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Author Anne Lamott Contemplates Grace In 'Small Victories'

Author Anne Lammott at the lighting ceremony for the Rainbow World Fund's World Tree of Hope on Dec. 10, 2013 at San Francisco City Hall
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Author Anne Lammott at the lighting ceremony for the Rainbow World Fund's World Tree of Hope on Dec. 10, 2013 at San Francisco City Hall

Spirituality is never far from writer Anne Lamott's mind.

The Bay Area writer, a recovering alcoholic, is a proud and very liberal Christian. She's written extensively about her own life, and about her personal take on the power of prayer to help people get through crises.

Lamott's latest essay collection, "Small Victories," is a compilation of old and new work. In each essay, she contemplates daily, sometimes mundane, manifestations of grace.

From the opening essay about a friend who has Lou Gehrig's disease, or a triptych about her dead parents, to more somber contemplations on the deaths of her best friend and her beloved dog, Lamott uses her writing to examine both the concepts of mercy and forgiveness, but also the power of grief.

Lamott believes all of those are facets of grace, and they most often result from surrendering our resistance to the facts in front of our faces.

Although Lamott attends church regularly, she says you don't need organized religion to find your spiritual home. A prayer can be as simple as "hi;" most recently she's co-opted the teenage shrugged "whatever" as her prayer of choice.

"It's like, hit me with whatever you have," she laughs. "I know I can get through it."