Fairfax’s Sam Lamott Creates Production Studio to Help Others Tell Their Stories

  • Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal

    Fairfax resident Sam Lamott is determined to share people’s stories.

  • Sam Lamott, left, chats with Daniel Penner Cline at...

    Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal

    Sam Lamott, left, chats with Daniel Penner Cline at Square 1 Studio in San Anselmo. Penner Cline is collaborating with Lamott on a documentary project.

  • Sam Lamott sits in front of the cameras on stage...

    Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal

    Sam Lamott sits in front of cameras on stage at Square 1 Studio in San Anselmo.

  • "The idea was to open a place like this...

    Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal

    “The idea was to open a place like this in Marin, to help people with their own creative visions,” says Sam Lamott of Square 1 Studio.

Many people know Sam Lamott as the son of bestselling author Anne Lamott. After all, his life was chronicled in his mother’s 1993 book “Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year” and “Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son,” the 2012 book that he co-wrote with her.

They know her son Jax, now 12. They know he got sober at 22 after battling drug and alcohol addiction for 10 years. But there is so much more to him, he says.

The Fairfax storyteller has always been interested in highlighting the full human experience – the trials and tribulations that make us who we are. He does this through his podcast, “How to Human,” and more recently through Square 1 Studio, his San Anselmo video and audio production studio, which recorded segments for “Today.” , “The Tim Ferriss Show” and City Arts & Lectures, and memoir-like videos for people who want to tell their life stories. For more information, visit square1.studio.

Q What inspired the studio?

A I made a very conscious decision to want to raise my son in Marin County. I think it’s an amazing place, especially for young children. I would go down to LA to record and interview a guest and see the infrastructure that LA or even San Francisco has for creatives and I was stuck. I love Marin, but he didn’t have much support, at least for what I needed. The idea was to open a place like this in Marin, to help people with their own creative visions.

Q Where does your curiosity for others come from?

A I started to realize that every person you meet has a story and they have things that matter to them and what matters to them might not matter to you. But if you go with the ride and pay attention, they will show you things that will blow your mind. Our little county is rich in history. If only people knew, they could talk to more strangers.

Q When did your creativity start?

A I’ve always loved making things, taking toys apart and putting them back together. I loved to draw. I had a somewhat strange upbringing. I was on the floor of Book Passage while my mother taught writing workshops or behind the stage with a super handler while we drew together. I needed a lot of fun. I was an only child and my mom was a single mom and worked hard trying to give us a good life. There is a downside to this, but the upside is that I have become good at drawing and entertaining with my imagination and have learned to love working with my hands.

Q What was it like having your life so public?

A If you ask 9-year-old Sam, like that’s all the kid knows. As an adult, one of the consequences is that I am Anne Lamott’s son and not Sam for too many people. My biography, everywhere I speak, reads: “Teen dad. Former meth boss. University dropout. Because I did cool things I designed a wheelchair accessory for a Bay Area special education teacher I got a couple suicide notes from people who decided to go get some help or call a friend because of something they heard on my podcast, but I’m mostly rooted in the fact that I self-sabotaged and fell on my face and got up and that I’ve done other things and managed to raise a really lovely young man so far. … What if we tried to cover the full range of human experience? I’m more interested in that.

Q I especially enjoyed your podcast featuring Mill Valley’s BJ Miller.

A I think a lot about this conversation. There’s a line in there that I use almost daily – “My job is to learn to love reality.”


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