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In her writer’s guide, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott describes writer’s block: “[Y]our mental illnesses arrive at the desk like your sickest, most secretive relatives. And they pull up chairs in a semicircle around the computer, and they try to be quiet but you know they are there with their weird coppery breath, leering at you behind your back.” Lamott has faced down her demons by becoming a frank, often breathtakingly funny writer of fiction and memoir-based nonfiction. In the new Blue Shoe—her first novel since 1997—she explores the deep faith and stubborn humanity of late-30s divorcee Mattie and her tortured relationship with her ex, who has just become a father with his new young bride: “Nicky glowed with an inner light, an angel revealing himself to unbelievers. Mattie tried to think spiritual thoughts, but instead found herself fantasizing about dashing Drano in his face.” Come hear Lamott Thursday, Oct. 3, at Borders, and tonight at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Pamela Murray Winters)