Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Quotes Listing

Anne Lamott

The world can't give that serenity. The world can't give us peace. We can only find it in our hearts.

Anne Lamott

Then it came to me: I was asking the wrong question. The right one is: Where is God in gang warfare? And the answer is, The same place God is in Darfur, and in our alcoholism, and when children are bullied: being crucified.

Anne Lamott

There are few experiences as depressing as that anxious barren state known as writer's block, where you sit staring at your blank page like a cadaver, feeling your mind congeal, feeling you talent run down your leg and into your sock.

Anne Lamott

They always threw their arms around and hugged me while crying our Yiddish endearments. Yet none of them believed in God. They believed in social justice, good works, Israel, and Bette Midler. I was nearly thirty before I met a religious Jew.

Anne Lamott

These lines of D.H. Lawrence are taped to the wall of my office: ?What is the knocking? What is the knocking at the door in the night? It is somebody wants to do us harm. No, no, it is the three strange angels. Admit them, admit them.? I understand that failure is surely one of these strange angels.

Anne Lamott

This is a difficult country to look too different in?the United States of Advertising, as Paul Krassner puts it?and if you are too skinny or too tall or dark or weird or short or frizzy or homely or poor or nearsighted, you get crucified. I did. But

Anne Lamott

This one truth, that the few people you adore will die, is plenty difficult to absorb. But on top of it, someone?s brakes fail, or someone pulls the trigger or snatches the kid, or someone deeply trusted succumbs to temptation, and everything falls apart. We are hurt beyond any reasonable chance of healing. We are haunted by our failures and mortality. And yet the world keeps on spinning, and in our grief, rage, and fear a few people keep on loving us and showing up. It?s all motion and stasis, change and stagnation. Awful stuff happens and beautiful stuff happens, and it?s all part of the big picture.

Anne Lamott

To be a good writer, you not only have to write a great deal but you have to care. You do not have to have a complicated moral philosophy. But a writer always tries, I think, to be a part of a solution, to understand a little about life and to pass this on.

Anne Lamott

When you can step back at moments like these and see what is happening, when you watch people you love under fire or evaporating, you realize that the secret of life is patch patch patch. Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again.

Anne Lamott

You don't always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.

Anne Lamott

You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard. So

Anne Lamott

You must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this.

Anne Lamott

You stop pretending life is such fin or makes sense. It's often messy and cruel and dull, and we do the best we can. It's unfair, and jerks seem to win. But you fall in love with a few people.

Anne Lamott

Some people may have thought that this book was too personal, too confessional. But what these people think about me is none of my business.

Anne Lamott

Take care of yourselves; take care of one another.

Anne Lamott

The movement of grace toward gratitude brings us from the package of self-obsessed madness to a spiritual awakening. Gratitude is peace.

Anne Lamott

The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.

Anne Lamott

The society to which we belong seems to be dying or is already dead. I don't mean to sound dramatic, but clearly the dark side is rising. Things could not have been more odd and frightening in the Middle Ages. But the tradition of artists will continue no matter what form the society takes. And this is another reason to write: people need us, to mirror for them and for each other without distortion-not to look around and say, 'Look at yourselves, you idiots!,' but to say, 'This is who we are.

Anne Lamott

The thing about light is that it really isn?t yours; it?s what you gather and shine back. And it gets more power from reflectiveness; if you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself.

Anne Lamott

The speaker at the meeting, a blonde woman in a fine tailored suit, shared how alcoholism had stolen her own childhood, and had now come back for her child.

Anne Lamott

There is cracks, cracks, in everything, that's how the light gets in.' I had cracks but not the hope.

Anne Lamott

These are the words I want on my gravestone: that I was a helper, and that I danced.

Anne Lamott

Usually with life, you start wherever you are, and you flail around for a while--

Anne Lamott

We think we?re humans having spiritual experiences, but we?re really spirits having human experiences,

Anne Lamott

We write to expose the unexposed. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer's job is to see what's behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words - not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues. You can't do this without discovering your own true voice, and you can't find your true voice and peer behind the door and report honestly and clearly to us if your parents are reading over your shoulder.

Anne Lamott

We?re so often rattled by lingering effects of trauma and paralyzing fear.

