Bird by Bird is an outstanding craft book for writers. Novelist and memoirist Anne Lamott covers everything rom the nuts and bolts of craft to broader, more abstract issues. She talks about the importance of getting the sh*tty first draft on paper before diving into the mechanics of plot, dialogue, character, etc. She tackles perfectionism, finding your voice, and the let downs of publication. It’s a wise and witty manual for any writer, experienced or not. I highly recommend it.
She had these wise words to say about finding your truth.
… you can’t get to any of those truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not to go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while … then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.–Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
When I debuted this blog, I called it, “An Arrangement of Words.” That’s a phrase Richard Ford once said. It’s a beautiful expression, elegantly encapsulating what we writers do: arrange words to create a world and a truth. But as I realized I wanted to write about more than just my writing passion, I considered other titles for the blog. Finally, I found the theme that displays what I’m all about: cultivating a better life. Anyway, I still love that expression and thought writers might be interested in how I discovered it.