Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
― Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor – she is laugh-out-loud funny – and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. Actually, she writes about what most of us don’t like to think about. She wrote her first novel> for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was “a present to someone I loved who was going to die.”

In all her novels, she writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. As she says, “I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.” Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.

Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott’s biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted The Best of the Web by TIME magazine. Academy Award –winning filmmaker Freida Mock has made a documentary on Lamott, entitled “Bird by Bird with Annie” (1999). Anne Lamott has also been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.


Counting Our Blessings: Why We Say Grace

by Anne Lamott

No matter how you say it, grace can transform an ordinary meal into a celebration—of family, love, and gratitude.

We didn’t say grace at our house when I was growing up because my parents were atheists. I knew even as a little girl that everyone at every table needed blessing and encouragement, but my family didn’t ask for it. Instead, my parents raised glasses of wine to the chef: Cheers. Dig in. But I had a terrible secret, which was that I believed in God, a divine presence who heard me when I prayed, who stayed close to me in the dark. So at 6 years old I began to infiltrate religious families like a spy—Mata Hari in plaid sneakers.

One of my best friends was a Catholic girl. Her boisterous family bowed its collective head and said, “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts. …” I was so hungry for these words; it was like a cool breeze, a polite thank-you note to God, the silky magnetic energy of gratitude. I still love that line.

I believed that if your family said grace, it meant you were a happy family, all evidence to the contrary. But I saw at certain tables that an improvised grace could cause friction or discomfort. My friend Mark reports that at his big southern childhood Thanksgivings, someone always managed to say something that made poor Granny feel half dead. “It would be along the lines of ‘And Lord, we are just glad you have seen fit to keep Mama with us for one more year.’ We would all strain to see Granny giving him the fisheye.” …

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Watch Below: Ann’s Unconventional Definition of Prayer – from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Series

1 thought on “Anne Lamott”

  1. Hello Annie,

    I’d love to connect with you but I don’t have your phone #or email address. Because of covid I haven’t gotten to hear you speak in many years. I’d love to talk to you about a few things.
    ***Three years ago I bought a 20 acre ranch in Chico. I’m going to start a non-profit for mustangs. I want to do for them what pet finder does for dogs. I have one mustang who, believe it or not, is competing in dressage & loving it. People can’t believe he’s a mustang. The BLM continues to have negative policies towards the horses. They have roundups during the year where low-flying helicopters hover over the horses driving them from freedom into dusty, crowded corrals. Foals get separated from their mothers, legs are broken, etc. Then, once confined @ the BLM all the stallions are gelded. If they get lucky they get adopted into healthy, loving homes. If not, they can be shipped to Japan for human consumption. A group of us are going to be adopting wild mustangs and training them to compete in various disciplines. The idea is to have people both save lives and keep a rich part of our history alive. People spend thousands of dollars to buy dressage horses. Lippy is excelling in dressage & she, a wild horse, was rescued & is now thriving. He’s an ambassador for the horses. I know you’re an animal lover. I have a sweet little guest cottage on the ranch. My property is dog-friendly to anyone who has a (non-issue dog, i.e. that isn’t dog-aggressive.) My entire property is fenced & the fence goes all the way to the ground. I have a very smart, very naughty little terrier who has zero recall so I had to do something to prevent the dogs from ever getting out on the road. So, I’m inviting you to come visit, or to, at least come for lunch. It’s a 3-hour drive. Meanwhile, I hope to see you at a meeting soon.


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