Monday, August 3, 2009

This Week's Quotes: Anne Lamott

(Image from

I collect quotations the way most people collect antiques or coins or Star Wars figures. I love Mondays because I get to pull out my quotation journal and flip through it, looking for just the right quote to post for the week.

This morning I turned to a couple of pages I had copied from Anne Lamott's follow-up book to Traveling Mercies called Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Lamott is an intriguing writer with a grace-filled story: a former alcoholic, she became a Christian. Her writings are sharp, funny, poignant, transparent. She lets it all hang out, hiding nothing of her relationships, of her struggles with and love of motherhood. She holds nothing back, including her drought-dry wit.

A writing teacher who penned perhaps the best book I've ever read on the craft, Bird by Bird, Lamott published several novels but didn't gain full success until the release of Traveling Mercies, an auto-biographical collection of essays so different, so revolutionary, that it rocketed her into bestseller status, thus advertising her previous novels as well. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and Grace, Eventually followed in succession and did very well also.

The quotes I copied into my sidebar are all from Plan B; I hope you enjoy them.

From Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott:

"Grace means you're in a different universe from where you had been stuck, when you had absolutely no way to get there on your own."

"'Help' is a prayer that always get answered."

"...God constantly tells us to rejoice, but to do that, to get our 'joice back, we need to have had joy before."

"If Jesus was right, these are all my brothers and sisters. And they are so letting themselves go."

"Jesus ate with sinners -- but of course, they ended up killing him. So there's that."

"Laughter is carbonated holiness."
A few years ago, I attended The Writer's Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University where Lamott was the main speaker. Dean Nelson, the founder of PLNU's Journalism department, interviewed her, and Lamott was everything I expected her to be: sly, witty, transparent, real. You may watch the almost hour-long video interview here on U Tube: Anne Lamott at Writer's Symposium.

I am still working my way through Bird by Bird and am gleaning much about the craft of writing. I can't recommend this book enough -- and I don't tend to enjoy books about writing because they just seem soooooo dull. But Lamott's writing book sparkles with wit and brilliance. If you love writing (or would like to learn more about it), you need to read Bird by Bird. Seriously.


Anne said...

I love the last quote-"laughter is carbonated holiness." There is a great website, and they send out daily quotes to your email. This was today's quote! What a coincidence! I was wondering who Anne Lamott was and now I know! Thanks so much!

Susanne Barrett said...

What a wonderful coincidence! Or, as in this case, "God-incidence." :)


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