I’ve been re-reading Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott’s writing memoir. I could quote entire chapters here and just leave it at that. She expresses all my angst and hope with languid humor that makes me laugh aloud as I am reading. I kept her words with me throughout my week at Melbourne Beach, letting her honesty and genius inspire me and keep me company on my own memoir writing journey.
I’m home again, enjoying the comforts of my familiar place after having been away for a week. But the beach, and Anne Lamott, are still with me in my heart.
“But how?” my students ask. “How do you actually do it?”
You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind — a scene, a locale, a character, whatever — and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
So here I am, back at home, jumping back into reality and all its imperfectness. I’m still negotiating with imperfection. I’m still learning how not to hold on to the emotions that come to visit me in moments of quiet thought. I am learning to let them pass through me right to God. I am learning to just be, right here and now. I suppose I will always be learning.