Rebecca Lammersen is a writer, poet and yoga teacher. Having began writing at a very young age, but not sharing it with the world, Rebecca is now a prolific blogger. In 2010, Rebecca Lammersen opened her own yoga studio, and used her website as a platform to expose herself and stopping hiding her writing talents. Shortly after that, Rebecca Lammersen began writing a column for Elephant Journal as well as being a regular blogger for The Huffington Post. Rebecca has built a strong following of individuals who admire her unfiltered views and advice on how to live a happy life. I just knew Rebecca would have a strong love for reading, and I wasn’t disappointed! Please enjoy my interview with Rebecca Lammersen…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I’m a Mother, a writer and a yoga therapist, in that order.
I read a few books at once, but at the top of my heap is Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
When I think of my childhood, I think of books like; Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, The Whingdingdilly by Bill Peet, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don’t, but I remember the first poem I ever wrote: it was for my grandfather the day after he died. I was too upset to read it myself, so the rabbi read it to the congregation at his funeral. At his viewing, I rolled up the original copy and wrapped it in his hand.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An airline pilot.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I think she’d still recognize herself. I haven’t changed much, if at all.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
It was the book I received from my headmaster when I graduated from high school, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. I still have the original copy and reread often.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
To read I need silence. To write I need noise. Reading and writing come with urgency, like being thirsty or needing to pee. I get to a point, if I don’t do it, I’ll explode. Mainly, my urge to read happens in a bout of loneliness. Books provide accompaniment in my solitude, which happens every day. But, I don’t have a routine per se; when I’ve gotta read; I’ve gotta read.
Which book has had the biggest impact on your career so far?
Devotion by Dani Shapiro. She gave me the confidence to expose my insecurities through words and share them, encouraging the writer I am today.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
If you’re brave enough to write, be brave enough to use your name. Fuck pen names; show your face. Take the compliments and the criticism equally. Say thank you to both and then keep writing.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I think about my parents…
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
The book I’ve recommended the most is The Prophet by Kahlil Jibran.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
That’s like asking me to choose a favourite child. I can’t. To me, fiction and non-fiction are one and the same. Every character in a book whether ‘real’ or not is an extension of the writer. A writer’s job is to bring a story to life. While the cover is cracked, it’s all real to the reader, isn’t it?
Do you think reading is important?
I do. When we learn to read, we learn to love and listen. We allow another’s thoughts and feelings to become our own. Their voice becomes our voice and vice versa. It is the closest to true intimacy and empathy some of us will ever experience.
Recently, I reread Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar. His brilliance lies in his simplicity. He gets the point across with few words. I aspire to become like him, minimalistic yet profoundly impactful.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
Real books. Oliver Sacks once mentioned the “special intercourse of writers and readers.” It’s like asking if I prefer real sex or watching porn? Sex, of course! I need to hear the mashing of papers as I flip to the next page, and feel the ashy residue of ink on my thumbs. I better need to wash my hands after a good read.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
None that are coming to mind at the moment.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
Anatomy, sports medicine, neuropsychology. I yearn to understand the body and the mind.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
I’m not finished, yet.