March 29, 2012:
Last night we went to church to hear an author with dreadlocks speak. But first, I’m going to talk about something much more boring – weather; something my husband and I speak obsessively and exhaustively about since we moved to this city. Yesterday was one of those rainy days that no matter how many layers we were wearing (in my case, four layers), no matter how many throat-scalding cups of black coffee we drank, we just could not warm ourselves up. We live in an old creaky apartment with single-pane windows, no insulation, and a weird rule where the heater in the entire apartment is turned off from something like 9 am to 7 pm, so that it’s a lot warmer at midnight than at noon. For people like us who are at home all day, it feels like we’re living in a Tenement of sorts. So despite drinking an obscene amount of coffee, all we wished to do was curl up in a ball beneath our beige blanket and hibernate until the warmth returned.
But, writer Anne Lamott was in town on a book tour. On one hand, I didn’t feel like going anywhere. On the other hand, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t go. My good husband had surprised me one ordinary day with Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird because he knew I wanted that book but couldn’t afford it. That book has since become the voice of a supportive (blunt) friend. What I also love about my husband is that yesterday he gently nudged me to get my lazy butt off the couch (and quit whining about the boo hoo rain and cold and chilly air and gray skies wah wah wah) because he knew what I really wanted to do. So despite the fact that he himself had never read anything from Anne Lamott, he showed such genuine enthusiasm (“it’s free!”), that I could not make up any more excuses to stay rolled up like a fur ball in self-pity at home.
The reading was held at Seattle First Baptist Church rather than at Elliot Bay Book Company, most likely due to the large crowd size. Anne Lamott read from her Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, written with her son Sam. Although fatigued from a busy book tour, of which we caught her at the tail-end, she was as hilarious, straightforward, and human in person as she is in her writing. The crowd was a beautifully diverse mix of people. When she finished the questions and answers, the pastor from the church had us all stand and sing her an early 58th birthday song. I couldn’t tell if she was happy or mortified. At the end of the night, I got to thank her for encouraging non-writers like me to write whatever is in our hearts, even when we don’t feel like it, and she said to me “butt in chair.” Just sit and write.
Last night was a really good reminder of this: don’t make excuses, just go out the doors, just do, just live. It’s like exercising. Most of the time we’re not jazzed about the act of exercising, but we always feel great that we did it.