Anne Lamott is interviewed in this issue of New Letters, A Magazine of Writing and Art. She grew up in Tiburon, CA.
"I have an essay in Grace (Eventually) about trying to keep the libraries open in Salinas, Calif., and I cite a line by Barry Lopez. "Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive."
"That essay is "Steinbeck Country" because it made sense to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to close three libraries of the poorest of the poor Hispanic people in one of the wealthiest communities in California. However, because a group of writers showed up for a 24-hour emergency read-in, which just warmed the cockles of my aging hippie heart, the libraries are still open.
Libraries I feel strongly about. I was raised by atheists, believing that libraries were sacred space, and what you did in our community - which came to be one of the wealthiest communities in California - you went to the libraries Tuesdays and Thursday nights. It really wasn't much different from church, and you learned to do something that we're losing. The most ferocious, radical thing parents can do for their children is to recapture the gift of milling around stacks of books with no one breathing down your neck ,and doing what I guess now might be called wasting time or spacing out, which is spiritually and intellectually the most serious thing you can commit to doing, to picking up books and reading a few words here and there."