Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inspiration from Anne Lamott

Dear readers and writers,

I just saw a fascinating selection of ten things a writer named Leeann Tankersly learned from Anne Lamott, one of my own favorite writers.  For my part, I have a top two.  The first is, I feel AL gave me permission to write "shitty first drafts" instead of waiting until it's all perfect to write anything down.  If I waited, perhaps nothing would ever appear on that sheet. The second is the advice her father gave her brother about how to write a long paper about birds, "Bird by bird, buddy."  Just start. Do something. Go forward. It's easier once you've begun.

So what did Leeann Tankersly pick?  I'm only going to spoil one of hers.  Do click on the link and read her whole posting, it's full of interesting ideas.  But here's the quotation I liked best: "'having a child can help you slow down, which is one of the first steps toward paying attention' – love this, though, I will admit a certain level of agony in the slowing down. makes you feel mental, like you are forced to crawl through life stopping to look at every last rock, leaf, ladybug. perhaps AL is saying, yeah, that’s the point."

photo credit: Creative Commons, with thanks!


Anonymous said...

What a nice choice from LeeAnn. I liked yours too, though Laura. Isn't Bird by Bird the title of one of her books on writing? And the first draft one is a mantra for me too. No way I would write anything without that permission.

Lorelei said...

Hi Clarissa,
Yes, Bird by Bird is one of her earliest books, and I guess it's on writing, but it's also a memoir and kind of a meditation on life. Wonderful book, whatever it might be called.

Cheryl said...

I recently found out that AL had gone to Goucher for a year--just a little after you were there, Laura. Did you know that? A high school classmate / Goucher grad told me.

I haven't read her newest book yet, but I will.

My most favorite thing from AL (not from this list) is that the grace and faith that seeped their way into her telling of her own story was the first thing that the Lord used to make my thinking bigger, even as I unstitched myself at the seams, sidesplittingly and breathlessly belly laughing along the way.