Plan B: Rescue Anne Lamott from My Husband

Last month Anne Lamott came to Denver. I was so excited to hear her speak that I urged my small group to go on a field trip to the Tattered Cover in lieu of our regular meeting that night. Weeks before the evening of Anne, I made a very important decision. To not take a copy of her book to the reading for her to sign afterwards. In the same parts of my mind that were convinced as a ten year old girl that if i sang in the grocery store i might get discovered by a talent scout, I am somewhat convinced that somehow, somewhere Anne and I will tour together. She will be my mentor. My Yoda. And I knew that if I asked her to sign my book, I would spend the entire day before the reading preparing something clever to say that would engage and endear her to me. Something that would make her say, "Well, you are quite the interesting young lady. Can I finish up with these books here real quick and meet you upstairs for a cup of coffee to talk more about your heart, mind, writing, and God?" And because my mom refused to shop at the grocery stores where all the talent scouts hunt down the child stars, I new that the same would be true now. And I decided I didn't have the energy to get my hopes up. Hence, no book at the signing.

So, we listened to her read. Fabulous. She is fabulously fucked up. I appreciate that in a follower of Christ. And afterwards, while people got their books signed and one girl I knew shyly slid Anne a handmade card (i bet she sang in the grocery store too), I sat contently in a rocking chair at the back of the store watching people. Not worried about saying something perfect to Anne.

Until . . . until. Until I saw a crowd gathering around Herb across the room (we ended up knowing about 25 people at the reading). Shouts and hollers rose up from the crowd and floated over to my rocking chair. I recognized the stench of a dare. Just like a bunch of eight grade boys planning to do something gross with the remains of their school lunches, I heard the roar of the crowd around Herb . . . with a virtual "CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!" rising from the crowd. Herb pivoted and began walking towards Anne. Anne Lamott. I had no idea what he was going to say, but I knew it wouldn't be good. He hasn't even read Traveling Mercies yet!

I raced across the store just in time to hear my sweet husband ask Anne . . . Anne Lamott . . . to sign his arm. My response, "You do NOT have to sign his arm!" Gee, brilliant. This is exactly what I wanted to say to Anne the first time we met! I am so sure she needed my permission to decline Herb's request! Later, Herb told me that he started the conversation by asking her about her personal policy on signing body parts. I was horrified. He told me that Anne could not have been offended, "just look at her books". I tried to explain, that like me, she will say anything, but is likely embarrassed and put off by outrageous things that are said to her.

Yesterday, I sat at my wacky alternative medicine doctors office receiving an IV that is supposed to help with my back pain and fatigue. I am not so sure about that, but I figured it would give me an hour to read. Plus, the nurse brings me blankets and juice boxes if I ask nicely. It is a good incentive to practive being nice. While an IV bag full of what might possibly be nothing more than Mountain Dew dripped into my vein, I read Anne's newest book. The nurse asked me what I was reading.

"Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott.
"Oh, what kind of book is it?"
"Well, technically it is a Christian book. But she has this incredible sense of humor that I really appreciate."

Somehow, this sent the nurse and the other patient into an excited dialogue about the Left Behind series and the accuracy of the books when paralelled with Scripture. It was as if I said, "Mother Teresa is my hero and they replied, 'Oh, we LOVE Paris Hilton!'" If I had the energy and the brain functioning to think, I would have said something. Shouted something. Done something. But I don't have that kind of energy or brain functioning . . . hence the IV bag full of Mountain Dew. Instead, I just sat there and giggled to myself.

Herb is pretty sure that if I had told Anne Lamott that the mention of her book spurred a conversation about the Left Behind Series that she would have signed his arm.

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Blogger Jennifer Coomer said...

1) LOVE Anne Lamott. Amazing woman & writer.
2) I have had those same fantasties about becoming friends with Amy Grant. But when I saw her for the first time up close & personal it was in a movie theater bathroom. Eventually I got up the courage to speak to her. Do you know what I said? Do you know? "I'm a really big fan of yours." Kill me. Kill me now.

That's the short version of the story. I really need to write it up for my blog.

10:46 AM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger Cara said...

it takes balls this day and age to shout out your love for the grant-meister! good for you. my friend kevin also has a special place in his heart for the amy.

but i hear you. i am just no good with meeting famous people. if i ever become famous i won't be able to hang out with myself. oh well.

10:59 AM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger travis said...

I watched a documentary on Anne and they went with her to church- serious worshipper. I found her very intriguing and fabulously messed up, with a glitter sparkles of brilliance floating around her (that kind of sounds gay, yet kind of hits it on the head for me).
I've never read anything by her. What would you request?

3:12 PM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger travis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:12 PM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger Cara said...

it does sound a little gay, but i can appreciate that. :) and i totally know what you mean!

in terms of novels, i have only read two. i recommend Blue Shoe. i don't recommend Joe Jones.
in terms of non-fiction . . . it is nice to start with Traveling Mercies because it tells the story of her childhood and conversion experience. give context for who she is. but as a new dad, you and your wife might appreciate Operating Instructions (i have not read it). it is about her first year as a mother. i think she talks about the things that come with parenthood that everyone thinks but is scared to say outloud, lest they be true. what freedom!
i enjoyed Bird by Bird; especially if you have any interest (professionally or recreationally) in being a writer.
I am enjoying Plan B, but would certainly recommend Traveling Mercies first!
Thanks for asking!

3:20 PM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger Esue said...

I just adore Anne Lamott with almost all that is in me. Her books have kept me marching on and renewed my hope in writings about faith and other such things.

I had a wide open opportunity to meet Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows and I bailed as well...what is the psychology of all of this?!?

10:13 PM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger Cara said...

self-protection from disappointment?

12:03 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Esue said...

Yeah, that's what i figured...i just knew he'd say something that would make me realize how human he is, like me, and i'd like his music less!

5:04 PM, May 17, 2006  

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