I can’t remember why I first started reading Annie Lamott. A gift, perhaps, from a conscious friend who was trying to open my eyes to something important or a book review in the paper that caught my eye or maybe the fact that I have spent most of my adult life working in the community where she lives and, while not knowing her directly, knowing people who know her and love her and think that she is one of the most brilliant writers in the world. I don’t know when it started but somewhere along the line I picked up one of her many, many wonderful books and I haven’t been able to put her down.
I wish I could write like her. She’s funny and witty and irreverent and smart and most of all she tells the truth, her truth, in a way that makes you want to stand up and applaud or clench your fists and yell "Yeah!" at the top of your lungs causing the people around you to stare at you with a look of bewilderment but you don’t mind because something inside of you just woke up and you just needed to acknowledge it, just then, at that exact moment for fear that if you didn’t, it would go back to sleep again.
On Wednesday night I took my writing group to hear Annie speak. I had been talking to them about her for weeks, these wonderful, resilient, courageous, fractured souls who have withstood so much of the dark side of life. I wanted them to have the chance to hear her words, her powerful, funny, brilliant words delivered in her own voice. I wanted them to hear the way she uses her experiences, writing about them with honesty and clarity and humor.