Anne Lamott

What a mess we are, I thought. But this is usually where any hope of improvement begins, acknowledging the mess. When I am well, I know not to mess with mess right away; I try to let silence and time work their magic.

Anne Lamott

What seems true is that something in life, on the highways or in our hearts, is always being installed, or being repaired, or being torn down for the next installation.

Anne Lamott

What you're looking for is already inside you. You've heard this before, but the holy thing inside you really is that which causes you to seek it. 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 succes, or fame, or financial security - besides which, there ain't no such thing.

Anne Lamott

When I asked Father Tom where we find God in this present darkness, he said that God is in creation, and to get outdoors as much as you can.

Anne Lamott

When people shine a little light on their monster, we find out how similar most of our monsters are.

Anne Lamott

when people don?t have free access to books, then communities are like radios without batteries.

Anne Lamott

When we think we can do it all ourselves--fix, save, buy, or date a nice solution--it's hopeless. We're going to screw things up. We're going to get our tentacles wrapped around things and squirt our squiddy ink all over, so that there is even less visibility, and then we're going to squeeze the very life out of everything.

Anne Lamott

Writing is about hypnotizing yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotizing yourself and going over the material coldly.

Anne Lamott

You don't want to spend your time around people who make you hold your breath. You can't fill up when you're holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water - just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness.

Anne Lamott

You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart--your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it's why you were born.

Anne Lamott

You want to avoid at all costs drawing your characters on those that already exist in other works of fiction. You must learn about people from people, not from what you read. Your reading should confirm what you?ve observed in the world.

Anne Lamott

You've got to learn to let go and let your children fall, and fail. If you try to protect them from hurt, and always rush to their side with Band-Aids, they won't learn about life, and what is true, what works, what helps, and what are real consequences of certain kinds of behavior. When they do get hurt, which they will, they won't know how to take care of their grown selves. They won't even know where the aspirin is kept.

Anne Lamott

Some people wanted to get rich or famous, but my friends and I wanted to get real. We wanted to get deep. (Also, I suppose, we wanted to get laid.)

Anne Lamott

That writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.

Anne Lamott

The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

Anne Lamott

The way I dance is by writing.

Anne Lamott

There is something so tender about this to me, about being willing to have your makeup wash off, your eyes tear up, your nose start to run. Its tender partly because it harkens back to infancy, to your mother washing your face with love and lots or water, tending to you, making you clean all over again.

Anne Lamott

This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rat hole with us, in the guise of our friends, and there it swells and comforts. It gives us second winds, third winds, hundredth winds.

Anne Lamott

This is who I want to be in the world. This is who I think we are supposed to be, people who help call forth human beings from deep inside hopelessness.

Anne Lamott

Very few writers really know what they are doing until they?ve done it.

Anne Lamott

we all wanted this because let's face it, it's so inspiring and such a relief when people find a way to bear the unbearable, when you can organize things in such a way that a tiny miracle appears to have taken place and that love has once again turn out to be bigger than fear and death and blindness.

Anne Lamott

We cheated, you and me, and someone noticed. I noticed you; someone else noticed me. It hurts us. That's not so bad. So many people cheat. Everywhere on every level. Everyone's cheated. I'm just saying that you don't need to see yourself as a cheater. Because that's not who you are. You're someone who cheated. There's a difference, and you should try to get that difference, or that's who you'll grow up to be.

Anne Lamott

We live stitch by stitch, when we?re lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching. And maybe the stitching is crude, or it is unraveling, but if it were precise, we?d pretend that life was just fine and running like a Swiss watch. This is not helpful if on the inside our understanding is that life is more often a cuckoo clock with rusty gears. In the aftermath of loss, we do what we?ve always done, although we are changed, maybe more afraid. We do what we can, as well as we can. My pastor, Veronica, one Sunday told the story of a sparrow lying in the street with its legs straight up in the air, sweating a little under its feathery arms. A warhorse walks up to the bird and asks, What on earth are you doing? The sparrow replies, I heard the sky was falling, and I wanted to help. The horse laughs a big, loud, sneering horse laugh, and says, Do you really think you?re going to hold back the sky, with those scrawny little legs? And the sparrow says, One does what one can.

Anne Lamott

When a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born?and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.