Writing FastPosted: July 22, 2012
I discovered Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird this weekend. It is subtitled: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and though I’ve seen the title and heard friends laud its pages, I’ve never felt compelled to pick it up. Until last week. I grabbed it off the storage shelf at my library, and fell headfirst into the introduction. I put it back, thinking I’d continue it on my lunch breaks over the next few weeks. The next day though, I was hurrying through Barnes & Noble, and as I was waiting to pay (a birthday gift for our now ex-nanny’s son) I spotted it staring at me. Completely out of place, not part of a display…some other customer had just dropped it there (on purpose or design, I do not know) so I slipped it into my pile of Eye Spy books and brought it home.
It is a grand book. Reading Lamott’s words, I feel like she’s opened the door to my writer’s room and beckoning me to go sit down more seriously and write. Just what I need at this time in my life.
However, there is a great barrier to being able to put her sage advice into practice. My life is about to change–completely change. Even though I’m more committed to getting my words down in print than I’ve ever been before, enabling this magnificent modulation requires my full attention. I can’t be bowing off early every evening (boxes to pack), and I can hardly ask myself to rise even earlier each morning (I was up at 5 this morning with the baby). It is kind of like when my body is screaming for a break from training; goals: like to run the MidWinterClassic 10 miler, to perform 10 pullups, to rest in full pigeon pose, have all been achieved. But if my body is fatigued or overwrought in any direction, the goal cannot be pursued until a dedicated period of rest and recovery has been completed.
In addition, the baby is hitting a major milestone and needs some extra special attention. This parenting thing is no joke, this nine month human is exhausting his two adult parents with adventurousness and curiosity. We hope to regain the wonderfully long stretches of sleep he mastered a few months ago, but I have a feeling it won’t be until his gummy smile is spiked with white caps.
So, here begins my writing fast. I’m not going to chase down 500 words each morning and evening right now. I’ll let myself relax with reading instead of writing, and I might even watch some television or movies before the move. If this mental break is anything like a physical one, I’ll return even stronger and more able to negotiate the goals and objectives I have for myself.
But don’t worry, Anne. I’ll retain my paper journal, it is one I’ve had for over two years now. I’ll put my thoughts in there, so I won’t lose touch with the practice of forming thoughts into words. And if I happen to hear some lovely snippet of conversation, or form a perfect equation of words, I’ll try my best to scribble it down.