Two decades ago, I purposely, and with GREAT ponderance, bestowed upon my second daughter the name Anne, in honor of three astounding Annes whose presence in this world changed my life:
The brilliant, hilarious, fearless actress, Anne Bancroft.
The gorgeous, velvety, wise, bonafide, New England brunette, Anne Welles, in “Valley of the Dolls”.
And the most EXTRAORDINARY, BLOW THE TOP OFF YOUR FUCKING HEAD, NATURALLY-GIFTED POET I HAVE EVER READ, Anne Sexton.
I named the beautiful baby I grew in my body, Anne. For Bancroft. For Welles. But, most of all, for Sexton, so that I could infuse her with Anne’s brilliance and humor and insight and raise her how Anne SHOULD HAVE BEEN raised. How she DESERVED to have been raised. So that — speaking in the lofty language of my wildly poetic, metaphorical, and delusional youth — Anne might have a second chance for The Universe to finally get it right: A childhood without FUCKING HORRORS BOTH UNSPEAKABLE AND UNIMAGINABLE.
If there be any truth whatsoever to the myth I wove and the spell I cast that day in the Summer of 1991 — standing over my newborn daughter’s isolette in Fresno, California, filling out the initial official paperwork of her brandly-new life — it is this:
That now, at age 22, she is an astonishing young woman poised on the brink of her entire marvelous, shimmering existence that stretches out endlessly before her — the astonishing young woman that I, myself, always wanted to be…but, perhaps because of my own demons, danger, and damage from the past, simply could not. She is FIERCE, FEARLESS, FOCUSED, and, best of all, UPROARIOUSLY FUNNY. I did okay, goddamnit. I got it right. For Anne.
And, for Anne.
And, Knitter PLEASE…Ol’ Peter Gabriel — possessor of no necessary birthing bits himself — merely wrote her a goddamned song.
But, OH, WHAT AN AWESOME SONG THAT IT IS.