I made it to Berkeley and I got to check off another entry on my List of Thirty.
Anne Lamott was pretty much what I expected. A bit snarky and cranky with some self-deprecation and honesty mixed into a heavy dose of faith and encouragement. Perhaps most surprisingly, I didn’t cry when I met her!
Of course, I pretended I was an average reader who enjoyed her work. I didn’t mention the ways she’s influenced me to live more transparently, to be more authentic. I didn’t talk about what I’d learned from her regarding “s****y first drafts,” in her writing craft book, Bird by Bird. I shook her hand, thanked her for the evening and asked her to sign my copy of Bird by Bird, brought from home.
Perhaps I wasn’t practicing what she preached and what I claim to have learned about being transparent and honest, but I think it’s better that way. No one wanted to deal with a semi-hysterical stalker/fan in the middle of Berkeley’s First Congregational Church. I got to keep my dignity. And Annie wasn’t saddled with yet another overwrought reader who wouldn’t let her out of there to get back home to her dogs.
Some of my “take-aways:”
- Beginning a life of faith and as a writer are pretty much the same. You start where are, you move forward. It’ll be hard and it’ll stink, but it’ll get better.
- You forgive someone when the pain of carrying the grudge around becomes harder and heavier than the pain of letting it go.
- Especially if you realize they hurt you out of their own self-loathing and if lashing out at you is what enables them to feel better about their own miserable and small life, then let them. You can let it go, knowing it’s not about you, it’s about their own miserliness.
- No matter how I feel about someone, Jesus would want me to wash their feet. Annie pretty much despises Dick Chaney but she readily admits she’d wash his feet because Jesus would want her to. And she expects Mr. Chaney would wash her feet for the same reason.
I came home and put a check by Annie’s name and perused the list for my next target. I blew a chance to meet Steve Martin a few months ago. Actually, I blew the potential that I might have a chance to see Steve Martin. Not quite the same thing as meeting him, but if I’m serious about this list, it’s time to be a bit more proactive.
Who’s on your list of people who’ve influenced you that you’d like to meet?