Being “The People’s Author” (And Loving It)

Question: Do you like\r\nthat you're known as “The People’s Author?"

\r\n\r\n

Anne Lamott: I\r\ncan honestly say there is nothing I would rather be known as than “The \r\nPeople’s\r\nAuthor.”  I’ve never heard that,\r\nand I’m thinking you got it from some blog from some guy who is like \r\ncompletely\r\nwasted on ecstasy and cheap red wine when he said it.  But\r\n if it were true, I would love that. 

\r\n\r\n

And, being a person who believes that all truth is \r\nparadox\r\nand contradiction, I just get a sucked in as any writer into the jungle \r\ndrums\r\nof publication and wishing that I were on the “Today” Show this morning \r\ninstead\r\nof David Remnick and how it’s not fair and how it’s not fair that he’s \r\nnot this\r\nand that and he’s on “Fresh Air” and so I have a kind of bitterness that\r\n goes\r\nalong with this sense of being “The People’s Author,” and really feeling\r\n like a\r\nmissionary most of the time and just wanting to tell people... the truth\r\n of my\r\nexperience is that we are all a lot more alike than we are different. \r\nAnd that\r\nif I share something that seems kind of intimate, or autobiographical, \r\nit’s\r\nbecause I assume it’s true for you too. \r\nAnd I’ve told it so many times and everybody said, “Oh yeah, me \r\ntoo.”  I’m not telling anything that isn’t\r\ntrue for most of us.  And it just\r\nhas to do with it.  We can seem\r\nsort of spiritual and hippy-dippy like I think I come across, and tree \r\nhugger\r\nand San Francisco and all that. \r\nAnd at the same time be sort of enraged that the New York \r\nglitterati are\r\ngetting the great spots in the media the week that I’m on tour on the \r\nEast\r\nCoast. 

\r\n\r\n

Question: Do you\r\nconsciously try to win more fans?

\r\n\r\n

Anne Lamott: I\r\n would say the most important thing is to pretend that you’re\r\nabove all of that.  But certainly,\r\nI’m just finding this week—we’re taping this the day of publication—and \r\nI’m\r\nfinding just so much manipulation and kind of desperado stuff going on \r\ninside\r\nme, and I’m trying to suck people into my web, and I’m trying to use old\r\ncontacts kind of in the most casual way to try to get them to shoehorn \r\nme onto\r\nCNN maybe later today after I sign stock at the Riverhead office.  So, I find a lot inside me. 

\r\n\r\n

The thing is, I’ll be 56 at the end of the week and\r\n I don’t\r\nact on it as much as I used to. \r\nBefore, I would have done it all and I would have just been \r\ndancing as\r\nfast as I could to try to suck in and please everyone and seduce \r\neveryone and\r\npush everyone harder to get—and now I just feel too tired, and I’m kind \r\nof achy\r\nfrom the long flight and so, the impulse is there, and probably this \r\nside of\r\nthe grave.  It just comes with the\r\nterritory; it comes with the turf of being a well-known writer is that I\r\n have a\r\ndisease called "More."  And if I\r\nhave a huge audience, I’d like a bigger audience; maybe slightly a \r\nslightly\r\nmore illustrious audience.  Maybe\r\nif Susan Sontag were alive she would want to be my best friend.

Recorded April 6, 2010
\r\nInterviewed by Austin Allen
\r\n

Anne Lamott embraces her reputation as a popular novelist, but admits that she sometimes gets caught up in the pretentious side of her profession.

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