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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

"Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott

Sub-titled 'Some instructions on writing and life', this book offers perceptive and delightful insights into the world of the writer. Write for the sake of writing, she urges. Don't write to be published. Publication won't change your life: you'll still be as screwed-up after being published as you were before. Write because it is the best possible way of creating art out of an exploration of what it means to be human. Therefore it is hard. Therefore you will have to expose your worst side to the world. And therefore it is rewarding.

That sounds a bit intense.The book is really funny. She sees the humanity within the experiences she describes and so she is like a wonderful stand-up comic doing observational comedy. She describes how she took her three year old son to see a dead baby and how he gave the baby a ball, in case they play catch on the other side, and a small toy time-travel car for reasons she doesn't understand. She writes about a day out at the Special Olympics. There is warmth and laughter and humanity and, yes, sometimes, a little tragedy.

Did I learn how to write? I learnt to enjoy the writing process and not obsess about where the written product is going to end up. I learnt to focus on tiny bits and get them right rather than trying to do too much. I learnt to work every day and to use all the material I possibly can. I learnt that I am not good enough yet, and that I may never be good enough, but if I work hard and steadily and try to write the truth every day that I will one day be better. And that should be good enough for anyone.

A brilliant, wonderful and enjoyable book. April 2014; 237 pages

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