I saw an event scroll through my news feed on Facebook the other day. It was an evening with Anne Lamott. I looked at it with interest. I checked the box, because I was definitely going to try to go, and then I went on about my day. A couple of days later, my aunt, who is currently being referred to as “Favorite Aunt,” sent me the event in a Facebook message and I told her how I LOVE Anne Lamott. She asked me if I would go with her if she bought me the ticket. Would I? Fuck yea, I would!! So a few minutes later, she messaged me and told me she just bought the tickets and not only do we get to spend the evening with her, we also get her newest book. I was so excited, I didn’t know whether to squeal like my sister at the New Kids on the Block concert or cry tears of joy. So, I did neither. I just jumped up and down like I just won on the family feud and went back to my real life.
Now, I’m obsessed. I’m counting down. I’m nervous. I just want to hug her and maybe lick her face if it’s not too awkward. She’s like one of my writing idols. Actually, flip a coin between her and Stephen King. Actually, it would probably be her, because Stephen King broke my heart that time he said he was retiring and wouldn’t write another book and I had a funeral service for all the stories that would never be told and I cried and I mourned for weeks, maybe even months, and then one day, out of the blue, he came back from the dead with a new book. And I was like, “What the Fuck, Steve?!” I don’t know if he ever goes by Steve, I would guess he doesn’t, but isn’t that the point when you’re pissed off? Call someone by a name they hate, like champ, or Einstein, in the most sarcastic and unloving way possible? So Steve it was and I was pissed. I mean, I was happy that there would be more books to read, but now, I will be doubly traumatized when he actually does quit writing. I mean this in the nicest way possible, I hope he dies before he quits writing. You know, then I can actually mourn him and there will be no more surprises. I’m not saying I hope he dies any time soon. I don’t. I hope he lives to be a hundred. I just hope he’s still writing at a hundred, all hunched over and creepy looking on his big creepy front porch in Maine with his old coffee stained cup sitting next to him in his squeaky rocking chair with his outdated laptop sitting in front of him. In my mind, he will die as soon as he puts the last period on “The End” of his final novel. That’s how you go out if you’re Stephen King. Not with a big dramatic, “Hey, everyone I’m retiring, never to publish another novel again.” and then BAM! “Just kidding, ya’ll, here’s ten more for you to read.” Fuck you, Steve!! I’m not bitter, though.
Sorry, so I got a little off track. Back to Anne.
I fell in love with her when I read her book Bird by Bird when I was in college. After reading that book, I took it with me everywhere. If it wasn’t in my bed, or in my purse, it was on the dashboard of my car. I carried that book around with me so much, the cover was discolored and the pages were swelled. If that book was a pair of jeans, they would have been way past the point of well loved, more like holes in the knees (and the thighs) and a back pocket ripped off. I love that book. It changed my life. She is the reason that I write whatever the fuck I want. My favorite quote from her (and I’ve re-quoted her often) is: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” It is this quote that I think about every time I second guess what I’m about to write. I also think of this every time I write something brutally honest about myself. I know when I’m behaving and misbehaving. I’m sure that I am somebody’s not so nice story, but if I wasn’t worried about it then, I can’t be worried about it now.
So, yes, I am super duper excited to spend an evening with Anne Lamott. I’m even more excited at the thought that I may get to meet her and possibly hug her and steal some of her creative energy. FYI, that’s not the only book she wrote. She’s got a bunch of them. Mostly non-fiction. She’s just honest, and real, and raw. I know, I’m fan-girling like I did when I thought I was going to meet KyMani Marley (and I did!). So I’m pretty sure this dream will come true too, and maybe one day, I’ll get to meet Stephen King and apologize for calling him Steve. And he can apologize for breaking my heart. So to my currently favorite aunt, if you are reading this, thank you for making me feel like a kid again!