Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Quotes Listing

Anne Lamott

We, too, are shadow and light. We are not supposed to know this, or be all these different facets of humanity, bright and dark. We are raised to be bright and shiny, but there is meaning in the acceptance of our dusky and dappled side, and also in defiance.

Anne Lamott

What you're looking for is already inside you. You can't buy it, lease it, rent it, date it, or apply for it. The best job in the world can't give it to you. Neither can success, or fame, or financial security.

Anne Lamott

whatever you use to keep the pain at bay robs you of the flecks and nuggets of gold that feeling grief will give you.

Anne Lamott

When you love something like reading?or drawing or music or nature?it surrounds you with a sense of connection to something great. If you are lucky enough to know this, then your search for meaning involves whatever that Something is. It?s an alchemical blend of affinity and focus that takes us to a place within that feels as close as we ever get to home. It?s like pulling into our own train station after a long trip?joy, relief, a pleasant exhaustion.

Anne Lamott

Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath. That?s why they call it breathtaking.

Anne Lamott

You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side. You need to trust yourself, especially on a first draft, where amid the anxiety and self-doubt, there should be a real sense of your imagination and your memories walking and woolgathering, tramping the hills, romping all over the place. Trust them. Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.

Anne Lamott

You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself.

Anne Lamott

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.

Anne Lamott

The Amen is only as good as the attitude. If you are trying to finish up quickly so you can check your cell phone messages, you are missing the chance to spend quiet moments with the giver of life and the eternal, which means you may reap continued feelings of life racing along without you. So as Samuel Beckett admonished us to fail again, and fail better, we try to pray again, and pray better, for slightly longer and with slightly more honesty, breathing more, deeper, and with more attention.

Anne Lamott

The challenge and the dignity make it interesting enough.

Anne Lamott

The difference between you and God is that God doesn't think He's you.

Anne Lamott

they seemed to read all the papers the school sent home, which I think is actually a little show-offy.

Anne Lamott

This is all that restoration requires most of the time, that one person not give up.

Anne Lamott

We?re individuals in time and space who are often gravely lost, and then miraculously, in art, found.

Anne Lamott

When God is going to do something wonderful, He or She always starts with a hardship; when God is going to do something amazing, He or She starts with an impossibility.

Anne Lamott

You can change the world with a hot bath, if you sink into it from a place of knowing that you are worth profound care, even when you?re dirty and rattled. Who knew?

Anne Lamott

So how on earth can I bring a child into the world, knowing that such sorrow lies ahead, that it is such a large part of what it means to be human? I'm not sure. That's my answer: I'm not sure.

Anne Lamott

There are a lot of us, some published, some not, who think the literary life is the loveliest one possible, this life of reading and writing and corresponding. We think this life is nearly ideal.

Anne Lamott

They say we are punished not for the sin but by the sin, and I began to feel punished by my unwillingness to forgive.

Anne Lamott

This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of--please forgive me--wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in on our small, bordered worlds. When this happens, everything feels more spacious. Try walking around with a child who's going, Wow, wow! Look at that dirty dog! Look at that burned-down house! Look at that red sky! And the child points and you look, and you see, and you start going, Wow! Look at that huge crazy hedge! Look at that teeny little baby! Look at the scary dark cloud! I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world--present and in awe.

Anne Lamott

Try to write in a directly emotional way, instead of being too subtle or oblique. Don't be afraid of your material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.

Anne Lamott

Vonnegut said, When I write, I feel like an armless legless man with a crayon in his mouth.

Anne Lamott

Until recently I barely even knew the signs of welcome, like the way a person plopped down across from me and sighed deeply while looking at me with relief: a shy look on someone?s face that gave me time to breathe and settle in. I didn?t know that wounds and scars were what we find welcoming, because they are like ours. Trappings and charm wear off, I?ve learned. The book of welcome says, Let people see you.

Anne Lamott

We said that we believed that the truth would set us free, and the truth was that the Sunday-school staff was burned out, that there were almost no people of color, and that if we didn't get more help, we'd have to close down.

