Thursday, April 03, 2008

Annie and Liz

Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert were wonderful. Of course. They'd just met the night before, but their witty personalities and gentle philosophies meshed well. It's not surprising they share the same agent, and that the agent thought it would be a good idea to get them together.

The Civic Center was sold out -- someone said it holds 3,000; that seems about right to me -- and the two offered an evening of talk about their faith(s) and their writing processes. They took questions from the crowd and asked each other questions along the way.

One I recall best is the question: What do you know for sure?

Anne Lamott answered that she knows there's a God and that God has surrounded her with love and people who will keep her together -- even if she loses everything as she knows it.

Elizabeth Gilbert answered that she believes in Gentleness. She believes in treating others, and yourself, with Gentleness. And she believes Courage and Compassion are flip sides of the same coin that complement Gentleness. She's even had them tattooed in white ink on her forearms, and they served as great reminders to her when she was going through her divorce, living abroad for the year she writes about in Eat, Pray, Love.

Anne Lamott ended the night talking about the writing process. She likened it to learning to fox trot -- or some kind of dancing she said she and her guy Rory were horrible at. She'd thought they were both natural athletes and would have no trouble, but it took them months to learn Step, Step, One, Two. She said they were so bad that when they finally got the hang of it, they stuck around and taught other hopeless students to keep working at it with great determination. Because once you got the hang of it, you wouldn't forget it, and you could keep growing if you keep practicing and surrounding yourself with people who will help you. Or something like that. Of course, she was much more eloquent than that, and she was funny and she was charming and she had us all eating out of the palm of her hand and we all knew what she meant and believed every word she had to say about what it conveyed about writing.


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Kari Quaas said...

Lucky you, Anj. I really enjoyed both of their books and recently caught an interview by Anne Lamott on The Colbert Report. She's so interesting and real.

Hope all is well down south. I'm getting caught up.

Congrats to Mickey.

Kari : )