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.
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.