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Gee, Meet Anne Lamott the Word Whisperer

14 Nov

On Monday evening, my dad and I had the honor of seeing my all-time favorite author Anne Lamott speak at First Baptist Church in Decatur. She is traveling across the country on a book tour for her new nonfiction book called “Stitches“.  My dad bought me a pre-signed copy at the event, and I can’t wait to read it and let her words wash over me like a refreshing wave of brutal honesty. Her writing always serves my soul up with a good spiritual pep talk.

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I first fell in love with Anne’s work and her raw voice when I read her nonfiction book “Bird by Bird” in my creative writing class during my senior year of high school. I am eternally grateful to my dear teacher and mentor, Mr. Bill Waters of the Bryn Mawr School, for introducing me to this amazing artist of an author who has become such a beacon of inspiration to me over the years. I was astounded by how this woman was able to pinpoint the precise words and craft the perfect metaphors to capture emotions and articulate faith. She has no shame in her expression, and she is boldly self-deprecating in her brilliance. She openly discusses her battles, both big and small, with everything from addiction to cellulite. Because of this honest and relatable style of hers, she has won over the hearts of her readers.

This fan following was out in full force on Monday evening. My dad and I arrived around 6:30 for the 7:00pm event, and the place was positively packed. Anne quietly emerged at the front of the church in jeans and a baggy sweatshirt, casual and real (I would have been both shocked and disappointed had she come out in a fine tailored suit). She spoke candidly about the difficult process of putting yourself back together after tremendous loss. Inspired by the tragic events of the Newtown shootings, Stitches, she told us, was written for the bad days. There is no roadmap or recipe for how to get better or “snap out of it”. You must grieve in your own way – whether that be surrounding yourself with people to distract you, or sitting alone under a blanket with Tootsie pops. The beauty of life is that there are wonderful, gracious people who are compassionate enough to put you back together.

I felt like a giddy little kid while waiting in line to meet my literary hero. I nervously plotted out what I would do and say. I had already purchased a pre-signed copy of her book… should I just ask her to sign again under the existing signature? I got up to the table, book in hand, and decided to have her sign one of the concluding pages of the hardback book – one of those buffer pages before the acknowledgement, printed with a beautiful texture that looks like a pattern of burnt squares. She remarked at how beautiful the page was. “I never get there in my books,” she said. She even finished off her signature with a little heart. I could feel the tears welling up as I took the book in my hands and said, “Thank you – you’ve really gotten me through some tough times.”

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It’s difficult to put into words just how it felt to meet this person who has been such a mythical character – a best friend of a stranger with whom I have become so connected through the way that she feels and expresses herself in her words. I am consistently awed by her magical gift of writing.  The experience was made even more special because my hero of a father was by my side.

I’ll close my gushing session with a string of her powerful words, taken from my first encounter with her mesmerizing art of writing (Bird by Bird):
“Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”

Gee, Stumble Into Inspiration

7 Jul

One of my favorite things in the world? Stumbling upon random musings of unexpected inspiration.

When I was in New York City a few weeks ago for Governor’s Ball, I found some prime pieces of thought-provoking messaging. It’s no surprise, really – the city is all about self-expression and creativity. People don’t hold back when they have thoughts and ideas and opinions. No filters here (except on Instagram because goodness gracious those New York hipsters love their Instagram…and so do I).

Here are two gems from my trip to the Big Apple that I just had to share…

"LEAVE GRANMA OUT OF THIS!"

“LEAVE GRANMA OUT OF THIS!”

This one appeared on the back of the bathroom door at Commonwealth in Brooklyn. I appreciate that the establishment encourages commentary in the WC. I find this message particularly refreshing. I like to see people sticking up for Granma.

What do bums do?

What do bums do?

I enjoy that this wall graffiti located by a Brooklyn subway stop incorporates dialogue. What do bums do? We all have our own opinions. And some of us are lucky enough to have a marker handy to join the visual conversation. Touché.

Gee, Here’s A Little Encouragement To Seize The Day

20 Mar

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Emily Dickinson’s wise words: “Forever is composed of nows.”

Create your forever by seizing the nows, and making the most of each one. Don’t put off taking that trip to Malaysia or writing that novel or calling up that friend or learning to play that instrument or climbing that mountain. Own your nows.

Thanks for that kick in the butt, Em.

Gee, Crafting Gets Sentimental

8 Sep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a big believer in combining quotes and crafts. It really is a beautiful thing. Whenever a loved one has a birthday, I turn to crafting to present them with a personal and unique gift.

I decided to collage a little plaque just for one of my best friends for her recent birthday. She was my first college roommate, and we clicked from the moment we met. Although we have scattered to different dwellings, we are still extremely close.

In my search for a good quotation to use for her birthday plaque, I stumbled upon the line, “Come Live In My Heart And Pay No Rent.” A perfect fit.

The fun part about crafting a gift is that you can mold it to fit the recipient in a way that a gift card simply can’t. My gifting tip: think outside the box, and make a gift that comes from within.

 

 

Gee, A Lil Quotation Inspiration

1 Aug

For some reason, I am fascinated by quotations (yes, I said “quotations” not quotes – my high school English teacher drilled into our heads the concept that “quote” is a verb, “quotation” is a noun and this rule cannot be broken).  Yes, they are words, but they are not just words.  I love searching for just the right combination of words that evokes emotion or thought.  They are not empty fluff, but they carry a weight.

One of my Quotation Crafts

I often find myself scrounging for quotations when I am crafting.  I put quotations on plaques and in collages, and I want the words to be just right for the feeling of the piece.  These words might come from a song, a book, a speech, a movie…anything really.  The author is also extremely important.  If I find a wonderful phrase and the mind behind it happens to be some controversial politician, the magnitude of the thought is ruined.

Today was one of those days that I spent rifling through pages and pages of quotations in search of a good one for a plaque that I am making.  As I surfed through Quoteland.com, I found that I really appreciate Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s thought bubbles.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “Friends, such as we desire, are dreams and fables.”
  • “A true friend is somebody who can make us do what we can.”
  • “Every wall is a door.”
  • “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
  • “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”
  • But this one really struck me:

    “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

    It is ridiculously simple.  A second grader could pen this, in all reality.  But it is so true and it carries meaning beyond plain observation.  It’s a reminder: when things get extremely dark and unbearable, you can see the beauty of the stars.  All is not lost.