Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Your soul's got a letter from Anne Lamott

Grand Star-forming Region, taken by Hubble

I don't believe in angels, really. I believe in people. Living and dead. Religious and irreligious. Spiritual and skeptical. People who say things that make me shake my head and say, "Yes, that is exactly what I think, only I wasn't aware of it until this very moment." People whose insight and tenacity and courage allow them to look deeply within themselves and around the universe and share with us what they see. Those are the people who make me gasp in wonderment.

How can she know exactly how I feel? It's as if she's inside my head, jotting down notes from the crooks of my mind.

I believe in people who are charged up, their life energy powered up and ready to go. They can afford to be brave because they possess the valuable knowledge that they are not alone. They understand that life is just encapsulated energy and that our purpose on this earth is to love one another.

I believe in people like Emily Saliers, author and lead singer of the amazing Indigo Girls' song "Virginia Woolf" that celebrates our interconnectedness:


Some will strut and some will fret
See this an hour on the stage
Others will not but they'll sweat
In their hopelessness in their rage
We're all the same men of anger
And the women of the page
They published your diary
And that's how I got to know you
The key to the room of your own
And a mind without end
And here's a young girl
On a kind of a telephone line through time
And the voice at the other end
Comes like a long lost friend
So I know I'm alright
Life will come and life will go
Still I feel it's alright
'Cause I just got a letter to my soul
And when my whole life is on the tip of my tongue
Empty pages for the no longer young
The apathy of time laughs in my face
You say "Each life has it's place"
The hatches were battened
The thunder clouds rolled and the critics stormed
The battle surrounded the white flag of your youth
If you need to know that you weathered the storm
Of cruel mortality
A hundred years later I'm sittin' here living proof
So you know you're alright
(Life will come and go)
Life will come and life will go
Still you'll feel it's alright
(Someone gets your soul)
Someone'll get a letter to your soul
When your whole life is on the tip of your tongue
Empty pages for the no longer young
The apathy of time laughed in your face
Did you hear me say "Each life has its place"?
The place where you hold me
Is dark in a pocket of truth
The moon had swallowed the sun
And the light of the earth
And so it was for you
When the river eclipsed your life
And sent your soul like a message
In a bottle to me
And it was my rebirth
So we know we're alright
Though life will come, life will go
Still you'll feel it's alright
(Someone gets your soul)
Someone'll will get a letter to your soul
An' when you know you're alright
And you feel you're alright
(Empty pages for the no longer young)
You'll say dry our eyes
(You said)
And you feelin' dry your eyes
(Each life has it's place)
You know it's all right
(It'll be alright)
And it's all right
I  believe in people like Anne Lamott. She sent a letter to my soul when I read what she wrote today. I have a feeling your soul's got a letter from her, too.

All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.

Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. 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.

Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known were all writers who'd had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.). Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won't, it can't. But writing can. So can singing.