Reading Rec: Bird by Bird


My next reading recommendation is not for fiction readers.  If you aren’t interested in the process of writing a novel, then it’s not for you either.

Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life, is just what is sounds like.  The author- a witty and irreverent Californian- puts writing into a raw context that I was unable to tear my eyes away from.

I’m not a huge fan of memoirs, but when written with the right voice (Elizabeth Gilbert), then I can find them deeply gripping.  Ms. Lamott did that for me.  She took an experience that is extremely emotional for myself, and many others, and put it in words.

Add to this her experience as a published author, and it’s like instructions from heaven.  She is the voice of authority.  Not only that- like a good religious text- she doesn’t mince words.  She shoots straight, letting us know how arduous and disparaging the process is.

But what of hope?  There’s that too.  It’s wry, and has caveats galore, but it’s there.  Much like Noah’s dove, it’s meager, but tangible.  The light at the end of the tunnel is fulfillment, not fame, not money.

Ms. Lamott says, if that’s enough for you, then don’t give up.  I don’t intend to.


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