Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Bird by Bird
No, this isn’t a blog about our feathered friends. Instead, it’s a review of a book published by Anne Lamott back in 1994.
Okay, maybe I’m not so up to date on my reading material. But after hearing countless writer friends rave about Lamott’s “Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, I figured the time had come for me to dive in.
I’m so glad I did. The book is filled with observations on writing and life’s realities that come straight from the heart, with a liberal sprinkling of humor so irresistible, that I couldn’t put it down.
Fear not, you don’t need to be a writer to enjoy this book. All that’s necessary is that you enjoy reading good writing. If you, like me, are the slightest bit neurotic about life, I promise you’ll find thoughts or scenarios that sound eerily familiar.
Lamott’s keen ability to describe things we’ve all felt at some point in time is spot on, such as her thoughts about the success of others: "...Jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer, and the most degrading. And I, who have been the Leona Helmsley of jealousy, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are (a) getting older, (b) talking about it until the fever breaks, and (c) using it as material".
This funny, revealing, and encouraging work will not only aid your writing process, it will help you read more critically and with greater appreciation. I loved the book enough to put my name on the inside front cover.
And that makes it a keeper.