For the rest of this summer, Saturday posts on the blog will feature the seven books that I consider the foundational texts of my creatively organized life. This week, let me introduce you to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.
What’s it about?
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
Why read it?
There are many, many reasons to read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. This is the best one:
“Libel is defamation by written or printed word. It is knowingly, maliciously saying things about people that cast them in a false or damaging light. That means that if you lived with a man who had a number of curious personal and professional habits and circumstances that his friends and clients happen to know about, and if these friends can identify this man in your work by these habits and circumstances, you should probably change the details dramatically… However, if he revealed himself… to be a sociopathic narcissist, you can attempt to capture his character and use actual descriptions, just as long as this specific man is not identified by your descriptions. … Make yourself the first wife or the girlfriend, instead of the third wife, and do not include his offensive children, especially the red-haired twins… And the best advice I can give you is to give him a teenie little penis so he will be less likely to come forth.”
No, I meant to say–novels get written page by page, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, word by word… In fifteen minute increments.
Bird by bird.
Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is one of the resources I draw upon in my Organized Creative workshop and guide. For more information, pop over to mjanecolette.com/SECRETS.