Mary Margaret Lambert, author of the “Pinch of Faith” column for the Tennessee Register for 30 years, has self-published a curated selection of her columns in the new book, “Life is Too Short to Wear Beige: Stories of Life, Laughter, and Love.”
She first started mulling over the idea of a book about seven years ago, and has been actively working on it for the last two years. “I tell everybody I’ve been in labor for a long time, but the baby is finally here,” she said with a laugh. “It’s been such a long-time dream, to have it become a reality, I have to pinch myself to realize it’s here.”
Columns that appear in the book are “humorous, bittersweet, inspirational,” Lambert said. The book is divided into 12 chapters that give Lambert’s take on fitness, holidays, pets and lost loved ones, among other topics.
Lambert first got her start writing for St. Bernard Academy’s student newspaper when she attended high school there in the 1950s. She and future Register editor Msgr. Owen Campion also served as correspondents from their high schools for the Nashville Banner’s “Keen Teen” column. She was recognized by the Journalism Institute at the University of Tennessee, “which was a big honor,” she said.
But when Lambert started her freshman year at UT at age 16 in 1957, “it never occurred to me to major in journalism. There were no women journalists that I knew of at that time.” Instead, she took a more traditional path and majored in home economics and married after her second year of college.
Lambert and her husband Ed Lambert went on to raise three sons, and she went to work for her family’s business, Joseph Formosa and Sons Wholesale Fruits and Vegetables. In the 1980s, Msgr. Campion, then editor of the Tennessee Register, offered Lambert a part-time job, but she wasn’t able to accept it. The solution, she said, was that she could write a column from home every other week while still working for the family produce business.
Lambert, a parishioner at Cathedral of the Incarnation, has written a column for every issue of the Tennessee Register since Sept. 8, 1986, and does not plan to slow down anytime soon. “I’ve outlasted three editors,” she said. “Until they tell me to hit the road, I’ll be there.”
Lambert did come to work full-time at the Diocese of Nashville in 1997, first for then-Chief Financial Officer Mike Nolan, then as executive secretary for Bishop Edward Kmiec, then for Bishop David Choby, until she retired in 2011.
“I’ve always, always loved to write,” Lambert said. “Everybody has their therapy, and writing, for me, does that.”
Upcoming book signings
Thursday, Oct. 27, 4-6 p.m.
Belle Meade Plantation Gift Shop
Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Franklin High School
Saturday, Nov. 26, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
St. Mary’s Bookstore
Lambert says she’s never had writer’s block, and carries a tape recorder in the car so she can dictate ideas when they come to her and write about them later.
Self-publishing her book “has been a lot of work, but it’s been very rewarding,” Lambert said. With assistance from Tennessee Register Production Coordinator Debbie Lane and Managing Editor Andy Telli, self-publishing was a good option for Lambert. “They facilitated the reality of this dream and brought it to fruition,” she said.
Several of Lambert’s grandchildren contributed illustrations to the book and designed the cover, “which makes it even more personal,” she said.
With the living room of her Bellevue-area home piled high with stacks of books, Lambert is hopeful that she will sell them quickly, especially as the holidays draw closer. She has already sold 150 copies of the book just through word of mouth and her personal Facebook page; a website is forthcoming. The book is on sale at several retail outlets around town, and Lambert has several upcoming book signings. Books will soon be available for purchsae online at www.marymargaretlambert.com.