Today’s Writing Your World workshop included readings from Rilke, award-winning author Paul Hendrickson and Anne Lamott. I’d like to share this snippet from Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, on how writing allows us to engage with the world:
So I grew up around this man [my father] who sat at his desk in the study all day and wrote books and articles about the places and people he had seen and known. He read a lot of poetry. Sometimes he traveled. He could go anyplace he wanted with a sense of purpose. One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.
Writing taught my father to pay attention; my father in turn taught other people to pay attention and then to write down their thoughts and observations. His students were the prisoners at San Quentin who took part in the creative-writing program. But he taught me, too, mostly by example. He taught the prisoners and me to put a little bit down on paper every day, and to read all the great books and plays we could get our hands on. He taught us to read poetry. He taught us to be bold and original and to let ourselves make mistakes, and that Thurber was right when he said, “You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backwards.”
Want to write better? Commit to putting something on paper every day – no matter what!