keep wondering if the main characters in Rosie, that and Imperfect Birds are each based on a side of you? Also, how did you know you wanted to become a writer? Were you always a gifted writer or did you develop the gift over time? Or both. Thanks and keep up your important work!!!

message 17: by Alexandria (new)

Alexandria Barbadoro | 1 comments I am a fan of all of your work, but I want to know how you decide what's story-worthy in your fiction. Where do the threads start? I love your fiction. The characters feel like people I could or do know.

message 18: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 1 comments Just wanted to let you know how much Bird by Bird has meant to me, personally. It's gotten me through some very tough times - times when I didn't think I could keep going.

But I just keep plugging along, bird by bird. In fact, whenever one of my girls calls me up on the phone and is overwhelmed by a huge, looming project, I remind them to take it "bird by bird." Thanks!

message 19: by Phil (new)

Phil (philcotnoir) | 1 comments Hi Anne. My Mom passed away a year and a half ago (cancer) and I found a copy of "Traveling Mercies" in her things. I decided to read it, and I found myself really enjoying it. Not only that, but it reminded me of my Mom in some important ways. Especially what you said about having the courage to not pretend like everything was OK. She was like that, and your words helped me identify her courage. I look forward to reading more of your works!

message 20: by Kristin (last edited Dec 11, 2013 05:32AM) (new)

Kristin Hoover | 1 comments I read Travelling Mercies as my life was unravelling. Thank you for your honesty.

A friend asked me lately how I was and I replied that I was feeling depressed and discouraged that no one could ever love a broken, depressed person. She said the devil is working very hard in my life – that he sees me, a beautiful person, and he’s trying his best to interfere. I never thought of it until she mentioned it. It scares me. I had refused to think about the devil - pretending he's not a reality. I find it painful to acknowledge.

Did you ever feel the devil was working hard in your life? My prayers are cries of anguish these days but your books are healing for me. I often find myself on the floor praying and think of your words. You are a blessing to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

message 21: by Fabio (last edited Dec 10, 2013 08:20PM) (new)

Fabio Bracht (fabiobracht) Hi, Anne!

I've only read "Bird by Bird", which truly helped me to no end in becoming a better writer and person. Thank you for that.

What I wanted to ask was this: why do you, clearly an intelligent person, choose to believe in God and be religious? I'd assume you've been exposed to all sorts of arguments both pro-religion and pro-atheism. Why did you choose the side of faith?

I don't mean any aggresion or rudeness by this question, I'm only curious, since I tend to associate subscription to faith-based beliefs with naivete and lack of critical thinking (characteristics I don't associate with the vision I had of you from reading the book).

message 22: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Fox | 1 comments Operating Manual: has anyone ever written a better book about the tyranny of the newborn? You got me through my son's first summer, when I learned that "Baby Boom" was just a movie, and the truth was complicated and exhausting: human. No pretense; and it's okay if we don't make a lot of sense. But it's the trying that's noble: your books impart that "truth." If there's a "god," your work is one of the signs.

message 23: by Julia (new)

Julia Reffner | 1 comments I'm wondering who some of your favorite authors are? Maybe those who have influenced you in your faith, your writing,or just enabled you to see your world in a new way?

message 24: by Carrieuoregon (new)

Carrieuoregon | 1 comments Hi! I have loved and devoured several of your works. I said in my review on Goodreads ofHelp Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers that I think you are this generation's C.S. Lewis. I think your work will be embraced by many denominations and you'll be quoted continually for many decades by people of faith. In your own journey to your Christian beliefs, were you influenced by C.S. Lewis, or any other religious philosophers?

message 25: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1 comments Hi Anne - My name is Carol Chavez, and I am Eileen Chavez's daughter-in-law. I have been reading your work for many, many years, and am a huge fan. You've been writing mostly non-fiction these past few years. Is that your preference, or have you just been inspired by certain events at this stage in your life that have led to it? Also, aside from writing every day, what is one simple daily practice that you think is helpful for inspiration?

message 26: by Grace (new)

Grace | 1 comments Hi Anne! You're my favorite author - so cool to have this opportunity!

I am an aspiring writer myself (I'll be graduating in May with my Creative Writing degree). I like to write both fiction and personal essays, just like you. Can you talk a little about your approach to writing different genres? Lately you've been writing more personal non-fiction - do you think you'll return to publishing fiction one day?

