This is a series wherein I will discuss whatever book I’m reading or have just finished. Feel free to post in the comments what you’re reading or your own thoughts about the books I discuss.
I just want to clarify that this is not a review. I may recommend the book, but my real point is that I love to talk about books and this is my blog so I get to do whatever I want. And I want to talk about books!
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
I haven’t finished this book yet, but I think I already know what makes it an enduring classic. The writing style. It’s humorous, it’s real, it’s relatable, it’s honest. The advice, so far, is nothing I haven’t seen before. But Anne Lamott tells it in such a funny way that it stays with you. And I’m a big believer in being reminded (repeatedly) of the good stuff. No matter how great a piece of advice, I will likely forget it when it comes time to write. The more times you hear/read something, the more likely you are to retain it.
Here is an example: “The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, ‘Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?,’ you let her.”
And I love that she admits to having conversations with people who aren’t there. I do that, too (especially in the bathtub, shower or car). For example, she writes, “I speed or run an aging yellow light or don’t come to a full stop, and one nanosecond later am explaining to imaginary cops exactly why I had to do what I did, or insisting that I did not in fact do it.” It’s so refreshing to see my own behavior acknowledged, shared and validated (thanks, RocketMan).
The title of the book comes from something her father told her brother when he was stuck writing a report on birds and getting frustrated. It reminds me of something I learned from my mother. Eating an elephant (ignore the ick factor for a moment) seems like a huge task. Of course it is. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Ooh, it feels good to be back. What is everyone up to this week?