Thursday, April 19, 2012

Books That Comfort Like A Good Friend

A proverb says when a person hurries, the devil smiles. To make him mad, go slow, pay attention, write a page, badly, breathe, carry a pen. - Anne Lamott

I'm reading Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing and Life by Anne Lamott now. I read it years ago in college. It is interesting how her words speak to me in a new way. Back then, I highlighted so many pages. Now, I read it and do a lot of nodding. I say "Oh, yes, I understand what you mean. I've experienced that phase. Thank God someone else understands." 

It is truly wonderful how some books can be like a good friend.

Have you read Bird by Bird? I think it is essential reading for any creative person, but especially for writers. 


  1. I reread Bird by Bird back in 2007, when I was a resident at the Montana Artists Refuge (which has sadly closed its doors). I loved it--I love Lamott's unique sensibilities, her honest and quirky approach to life and religion and all the good stuff--and I'm sure I'd glean so many different insights from it now. I'll have to pick it back up!

  2. I didn't find the book provided much useful writing advice, but I still found the book enjoyable and it does give insight into creativity. The best book I've found on writing is "Stein on Writing". King's "On Writing" is very good and in complete agreement with Stein although not as detailed.

    Oddly enough, the second best book on writing fiction that I've found is Michael Hauge's book on writing screenplays. It has sound advice on characterization (e.g. making the protagonist sympathetic) that are stated more clearly than anywhere else.

    I'm not sure if it was Bird By Bird or Word By Word, but I loved this advice from Ann: If you base a male character on a real person, be sure to say he has a small penis. It will make it unlikely that he will call attention to the resemblance by suing.


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