bird by bird with annie

in her own words


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Thank you so much for "Bird By Bird with Annie: A Portrait of Anne Lamott"! Early Sunday morning I found that I could not sleep. I turned on MPT and found in progress, "Bird By Bird with Annie: A Portrait of Anne Lamott" (#408). I could not stop watching. Annie was truly inspirational!
I found that I had several things in common with Annie. First, I have been feeling a little down recently. Second, Significant persons in my life have suffered from Substance Abuse, and so, just like the effects of second-hand cigarette smoke, so have I. Third, I am the single mother of a 14 yr old son. My son has been urging me to become more involved in religion with him, and I have felt �stand-offish� about it but attend church for him. Like Annie, I go rather unenthusiastically but leave very happy, having been surrounded by lovely people and spent quality time with my child. Also, I am not a writer but a sewer. For a couple of years I have been trying to start a creative sewing business. I can make just about anything-sewable- and have made things for friends, but flounder at actually becoming a �business�. I found Annie�s advice to writers practical, inspirational, and very helpful, even in my case. Annie advised �writing one sentence at a time, if that was the most you could; but to keep at it�. This seems so simplistic that it should be common sense. However, it is not common sense because as a creator (of whatever it is), a person tends to think of the finished product they want to end up with and getting there can be a very daunting and overwhelming task.
Thank you for showing "Bird By Bird with Annie: A Portrait of Anne Lamott" (#408). I was not able to see the beginning of the program and hope that I will be able to see it again very soon, as I would love to see the entire documentary. From now on I will take my projects �one stitch at a time�, and I hope that I�ll be able to one day write to you again and tell how the documentary that I watched early one morning helped me to make my dreams come true!

Shelley Fisher Brock
Eagle, ID

I caught just the last few minutes of the documentary on PBS at 5 a.m. one week ago today, and was mesmerized. Since then I have bought and read Operating Instructions, Travelling Mercies & Plan B. Tommorrow I will try to find Bird By Bird. I am hopelessly hooked. It was four years ago tommorrow, that my son Joe died in a tragic accident. It has taken 4 years for it to feel like 6 months. Nothing I've read, heard or seen in that time has touched and soothed my soul like your words, Annie. I thank God for you.

Amy Finkbonner
Ms. Lamott doesn't mince words. My first taste of her was this documentary and I'm sold. She's lived enough to be unabashedly real and it's that 'realness' that draws me in. Are there other authors similar to her? Who would you say is most similar to her style?

Ruby Singer
In case you are wondering if it is worth your while to stay on the air late at night, I can testify that it is. Last night, going through a spiritual crisis, I turned on the television and there was the documentary on Ann Lamott. I know that she is a recovering addict and to see her spirituality in action gave me hope. Followed by the Lamott documentary, you aired an animated short having to do with "happiness." This, too, gave me hope. Please make sure you continue to air programs such as this during the late night sector of 2 am and on.

B. Stone
Augusta Georgia
I accidentally found this amazing writer named Anne Lamott while channel surfing. I came across her giving a talk at a writer's conference aired on C-Span. She has been my inspiration ever since. I am a Black woman writer and I hear Anne's "voice" as a Black woman's voice with all it's pain, trials and triumphs. It's an honest voice full of humility that can't be faked. Her willingness to tell the truth has touched so many lives. I'm sure many other born again christians (and I am one) just don't get her. Well I do. Anne's faith reminds me of the scripture that says come to god as a little child. She has that absolute childlike faith that pleases god. She also reminds me that the Bible says we will find freedom in Christ. Sadly many christians miss the true meaning of that and criticize Anne because she doesn't fit their narrow view of what it means to be a christian. Well Anne, I hope you read this and I hope you know (I'm sure you do) that we love you and Jesus loves you too!!!!!!

