I went to Book Passages in Corte Madera tonight and met Anne Lamott. Perhaps that sounds kind of exciting and glamorous. The truth is, I didn't actually meet her. Or, I sort of met her. Does it count if I waited in line to have her sign my book (I mean her book, the new one, called Imperfect Birds, not my book, of which only one copy exists in the world, sitting here on my coffee table marked up heavily with green ink. It would be weird if I asked her to sign that.). All I said was an awkward "Hello, thanks for your reading," and she responded sweetly with a "Thanks for waiting in line." Meeting someone usually entails exchanging names, which we didn't do because, well, I already know her... she's a famous author. And honestly, she doesn't care what my name is because I'm one of two hundred fans crowding the aisle of the bookstore to get a glimpse of her.
So I met her, but only in the broadest possible sense of the word.
I'm not good with famous people. I never know what to say, because I can't ever ask them what I really want to know, like, "Are you happy? Do you love your life? What moment of your life do you wish everyone in the world could experience?" Something profound and interesting. Instead I end up all tongue-tied and sweaty.
I'm unspeakably envious of those poised and confident people who can ease themselves into a delightful conversation with anyone, irregardless of social standing or lack thereof. I'm secretly shy.
I did manage to give her the letter I wrote her a few days ago. I've been carrying it around in my bag for a while, meaning to drop it in the nearest mailbox, but I kept getting distracted by other chores whenever I drove toward the post office. And then I discovered that she was reading tonight at Book Passages. So I handed the letter to her across the table, crumpled and disheveled from days scooting around the bottom of my bag with my water bottle and lip balm. She tucked it into her bag alongside her water bottle and lip balm. It probably won't even register the change of scenery.
Her new novel continues the mother/daughter story of Elizabeth and Rosie, with Rosie now a teenager, experimenting with (read using) drugs, and Elizabeth trying to cope with the bizarre combination of belief and disbelief that teenagers effortlessly evoke in their parents. I loved one remark Anne Lamott made that she attributed to the recovery community: "Expectations are just resentments under construction."
May my expectations soften with humor and love long before they ever lay their foundations in my heart. And so with yours.