The Good Bits

I was talking with Anne Lamott this morning.

In the shower. I have lots of conversations there, actually. Often they are arguments – a waking-dream way of working through issues, I suppose. I towel off with a better understanding of myself and even the people with whom I’ve hashed it out, better able to empathize and more in touch with the depth of my true feelings. But today wasn’t an argument – it was an interview. Me, interviewing one of my favorite writers, and a most fascinating human being, asking all the things I would if given the chance. Pondering life with one of the great ponderers.

It wasn’t real. I’m not insane. I simply like to think in the shower, and my thinking sometimes comes in the form of a two-way, fictional exchange. I’m totally willing to own this quirky habit and even recommend it to all of you. It’s free and multi-tasking therapy. What could be better?

To be in Anne Lamott’s presence and truly soak up some empathy and wisdom. That would be better. I would ask about her day, anything fun she’d gotten to do, like a real person talking to another real person. Eventually I would dive deeper. Maybe go down a list of words and have her throw out a description: faith, beauty, sorrow, warmth, justice, a ham and cheese sandwich.  She would astound me with her insights, her ability to draw an image of each one, her surprising turns of phrase. It would be like a game – a nerdy writer’s game of adjectives and nouns and imagination. Then I would dive again – pick her brain about dealing with loss. With loneliness, resentment, anger, failure, disappointment. All the crappy feelings. She would have sage-but-funny discernment about all that stuff. Just what I like. Then I’d begin the ascent back to light-hearted banter. Or maybe I’d let us sit in the muck for a bit. Two souls just feeling all the feels and knowing it’ll be ok. Not needing to rescue the moment with fluff. We would get each other enough to stay right there until my time was up. That’s how it would go. And I would tape it all and play it back for myself at will. Maybe while I took a shower.

We wouldn’t agree on everything, but that’s not the point. Like most of my favorite people (or any people), she would have her own opinions and perspectives – some that clashed with mine. But I wouldn’t worry about all that. As with anyone, I would absorb the good bits, which would be most, and welcome them into the folds of my brain for the long-term. Synthesize Anne Lamott’s perspective with mine and be better off for the experience.

If anyone has actual conversations with Anne Lamott, let her know I’d love to chat. Like in a room, all dry and clothed. And that I would bring chocolate. Until then, the shower will have to do.

Thank goodness for a hot water heater.