Thanks for taking the time to do this. Can't wait to read Stitches.

message 27: by Walker (new)

Walker Shaw (walkershaw) | 1 comments Last Christmas we all surprised each other with a copy of Help Thanks Wow giving us six extra copies to re-gift. Love you, love your work and love gifting your books. Please keep writing and stop by San Diego whenever!

message 28: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizobihfrank) | 1 comments Anne is one of my favorite authors and I'm looking forward to our chat on Thursday. She always manages to take a familiar subject and add a refreshing twist to it. My question to Anne is: What subject are you least comfortable writing about? Are there literary terrains you have not quite explored and why? TY! :-)

message 29: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Roedel (kroedel91) | 1 comments Hi Anne,

I was assigned to read Bird by Bird for my fiction writing course and fell in love with it.

My question -- how you discover what you're actually writing about? I find that there are so many things going on in my head at the same exact time that I have a difficult time focusing my writing in one particular direction. I have been told that my writing could take so many different directions because I fail to commit to one "path" for my protagonist; however, I do not always know what that path is, or that I am meandering this way and that.

Thank you!


message 30: by Gina (new)

Gina | 1 comments Hello Anne. I am humbled to even have such an opportunity. My mother in law, a very spiritual woman, loved your Traveling Mercies. You spoke to her heart. Barbara. I find your writing poignant. I have a memory of listening to one of your books on tape as I drove the ribbon of road between the Turnagin arm tidal flats and the Chugach mountain range. You are a truth teller. Thank you.
My question: as my dear Uncle comes close to the end of his life, he is searching for a way to believe. Do you have any suggestions i could give him? a reading? Thank you so much. Best wishes, Gina

message 31: by Deanna Risucci (new)

Deanna Risucci | 1 comments My question is about your reaction to books like, zealot (can't remember author, sorry), a historical account of Jesus as more of a political figure. It suggests Paul was a bit of a wild storyteller and that the whole crucifixion went down more as a protest for religious rights than the pre-destined sacrifice we know and celebrate today. Are you familiar with this book? If so, how do you reconcile it's message with your faith?

message 32: by Sun (new)

Sun Cooper (suncooper) | 1 comments I have an ongoing alternate reality of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien's Inklings involving you and Sue Monk Kidd. It is my happy place, my Serenity Now in my mind when I hit writer's block (ie. a certain nine-year old boy's call of the wild or one of the many self-editing writer's plagues). I go to my mental Eagle and Child to powwow. With you and Sue. Where a lot of wine, laptops, gum wrappers, and feathered quills (that serve no other purpose but aesthetic ones) cluster together in a musty, artistic corner. Eventually, I thank you for being my contemporary Tolkien. Inevitably, you remind me to take it "bird by bird" and inevitably, I wonder if you and Sue are really friends?

message 33: by miteypen (new)

miteypen | 1 comments If this is not too personal: how does your son Sam react to 1) your celebrity; 2) your writing about him; and 3) your faith?

Also, do you feel that your writing has helped you in your faith and/or vice versa?

Thanks for being willing to put yourself out in the world. We need more voices like yours!

message 34: by Renee (new)

Renee M Ellen- Those are great questions! I hope she picks hem to answer.

message 35: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Magee | 1 comments Dec 12th is my birthday! Anne, I love your books. I especially love your writing when in it bends in the direction of the spiritual. If there was one "nail of information/advice" you could pound into the thick, stubborn skull of the church what would it be?

message 36: by Estey (new)

Estey Silva | 1 comments Hi Anne! I love all your books, though I haven't read Stitches yet, since I recently had a baby. My question for you is, how do you share ideas about God with Jax? I'm not sure how I'll share my faith with my daughter when she gets older (she's 8 months old now), but I really want to without being pushy. She loves it when I sing hymns to her, so I figure that's a good start.

Much love from Boston!!

message 37: by J.F. (new)

J.F. Elferdink (harmlessjoyce) | 1 comments Hello Anne! While writing my first fiction book, I attended a writers' group who tore apart almost everything I wrote, saying it didn't follow their formula (primarily of keeping it simple, making virtually no references to anything remotely religious, and giving lots of detail for each scene and character). Now some of these are published authors and I respect their opinion, but when I read other respected authors, I see a lot of uniqueness in style, use of language, scene set-up, even page layout.

So my question is: Is it important to follow a formula that sells books, especially when you're an unknown author? When is deviation from the "norm" an acceptable way to get the ears (okay, eyes) of readers who are thinkers?

message 38: by Treacy (new)

Treacy | 1 comments Dear Anne, Love your riff on clipboards (recall your saying your could have sorted out the "sock problem" in India if you'd only had one). Will you please share more about your journey from being the kid w/ the clipboard who took her turn "only when everyone else had had a turn, and then if there's time, and if it wasn't inconvenient." You talk about radical self-care and being gentle, but I'd love to hear more about the process of stepping up to take your turn! Thanks for all the laughter and inspiration you give to us all.

message 39: by Lori (new)

Lori Keenan | 1 comments "Bird by Bird" has been a parenting mantra for our family. What other simple, yet unconventional, ideas (yours or others') have you seen stand the test of time? ... and when will you be back in Chicago?

message 40: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Sommers (jackieleasommers) | 2 comments Fabio wrote: "Hi, Anne!

