I received as a Christmas gift the best book I’ve ever read on writing – Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird – Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
For 237 pages, she talks, cajoles, coaxes, yells, ignores the would-be writer’s shrieks and just keeps making us laugh and then agree with her. Published in 1994, the book is already technically / technologically outdated, in that she considers self-publishing a death knell for a book, when, in fact, major publishers now troll blogs and self-published volumes for their next big finds.
And of course, she has no sense of email / instantaneous communication, the omnipresence of cell phones, and other such items.
The book is based on the writing classes she had already, at that time, taught for a number of years at the University of California, Davis. She mentions frequently in the book her son, Sam, 4 when the book was published, his illnesses, travails, joys, funny stories and quotes. I checked wikipedia to see what was up with him now – he got through it all, is now in his mid-20s and has a son himself. All of which number, no doubt, among Anne’s chief joys.
Sanity reigns supreme in this book, which is also very funny. She gets through the day with her quirky eye and point of view, mixed with a lot of compassion for the difficulties, challenges and pure bliss of the writing life.
And you don’t have to be a writer to love this book! Anne clearly loves writers and all humans, which just shines through. If you want to feel better within 5 minutes, pick up Bird by Bird wherever you can find it!