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Monday, February 8, 2016

Finding Writing Time in Bird by Bird

by Tamara Passey

Another busy day coming and going around here. I have my parents to look after and my kids and hardest of all—myself. Staying on track and staying focused amid rides, meals, medication management, household management, and trickiest of all—time management. That last one could be an oxymoron couldn’t it? Most days I wonder if I manage my time or if my time manages me? And making time for writing? Is it my healthy sense of humor that drives me to fit the crafting of a novel inside the living of an epic?

So no wonder that this is what jumped off the page for me today, from Bird by Bird, in the chapter “Someone to Read Your Drafts.”

Anne tells the story of going shopping for a dress with her dying friend Pammy. Anne modeled a lavender mini-dress (though she usually wore big, baggy clothes) and asked her friend if it made her hips look too big.

Her friend’s response is something that she said may have permanently changed her:

“Annie? I really don’t think you have that kind of time.”

Anne goes on to say this, now speaking to you, the reader—the hopeful writer:
“And I don’t think you have that kind of time either. I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good enough at it, and I don’t think you have time to waste on someone who does not respond to you with kindness and respect. You don’t want to spend your time around people who make you hold your breath. You can’t fill up when you’re holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water—just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness. The emptiness destroys enough writers without the help of some friend.”
Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott, p. 170-171

Enough said. I think I’ll get on with some writing now. Hope you will too.

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