Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Quotes Listing

Anne Lamott

When Sam?s having a hard time and being a total baby about the whole thing, I feel so much frustration and rage and self-doubt and worry that it?s like a mini-breakdown. I feel like my mind becomes a lake full of ugly fish and big clumps of algae and coral, of feelings and unhappy memories and rehearsals for future difficulties and failures. I paddle around in it like some crazy old dog, and then I remember that there?s a float in the middle of the lake and I can swim out to it and lie down in the sun. That float is about being loved, by my friends and by God and even sort of by me. And so I lie there and get warm and dry off, and I guess I get bored or else it is human nature because after a while I jump back into the lake, into all that crap. I guess the solution is just to keep trying to get back to the float. This morning Sam woke at 4:00, so

Anne Lamott

Wish there?d been a shortcut, but the wound.

Anne Lamott

You are going to love some of your characters, because they are you or some facet of you, and you are going to hate some of your characters for the same reason. But no matter what, you are probably going to have to let bad things happen to some of the characters you love or you won't have much of a story. Bad things happen to good characters, because our actions have consequences, and we do not all behave perfectly all the time.

Anne Lamott

You can tell if people are following Jesus, because they are feeding the poor, sharing their wealth, and trying to get everyone medical insurance.

Anne Lamott

The clipping said forgiveness meant that God is for giving, and that we are here for giving too, and that to withold love or blessings is to be completely delusional.

Anne Lamott

The depth of the feeling continued to surprise and threaten me, but each time it hit again and I bore it... I would discover that it hadn't washed me away.

Anne Lamott

The reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day.

Anne Lamott

There?s freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing that you won?t be able to save or rescue your daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you?ve reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin, because when you?re still in the state of trying to fix the unfixable, everything bad is engaged: the chatter of your mind, the tension of your physiology, all the trunks and wheel-ons you carry from the past. It?s exhausting, crazy-making.

Anne Lamott

Toni Morrison said, The function of freedom is to free someone else, and if you are no longer wracked or in bondage to a person or a way of life, tell your story. Risk freeing someone else. Not everyone will be glad that you did. Members of your family and other critics may wish you had kept your secrets. Oh, well, what are you going to do?

Anne Lamott

When I was young, I used to be so jealous of other girls that it crippled me.

Anne Lamott

When you?re kind to people, and you pay attention, you make a field of comfort around them, and you get it back?the Golden Rule meets the Law of Karma meets Murphy?s Law.

Anne Lamott

Will call him a she when the pee-pee is gone. Says Brave is to endure stares, jeers, prejudice. He won't.

Anne Lamott

Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Don?t worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you?re a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act - truth is always subversive.

Anne Lamott

When what we see catches us off guard, and when we write it as realistically and openly as possible, it offers hope. You look around and say, Wow, there's that same mockingbird; there's that woman in the red hat again. The woman in the red hat is about hope because she's in it up to her neck, too, yet every day she puts on that crazy red hat and walks to town.

Anne Lamott

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

Anne Lamott

Wow has a reverberation - wowowowowow - and this pulse can soften us, like the electrical massage an acupuncturist directs to your spine or cramped muscle, which feels like a staple gun, but good.

Anne Lamott

So why today is it absolutely all I can do to extend mercy to myself for wanting to nip an annoying relative?s heel like a river rat? Forget extending mercy to this relative, who has so messed with me and my son ? she doesn?t even know she needs my mercy. She thinks she is fierce and superior, while I believe she secretly ate her first child. Horribly, she is perfectly fine. I?m the one who needs mercy ? my mercy. The need for this, for my own motley mercy, underpinned most of my lifelong agitation, my separation from life itself.

Anne Lamott

There is nothing more touching to me then a family picture where everyone is trying to look his or her best, but you can see what a mess they all really are.

Anne Lamott

These are pictures of the people in my family where we look like the most awkward and desperate folk you ever saw, poster children for the human condition.

Anne Lamott

Trying to reason with an addict was like trying to blow out a lightbulb.

Anne Lamott

Trappings and charm wear off, I?ve learned. The book of welcome says, Let people see you. They see that your upper arms are beautiful, soft and clean and warm, and then they will see this about their own, some of the time. It?s called having friends, choosing each other, getting found, being fished out of the rubble. It blows you away, how this wonderful event happened?me in your life, you in mine. Two parts fit together. This hadn?t occurred all that often, but now that it does, it?s the wildest experience. It could almost make a believer out of you. Of course, life will randomly go to hell every so often, too. Cold winds arrive and prick you; the rain falls down your neck; darkness comes. But now there are two of you. Holy Moly.

Anne Lamott

We must not inflict life on children who will be resented; we must not inflict unwanted children on society.

Anne Lamott

We?re bugs struggling in the river, brightly visible to the trout below.

Anne Lamott

What saved me was that I found gentle, loyal and hilarious companions, which is at the heart of meaning: maybe we don?t find a lot of answers to life?s tougher questions, but if we find a few true friends, that?s even better. They help you see who you truly are, which is not always the loveliest possible version of yourself, but then comes the greatest miracle of all?they still love you. They keep you company as perhaps you become less of a whiny baby, if you accept their help.

Anne Lamott

When you are on the knife?s edge?when nobody knows exactly what is going to happen next, only that it will be worse?you take in today.

Anne Lamott

whenever the world throws rose petals at you, which thrill and seduce the ego, beware. The cosmic banana peel is suddenly going to appear underfoot to make sure you don?t take it all too seriously, that you don?t fill up on junk food.

Anne Lamott

Who knows how much of our stories are true?

Anne Lamott

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. You don?t have to see where you?re going, you don?t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. 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.

Anne Lamott

Writing involves seeing people suffer and, as Robert Stone once put it, finding some meaning therein.

Anne Lamott

Yet union with a partner?someone with whom to wake, whom you love, and talk with on and off all day, and sit with at dinner, and watch TV and movies with, and read together in bed with, and do hard tasks with, and are loved by. That sounds really lovely.

Anne Lamott

You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won't really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we'll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won't wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.

Anne Lamott

Writing is about learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on. Now, if you ask me, what?s going on is that we?re all up to here in it, and probably the most important thing is that we not yell at one another.

Anne Lamott

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. They are probably the ones who told you not to open that door in the first place. You can tell if you they're there because a small voice will say, 'Oh, whoops, don't say that, that's a secret,' or 'That's a bad work,' or 'Don't tell anyone you jack off. They'll all start doing it.' So you have to breathe or pray or do therapy to send them away. Write as if your parents are dead.

Anne Lamott

You will lose someone you can?t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn?t seal back up. And you come through. It?s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly?that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.