Sunday, November 3, 2013

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott's latest book is Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair.

From her Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:

I’ve read and loved all of your books, but this particular one felt different to me--the power was much rawer, the language more beautiful and poetic. Were you aware of this? And why do you think this is?--

I don't know! I started it the day after the slaughter at Newtown, and was filled with fear and grief and being stunned. I never lost faith in the greatness of God, and of people, but I thought, Where do we find meaning now, after this appalling tragedy? I have seen so many people come fully back to life after literally unsurvivable loss, one day at a time, through love, profound loyalty, maybe...dare I say it? Grace. I mean grace in the sense of buoyancy, when you think you are going down under the waves--but it turns out the Love is like water wings.

Newtown was uniquely awful, but every day, we live with terrifying images, of polar bear cubs floating away, and all these shootings, and the crazily wailing roaring addictive sickening pace of our lives. I wondered, where is the meaning for us now, in the modern era?

The opening struck a chord with me, where you talk about how anything can and does happen. You find love and there is a school shooting. The baby you lovingly raised turns out to be a stripper. How can we go on in the face of this? In a way, this book, your attempt to find meaning in the face of terrible tragedies like the school shooting.

I think the question is not so much, How do we go on, because life naturally wants to stay alive. But how do we live again fully both in the face of devastation, AND in the modern world's chaotic technological frenzy? In this bizarre, new science fiction world? How do we stay, or become, who we were born to be, when we are pummeled with both feelings of loss and confusion, AND the information bombardment--to which we are often magnetically drawn? And to which some of us feel somewhat addicted?

What actions do we take to insist on a rich, present human life, where we are not strung out over meaningless multi-tasking bullshit, helicoptering, or unresolved grief and damage from possibly VERY crazy childhood situations?

How do we trust...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue