Get to Know the Authors

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott

Can there be self-help books for writers? Sure, there's all kinds of books about craft, but what about a book to soothe the writer soul--one that tells the truth and ultimately motivates and inspires? For me, reading Bird By Bird fits the bill...or is it the beak? 

It's the equivalent of sitting down with a fellow writer friend to commiserate over the woe-is-me-how-do-I-get-words-down-on-the-page, a friend who gets it and isn't afraid to say out loud many of the things that the rest of us are thinking. Lamott's language may be a little (a lot) more colorful than mine, but her insights definitely resonate. 

Even if you aren't a tortured writer soul, but just someone like me trying to write a halfway decent story that people will enjoy reading on a lazy afternoon...and well into the night because YOU. CAN'T. PUT. IT. DOWN.--this book on writing will make you laugh and nod your head and get up tomorrow and begin again to get those words onto the page.

Happy Writing!

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.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bird by Bird Take One

How many pieces have you started and then part-way in, abandoned or lost interest?

Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird believes, "it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately." That passionate caring inside you is your moral position. It is not a message, not a slogan, not wishful thinking. "It begins inside the heart of a character and grows from there."

She goes on to say, "The core, ethical concepts in which you most passionately believe are the language in which you are writing." And they may be such a part of you that you think they are givens, that they are things that everyone knows. "Telling these truths is your job." I love that line. Telling these truths isn't something that comes from maybe an insightful one-liner or bumper stickers. They are things demonstrated through our storytelling, unfolded page by page.

Anne says, "If your deepest beliefs drive your writing, they will not only keep your work from being contrived but will help you discover what drives your characters."

"To be a good writer, you not only have to write a great deal, but you have to care."

Lamott, Anne, Bird by Bird, pg 103-109