Tag Archives: Bird by Bird

Author Feature: Anne Lamott

“I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness—and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine.”

Over the years I’ve read many of this author’s books. She has written both fiction and non-fiction. She is a progressive political activist, public speaker, and writing teacher. Lamott lives in California and much of her writing includes stuff from her own life. With self-deprecating humour she tackles tough subjects such as alcoholism, single parenting, motherhood, depression, and Christianity–all of which she has experienced first hand. She is not your run-of-the-mill Christian. Her ‘come-to-Jesus’ prayer was in a public toilet cubicle and included the ‘f’ word. She also refers to God as mother, not father. She is real and sometimes asks more questions than provides answers, but her musings make her relatable and communicate a quirky wisdom about life and how to navigate hard times.

There was a great article about her in the New York Times at the end of last year entitled: Anne Lamott, Lefty Guru of Optimism. Most recently I read this slim little volume about prayer called Help, Thanks, Wow.  And her book about the writing process called Bird by Bird, which has helpful hints about writing, but also about life in general. In these books, as with her others, I appreciate her honest, simple insights, and how in her funny, gentle way she brings perspective to life, love, and despair. Life is messy and her message is one of comfort, hope, and motivation.

Here is Anne in a TED Talk called “12 truths I learned from life and writing.” It’s hilarious and wonderful.