Better Than Christmas
May 15, 2013
Kids have Christmas morning. Book lovers have author signings. When I got the chance to hear one of my favorite authors speak recently, it was better than Christmas morning for me. Anne Lamott was in Kansas City at Rainy Day Books on April 4, 2013 to promote her book, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son, which has just been issued in paperback. I read the book a few months ago when it was first published, but when I saw her name on a list of upcoming author visits, I decided to sign up and go.
I first became acquainted with Anne Lamott's work a while back, when I was looking for good books for aspiring writers, and came upon the classic, Bird by Bird. I bought a copy of it, started reading it, underlining it, and quoting it to my friends. Then I read some of her other nonfiction books and, especially, loved Traveling Mercies. My own son and his wife are expecting their first child later this month. So, when I saw that Anne had written a new book about her experiences of becoming a first-time grandmother, I couldn't wait to read Some Assembly Required. One of my favorite suggestions of hers is to realize that they don't really want our advice a lot of the time, much as we'd love to offer it up to them. She uses the acronym W.A.I.T. to help her remember this--"Why Am I Talking?"
Anne is not only a gifted author but a funny speaker, too. She took questions from the audience and actually called on me when I raised my hand. (Christmas morning just kept getting better.) I told her I was about to become a grandmother, too and asked if she had any other bits of advice to offer. She said to "practice radical self-care," and to remember that, for some reason, they think this is their baby. Oh, yeah.
To top off the night, we all took turns waiting in line to get our books signed, and I chatted with Anne for just a moment about writing. She made me feel better about second drafts not being so stellar, and she said that it's really her third draft when it all starts to come together. I felt so much better about the mediocre second draft I'm working on right now. Ah, there's still hope.
The next day I had to start coming down from my post-author-visit high, but it was sure an experience to remember. If you see a favorite author coming to town for a discussion or signing, give it a try. It's pretty neat to see and meet the person who created the words that you've loved on the written page.
If you’re interested in writing, please visit our Events calendar to see MCPL’s writing programs. And if you’d like to meet your favorite author, check out the Rainy Day Books website to see who’s visiting this month.
Colbern Road Branch