Anne Lamott

 

 

I’m reading April’s favorite author right now, although April doesn’t yet know that her name is Anne Lamott. As far as I know, April has never read anything by Anne Lamott, and neither have I, although I’ve had good intentions. I have, however, listened to a couple of podcast interviews with Anne while walking the park.

So how do I know Anne Lamott will be April’s favorite author? Because I know April. I know she only reads nonfiction, primarily in the sub-genres of self-help and spirituality, and Anne’s three most recent books are collections of essays on faith.

Anne Lamott’s first book in the collection is entitled Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. It’s on my nightstand, but I haven’t read it yet.

 

Her follow-up book is Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. This is the one I’m currently reading. Why the second book first? Because the library sent the hardcover of Traveling Mercies and the CD audiobook of Plan B. I finished my last audiobook, and Plan B was next in line.

 

 

Anne’s most recent book is Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. Don’t have it yet.

 

 

 

So back to Anne and April. Anne is the most honest, blunt, self-deprecating, hilarious writer I have ever read. She is a carnival of contrasts. She loves Jesus, but she hates George W. Bush. She is a woman of prayer, but she cusses freely, even dropping the F-bomb in the first chapter of Plan B. She is a Presbyterian, but also a left-wing flaming liberal. A former druggie who founded a Sunday School in her church.

I could go on, but for now, enough said. You see, April is a woman of contrasts as well. She has a sharp tongue that will rip you to shreds when you’re wrong, but she will cry with you when you’re down, and she will be the first person to open her wallet when you’re in need.

April, meet Anne.

Postscript: One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Anne Lamott, although she gives credit to a friend. To read the quote, click here.

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Published in: on August 22, 2007 at 6:50 pm  Comments (8)  

April, Doyle, SICKO & the Healthcare Crisis

Sicko Poster


I hadn’t planned to start this blog with a discussion on a major issue. I was thinking more along the lines of listing my favorite books, CDs, and DVDs or starting a discussion on my current reads. But my cousin April forwarded me this conversation she had with our cousin Doyle after she saw Michael Moore’s SICKO. It was too good to pass up, so we’ll get to the light stuff later.

April and Doyle are the two cousins I am closest to on my mother’s side of the family. Along with my sister Carla we form a tight foursome. I guess it’s only natural. The four of us are offspring of Evelyn, Mary Lou, and Sharon, the three youngest daughters of Emory and Ellie Hinson. If you attend a Hinson family reunion, chances are you will see the four of us huddled together around a table having a whispered conversation punctuated with outbursts of laughter rather than socializing with extended family members we haven’t seen in years. It’s not that we are avoiding anyone, it’s just that we enjoy each others’ company the most.

April is the funniest person I know. She can make me laugh like no one else. When it comes to strong opinions, she’s got me beat. She hates injustice and duplicity. She has no tolerance for people who claim to be one thing, yet whose actions demonstrate another. She is the unofficial family attorney. Don’t mess with any of our relations, including the one’s who aren’t her favorites, or you will tangle with a copperhead. April is the kind of person who will rip you up one side and down the other about something inconsiderate you did, then empty her purse when she hears you’re having a tough time financially.

Doyle is one of the kindest people I know. As a child he was shy, often a loner, and we were worried about him. All that has changed. Doyle has accomplished so much in his life. After getting his education, he worked as a city planner in Tampa and Orange County, Florida. Now he works in the private sector as a planning resource manager in Orlando. Over the years I have watched Doyle traverse the political spectrum from conservative to liberal. Doyle is as opinionated as April and I are, but he’s soft-spoken and much nicer about it. And one more thing . . . Doyle loves Dolly!

I give you April and Doyle . . .

From: April
Sent: July 23, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Sicko

just saw sicko. Im sad even more now. Did you see it? whats even sadder is that most of our family would not go see it at ALL, yet will make judgements on the fear they are continuing to gobble up!

From: Doyle
Sent: July 25, 2007
To: April
Subject: Re: Sicko

Yes I saw it.……From what I hear things in Canada aren’t quite that rosy (meaning that they do have to wait awhile before seeing a doctor), but at least no one there has to worry about not getting any treatment when needed. It’s pretty sad that the most wealthy country in the world can’t provide this basic services to all its citizens. I’m mean, we all have access to free public education (k-12) so our forefathers saw the benefit of that! What’s the difference?

Unfortunately, we’re now in a trap where the big pharmaceutical companies are afraid that a national health care system will infringe on their profits. Those companies have BIG BUCKS to lobby our legislators to defeat any attempt at changing their current system. Plus as long as the conservative right (republicans and many southern democrats) are too afraid to raise taxes to pay for such a thing, chances are slim that it’ll ever change.

Most of the Democratic Presidential candidates favor a national health care system and in fact, some have a plan. But when and if they get in office it will be very difficult to get passed. Remember, the Bill Clinton tried to implement a national health care system in his 1 st term (with Hillary the point person). That went absolutely nowhere, because everyone thought it would cost too much (higher taxes). At some point this Country has got to understand that it’s a cost we have to pay! To me this is an ethical question, not a political question. Love you, Doyle

From: April
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Re: Sicko

I got my family’s point of view on the whole heath care thing. I assumed it was solely based on fear. Its more than that really. They think health care is a privilege, that you work hard and you receive. Not for them to work hard and pay for those who are lazy and live off “the system”. It angers them that they should work soo hard to pay for others. I kinda get their point ? but still.