I've only read "Bird by Bird", which truly helped me to no end in becoming a better writer and person. Thank you for that.

What I wanted to ask was this: why do you, clearly an intelli..."

Fabio, the answer to this question would be her book "Traveling Mercies"!

message 41: by John (last edited Dec 11, 2013 08:49AM) (new)

John Tyler (escritor1) | 2 comments I think I've read all of your books [ego, probably not], in all used book stores or other book stops I will ask if they have any Anne Lamott. I started with Traveling Mercies and I was/am a Lamott fan for life. I loved your radio station. I'm not a writer unless I have a piece of paper and a pencil [8/10 years later, I pulled them out and shared that truth this morning]. Most importantly I loved your conversion and recovery story in the "Mercies".
I have shared "Help Thanks Wow" too many times to mention.
Your wit and wisdom are your best suit. That cracklin' dry wit matches my needs every time. Don't let anyone ever steal your smile. I look forward to tuning in tomorrow, K... what was the name of that radio station?

message 42: by Leah (new)

Leah Rose | 1 comments Anne! I don't really believe in God anymore (and now that makes me tragically afraid of death) but you are the only person of faith I can get behind. Thank you for your message of grace. I think that's all I get about God and/or faith, messy grace. I still write down prayers even when I don't believe in prayer. Whenever I know someone who can't stand themselves, I give them your books so they can see how we all are a freakin mess and yet the goal is grace, for others and ourselves. Thanks for teaching me about grace and thanks for showing me a CHristian I can still stand. Another shout out for Jacksonville, FL! We'd love to see you here!

message 43: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie S | 1 comments I thank you for two things: the term "cranky Christian" (I thought those two words had to be self-canceling); and the understanding that I am not a writer (I keep hearing that I should be) and that it is okay not to be one even though one is good with words. | 1 comments Hello, Anne! I was first introduced to your work in class and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I was wondering, seeing as I am a creative writing student and all, what can you tell me about the process of writing Stitches? Please and thank you!

message 45: by Kami (new)

Kami Tilby | 4 comments I'm wondering if you encounter any naysayers or opposition to how openly and unapologetically you address spiritual topics. Do you think you'd be as well received if you were affiliated with a larger religious organization? Do you hear negative feedback from those associated with "mainstream" religions or do they embrace the expressions of your faith wholeheartedly? I find your voice refreshingly honest and wish more writers were equally real in what they produce.

message 46: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Hazelwood | 1 comments Hello Anne, Congratulations on producing Stitches! I have learned a lot from reading Bird by Bird and would like to know if as writers the best things that we can do are to offer hope and search for truth? Thanks.

message 47: by JWK (new)

JWK (jawk) | 1 comments A fan of Bird By Bird here! I'm reading through it a second time and laughing out loud, and relating. What a great book for beginning writers. I don't have any questions (as I'm sure she'll be presented with many!), but I just wanted to stop by and let Anne know how much I have enjoyed reading about some of her background in Bird By Bird. Thanks for the encouragement, laughs, and inspiration :)

message 48: by Shabnam (new)

Shabnam Syed | 1 comments Hi Anne! I was introduced to your work in grad school where we studied your "Bird By Bird" and especially the chapter about "Shitty First Drafts." I love all of your work. What is your advice for a beginning writer who hates to write? Or rather who is reluctant to write (always manages to find everything else to do, but write). I know it's probably a stupid question, but I just thought to ask in the event I'm not the only one suffering from such an ailment.

Thanks a ton!

message 49: by Elif (new)

Elif (karatase) | 1 comments Hello there,

Thank you for sharing this space with us.

I feel like I need to be a writer. That one goal has been my only somewhat directional course-correcter in my life... Yet I am so afraid of doing so. I feel the drive, yet I am so down on myself whenever I read what I write. How do I know if this is right (write, heh) for me? Am I deluding myself into some fantasy? I don't just want to write, I want to writing to /speak for me/. Does that make sense? It's not about being published, it's about recovering a sense of self. Oh goodness.


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

From Camden, New Jersey, I am sending you thanks for writing all your books and all your essays. My question is this--do you know how greatly and sincerely you are appreciated by other writers and by your readers? I love your honesty. I'm happy that you have your faith--it really helps us get on in life. It's a hard, sad life without it. God bless you always. Your very devoted fan says thank you!

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Ask Anne Lamott - Thursday, December 12th!

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