12 Things I Learned from Life and Writing by Anne Lamott (Transcript)

Also, the people will make you laugh out loud at the most inconvenient times, and that’s the great good news. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. Grief and friends, time and tears will heal you to some extent. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate and moisturize you and the ground on which you walk.

Do you know the first thing that God says to Moses? He says, “Take off your shoes.” Because this is holy ground, all evidence to the contrary. It’s hard to believe, but it’s the truest thing I know. When you’re a little bit older, like my tiny personal self, you realize that death is as sacred as birth. And don’t worry — get on with your life. Almost every single death is easy and gentle with the very best people surrounding you for as long as you need. You won’t be alone. They’ll help you cross over to whatever awaits us. As Ram Dass said, “When all is said and done, we’re really just all walking each other home.”

I think that’s it, but if I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.

Thank you.


I was very surprised to be asked to come, because it is not my realm, technology or design or entertainment. I mean, my realm is sort of faith and writing and kind of lurching along together. And I was surprised, but they said I could give a talk, and I said I’d love to.

[Video clip: If you don’t know where to start, remember that every single thing that happened to you is yours and you get to tell it.]

People are very, very frightened and feel really doomed in America these days, and I just wanted to help people get their sense of humor about it and to realize how much isn’t a problem. If you take an action, take a really healthy or loving or friendly action, you’ll have loving and friendly feelings.

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Book(s) by the speaker:  

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

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