Donna Everhart

A Dose Of Pepto Bismol

I’ve started reading BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott.  I wouldn’t have known about this book if it weren’t for another blog; The post was on books about writing and others commented on some of their faves.

I saw this one mentioned, and I’m soooo glad I did.  Talk about reading something that gives you a big feeling of relief.  Honestly, it’s like a dose of Pepto Bismol for writerly angst.  Anne Lamott makes how “we” are funny.  I am still working my way through it, but I’ve had to stop and read over and over her way of describing writers and the way we go about the work of writing.  And she’s funny when she does it.  Extraordinarily so.  Even one of her chapter titles says it all.  Like my favorite thus far:  SHITTY FIRST DRAFTS.

Well.  That chapter couldn’t have come at a better time as I slog my way through the first draft of this new work in progress.  (the one I was stressing over – still am – in the last post)

What was endearing about this particular chapter was how matter of fact she was in describing that this is how it’s SUPPOSED to be.  And how you shouldn’t get yourself all twisted up with what you are writing –  it’s a first draft.  She explains how writers, no matter how good, all write shitty first drafts.   She says, and I quote, “All good writers write them.”  She points out that it’s not like they sit down and voila! magically produce wonderful stories on the first go.  Maybe I knew that in some way, but…to have it written about, well, it’s almost like it makes it “okay” to write shitty because she says so, and, well, she’s an well known author. 

Anyway.  The book, thus far, (and I’m only on the fifth chapter) has served it’s purpose already.  If I didn’t read another word, I’d feel better about how terrible, how HARD it is to get the damn words down sometimes.  You know?  She soooo gets it. 

I’ve looked at the structure and it’s divided up as Part One, (Writing) Part Two, (The Writing Frame Of Mind) Part Three,(Help Along The Way) Part Four (Publication and Other Reasons To Write) and Part Five, (Last Class).

She wrote it using the same materials she uses to teach her writing class, so it’s like your own personal class with Anne Lamott.  And she’s funny while she’s at it.  This is one of the most entertaining books on writing I’ve laid my hands on in a while, (Sorry, Stephen King and Betsy Lerner) and it’s already dog-eared with use.

Now, you too, know about this book.  Hey, you can thank me later.  🙂

7 thoughts on “A Dose Of Pepto Bismol”

  1. I’m so glad you’ve discovered this book. I’ve read it over and over, especially the bit about writing small chunks badly. She really is reassuring and a lovely writer to boot. Do you know she has a new book out? It’s called Some Assembly Required, a memoir about grandparenting.

    1. I’m glad too! Books like this, chatty, informative and by someone who “gets it”, are my all time favorite types. I didn’t know she had another out, but now I’m hooked, so I’ll have to check it out! xoxo

    1. Amen and amen! I just finished the chapter on Character last night…I know this is one I will go back to time and again.

  2. Pingback: Polishing A Turd | donna everhart

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