Anne Lamott

Yet, I get to tell my truth. I get to seek meaning and realization. I get to live fully, wildly, imperfectly. That's why I'm alive. And all I actually have to offer as a writer, is my version of life. Every single thing that has happened to me is mine. As I've said a hundred times, if people wanted me to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

Anne Lamott

You've heard it said that when all else fails, follow instructions. So we breathe, try to slow down and pay attention, try to love and help God's other children, and - hardest of all, at least to me - learn to love our depressing, hilarious, mostly decent selves. We get thirsty people water, read to the very young and old, and listen to the sad. We pick up litter and try to leave the world a slightly better place for our stay here. Those are the basic instructions, to which I can add only: Amen.

Anne Lamott

She wants to have hiked; I want to have had dessert.

Anne Lamott

Some of us have a ragged faith. You cry for a long time, and then after that are defeated and flattened for a long time. Then somehow life starts up again... Some aching beauty comes with huge loss, although maybe not right away when it would be helpful. Life is a very powerful force, despite the constant discouragement. So if you are a person with connections to life, a few tendrils eventually break through the sidewalk of loss, and you notice them, maybe space out studying them for a few moments, or maybe they tickle you into movement and response, if only because you have to scratch your nose.

Anne Lamott

Telling the truth in an interesting way turns out to be about as easy and pleasurable as bathing a cat. Some

Anne Lamott

That the dream must be vivid and continuous.

Anne Lamott

The way I see things, God loves you the same whether you're being elegant or not. It feels much better when you are, but even when you can't fake it, God still listens to your prayers. Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says, 'Well isn't that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that old woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff.

Anne Lamott

Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone's very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food.

Anne Lamott

There is so much mercy around us and in us, so much available to us if we just have the eyes and intention to see it.

Anne Lamott

Throughout my childhood I believed that what I thought about was different from what other kids thought about. It was not necessarily more profound, but there was a struggle going on inside me to find some sort of creative or spiritual or aesthetic way of seeing the world and organizing it in my head.

Anne Lamott

Toddlers can make you feel as if you have violated some archaic law in their personal Koran and you should die, infidel.

Anne Lamott

Various people at her church kept saying that she could be happy because she was going home to be with Jesus. This is the sort of thing that gives Christians a bad name. This, and the Inquisition. Sue wanted to open fire on them all. I think I encouraged this.

Anne Lamott

What?s the difference between you and God? God never thinks he?s you.

Anne Lamott

When you don't have enough or you run out, you feel in your core that the leak has begun and there will be no end to the leakage. And this makes you feel like a chump. Whereas having some money gives you the conviction that you're not naked in the howling wind, even though you basically are, existentially.

Anne Lamott

Without using the word, everyone started forgiving each other again. Just like that, from the no of all nothingness: you have a big tense mess and out of it comes some joy. It must be magic.

Anne Lamott

When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.

Anne Lamott

Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong.

Anne Lamott

Writer?s block is going to happen to you. You will read what little you?ve written lately and see with absolute clarity that it is total dog shit.

Anne Lamott

Writing like this is a little like milking a cow: the milk is so rich and delicious, and the cow is so glad you did it.

Anne Lamott

You were loved because God loves, period. God loved you, and everyone, not because you believed in certain things, but because you were a mess, and lonely, and His or Her child. God loved you no matter how crazy you felt on the inside, no matter what a fake you were; always, even in your current condition, even before coffee. God loves you crazily, like I love you...like a slightly overweight auntie, who sees only your marvelousness and need.

Anne Lamott

You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life, and grace; and though theologians insist that grace is freely given, the truth is that sometimes you pay for it through the nose. And you can't pay your child's way.

Anne Lamott

So why does our writing matter, again? they ask. Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.

Anne Lamott

the insidious palace lie that we will get over crushing losses means that our emotional GPS can never find true north, as it is based on maps that no longer mention the most important places we have been to.

Anne Lamott

The mix in our rooms is so touching: the clutter and the cracks in the wall belie a bleakness or brokenness in our lives; while photos and a few rare objects show our pride, our rare shining moments... these rooms are future ruins

Anne Lamott

The redwoods are like organ pipes, playing silent chords.

Anne Lamott

The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason they write so very little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.