To kick off the tour of the Progressive Book Club, taking place on this page Wednesday, Feb. 20th, we pause for a celebration to honor a very influential and gifted author.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Martin Dean, and I’ll be your practically sober host for the evening. Our guest of honor for tonight’s roast, I mean honor, is an author of seven novels and seven non-fiction books, including the much acclaimed and widely read Bird by Bird.
I first met Anne Lamott in high school gym class. She had the nickname of “fireplace log” because all the boys wanted to take a poke at her. Bam! She was my date for the senior prom. We never made it to the dance floor. Instead, we spent all night in the broom closet. Let me tell you, that girl could squeeze a mop head like nobody’s business. Whack! We have a few writers who would like to honor you tonight Annie. Unfortunately, they’re all passed out at the bar. Wham!
So instead, we invited Annie’s High School English teacher. Ladies and gentlemen, your favorite Greek epicist, and Annie’s favorite teacher, Mr. Homer. (Mr. Homer enters)
Thanks Martin. Seriously folks, Annie was a terrific student. Kind, supportive, and of course, eccentrically brilliant. I had no idea that eventually, she would become the teacher and I would be the pupil. You might have heard of a little piece I wrote called The Iliad and the sequel, Revenge of the Iliad. Before I wrote those epics, I always believed that I needed to know exactly how the story unfolded, every chapter, every page, every paragraph and sentence. The novel was written in my head before it ever became scrawled upon the papyrus. I outlined like crazy until I couldn’t take it any longer and I faced the Mount Olympus of writer’s block. Then I got very weary and depressed. So depressed, I was ready to drink the hemlock, just like my friend Socrates. Then I read Bird by Bird. Allow me to read the line that changed everything.
“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.”
Those words struck me like a bolt from the hand of Zeus, and after that, I became a new writer. The Greek words poured out of me like olive oil from a jug. Would you do me the honor of endorsing my latest MS? I’m calling it The Odyssey. Or Caddyshack, I can’t decide. Anyway, thank you for the great advice Annie. I’ll see you in the broom closet. (Mr. Homer exits)
Our next guest comes all the way from parts unknown. He or she has some words for you, Annie. I hope you’re ready for them. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for…