Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I'm reminded of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird today. Maybe it's because -- praise God almighty -- Lamott has joined Twitter.

I'm embarrassingly excited about this.

I'm not a big twitterer. Or, I guess it's a tweeter. I don't know.

Anyway. I've been trying to check in to the Twitter universe more often since AWP (which, yes, I know, was just a few days ago) because I recognize that it has potential for deepening my writing community -- with both those who write 140 characters, and those who write thousands.

I've been fairly neutral about the whole thing. Dipping my little toe in. Throwing up the occasional tweet. And then I found Lamott on there. And she's ON there, updating five, six, seven times a day:

On-Star installed; Sam got for Xmas. He's worried I'll be a spacey old lady who backs over herself. Ha; already am. "Oh, Ms Lamott? R U OK?"

On tour w/ Sam 3-20 as co-writer. He grew up on floors of bookstores, libraries,churches. He thought it was normal. I may have told him that

Ms Lamott? This is the On Star Writing nurse. Our sensor detects you frozen in place at yr desk. I'm going to stay on the line w/you ...

Suddenly I get Twitter. ("Oh, so THIS is what Twitter is all about.") I get front row access to my pedestal people? Daily? Like they're talking to ME?

Hot damn.

So, anyway. That's what got me started thinking about Bird by Bird, Lamott's book subtitled, "Some Instructions on Writing and Life." It's a brilliant book -- full of wickedly sound advice and anecdotes. I spend a lot of time saying, "Hell, yes!" -- aloud and to no one in particular -- while reading it.

The idea behind the phrase "bird by bird," is taking things one item, one day, one project -- one bird -- at a time. (Lamott tells how her brother had procrastinated on writing a school report on birds. It was due the next day, when he sat distraught, panicked, at the table. Their father said (something like), "Just take it bird by bird.")

This phrase has played in mind a lot these last few days.

I came home from the AWP conference in Chicago on Sunday to a pile of deadlines. Just take it bird by bird.

I'm newly inspired with all these great ideas I want to jump on... now! Just take it bird by bird.

So I have all these annoying deadlines and exciting ideas... and a house that's falling apart while calling out, with its dying breath, "Prioritize me! Ignore all that other stuff!" Just take it bird by bird.

So here I go, one day at a time. I have Anne Lamott to entertain me on Twitter. I have free child labor (woot! woot!) in the form of my very own tweens. And I have renewed enthusiasm for my personal writing, which I've committed to pursuing one day (and one bird) at a time.

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