Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lamott and Lende -- economic / election / life / stress advice

Lende is another writer, who, like Anne Lamott, shares her personal stories that I feel I know her, her family, her chickens, her community. She lives in Haines, Alaska -- a small town with all kinds of small town color.

Amidst all the stress of the economy, the elections, the negative attacks - she and Anne Lamott offer similar advice.

In her column at the Anchorage Daily News, Lende writes:

Worrying about a bad thing that might happen does affect you physically. Witness my hives and the hens' empty egg box. Singing about anything makes your heart lighter, and doing good things for your neighbors, like being a hospice volunteer, changes the whole world for the better. It has got to. As Margaret Mead said, it is the only thing that really can.

So I'm going to be much more selective about how much I read and watch the news until the election is over, but I'll still listen to Joanie on the radio. Did I tell you she is also a hospice volunteer? She's signing off now with her theme song -- "It's a good day for singing a song, a good day for moving along ..." -- which works better on my hives than an antihistamine. I may sing it to my chickens too. I think I'll even keep humming it as I pin an Obama button to my raincoat and shop at my favorite McCain-Palin grocery store.

At, Lamott writes (and the nicknames are in reference to the Sarah Palin Baby Name generator):

Figure out one thing you can do every single day to be a part of the solution, concentrating on swing states. Money, walking precincts, registering voters, whatever. This is the only way miracles ever happen -- left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe. The great novelist E.L. Doctorow once said that writing a novel is like driving at night with the headlights on: You can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole journey this way. It is the truest of all things; the only way to write a book, raise a child, save the world.

As my anonymous pal Krinkle Bearcat once wrote: Laughter is carbonated holiness. It is chemo. So do whatever it takes to keep your sense of humor. Rent Christopher Guest movies, read books by Roz Chast and Maira Kalman. Picture Stick Freedom in his Batman underpants, having one of his episodes of rage alone in one of his seven bedrooms. Or having one of his bathroomy little conversations with Froth Moonshine. (Bless their hearts.) Try to remember that even Karl Rove has accused him of being a lying suck.

Reread everything Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower ever wrote. Write down that great line of Molly's, that "freedom fighters don't always win, but they're always right." Tape it next to your phone.

Call the loneliest person you know. Go flirt with the oldest person at the bookstore.

Fill up a box with really cool clothes that you haven't worn in a year, and take it to a thrift shop. Take gray water outside and water whatever is growing on your deck. This is not a bad metaphor to live by. I think it is why we are here. Drink more fluids. And take very gentle care of yourself and the people you most love: We need you now more than ever.

(Click here for the whole essay)

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