Monday, March 26, 2007

Anne Lamott

Eagle-eye Marriott scored a hot ticket in town yesterday.

The two of us got to go to a recording of WFMT: Writers on the Record with Victoria Lautman featuring writer Anne Lamott.

The first time I heard of Anne Lamott, it was 1997 and I was at the national Romance Writers of America conference. I was walking with Jules into the conference bookstore, when suddenly she turned star-struck. Now, you have to understand that Jules doesn't get star-struck easily. No-sir-ee. So this caught my attention.

The star in question wore dreadlocks. "That's Anne Lamott. She wrote Bird by Bird," said Jules, who is by far a much more varocious reader than I am.

"Who? What?" was all I could answer, which happens more often than I'd like to admit when it comes to authors and books.

Dragging me over to prominently displayed table, Jules pointed out the big stack of Bird by Bird books. It was a book about writing. A Bible on the writing experience, so I was to understand.

So, I bought a copy of the book while catching glimpses of the mysterious Anne Lamott. It turns out she was at the conference to speak at the Published Author Network retreat that year. I wasn't (nor am I now) a member of PAN, so I couldn't attend.

Time passed. I read parts of Bird by Bird, and a year or so later, I went with JC and LadyKnyght to see Anne Lamott speak at a nearby community college. She'd just released her book Traveling Mercies, which I hadn't read.

But Anne was an incredible speaker. She had all sorts of funny and witty things to say that I wrote down somewhere (Note to self: Find those notes.) I came out of her talk incredibly inspired to write.

So much so, that a few weeks ago, when Marriott told me Anne Lamott was in town to speak again, I jumped at the chance to hear her. This time she was promoting her latest book Grace (Eventually), which I haven't read (are you noticing a trend?) .

I didn't take notes this time, but, again, I was totally impressed with her. Her talk this time was not about the writing process, but it was entertaining. Let's just say that even if all her latest books have become very Christian and spiritual, she's approaches it from an interesting perspective -- the leftist, f-bomb dropping side.

And the place was packed. They were turning people away at the door, which from what I understand, has never happened with this author series before. Fortunately, the talk is available for listening to over the Internet. (Link to a recording of the show.)

Update 2/19/2008:

Anne Lamott is coming to town again. She'll be speaking at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at Koten Chapel, 329 E. School Ave., North Central College, Naperville. She's touring with her paperback edition of Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. Tickets are $18, include admission to the event, one copy of Grace (Eventually) and booksigning. For information, contact Anderson's Book Store.

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