Saturday, June 7, 2008

An Evening with Anne Lamott

I was fortunate enough to be able to hear Anne Lamott speak tonight as part of the Annual Writer's Workshop held in Homer every June. The guest writer usually has a public engagement that is open to the community, even if you are not enrolled in the workshop. Last year the guest speaker was Amy Tan.

My friend Alana was there with her entire book club. She invited me to their potluck dinner before the speaking engagement. I declined knowing that Matt would be on call for the hospital and it's too soon to leave Maya with a babysitter. I try to give the grandmothers Saturday night off.

But after spending the whole day home alone with 4 children (Riley had a friend over), I was feeling a little confined. My house is cluttered and messy. That means my psyche feels cluttered and messy. It's hard to do any deep cleaning or serious organizing when you have a brand new 2 year old in the house. Last August we had our house painted and put in cement walkways in place of the rotting wood that was there before. That means that in addition to a lovely house and gorgeous cement walkways, we now have 10 to 20 feet of mud around our house where the construction team dug up our yard to do their work. Many of my perrenial beds were disrupted. The project was completed just in time for the bad weather to set in.

Everywhere I look I see projects that need my attention. But so do our two boys and our new toddler. Unlike some people who can prioritize and get things done, I tend to get overwhelmed. I kept thinking about Anne Lamott and her book "Operating Instructions", about her first year as a single parent, recently clean and sober, trying to cope with a fussy baby. I decided during dinner that I NEEDED to go hear Anne Lamott.

Matt programmed my cell phone to vibrate instead of ring in case he got called away to the hospital and I needed to come home. Luckily, there were no emergencies. Anne Lamott was just as wonderful as I imagined she would be. I felt like I spent the evening with a really good friend, attended a political rally for bleeding heart liberals and went to church all at the same time.

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