From Dusk Night Dawn, Anne Lamott writes A successful writer in her early seventies, she survived a basically unsurvivable cancer twenty-five years ago. I thought she had a migraine, so I asked her if she was okay. She shook her head and sighed,
“I have made a life and career of being a good sport. And I’m worn out.”
Anne continues, All I could think to do in the moment was to agree. Me too. I am sick and tired of being a good sport and worker bee, chin up and adorably ironic.
the hardest work we do is self-love and forgiveness.
Ali and I shared a struggle with perfectionism, the most toxic condition of the soul.
Anne Lamott in Dusk Night Dawn: On Revival and Courage (2021)
Hannah’s dear friend and Arizona State University mentor, Nan Inskeep, emailed Hannah last week, “To run, not walk and get this book!” That was enough for me to request it through interlibrary loan from the York Public Library. Since it was Nan recommendation, I began reading it immediately upon bringing the book home. I’ve finished the first chapter and so far, so good.
Anne Lamott is a favorite of ours. We have these three books on our shelves. Bird by Bird is the classic about writing that I read in the 1990s when I began developing as a writer.
Don Murray, a writing mentor of mine and English professor at the University of New Hampshire and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the Boston Globe
Speaking in the context of writing, Don Murray addresses the difficulty writers often have in getting started in writing. Writers can believe their stuff will never be good enough so they don’t even start. Lower your standards and get to it.
Maybe, this might be some applicable advice for life itself when one seems to be going nowhere?
You are not responsible for saving anyone. You are not responsible for convincing them to improve. It’s not your work to exist for people and give your life to them. It’s your only obligation to realize that you are the love of your destiny and accept the love you deserve.
Sent to us by our friend Rose and possibly a paraphrase of Sir Anthony Hopkins (yes, the actor)
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.
Richard Bach, b. 1936
When our friend Mary Ross sent me this quote, I was taken back to 2002 at the memorial service for Hannah’s brother Doug. On that Saturday in early February I was one of eleven who spoke from the pulpit of the Park Presbyterian Church in Newark, New York. I quoted this very line from Richard Bach to celebrate Doug’s life well-lived.
You and I, our missions are not done.
After Mary reminded me of this quote, I reread Illusions (it’s short, an easy read). Two other quotes struck me.
There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
Tanitoluwa Adewumi, better known as Tani, was a homeless seven year old refugee from Nigeria who lives in New York City. He learned to play chess and by the time he was ten became an official “chess master.”
Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist who introduced me to Tani in his Sunday (May 9, 2021) column, asked Tani how he feels when he loses.
When you lose, you have made a mistake, and that can help you learn. I never lose, I learn.