Lamott didn’t come from a religious family — “[M]y parents, who were too hip and intellectual to pray, worshipped mostly mentally ill junkies,” she writes, referring to their admiration for Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. But she felt a spiritual pull.
“I always had this thing inside of me, a spiritual interest and awareness,” she says. “I remember being a small child and feeling like praying. I had friends who were religious, and it always seemed true. I think my advantage was I didn’t have to resist anything. My parents weren’t shoving anything down my throat.”
Not long ago, Lamott joined forces with her friend author Mark Childress to raise $75,000 for President Obama’s campaign on Facebook (to which she is addicted, she confesses, just as she is addicted to Twitter — “I way prefer them to writing and having a deadline.”). But she recognizes the dangers of praying to get precisely what we want, whether it’s a candidate’s victory or a peaceful death for a beloved pet (she got one but not the other).
“I think it just doesn’t work,” she says. “Anything is fine to ask for. But it’s like when children ask to have sour apple rings for breakfast instead of yogurt and granola. They know if they got it they’d be happy and never ask for anything else ever again. But in an hour and a half or three weeks, something else is going to come up.
“When Sam was about 5 or 6, there was this Power Rangers thing, Megazord, he wanted. … He didn’t wheedle and whine, but he was in despair like I was about the election, desperate that Romney not win and that the tea party not win. I finally got it for him, and he loved it for like 24 hours. Maybe a day and a half. Little by little it wore off, and he needed a new hit, a new fix. … It’s just so human.”