Whitey Broughton
Sebastopol, California
Once again PBS has brightened my day! I had never heard of Annie Lamott until last night when I stumbled onto your program. I am a seventy year old male who many years ago,through the grace of God, turned things around and now lives this fabulous journey one day at a time. I found in Annie many familiar traits that seem to surface in those that have made the "great escape". Joyful evidence of tolerance, humility, love and caring were so well done in this presentation, I just had to write this note. This incredible lady has been given the gifts of talent, humor and honesty and fortunately has chosen to share them with all of us. Thank you.

rosemont, IL
I love Anne Lamott. Think of her almost as a distant Aunt that I do not get to see often. She has helped me understand things better than most of the adults in my life have. I hope that I get a chance to see the documentry she did. I have loved EVERY book she has written. I hope that some day in the future I will be able to see her speak about her life and her thoughts. Coming from a girl who grew up with a crappy father I am happy she did not force Sam's father into having a relationship with him. It would have only made things more difficult. Krista

Terry Osborne
Schaumburg, IL
Anne Lamott has saved my life, and made me laugh, maybe it's the same thing. I agree with her, I know God laughs, and lets the light in through the cracks."Traveling Mercies" has been exactly that for me. Please show the documentary again and again. It was on in the middle of the night in the Chicago region. It was a beautiful moment just to hear her voice, after reading it for so long. I'm trying to breathe and do it "bird by bird"

cathy mcvay
scottsbluff, ne
I recently tuned in to Independent Lens on our local PBS station. I immediately found myself riveted to the comments of Anne Lamott. I said to my husband, "sounds like my kind of woman". I found myself praying, "Lord, thank you for helping me be open to worshipping in a feminist way, and knowing it is not only okay but that it is better". Anne's story is my story and the story of many other women, intelligent, creative, empowered women. The motivation that I felt, the urgency to get the work done, the connection to humanity is what I believe the purpose of Anne Lamott's writings and yes I believe in doing so, she has found healing for herself. Thanks

Jenny Jones
Years ago I read Operating Instructions and was blown away but Anne Lamott's intuition, honesty and witt. She has wonderful insight into human feelings and emotions no matter what age or race. I've read all her works and currently reading Blue Shoe. I only saw half the video. Any idea when it will air again?

Don Leibowitz
Monrovia ,California
Wow, I only caught the last five minutes or so of this film on KCET. I found this lady(Anne) so interesting that I ran to the computer to learn more about her. In five minutes she made me laugh,think,wonder,and take a closer look at myself. I can't wait to see the entire film/documentry. I'm sure everyone who listens to Anne comes away with something different, in five she made me feel like everything is going to be all right.

While watching the lovely Anne Lamott on PBS this past Tuesday evening, she mentioned the first book she ever found dealing in a humourous way with cancer. I think it had a two-word title. If anyone can recall the name of the book, I would dearly appreciate knowing it. Thanks!

Ann Marie Fisher
Scottsdale, AZ
YES!! I loved the documentary on Anne Lamott. I had never heard of her until last night when I turned on PBS at midnight on a Friday night. Ms. Lamott speaks to my heart and soul. Thank you so much PBS for airing this documentary. I feel I have found a soul sister and true spirit friend in Anne. I am heading off to the bookstore today to enjoy the works of Anne Lamott.

When I was a pregnant single woman I discovered Operating Instructions. I found comfort and a connection to this woman. I went on to read all her books and loved every one of them. I was planning on excaping that night with junk TV after the kids were in bed. I too discovered an amazing inspiring story with Anne. I have started to trust myself and to write something. Anne Lamott has been an inspiration for me. I am so so glad she got sober and found god and shared it with us.

Patricia Orosco
San Antonio, TX
Thank you, PBS, for showing the captivating film on Anne Lamott. Last night, I had to stop what I was doing & just sit down and devour every word I heard from Anne. I was intrigued, amused, and amazed by her. People can not only relate to the tough situations she writes of, but are astounded by the wisdom & humor with which she describes them. She has inspired me to dust off my dreams of being a writer, & get my "work done."

Andrea Baker
Norman, Ok
I turned on the TV to lull myself into comatose; wanting to find rest from a dreadful day. What I discovered was better than sleep - I was inspired. Instead of being distracted from the pain of life I am inspired to ask "how alive am I willing to be right now?" I am a raging liberal struggling with an upbringing in a very traditional Christian home. I have become increasingly frustrated because I thought I had to choose, and choosing one meant losing the other. Consequently, I sat, paralyzed with fear and not wanting to let go. Thank you Anne Lamott for showing me it is possible to have both. While I am not a writer, I am struggling to find my own voice as an activist, as a Christian, as a woman, as a humanitarian and learn to tell the truth in that voice. Thank you for this film!

