What happened with the house
Wherein I write a post and then think to myself, "Dude, someone should fire me from this blogging gig."

So I went to this reading and came home with a stomachache

I went to Anne Lamott's reading tonight (at the bookstore down the hill from my house, I walked, not that I'm, you know, BRAGGING or anything). I almost didn't go, though, because I couldn't find anyone to go with me. All the people who'd want to go to that sort of thing were regrettably out of town (how dare you, Friends Of Me) and I couldn't con anyone else into it and I just didn't WANT to go by myself. There's the whole "ooh, I don't know how readings WORK at this bookstore, what if I go to the wrong SECTION, what if I stand there looking STUPID, what if everyone knows what's going on except for ME, how come I SUCK SO MUCH" issue. And then there was the fact that I knew I would be Impacted Somehow and I wouldn't be able to talk about it because no one else would have experienced it and that is just a big fat bummer. 

But then I was all, "Come on Self. Bird By Bird is what made you think you could pull of NaNoWriMo and YOU DID and you also think Anne Lamott says things in ways that no one else says them and you will kick yourself for God knows how long if you stay home because you're feeling lame and loserish. Also, you can WALK THERE. For shame!"

So I went. But not without a lot of, "Are you SURE you're okay with the kids? Because I can TOTALLY stay home." 

Of course none of the lame and loserish things happened, although what I thought was early enough CLEARLY wasn't early enough and I was stuck standing way far in the back. And I knew absolutely nothing about her new book and now I know too much because Anne Lamott stood up there leading a group conversation about destructive teenage behavior, namely drug use and hooking up. 

SHUDDER. 

So part of me was all, "Oh dear God. Hello nightmares!" But then I also felt sort of... I don't know. Privileged somehow. Because I think this woman is terribly gifted in talking about things most people don't talk about with giant groups of strangers, or even faceless swaths of anonymous readers. I wanted so badly to hear her say something about writing, but she didn't, not really. She mostly talked about being a good person. Being the kind of grown up your kids wouldn't mind being themselves one day. Living authentically. Knowing your own truths. A lot of blah blah whateverness that sounds like blah blah whateverness coming from other people, but coming from her it just sounds like what she's meant to tell us. 

When someone asked her about her response to a certain group of people with, shall we say, some rigid thinking and principles, she just sighed. She said that she has a lot of opinions, opinions she knows are RIGHT. She's right about everything! Trust her! But as you get older you realize: no one cares what you think. People are going to believe what they're going to believe. People are ENTITLED to believe what they want to believe. And you can talk about it and argue about it and almost always lose, or you can be happy. And I was all, "Yes! This is why I don't like to write about Controversial Things on my BLAWG! Ooh, I want to know what Anne Lamott thinks about BLAWWWGS!"

Anyway. I walked home, my head full of writerly thoughts, mostly woe about the cartoonish simpleness of MY teenage characters, who are not doing ANY drugs or ANY hooking up and oh no, if that's what I have to write about if I'm writing about teenagers then I am DOOOOOOMED.

By the way, I was not one of those teenagers. I think there must be some of us out there. I mean, some of my friends were total potheads, but I pretended not to know about any of that, I mean, HAVE YOU MET MY PARENTS? and I think this what Anne Lamott meant when she said you can't be friends with your kids. I also finally understand why my dad drove us to (at midnight) and from (three in the morning, usually) the discos, quite possibly his LEAST favorite way to spend a Saturday night, with nary a complaint. Well, not that going to an Anne Lamott reading taught me that, I'm just bringing it up. Oh man, you know this Adjusting To The Move thing is killing me with the kids, but maybe someone could hurry up on that Age Preservation thing so I can have an almost-three-year-old forever and never ever have to think about "pharm parties" OMG.

I need some cake. MEDICINAL cake. Later dudes. 

Comments

Elizabeth

I am way jealous, you know how I feel about Anne Lamott.
BTW, here's what she thinks about blogs:
http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/04/12/anne_lamott_imperfect_birds/index.html

Raven

I was a teen that was way not into drugs (still haven't done any) but way into hooking up with my boyfriend. Urf. He was such a tool and wow did I choose poorly.

My teenager will turn 15 next month and just got a new girlfriend two days ago. He (so far, knock on wood) has been honest about what goes on between them (read: nothing much) and doesn't hang out outside the house much other than to skate, opting to play Xbox Live, with his friends, instead. As much as it bugs me for the violent content, I also kinda dig it because I know exactly where he is and what he's doing.

