Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bird by Bird

Okay, I'm in love.
Writing, and reading, and me.
I think we can grow old together.

I finished Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
Neal had to put up with me laughing so often, and asking him if "I could just read him this one little part?" even more often.

I highlighted the heck out of the thing, but I thought I'd leave you with the very last paragraph of the book.

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation.  They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.  When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.  We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.  It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea.  You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

I spent the afternoon alone at 3rd Coast Cafe today, writing.
Can I just say, I think I was made for this life?
And I was not alone, if you count the company of a raspberry scone and a latte.
(Note to self: I like their chocolate chip scone far better.  I should have intuited this.  When has fruit ever been better than chocolate?)
 I'm working on a small essay that's been mulling around in my head for awhile.
I have some ideas for why I'm writing it, and probably no one will care about it but me, but really I'm doing it because I believe in this.
I believe in how writing and reading connect us, decrease our feeling of being alone.  How it helps us to look down on our life from a bird's eye view and say, "Life is hard, let me count the ways.  But it's funny too.  And beautiful, and achingly familiar to all of us."

Bird by Bird, you're a rockstar.

7 comments:

melissa said...

I think you wrapped up reading novels in the best way possible. It definitely connects us and let's us think about things in our own lives.

ilene @ muchloveilly said...

you write because you have something to say, not because people will care. but i know people will care about what you say, ashley, 'cause i have always known you as the girl who had something worth saying. can't wait to read what you write, friend!

and heck yes, Bird by Bird rocks. you inspired me to read it for the millionth time. love you!

Kirra Sue said...

love that quote friend. i cannot wait to read whatever you are cooking up. i love you.

Kristina Gulino said...

So true. I'm reading Cleaning Nabokov's House by Leslie Daniels and it's amazing how she pinpoints those moments in life that we forget all people share at some point. Wearing The Pants that actually don't look good on you, but you know they fit (and their clean); realizing you DID actually grab the cottage cheese out of the fridge instead of your lunch, etc. etc. etc. So great. Thanks for the inspiring post!! xo

Maria said...

You'd better believe that I want to read your essay too!

Bethany Yoder said...

You know I'll read whatever you write friend!!! Looking forward to it! <3 <3

kait said...

I just came across your blog from Much Love, Illy and couldn't be happier - especially when I saw this post! Love "Bird by Bird," super love Anne Lamott. If for whatever reason you haven't read "Traveling Mercies" or any of her other books on faith and life, definitely do that soon! She is such a beautiful writer, glad to see a blogger highlight one of her works :)
xx, your newest follower,
Kait