Bird by Bird

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is a book on writing, life, passion, and courage. I’d heard it referred to enough that I had to get it; it’s always good for a dose of laughter and encouragement.

Here’s how the title got its name, and other valuable quotes:

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d 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 brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

“But I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises . . . The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.”

“I honestly think in order to be a writer, you have to learn to be reverent . . . Let’s think of reverence as awe, as presence in and openness to the world . . . Think of those times when you’ve read poetry or prose 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 . . . This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of—please forgive me—wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in our small, bordered worlds.”

Have you read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life? (<—Amazon affiliate link) divider

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