Michelle Obama opens tour for new book, ‘The Light We Carry’

Nov 15, 2022, 8:05 AM | Updated: 11:03 pm
Michelle Obama launches her new book “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” at Wa...

Michelle Obama launches her new book “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” at Warner Theater in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

              Michelle Obama launches her new book “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” at Warner Theater in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
            
              Michelle Obama accompanied by Ellen DeGeneres speaks to the crowd as she launches her new book “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” at Warner Theater in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
            
              Michelle Obama waves to the crowd as she walks on the stage to launch her new book “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” at Warner Theater in Washington, Tuesday, Nov.15, 2022. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
            
              Former first lady Michelle Obama greets Ellen DeGenereson stage as she launches her new book “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” at Warner Theater in Washington, Tuesday, Nov.15, 2022. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
            
              Michelle Obama launches her new book “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” at Warner Theater in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama says it helps to focus on what you can control when you feel out of control.

Among the things she could control during the death and isolation of the pandemic, the racial unrest and threats to democracy were her spools of yarn and her knitting needles.

She labels such thinking the “power of small,” and she writes in her new book, “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times,” that by focusing on a small task like knitting she was able to get through the worry, anxiety and stress of the past few unsettling years.

“The interesting thing about knitting and using your hands and making something is that it is meditative,” the former first lady said Tuesday night at the Warner Theater in Washington, where she kicked off a monthlong, six-city publicity tour to promote the book.

“In so many ways, it is like a faith,” she said, seated on stage with a friend, former daytime talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who engaged Mrs. Obama in nearly 90 minutes of often humorous conversation. “It’s a thing that shuts your worrying mind and lets your hands take over.”

And therein lies the power, she said.

“I think about the knit and the purl, and the knit and the purl, and a row and a row and a row,” the former first lady said, naming different stitches and techniques used in knitting. “And if you keep it up, and you’re focused, you have a sweater.”

In the book, published Tuesday, she shares the contents of her “personal toolbox” — the habits and practices, attitudes and beliefs, and even physical objects that she uses to overcome her feelings of fear, helplessness and self doubt.

“This book is meant to show you what I keep there and why, what I use professionally and personally to help me stay balanced and confident, what keeps me moving forward even during times of high anxiety and stress,” she wrote in the introduction.

The 58-year-old wife of former President Barack Obama and mother of adult daughters Malia and Sasha wrote that the book, her third, is not a how-to manual, but rather is a “series of honest reflections on what my life has taught me so far.”

“Keep in mind, too, that everything I know, all the various tools I lean on, have come to me only through trial and error, over years of constant practice and reevaluation,” she wrote. “I spent decades learning on my feet, making mistakes, adjustments, and course corrections as I went. I’ve progressed only slowly to where I am today.”

“The Light We Carry” is Mrs. Obama’s first new work since the 2018 release of her bestselling memoir, “Becoming,” which has sold more than 17 million copies worldwide, by far the most popular book by a previous first lady or modern president, including her husband.

As first lady, she wrote “American Grown,” a book about the produce garden she had planted at the White House in 2009.

Mrs. Obama opened the tour in Washington and has events planned at Philadelphia’s The Met, Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, the Chicago Theatre and San Francisco’s Masonic before the tour closes at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles.

Seated in a plush purple chair on stage at the nearly 100-year-old Washington theater, Mrs. Obama discussed her feelings after the 2016 election in which her husband was succeeded by Donald Trump. Coincidentally, Trump announced a third run for president during her appearance.

“If you guys recall, I said, ‘Don’t vote for this guy,'” she said, meaning Trump, who sought to undo much of Obama’s record as president. “It hurt because you wonder — was it a rebuke of the eight years, the sacrifice we made? Was it complacency? What was it?”

The former first lady also discussed overcoming her fear of change and coming to the realization that she could not stand in the way of her husband’s desire to run for president in 2008. He had given her veto power over his decision.

“Opportunity is on the other side of that,” she said, speaking of fear.

She also talked about the pandemic, saying her family handled it better than most because they were already used to isolation from the eight years they lived in the White House “bubble.”

She spoke about how hard it was as first lady — and still is — to make new friends she can trust, and how fun it is to watch her daughters “adult” as they share an apartment in California. The girls had returned to Washington to live with their parents during the pandemic.

Sasha had completed one semester at the University of Michigan before she came back home. Malia, who was enrolled at Harvard, spent her senior year at home and ended up missing out on a graduation ceremony because of COVID-19. So her parents staged a ceremony in their backyard, complete with commencement speakers.

“It was me, and Barack,” Mrs. Obama said, laughing. “We told her how lucky she was. She got us both.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A flyer seeking information about the killings of four University of Idaho students who were...
Associated Press

Idaho police seek car seen near site where 4 students killed

Police are asking for help finding the occupant of a car that was seen near where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death last month, saying that person could have "critical information" about the case.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Families dismayed at trial for Rio-Paris Air France crash

PARIS (AP) — Families of the 228 people killed aboard a Rio-Paris flight that crashed in 2009 were hoping for justice at last. Instead, they’re wracked with anger and disappointment as a long-awaited trial wraps up Thursday with little hope that anyone will be held accountable. Airbus and Air France, two major players in the […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Help wanted sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. The Labor Dep...
Associated Press

US jobless claims up modestly last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly more Americans filed for jobless claims last week but the labor market remains one of strongest parts of the U.S. economy. Applications for unemployment benefits rose to 230,000 for the week ending Dec. 3, up by 4,000 from the previous week’s 226,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average […]
1 day ago
FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner sits during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's ...
Associated Press

Griner for Bout: WNBA star freed in US-Russia prisoner swap

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says WNBA star Brittney Griner is safe in American custody and on her way home after being released from Russia in an extraordinary prisoner swap. Biden said in an address from the White House on Thursday that these “past few months have been hell for Brittney” but that she […]
1 day ago
This Aug. 9 2018 photo provided by Amy Bianchi of Albany, N.Y. shows her with her newborn son, Bray...
Associated Press

Pausing breast cancer treatment for pregnancy appears safe

Young women diagnosed with breast cancer often must delay pregnancy for years while they take hormone-blocking pills. A reassuring new study finds they can take a two-year break from these drugs to get pregnant without raising their short-term risk of cancer coming back. “This is really good news for young women and their doctors and […]
1 day ago
FILE - Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. ...
Associated Press

FTC challenges Meta acquisition of VR company in court

Federal regulators will open their campaign to block Facebook parent Meta’s acquisition of a virtual-reality company, with opening statements beginning Thursday in a San Jose, California, courtroom. In a landmark legal challenge to a Big Tech merger, the Federal Trade Commission has sued to prevent Meta’s acquisition of Within Unlimited and its fitness app Supernatural, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Michelle Obama opens tour for new book, ‘The Light We Carry’