Anne Lamott speaks, shares her story

Anne Lamott, a non-fiction writer, speaks to student, faculty and staff about her life and career, along with the release of her new book “Hallelujah anyway” Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016 in Van meter Auditorium.

Miles Schroader

American novelist and non-fiction writer Anne Lamott spoke at Van Meter Hall Tuesday night in an event hosted by WKU’s Cultural Enhancement Series.

In her presentation, Lamott talked about writing and life, sharing her story of overcoming a difficult past. Lamott said she grew up in a culture where sympathy was considered “overly sensitive.”

Beth Coughlin, 29, said she loved how Lamott brought her humanity to her words and speaking.

“Her humor is enlightening and refreshing,” Coughlin said. “I think she draws and compels people to that.”

“I liked how she talked about her background in her religion, and how that has helped her in everyday life and in her craft,” Louisville senior Michael Blackshire said. “I also liked how she felt inspirational but not be preachy with how it helps her in her everyday life.”

“I love crazy honesty, because there’s so little of it in culture,” Lamott told the audience.

Lamott used an analogy comparing life to driving with the headlights on at night, explaining you can only see so far ahead, so you have live it, and try to appreciate it. Many people waste so much of their life trying to be considered perfect to society, and they don’t know how to really enjoy it, she said. Lamott encouraged the audience to understand his or her thoughts shouldn’t be shut down just because he or she is different or “unusual.”

“I like how she talked about how you start where you are, you aren’t supposed to see where you’re going, and trust that the material will reveal itself to you,” Owensboro freshman Trae Crowe said.

Lamott told the audience about her struggle with an alcohol addiction, and how amazing it felt to get rid of it and become the person and writer she is now. Everyone has stories, she said; turning them into written word is just a matter of thinking of all of them, and deciding what you want to write about.

“Writing is a lot like life,” Lamott said. “It’s so overwhelming that it’s really hard to get it together.”

The mission of the Cultural Enhancement Series is to provide the community and campus with new ideas from different perspectives by providing some of the nation’s most influential artists and intellectuals, according to its website.

Lamott’s was the first of six presentations the Cultural Enhancement Series will put on this year. Two more are scheduled for this semester to welcome cellist and singer-songwriter Ben Sollee Thursday, Oct. 20 and National Geographic freelance photographer Joel Sartore Monday, Nov. 7.

Reporter Miles Schroader can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected].