I knew exactly what Glennon was talking about in yesterday’s post…to feel so incredibly loved by a friend. I had that exact same feeling when Glennon bought me my very first drawing table last year. It was huge, heavy, expensive and something I would have put off buying for years. I was floored. I couldn’t believe she had done it for so many reasons. First of all, I was shocked that someone as small as Glennon could haul that huge table into my wedding shower. Secondly, I couldn’t believe that someone would pay close enough attention to me to know that a drawing table is exactly what I needed and wanted. Lastly, that someone would actually love me enough to make it happen.
So I guess when I logged on to Facebook that day and Krystal’s post came up, going to the book signing was a no-brainer.
When I first moved back to Virginia, about 3 years ago, Glennon gave me an Anne Lamott book. That book sat untouched on my shelf until this past weekend. I even tried to give it back to her at one point because I felt bad but she refused to take it back until I read it. I still wouldn’t read it, though. I knew it had the word “faith” in it lots of times, and I don’t read those books because I think of them as preachy and self-righteous. But Glennon told me, with great passion, that this woman was someone who had helped her with her struggles. Her writing was so outside-the-box – it made Glennon feel like she had the right to say what she wanted, the way she wanted to say it. She said that I would really enjoy it and I would laugh hysterically. But I didn’t read it. LESSON 1: Listen to people that you respect and admire. They have something to teach you.
So that leads me to this book reading and signing. I walked in and the place was packed. People were laughing loudly and clapping. At the front of the room, at a podium, stood a hippie with dreads. Am I at the right place? I sat down for about an hour and listened to her speak. To steal another person’s words from the reading that night, I was charmed. Anne Lamott was saying so many things that sounded exactly like Glennon. I wanted to raise my hand and say, “OMG, YOU would TOTALLY love my friend Glennon. You guys would be like really good friends!!!” But I didn’t. Probably a good call.
She talked about her struggles with drugs, her new book, her past relationships, Jesus, politics, her son, and she even told some great jokes. But what really resonated with me was when she said, “If you don’t do what you want to do right now, you’ll never do it.” With that, I woke up. She went on to say that lots of younger women come up to her and tell her their dreams of being a writer, but they always had an excuse as to why they couldn’t be. “I’ll start when my husband retires” or “I’m so busy right now, I have to wait a little while.” She went on to say, “You’ll be 80 years old and STILL be wishing that you were a writer.”
I looked down and felt sad and guilty. I had been doing that exact same thing with my dreams of becoming an artist and I knew it. I make a lot of excuses to put off doing things I love because I am scared. I am scared I won’t be good enough. Then, you know what Anne Lamott said? She said “If you are trying to do anything well, you’ll be really shitty at first. If you’re trying to play piano, you’ll botch Farmer in the Dell for months and nobody will ever come to see you play.” The she quoted Woody Allen and said, “80% of life is just showing up.” So if you just SHOW UP and keep at it, you’ll be a master before you know it. LESSON #2: Show up.
At this point, I rushed up to Anne Lamott with tears in my eyes (I’m pregnant) and handed her the card that I had written. I thanked her for being awesome and told her my friend couldn’t be there but I wrote a card on her behalf. I walked out mesmerized by her message.
Upon leaving the bookstore. I was immediately motivated to go home and do some artwork. I was inspired. More than anything, I was grateful I had I shown up. LESSON #3: “Whenever you set out to help a friend, you end up helping yourself.”
The next morning, I was sooo excited to talk to Glennon. I was excited to thank her for loving Anne Lamott. I should have KNOWN that if Glennon loved her, I would love her too. I couldn’t wait to tell her how cool I thought Anne was. How smart, articulate and inspiring she was. I told Glennon all of her jokes, all of her recommendations, all of her stories. Glennon was, of course, equally as enthused by all of my previous night’s action. She was glad I “got to know” Anne Lamott and saw something great in her. As excited as I was about seeing her speak and about Glennon’s reaction, I was happy and relieved that Anne Lamott (unbeknownst to her) had gotten me out of a very long funk. She made it so simple. She cleared all the clutter and excuses.
A few days before this book signing, I had mentioned to Glennon that I wanted to do a blog a là Julie & Julia – posting an original drawing each and every day for a full year.
Now, I’m not the quickest to put things together, so as I continued to speak about what Lamott’s words meant to Glennon, she patiently interjected. “ Hm. I wonder what this means for you? Don’t you think it might mean that you shouldn’t put off your blog idea any longer? I mean, if you’re ready. But she did say if you’re not ready now, you’ll never be, right?”
Ahhh, Glennon. Why didn’t I think of that!? How come things can be so obvious to everyone but me sometimes? LESSON 4: Always tell people your dreams. If nobody knows them, how can they help you follow them?
Ok, (oh God) so…HERE GOES!
I spent all weekend putting this blog together, clearing off the drawing table that Glennon bought me and getting my supplies together. I am mortified, terrified and extremely curious to see where this goes. I guarantee it will be really rough at first but perhaps at the end of this year I’ll have something I’m proud of!
I’m thinking by sort off “announcing” this, now I’ll be held accountable…and there’s no turning back!!! (I feel like I’m at the edge of a really high diving board.) Thank you, Monkees. You guys are responsible for so much more than you’ll ever know.
Love Love Love,
PS. Oh yeah, I got to Chapter Five of the Anne Lamott book that Glennon gave me three years ago. She was right.
Hi Monkees. It’s me, G. Please, if you find the time, follow Joey’s progress as she takes on this challenge. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all encouraged each others’ dreams? We’d be like a little slice of heaven on earth.
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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