This book came at the perfect time for me. I had the ol’ wintery blues (as I usually have to fight this feeling when old man winter arrives and he comes early at 8400 feet!) and was feeling a bit down. This is the only book by Anne Lamott we have at my library – why don’t we have more? I plan to acquire her other books to build up the collection. Anyone searching for something will appreciate Lamott’s humor, sensitivities, and real life insight. Her latest nonfiction work, mostly a collection of essays titled “Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith” made me feel like I was sitting next to Lamott, drinking coffee, and having a conversation. Her writing is so conversational and down to earth. Her memoirs are not like other memoirs I’ve read. Hers are filled with the real-life agonies, sadnesses, highs and lows, joys, and the search for spirituality and grace. I was heartened after reading this. My life questions, challenges, lows and highs are really no different than anyone else’s. (I now know I’m really not *that* crazy; okay maybe just a little bit, but then again aren’t we all? That’s basically what this book illustrates in a beautiful, sensitive way).

I’m also reading Lamott’s book “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” (1995) and credit her book to feeling more confident about writing and sharing my thoughts. I absolutely cherish this book and is one that I’ll read and reread. If anyone wants to “learn” to write, read Bird by Bird and you’ll find that it just comes from within. All you have to do is practice writing, just like practicing an instrument. You can’t get better unless you practice and continue working with the craft. Again, Lamott’s writing is conversational and I feel like I’m meeting with a therapist and gaining new insights on life’s challenges. Even if not interested in writing as a craft, this book feels like great self-help therapy. I’ve learned more about myself and life’s challenges in perspective in reading this book over the past month than I have with any other self-help book!

Incidentally, I attended a writing workshop a few weeks ago and talked with another participant who recommended  three standard writer’s reference/instruction/inspiration books. These include “Bird by Bird”, “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg, and “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I wholeheartedly agree with this fellow workshop attendee. Whether a writer or not, these titles help us gain confidence in expressing ourselves and being more comortable with sharing thoughts. I think these titles work well for any form of expression: writing, speaking, creative arts, music, etc. Try it, you’ll like it!

It’s always nice when you discover a new author that really speaks to you. Anne Lamott did just that for me and now I’m a devoted fan. Thanks Anne for being real and writing with such honesty and hope amidst the chaos!

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