I ordered this book because a few peoplehad either referenced it or quoted it in your blogs lately. I didn’t read any reviews or excerpts other than the quotes in the blogs. And I have not previously read anything by Anne Lamott though I have heard good things from various people about her writing. I started reading this book on a rather pensive afternoon while I was still at work. In my line of work this does not fall into my job description (couldn’t claim continuing education or anything nice like that) but I figured I had a broken toe and I was doing something worth while to be there to answer the phone if it rang. So I read. And I was immediately sucked in. I have read many books in my life. I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it is to escape reality. More often it is to come to grips with it. I didn’t really have any expectations when I started reading Bird by Bird, but I was more than pleasantly surprised.
I can honestly say I have never read a book that I felt was speaking directly to me. You know what I’m talking about. Sort of like when you are sitting in church and the pastor says something and they happen to be looking directly at you when they say something very poignant? I identified with this book like I have with no other book. Sure there have been other books that have moved me and challenged my and encouraged me and enlightened me as I sought understanding of myself and understanding of God and understanding of the world in which we live. But reading the introduction to this book made me feel one with the universe.
Intense? Yes. Slightly melodramatic? Possibly. But I really identified with what she wrote. It’s amazing really. I have written my whole life. I kept a diary as a kid and wrote awful things that I didn’t want anyone to read but hoped they would. I have written update letters to friends and family thinking they were short notes only to find out from a friend who printed one out that it was three pages long. And I have always loved words. My friend Heather exclaims in joy every once in a while when I take a word like crap and turn it into crapily (i.e., I slept crapily last night.) I told her tonight, “Words are our playground!” I told her that because I know she agrees. We are of one mind in this. All of this and yet I was so wrapped up in the procurement of perfection and so drunk with my addiction to approval that I never allowed myself to interact with the irreverent.
But a life that’s perfect isn’t worth living becuase perfection is a lie. Life is reverent in it’s irreverence. Life is beautiful in it’s imperfection.
Reading Anne’s book has helped me see that I think I’m finally okay with that. And so now I can write. Now I can write because can finally stop telling lies and write what is true.