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

Nov 15, 2022, 11:05 PM | Updated: Nov 16, 2022, 12:12 am
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)

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.


              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)

AP

Laborers cheer at a fan festival at the Asian Town cricket stadium in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25,...
Associated Press

On outskirts of Doha, laborers watch World Cup they built

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Far from Doha’s luxury hotels and sprawling new World Cup stadiums, scores of South Asian workers poured into a cricket ground in the city’s sandy outskirts to enjoy the tournament they helped create. Unlike the official FIFA fan zone near Doha’s pristine corniche, this one has no $14 beer or foreign […]
8 hours ago
Residents line up for COVID-19 tests in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)...
Associated Press

Xinjiang loosens some restrictions after lockdown protests

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Authorities in China’s western Xinjiang region opened up some neighborhoods in the capital of Urumqi on Saturday after residents held extraordinary late-night demonstrations against the city’s draconian “zero-COVID” lockdown that had lasted more than three months. The displays of public defiance were fanned by anger over a fire in an apartment […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the Broward County Courthouse i...
Associated Press

New state voter fraud units finding few cases from midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — State-level law enforcement units created after the 2020 presidential election to investigate voter fraud are looking into scattered complaints more than two weeks after the midterms but have provided no indication of systemic problems. That’s just what election experts had expected and led critics to suggest that the new units were more […]
8 hours ago
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen casts her ballots at a polling station in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Sa...
Associated Press

Taiwan president resigns as party leader after election loss

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party following local election losses on Saturday suffered by her party. Voters in Taiwan overwhelmingly chose the opposition Nationalist party in several major races across the self-ruled island in an election in which lingering concerns about threats from China […]
8 hours ago
In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supre...
Associated Press

Iran leader praises force tasked with quashing protests

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader praised paramilitary volunteers tasked with quashing dissent on Saturday in a televised address as dozens of eye doctors warned that a rising number of demonstrators have been blinded by security forces during anti-government protests. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed members of the Basij, the volunteer paramilitary wing of the elite […]
8 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter logo is seen on a mobile phone, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. Social media platforms...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Michelle Obama opens tour for new book, ‘The Light We Carry’