Monday, October 10, 2011

Trail Guide on the Writer's Path

I fell in love the other night.  Quite unexpectedly, quite decidedly.

With a writer named Anne.  It so figures, considering how much I have loved every other Anne I have ever read.

So when Anne Lamott busted on the scene, I was quite smitten.

She has a way with words so authentic, I feel like I have known her and been her friend for a long time.  How does she DO that?!  How does she draw me in and make it seem like she wrote the whole book just for me? It was quite remarkable.

So remarkable, in fact, I read her whole book in one sitting.  Knowing it would cost me.  And willing to pay the price. (A bleary-eyed following day to be endured with large doses of caffeine and lowered expectations of myself)

Her book,  bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is exactly as titled.  And while I have reservations about whether I would love her fiction or other prose as much as I loved this little guidebook, I have no doubt that it has left its mark.  Most notably, I want to reread it.  And maybe read it a third time.  And I'm simply not a re-reader.

"This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in on our small, bordered worlds.  When this happens, everything feels more spacious.  Try walking around with a child who's going, 'Wow, wow!  Look at that dirty dog!  Look at that burned-down house!  Look at that red sky!' And the child points and you look and you see, and you start going, 'Wow!  Look at that huge crazy hedge!  Look at that teeny little baby!  Look at that scary dark cloud!'  I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world--present and in awe."                                 ~ Anne Lamott

1 comment:

  1. Ooo Ooo Ooo! I encountered Anne in the midst of my despair about 6 years ago. A dear, contemplative friend sent me a copy of Traveling Mercies and I absolutely devoured it. Anne's take on solitude, her irreverent voice and her honest perspective shook me and led me to question. It was the perfect amount of needling and nurturing at the time. I am thrilled you have found her and am inspired to read Bird by Bird. Thanks for sharing!!! Love you!