From: Doyle
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: April
Subject: Re: Sicko

April: You’re really stirring up my Democratic juices!!!!

What they’re forgetting is that millions of Americans are unfortunately born into a “lifestyle sand trap” that makes it almost impossible for them to escape. For example, those who are born into a stable situation (both socially and financially) have a HUGE advantage over those who aren’t. If you’re lucky and blessed enough to grow up in an environment that fosters success – health care may not be something you have to worry about. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans who are born into a poor and unstable family environment, the likelihood of success in life is much lower.

For example. Let’s take me vs. my old neighbors Sissy, Willie, Boo, Cootsie, Delbert and David.

I grew up in a middle-income American Family where my parents had both a quality education and jobs, and provided a good environment for me to grow up in. I was able to go to College (with much of that paid for by my parents) while still living at home.

Now let’s compare to Sissy, Willie, Boo, Cootsie, Delbert and David. They grew up in shacks with out-houses and no air-conditioning. Their father’s were either drunks or completely out of the picture. Their mothers struggled to put food on the table by picking strawberries and vegetables. If they were able to finish High School, what were the chances they could go to College? I’m willing to guess that most of them never finished H.S. and were probably having babies of their own by age 18. Need I say more?

Who’s more likely to have a good job with health insurance today, me or them? Don’t you think they wanted to make a better life for themselves OR did they purposely choose those circumstances? In terms of working hard, I’d be willing to guess that if you could find Sissy, Willie, Boo, Cootsie, Delbert and David today, you may find that they’re working their butts off to make about $25,000 a year (if that). Sadly, however, it’s more likely that they’re either drunk, wasted, or even dead! They’ve probably contracted more diseases than we can imagine and have about 5 kids each.

Am I going to kick them while they’re down and say that it’s their own fault they’re in that situation? Am I going to argue that they had a choice in life and chose to be lazy so that they could live off “the system” that you and I pay for? No! All I can do is thank God that I came from a privileged family and hope that I never have to worry about those things.

But let’s no be as naïve to think that everyone without Health Care grew up in poor families. What about those Americans who at one time had good jobs and health care, but suddenly found themselves without a job and debt up to their eye-balls? Sure they could take a job at McDonalds or Walmart just to get insurance, but before too long they’d have to sell their home and car, start taking the bus to work and completely change the lifestyle that they were accustomed to. If I were them, I’d probably go without health insurance until I landed the job that I was qualified for and that paid the bills. The problem is that many Americans don’t have that luxury because they’re already on expensive medications for high cholesterol, diabetes, HIV, etc. As pre-existing conditions, these health issues may not even be covered by their new McDonald’s or Walmart Insurance.

This should not be a “Political Issue” but instead an “Ethical Issue.” Did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene to “get a real job” or did he reach out with love and compassion? What would Jesus do today? Would Jesus tell Countries like Canada, Germany, England, France and Cuba to stop providing free health care to the poor and kick-em out to the street until they got their act together? Personally I’m not in a situation to judge those without health insurance. Sure, there are lazy, good-for-nothing, idiots like “[EDITED]” out there who will always have their hand out begging for assistance – and worse yet, expect it! But I’m out there fighting for everyone. If that means that the [EDITED] of the world benefit – so be it. I personally have no issue whatsoever, paying the price for every American’s right to quality and affordable health care. We do it for education, and that’s probably less important.

I pray that God never lets a feeling of superiority slip into my mind – and if so, may I find myself sleeping under a bridge eating out of a trash can.

Would love to hear your thoughts and feel free to share mine with anyone else. Love, Doyle

From: April
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Re: Sicko

beautifully put. you put in words what I seem to not get out to my family. I feel alone & extremely misunderstood with them. I need therapy for them, though they are really the ones that need therapy.

PLUS, i think because they were raised soo poor they feel they worked out of poverty and the Sissy, Boo & Cootsie ‘s have the same opportunities that they have or had.

From: Doyle
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: April
Subject: Re: Sicko

April: The Hinson’s and other Durant Families are some of the exceptions. Yes they were poor, but I don’t think realized it. Which remind me of Dolly’s lyrics in “Coat of Many Colors”…….

….”My coat of many colors that my momma made for me;
Made only from rags, but I wore it so proudly;
Although we had no money, I was rich as I could be;
In my coat of many colors, my momma made for me….”

See, that’s the difference between today’s poor and yesterday’s poor. There’s a much bigger gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” in today’s world. When our parents grew up, they didn’t stick out as “different” because everyone was in the same boat. Who did our parents go to school with? Were they bused to Tampa were people had more money? No. They went to Strawberry Schools with other poor kids.

A child living in a poor environment today is reminded constantly of their plight. Everyday, whether it’s at school or on TV, a child from a low-income family is reminded of their situation. How discouraging and depressing that must be. Are these children seriously given the same opportunities for a better life than their more wealthy school friends? I think not.

April, hang in there. Always remember that I understand you – Don’t give up fighting for your convictions – regardless of who that fight’s against. Love, Doyle. P.S. God Bless Dolly!

From: April
Sent: July 30, 2007
To: Doyle
Subject: Re: Sicko

lol, u are so funny, when are you going to run for office?

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm  Comments (2)