I’m reading an amazing craft book on writing: Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott (Random House, New York, 1994). As one critic said:
“Superb writing advice…hilarious, helpful and provocative.”
(New York Times Book Review)
Who wouldn’t love a book that has a chapter called, “Shitty First Drafts.” I’m going through it underscoring almost every line and sticky noting every second page. She distills wisdom into a few words and slides them out to the reader with a wonderful sense of humor that has me laughing at myself and this crazy world. I mark passages, knowing that I will go back to them again and again, like Rumi poetry. Today, I thought I’d share three quotes from the introduction:
1- About being a writer…
“One of the gifts of being a writers is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, as it lurches by and tramps around. ” (xii)
2 -The role of hope in the creative process…
“…hope is a revolutionary patience…Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” (xxiii)
3 – Writing is the gift...
“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…the actual act of writing–turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you need the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” (xxvi)
So…that’s what I’ve been thinking about as I enter the New Year, how grateful I am to be writing. I’ve made “sort-of” resolutions (like shooting a gun) but fear to put them down on paper anywhere. You know what they say, “If you want to make God laugh, show her your plans.” <grin>
Bald eagles, by the way are my favorite bird. I like how they soar and play in the wind, and best of all I like how they lock talons with their mates and plummet from the sky in a death defying dive.