April 9, 2008
Dear Miss Lamott
Dear Anne Lamott,
For ninety minutes last Sunday I listened to you speak about life, faith, writing, and inspiration. I hate to gush, but your speech was as wonderful and witty as your essays. I think I want to be you when I grow up.
Seriously, I might have to join the Anne Lamott Fan Club. I've just written and subsequently edited to the point of deletion several effusive paragraphs about her writing. It occurred to me that writing inadequately about someone else's fabulous writing is wasted effort. Don't know how those critics do it. Obviously, the best way to discover if you like an author is simply to read their work. I've read some of Lamott's fiction, but I really enjoy reading her collections of essays. Just finished her newest book, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, and have started to reread Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
I seem to be in a nonfiction phase these days. Reading an essay or two before I turn out the light has become my new nighttime routine. Maybe it has something to do with my decreasing ability to recall details. I'm enjoying not having to reread passages to jar my memory about the plot or the names of secondary characters in a lengthy novel. Reading twenty or so well-written pages with a distinct beginning and end isn't an overwhelming bedtime challenge--more like a delicious nightly reward.
Another benefit of reading essays is that I'm able to read several different books simultaneously. Besides Anne Lamott, I've been dipping into Carolyn See's