Beyond FACTS: BIRD BY BIRD by Annie Lamott
So onward to Annie. If you’ve ever read any of her work, you’ll understand why Bird by Bird or her other memoirs ring so true not only for their insights into the creative process but for their advice on living and simply experiencing one’s own unique life on a very personal, daily, even minute-by-minute basis. “How alive am I willing to be at this very moment?” she asks, and in the documentary she’s shown at that moment wading into the ocean, the edge of her sundress’s skirt dipping into the water as she turns and seems to inhale the essence of the scene that embraces her. In her work and teaching, she continually refers to the need for artists to remain open to the world and its many wonders, and then to apply what they observe to work at hand. Her written words coincide beautifully with what she says in Mock’s documentary, from the direct “Get real and get a little work done every day, and write what’s real” to the sublime “The way I dance is by writing.” Revisiting Bird by Bird after a good ten years is like visiting an old friend who doesn’t mind telling you again what she told you so long ago, while you thoroughly enjoy hearing again what still holds so true. Discovering this book’s complementary documentary, for me, only added to the wonder that is Annie.
Photo credit: Jo Anne Hertz