Yes, I am writing about another writing book. So sue me. But let me first tell you that I first read this book over ten years ago and I still love it. I am rereading it now because it is soulful and beautiful. If you don’t know about Anne Lamott, you need to know about her. She is gracious and full of grace. She is also full of spit and vinegar, but that is another story. Anne has a lovely way of inviting you into her head without you even realizing there was a door through which you needed to enter. I mean, she just gets it. She is spiritual. She is soulful. She is completely open. She shares the downfalls and the mistakes. She shares the heartbreak and the shame. But all along the telling of her story (meaning, any story she deigns to tell) you are there too, almost arm in arm.
No, I am not stalking her, I just want to grow up to be like her. She is a wonderful role model and a delightful writer.
I have read many of her books, but my all time favorite is her book about her life and the art of writing. She is so helpful, alive, real, insightful, and instructive in this book.
bird by bird:Some Instructions on Writing and Life
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I encourage you to read this book of hers if you only have a little time. Once you read this one, you will want to read her others.
I don’t know about you, but I have never been a fan of Stephen King. His books scared the bujeezus out of me. I read the short story, The Mangler, while living in the add on garage bedroom right off the kitchen in my grandmother’s home one summer. This would be the summer that her huge brown (yes brown) fridge died. But prior to it actually dying it made a lot of noise. Only at night. While I was in bed. Trying to sleep after watching Dynasty with my grandmother and dreaming of having hair like Krystle Carrington. Can we talk at some point about that spelling too? With a K and a Y? Really?
This fridge was ginormous. It was dark brown. It was loud. I was convinced that it was possessed and that is when I started reading Stephen King. I began with his short story collection and in particular, The Mangler. If you are not familiar with the story here is a short summary: Women work in this horrific, reminiscent of The Jungle, laundry. There is a machine that maims and kills the female workers in all sorts of grotesque ways. End of story.
Needless to say, I became terrified of that fridge. I was convinced that somehow it would kill me just as the mangler did to so many innocent young women. I wasn’t really sure how. Maybe it would squash me as I poured my orange juice or let off some poisonous gas that would kill me in my sleep.
I decided that I was done with Stephen King. There was already so much to be scared of. I mean I had seen Night of the Living Dead a few years prior and that still completely haunts me. Remember it? How could anyone forget!?! Who needed anything else to be afraid of? Not me.
In later years (recently, as in, over the last six months) I decided that my desire to write (WRITE!) was becoming something a bit harder to squelch. So, on a lark, I bought King’s book On Writing.
People, this is worth reading.
Love his tone.
Love his attitude.
Love his candor.
If you are struggling with your writing. If you need a shot in the arm. Or if you would like to say you have read Stephen King’s work without scaring yourself too badly, please read this book.