What I love about Anne's writing is the purity of it. The complete honesty and lack of pretense. And her remarkable sense of humor. What she puts on paper most of us can respond to with "Oh yeah, been there." Well before it was fashionable to do so, she was confessing that sometimes we moms hate being moms. Oh yeah, been there. My friend Andria explained that Anne's book Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year helped her tremendously as a new mom. As she put it, "If Anne's child survived all the mistakes she made, I should be fine." Basically, this woman makes you feel better about yourself--all your weaknesses, fears, failings, doubts, etc. When you read her books you realize you're not quite as messed up as you thought you were. Or, if you are, you're not alone. It's probably the same reaction you have when reading my blog. A sense of relief that someone out there is crazier than you.
In her slightly absent-minded, stream-of-consciousness talk last night, Anne endeared herself to a sold-out audience who laughed heartily and nodded their heads in agreement with this woman whom the Christian Right, the Evangelicals, and the Born-Agains would likely find offensive.While Anne calls herself a Christian and believes in God and the resurrected Jesus, she doesn't try to sell it. She doesn't claim an understanding of theology (in fact, some might find hers "loose" at best) or any book smarts when it comes to "religion." She doesn't preach and doesn't appreciate many of those who do, particularly those on a stage with an 800-member chorus. She doesn't care whether you call yourself a Christian or if you pray to Harold, as in "Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be thy name," or Phil (her personal preference). For Anne it's about recognizing there's someone whose love for us is greater than we can ever imagine. That there's someone for whom we are perfect exactly as we are. That the grace we have been given is what saves us. This quote from her last night really resonated with me: "All we can know is who holds the future, not what the future holds."
Anne spent a good bit of time last evening explaining the blessings of age. She's 58 now and she accepts that her arms will not improve and that her reflection from the iPad screen may actually frighten her from time to time And she finds amusement in us 40-somethings who still think we can fix ourselves. She explains "The grace of getting older is getting you back." You start savoring time because you realize how vulnerable you are. She confirms that we must indeed "be present to win" in this life, and that everything we need, we already have.
I can practically guarantee that within the first five pages she'll have you hooked by her raw honesty, her sense of humor, and her spirit. Give her a read and let me know what you think.