pathwriter’s note: What a gift Anne Lamott is. I’m so glad her son and her editor talked her into getting on Facebook, because it means she writes posts like this from time to time—and usually just when I need them, like today.
This is a true story.
I have been doing a bunch of radio interviews to promote the coming paperback edition of Some Assembly Required, and so was in San Francisco recently. There was no street parking to be found, so I parked in an underground garage. I stuck the ticket in my wallet, went and did the interview, came back to the car, and got ready to leave.
But I couldn’t find my ticket. It wasn’t in my wallet. I looked for it there, again and again, but couldn’t find it, so I rifled through my purse. The ticket wasn’t there, either. I took everything out of the purse, put it on the passenger seat, and pawed through it, like a Samuel Becket character.
Sighing loudly, I looked everywhere it could have fallen—the console between the front seats, the ashtray, the floor, the glovebox. Then I got out, exasperated with myself. I am getting so spaced out.
I don’t want to be put in a home yet! Continue reading
When we are at zero, we have to start somewhere, and perhaps the sanest, best, and surest place to start is with the eye of the beholder. We are in a certain place at a certain time and we feel a certain way about it. Let’s start here. That means put the pen to the page and write about the exact moment and place where you find yourself. Take an inventory of what surrounds you and what you feel about that. This is a starting-off place.
…We do not arrive willy-nilly at point zero. We arrive there a choice at a time, a degree at a time, as we make little or less than we should of a growing discomfort. We get along without what we love the way camels get along without water—not forever, but for a very long time. And then, one day, we are thirsty and what we crave is water, real water, a pure infusion of something that matches what our body and soul are authentically craving. Continue reading
My parents were about the pursuit of the so-called good life. When they fell in love after the war it was as intellectuals. This meant that you got together with other couples like you—-good-looking, highly educated, and amused folks who listened to Coltrane and Miles Davis and raised their kids to be extremely high achievers, drank a lot of wine, passed along great books, knew about the latest poets, and cooked Julia Child’s recipes and cutting-edge ethnic food.
I still remember my mother fully engaged in a number of enlivening, centering pursuits—-cooking, reading, baths, hanging out with her best women friends making marmalade and chutney (then trying to trick the poor children into liking it). And the figs my father and I devoured from our friends’ backyards—how perfectly one fit into your mouth, the succulent flesh with just a little something to chew against, to keep you focused, the honey juice that didn’t run down your chin but down your throat, bathing you in the exotic ancient pleasure of a most common fruit.
The food and life my parents created would have been delicious and nourishing, if it were not for one tiny problem—that they were so unhappy together. Continue reading
“Empty time is a powerful medicine that can make us more joyful and resilient, but it’s strangely hard to swallow. In our culture, the very word empty has negative connotations: loss, need, desolation, hopelessness. Our ambivalence toward doing nothing creates what psychologists call an approach-avoidance response: We yearn for a powerful source of liberation that is right under our noses, and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it.”
~Martha Beck, “Making Time for Nothing”
To read the entire article…