- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 19 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: June 12, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00DD662JQ
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Audiobook – Unabridged
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“Bird” is a giant why-write and what-to-write pep rally put on by one very funny woman. Lamott gives plenty of valid reasons for an individual to write beyond that grand, elusive goal of publication which most of us dream about. She coaches starting with “Short Assignments” and moving on to “Shitty First Drafts.” She talks in general terms about developing characters, plot and dialogue. One example: “Novels ought to have hope; at least, American novels ought to have hope. French novels don’t need to. We mostly win wars, they lose them. Of course, they did hide more Jews than many other countries and this is a form of winning.”
Lamott talks plenty about the tough times—writer’s block, finding you voice, jealousy of successful writer friends—and how to move beyond the funk. She uses her own shortcomings and struggles as a base to encourage the reader to take the high, honest roads in life. My advice is to start your reading of “Bird” with the last paragraph. The reasons Lamott gives there for all of us to write plus the beauty and inspiration in her words on that one-third page are worth the price of the book.
Most recently, I read aloud selections of the chapter on writer's block to my university students (School Lunches, p. 33). She writes for days (with lots of humor) on her recollections of the events in the school cafeteria. Then, as she is reading through this nonsense, she discovers her mention of the kid who never fits in. This is the gem that will become the seed of her next piece. My students are laughing and enjoying the light reading and then suddenly a important truth emerges--we all have the ideas to be great writers, but we have to coax them out--free writing is a great way to do that.
Finally, a mentor who can guide a lost writer step by step, bird by bird. Thank you.