Ashley

Pharm parties? Never heard of 'em. Shows what I know about today's youth, huh?

If you don't want to go with sex and drugs for your characters, you can always try the vampire route! It's very lucrative these days. :o)

Sarah

I think I would have had to fly out there and kick you if you hadn't gone. I LOVE and ADORE Anne Lamott - you know in a totally healthy way, and I am very jealous that you got to hear her speak.

I was actually a good kid, but I think I also did (and still do) have a fear of authority figures and "getting caught." Oh, I also got bored at parties where everyone was drunk and stupid. I have little patience for stupid. My brother tried a few more things, but he's turned into a great adult. I'm hoping that lots of prayer and really trying to do my best as a parent will see us through. I don't really know what else to do.

C @ Kid Things

I wasn't that kid either, at all. Except I did have 1 boyfriend at the end of high school and I lied to my parents so I could stay the night with him, and all we did was sleep. Seriously, that's the worst thing I ever did.

LenaDeeAnne

Wow. Living authentically and knowing your own truths. Soo what I'm working toward right now! I'm not writing about any teenagers as fictional characters, but trying to help guide my two very real teenage daughters through the cesspool that is modern adolescence, as well as a few of their friends. It's extremely nervewracking, but luckily my kids aren't the pharm party type.


Congrats on going to the reading, despite all the doubts and stuff. It was a good decision.

Sonya in San Antonio

I'm with you, Maggie. I didn't drink at all in high school. I was usually the one acting as designated driver for my friends. I got pretty bored with the parties where everyone else was drunk and stupid too! My mom and I have a good relationship and I always told her exactly where I was going and she trusted I wasn't drinking, so I never even had a curfew...she knew I would be home after I dropped off my friend with the latest curfew LOL. I really hope I can have this same kind of relationship with my daughter and I hope she is a kid like me (doesn't get into trouble, needs to please authority figures LOL), because I'm not sure how I would handle it otherwise. My mom was always open and honest with me about everything, so I always treated her in kind. I hope I can be that way with my daughter.

Jess

I wasn't one of those teenagers either, and neither was Torsten, and that means our kids will probably be like that times a million. Maybe it skips a generation and comes back with a vengeance.

Carrie

I can't even tell you what pot smells like. I've never had someone identify it for me. I was the best behaved teen ever. My husband was slightly wilder, but not much.

And I actually thought about going to that reading when I saw it advertised this weekend- but then I got lazy. I wish you'd emailed me!

Julie

You''re not alone! Never did drugs, never drank in high school (college I did some, but not too crazy), and I didn't have a boyfriend at all in high school! I was a good kid and was afraid of getting caught, like some other commenters have said... I hope this doens't make me too naive when I have kids of my own. My fiance was pretty darn wild in high school and college, so hopefully nothing will get by him. ;)

Christina

I was so good my form of "rebellion" was to go to church. Seriously. Thank heavens, thus far my teenager is awesome. My biggest worry for her is that she doesn't get out enough. And the other day? She asked me to buy her a purity ring. I love that kid.
I am however already worrying in advance about my 8 year old. Let's just say she's got "future cheerleader" written all over her. Sigh.

Amy --- Just A Titch

AH, so jealous you saw her. I've seen her twice and both times, I left feeling better about myself, my life, THE WORLD. She really is one of my personal saints/heroes. I adore her.

So, I saved all my rebelling for ages 21-23, but I was a pretty good teenager. No drinking, no drugs, no sex, no nothing. I see many middle schoolers where I teach making bad choices, but I also see kids who were a lot like me, happy-ish and wanting to please their parents.

Christiana

I told you to send me a plane ticket. :)Then we both could have gone and had medicinal cake afterwards. :)

There is a memory of mine that I've gotten my mom's take on from high school. Right after a particularly stressful play practice (spring musical) my friends and I convened on one friends' house to de-stress. When my mom came to pick me up, her dad answered the door and said, "you have to see this." She walked into the living room and found us standing around the piano singing praise and worship songs (this was our destressing). Those are the kinds of things my friends and I did. We didn't hook up or do drugs. (and of us. I had 2 rather large circles of friends in high school and none of us did any of that) I think the world wants us to think that it's "normal" for teens to be doing this... that we shouldn't like it, but should expect it. I disagree. We can raise our children better (as you know) and not all kids do those things. There are plenty of "good kids" out there.

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