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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing…

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

by Anne Lamott

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Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
I've read this book before, I know I have, but I can't find a review I wrote about it anywhere. So I either didn't finish it or didn't review it. This time I remedied both.

     Anne Lamott has a special way of writing that sounds like you're having a conversation with her… a really eloquent, thought-out conversation. She seems very approachable and realistic and doesn't make writing out to be something only the truly gifted can do. She talks about her struggles and her jealousy and her doubts and how being a published writer hasn't made her life a fairy tale, like many people might think. It was incredibly refreshing to read. It doesn't hurt that she's hilarious in a sly, dark way.

     I read this book in two nights before bed, and with every page I wanted to jump up and start writing something, just to be putting words on the page. She's that good.

     Some favorite quotes:
     - "One of the gifts of being a writer 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."
     - "Because for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die."
     - "Think of those times when you've read prose or poetry that is presented in such a way that you have a fleeting sense of being startled by beauty or insight, by a glimpse into someone's soul. All of a sudden everything seems to fit together or at least have some meaning for a moment." ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
I'd heard about this book for years, but hadn't read it because I generally prefer to read books about writing theory, rather than "writer-on-writing"/writer's journey books, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Lamott is serious enough about her craft and herself to bare herself honestly, but not so serious that it's not clear she is often rolling her eyes, or laughing at herself. She confesses to fears, jealousies, and paranoia, that I know many writers experience (and may not admit to) then describes responses to them, many of which, I hope, are meant as a kind of reductio ad absurdum, showing us just how little power we should give such emotions over our lives, lest we end up so destructive.

I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks they want to write, but isn't actually getting words down, it will help them decide whether they really want to write or if they are just in love with the idea of "being a (best selling) writer". Lamott shares her experience - as writer, and daughter of writer - of what "being a writer" isn't and what publication doesn't magically bring, and makes it clear that your focus, your passion, your satisfaction must be in the work itself - whether it's published or not.
( )
  Darcy-Conroy | Sep 28, 2015 |
There is very little new "advice" in Bird by Bird. What made the book for me was the author's humor and wry outlook. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
There is very little new "advice" in Bird by Bird. What made the book for me was the author's humor and wry outlook. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
There is very little new "advice" in Bird by Bird. What made the book for me was the author's humor and wry outlook. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
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I grew up around a father and a mother who read every chance they got, who took us to the library every Thursday night to load up on books for the coming week.
…getting all of one’s addictions under control is a little like putting an octopus to bed.
...perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.
I understood immediately the thrill of seeing oneself in print. It provides some sort of primal verifications. You are; therefore you exist.
If you find that you start a number of stories or pieces that you don't even bother finishing, that you lose interest or faith in them along the way, it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately.
…if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse.”
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Book description
I found this book in a library after my life fell apart one rainy day in California. I thought the writing was so clean and simple and straight forward and funny that I almost cried with happiness. Telling the truth is really hard, but writing the truth is almost impossible. After that day, I went back to college for a few decades...so glad I did.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385480016, Paperback)

Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn't afraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott's witty take on the reality of a writer's life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer's block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that hed 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 brothers shoulder, and said, Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird. Here, for the first time, is a local edition of the bible of writing guidesa wry, honest,-- down-to-earth book that has never stopped selling since it was first published in the United States in the 1990s. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott, a bestelling novelist and memoirist, distils what shes learned over years of trial and error. Beautifully written, wise, and immensely helpful, this is the book for serious writers and writers-to-be."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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