I was twenty when I got to see Anne Lamott speak.
I wore a beanie, and clutched her new book, Travelling Mercies, hoping to get it signed.
I had devoured several of her books at that point: Bird By Bird, which talks about basic writing tools, and her fiction, especially her earliest novel, drawn from Lamott losing her father to cancer, and her problem drinking, and working as a cleaning lady while she wrote.
I wanted to be her. Well, except for the alcoholism and the cancer. Just the writing. I wanted to write. I wanted to be willing to do anything to write.
Except I had no idea how to be that brave.
Sadly, my then self-absorption means I don’t remember much of what Anne Lamott said. I just remember when she opened the floor to questions.
I raised my hand.
And she called on me. “You, in the hat,” she said.
I stood up, my voice shaking.
“How do you find the space to write?” I said. “It’s just so hard, because I have, like, no privacy with my roommates, and no space of my own and I just—“
She cut me off. “I get this question a lot,” she said. “And the only answer is you do it. You write no matter what your circumstances. Next question?”
I sat down, not sure whether I loved having a twenty-second conversation with Anne Lamott, or whether I hated that my question had bored her.