Slow Slow Quick-Quick

Anne Lamott was everything I wanted her to be and so much more. Last night I met Anne Lamott and listened to her read an excerpt from her book Grace Eventually and talk about various other bits of her accumulated life’s wisdom. She is a wonderful, caring, beautiful person with a great perspective and sense of humor to offer the world.
The most personally evocative comment of the evening was close to the beginning of her talk. In reference to beginning any journey or new project or trek of faith, she listed off a few hypothetical situations that could have applied to anyone in the audience that night, and then finished the statement with this: “…or no matter whether you’ve left the church of your childhood and are trying to find your way back to faith, we start where we are.” We start where we are and journey onward.
And throughout, she compared nearly anything a person could take on to the Fox Trot – she and her boyfriend are learning to dance. The counting for the Fox Trot is “slow slow quick-quick,” and it is indeed applicable to just about any new or on-going endeavor. After explaining this, she said, “It is a miracle to be willing to be bad at something.” How true; to approach something scary and new and completely outside any realm of normal activity for yourself and realize that you have at least a fifty percent chance of failing and to try it anyway no matter how badly you could flop, is in fact miraculous.
She shared with us another great bit of perspective courtesy a friend of hers (who I can’t remember). “Writing is like driving at night with the headlights on; you can only see a little bit in front of you, but you can make the whole journey that way.”
Finally, after the program, I waited in line for about 40 minutes to meet her and have her sign my book. It was well worth it. She asked me how I was, and I was just so grateful for the chance to hear her speak and meet her, that I sort of had a little tear and she said, “Are you sad or just overwhelmed?” I said, “Not sure; maybe both?” She stood up. “You look like you could use a hug.” And she hugged me. I told her I hoped she felt better soon – she’s had a cold all week. She handed me my signed copy of Bird by Bird, smiled, and that was it. A lovely and gratifying encounter all around.
I hope I have the pleasure of meeting her again in the future.

4 thoughts on “Slow Slow Quick-Quick

  1. What a great night that must have been! I would have loved to hear the fox trot analogies. One of Rob’s students recommended Traveling Mercies to me, and it was a good read. I hope her new book is great!


  2. Chastity, that is so cool. I love Anne Lamott! A friend of mine gave me “Operating Instructions” when I was pregnant with Patrick,a nd after I read that I devoured anything and everything I could get my hands on that she had written. I didn’t know she was coming to town until it was too late to go. I’m glad you got to!


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