Denise Johns
Loved the documentary. I read two of Anne's novels: Rosie and Blue Shoe. Enjoyed them both, but it's her non-fiction that really resonates with me. My well-worn copy of Bird by Bird sits on my nightstand, and I still read passages out of it at random whenever I need encouragement or a laugh. Traveling Mercies is also a fabulous book, and after I read Operating Instructions, I bought another copy for my daughter, who was struggling with new motherhood. Why does Anne's writing strike a cord with me? Gee, I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with being a writer, a recovering alcoholic, a believer, and a parent. I am all of the above.

Anne writes with gut-wrenching honesty and possesses the best survival tool of life: a sense of humor. I respect that.

Thanks Anne, for sharing your perspective with us. And thank you, Freida Lee Mock, for doing such a great job with the documentary.

Christina Bass
Las Vegas
Dear Anne, I was watching the show and was excited to see that you were a believer in Christ. I am also. But the more I watched the more my heart was breaking. I saw things that you embraced and welcomened in your life that Jesus would never embrace. I know that we as Christians are all on different levels of maturity, but there are some pretty basic truths about Christ that we all should know. Please read Romans 1:24-32 and Ephesians chapter 4. Each of us must work out our own faith with fear and trembling. We will one day give an account for all we have done, thought, and every word. In Jesus name! Christina Bass, LV

Mary Cummings
Portland, Oregon
I haven't yet read all of her books but the 1st one I read (Operating Instructions) made a huge impact on me. My mother had given it to me to read because she knew how much I've struggled with life. Anne's experiences can be mapped onto other peoples' while articulating what we may not have been able to (until we read her books). She bathes her stories in humor & irony & paints poignant pictures for us to crawl into & lose ourselves in; heal ourselves in. Who can't be seduced by her style & stories? No one who wants to be really alive. I always thought my mother understood me like no one else & when she gave that book to my sisters & I, I knew it for sure. I remember thinking, 'You mean you can actually write about the insanity in your head & make it beautiful & rich? ...have it be humorous & poetic, give context and healing to your craziness & struggles (ours)? My mother is gone now. Died of cancer in '98. She considered herself a writer & read prolifically. I love to read but am impatient unless I g et lost in book. I'm always happily lost (& found) in Anne's books. Thank You, Anne. Thank You God for giving us Anne.

Paul Frost
San Francisco, CA
Regarding the question of Anne Lamott's broad popularity; she is an amazingly intelligent person who has the gift of being able to relate to the least of us. Her self-depreciating humor combined with her homilistic incites into gentle survival, give her audience the comforting realization that no matter what your situation, you are capable allowing yourself to be able to live fully... by realizing that your sense of life and your unique sense of humor are as valid and effective as the most inspiring people in this world. Lamott says to me...focus your energy, if only for a hour each day and you will achieve an inspiring level of satisfaction. That is 'one bird at a time.'

I stumbled on this program last night and was absolutely spellbound. Both for the inspiration she provides to writers (or would-be writers) and the humor and truth with which she addresses life, I felt inspired and uplifted by her story. I am off to the bookstore today to discover more about her! Thank you for bringing us her story.

Mary Manfredi
Three Bridges/New Jersey
I have not read the book yet. I saw Anne on my local PBS channel last night. She has opened my eyes to so many things in life I have been searching for. I too am born again but also a lesbian which in the "so called christain law" is a no-no. Listening to Anne I realized that there is so much more to life than what others think, the only true meaning is what I think and how I live my life. The inspiration I got from listening to Anne is helping me move forward in my own struggles as a women. I am off to the book store to purchase some of her books. Thank You for your time.

Kateryn Thomas
St. Louis, Missouri
As a single mom, who is attempting to write but not yet enjoying the success that Anne does, I find her work appealing because it inspires me to not only accept but also tell about things in my life just exactly as they are. Most of the people in my social circle have turned the media world off. By that I mean we're sick to death of the slick, unreal, sophisticated slop we find in the racks at the end of our grocery counters, and we use the newspapers thrown in our front yards for fire start or to run off stray dogs. Too bad we've got to go digging for Anne's work and a view of her take on life. With a syndicated column from Anne, there'd be fewer of us needing psychotherapy! Anne is for the single mom of the new millenium what Erma Bombeck was for the suburban housewife of the '70s. Her life and work attest to what so many of us have always known as truth, 'It ain't House Beautiful and it'll never be Vogue--but there's a lesson in it, and we're all in it together.'

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