Anne Lamott’s new book Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, will go on sale March 20, 2012. This book is a kind of follow up to her book Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year. When Anne first approached her son with the idea of a book, at the request of her editor, she was afraid of how Sam, now 19, would respond. As it turned out, Sam thought it was a wonderful idea to give his son the same kind of book that he’d had chronicling the first year of life; he jumped at the chance.
I just found out about this book tonight and I literary started to cry; how amazing and beautiful that it’s come full circle. It also brings up feelings of my own son, who at age 18 could easily make me a grandmother–but that’s another post, for another time. Clearly the baby fever is still welling up within me, but let me go on the record to say: I think 18 is too young to have a baby, Andrew.
Anne’s writing has always moved me to laughter and tears. Her honesty and candor, her confessional wit and grace have been paramount in my education as a writer. I suppose what she did was open me. What she gives me is her truth, no matter what. I feel like this kind of courage is exactly what a budding writer needs to see, in order to feel safe enough to jump into the water.
From the moment I first started reading her books she helped me see that it was okay to be my gooey self. By being honest, Anne has helped me to become an honest writer. She helps me see that the truth isn’t always pretty and that pain and heartbreak are also sometimes funny; by example she helps me spill my bloody guts and unleash my weeping confetti.
As I get older, I’m discovering that there are other women with this kind of courage, but Anne was one of my first, and remains one of my favorites. Her photo now lives pasted into one of my collages. I cherish the time I spend reading her words and I love her deeply.
Earlier this month Anne did an interview with Goodreads. She talked about her son Sam and the new book, as well as other things like her faith and of course, the writing life; she always has a lot of good stuff to say about the writing life. If you don’t believe me, go check out her book Bird by Bird; I know you’ll love it.
Pull up a chair and head over to Goodreads to check out the interview.
I literally do the same thing every day. I believe that discipline and self-love are the total secrets to freedom. I sit down at the same time every day because I don’t want it to be an issue. I’m like a teenager. If you give me a chance to negotiate around sitting down at 9 a.m. and beginning the piece, I’m going to be like a 15-year-old. I may have a reason why that doesn’t really make sense and why you’re trying to bum my trip. My dad taught me that to be a writer is a decision and a habit. It’s not anything lofty, and it doesn’t have that much to do with inspiration. You have to develop the habit of being a certain way with yourself. To read the rest of the interview, go to Goodreads.