Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: New Read

Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird – Some Instructions on Writing and Life” is flooring me.

“Left to its own devices, my mind spends much of its time having conversations with people who aren’t there. I walk along defending myself to people, or exchanging repartee with them, or rationalizing my behavior, or seducing them with gossip, or pretending I’m on their TV talk show or whatever.”

I’m not alone in the world!

Well, I did it again. I added this book to my TBR list, and I cannot for the life of me remember where I got it. Ugg! So frustrating!

What’s crazy is that it is so recently that I added it. I saw the post in my WordPress Reader, someone I follow, and I could have sworn that I saved it. I know from my history that I looked up the book on Amazon on October 17.

I’ve spent literally the last thirty minutes searching for the blog post. Ahh!

Deep breath.

So…whoever it was that writes the blog that recommended this book (there were others from that post that I added to my TBR list as well) …THANK YOU! I’ve never read any of Anne Lamott’s books and now I must. This book on writing…it’s like my soul is shared by another.

A couple weeks ago, I was at Barnes & Noble (just browsing…I swear) when this book jumped out at me. I knew I’d seen it before, so I scanned my Amazon wish list and there it was. I took it as a sign and brought it home with me.

I just clicked over to that wish list to double check, maybe I wrote the source in the comments? No such luck.

Here’s the thing. I take great pride in knowing where things are. I believe myself to be fairly organized. When I find evidence that I’m not as meticulous as I thought… well… It’s like a glitch has been found and I just can’t stand it. I can’t go back in time now, so I’m moving on…again.

I’m already a couple chapters into this baby and I’m certain that she just saved my life by writing it.

“Saved your life, Michelle? Really? Dramatic much?”

Yes. It’s my nature. Everything is so much more interesting if you add a bit of flare. I was sliding down into the depths, considering throwing in the towel (not my Douglas Adams towel, that stays). Writing clearly isn’t for me. I’ve been at it for several years with no results!

Several years. Results. (rolls on the floor laughing)

This book (and quite a few blog posts lately) has reminded me that this is my art, the thing I do because I feel compelled to, and the only results I need to look for are the ones that quiet my noise, calm my heart, and make me smile.

Still using Bookly to track!

“But I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual act of writing – turns out to be the best part.”

From now on… How many times have I said this? Don’t answer. Please!

I’m bringing a notebook with me EVERYWHERE so that I can write down books and where I got the idea to read them. AND I’m going to start writing down the stories that I make up in my head. The conversation that I wish I had had with the butcher. What I’d like to say to the road workers. The funny I thought when I picked up that item at the store. The imaginary scenario I made up about why someone never answered my text.

That’s how I’ll quiet the noise and get focused. I’ll take all those stories, capture them on paper, and file them away for later use.

I’m just getting started.

Have you read “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamott? Any of her other work? I’d love to hear from you!

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