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Bird by bird : some instructions on writing…

Bird by bird : some instructions on writing and life (edition 1995)

by Anne Lamott

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7,598185698 (4.18)213
Title:Bird by bird : some instructions on writing and life
Authors:Anne Lamott
Info:Anchor (1995), 1 Anchor, Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

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Writer looking for permission? Go! ( )
  Fiddleback_ | Dec 17, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Jul 2011):
- What an interesting person Anne Lamott is. She also has a lot to say in this little book. Much is contained here for the budding or befuddled writer, which is easy enough to scan, with chapters titled, for example, Getting Started, Set Designs, Index Cards, and Finding Your Voice. But don't allow a quick glimpse at this book to convince you this is yet another how-to... This is also a memoir, confessional, and a wise, humorous collection of anecdotes and gems of advice she's received over the years. As such, the entire book is very conversational, and, thankfully, doesn't ever feel like instruction. But there is plenty of sound advice, mined from many years as a teacher at UC-Davis.
- This is the first book by Anne that I've read, and I can quickly see why her nonfiction work is especially admired. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Oct 5, 2018 |
“Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do---the actual act of writing---turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed 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.”

Anne Lamott has written a few novels and a lot of non-fiction, some of it much too spiritual for my taste. But in this book she shares her ideas about the writing process that are all part of the syllabus that she uses in her writing classes at UC Davis. Some struck me as invaluable, some seemed pretty obvious and many were downright hilarious and that’s why I liked this book. She said a lot of things that could apply to almost any career path you were contemplating and would hold you in good stead. With humor and sympathy for those struggling with the writing process she explained why so many writers fail miserably before they finally succeed. By so explaining I had to wonder why any books have ever gotten written. It sounds like a horrible slog.

She stresses that you should write about your childhood and quotes Flannery O’Connor who said that anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life. And my mind immediately goes to The Glass Castle, Liar’s Club, Angela’s Ashes and other books that found great success because the author survived a truly awful childhood and I think O’Connor may have hit on something here. At any rate, Lamott is pointing out that within ourselves we have many stories that need telling and some of them may even be interesting to other people so it’s a good place to start. I think she’s probably right. Recommended. ( )
  brenzi | Jul 22, 2018 |
I liked this book in general.

As other reviewers have said, [a:Anne Lamott|7113|Anne Lamott|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1329959910p2/7113.jpg] does come off as annoyingly insecure here. Her insecurity, while an accurate reflection on the way a lot of writers feel and... well, are is still a bit much at times. Likewise, sometimes she gets a bit carried away talking about her own life and it goes past the point of being merely an example.

All the same, this book did prove helpful. It's a good wake up call to people who think writing is easy, and it's a good wake up call to writers that are struggling that... well, you need to actually sit down and /write/.

I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to write, whether professionally or merely as a hobby. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
The title of this book comes from a story of the author's brother who procrastinates all through the holidays on a project about various birds. The day before it is due, the lad sits at the table in despair - how is he to finish the project in time? His father, an author, sits down and says:Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.As I sit here writing this, I am killing bird #12 on my to-do list and it is sound advice. Anne Lamott tells her story of the writing life in this beautiful book on love, death, birth, tragedy, drugs, and learning to love oneself while agonising over writing. Just ask anyone who has completed a PhD and they can tell you all about it. A friend once described the process as if you were rowing a boat. While you left the shore, others were around and you could call out for guidance, but soon, you were on the wide expanse of ocean and there was only you and your inner world to guide you. It seems like years, and often it is, until you reach the other shore, at times not knowing where you are going or where you will land. But one day, you reach the other shore. Or you don't and you are bitter and dejected forever. But that is a different story. This work reminded me of parts of the 2015 movie The End of the Tour, the story of David Lipsky's (of Rolling Stone magazine) 5-day interview with American author, David Foster Wallace, except Lamott mentions some of her "I am not so famous" stories. But the sentiment is there. The agony of writing, the endless work, the endless self-doubt and self-loathing. Lamott tells her story in a way that is helpful, rather than whiney. I often think of Charlotte Bronte and Mary Shelley and how their important works seemed not quite right, whereas Lamott hits the nail on the head with a somewhat gendered perspective that is simultaneously relevant to all. Elements of drugs, religion, friendship, and working with editors will be familiar to many. Yet Lamott's story is beautiful in the Stoic sense of beauty being related to human excellence. Even if the only thing the reader takes away from this work that one can achieve great things "bird by bird", it is a worthy lesson. ( )
  madepercy | Jun 10, 2018 |
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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)

Anne Lamott recounts her personal experiences to reveal her writing techniques and how she overcomes obstacles that interfere with the writing flow. She offers concrete suggestions about character, plot, setting, and other topics of interest to writers. She also offers advice about how to navigate through the dark underbelly feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and jealousy that are inevitable parts of any writer's experience.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

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