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I didn’t know who Anne Lamott was. Still don’t. Not really.

I did know that I liked old typewriters … and the quote. So I framed it and put it on the wall behind my desk.

You’ve seen it here.

DSCN2106You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

I discovered it right when someone was desperately trying to get me to stop writing.

Silly him. He had not behaved better.

Time went on and I discovered that Anne Lamott was a real, still-living person. And that we had a few things in common.

Go figure.

contentOn reading a particularly poignant Facebook post of hers, I decided it was time to actually read a book of hers.

Holly Googles “Most Popular Anne Lamott Book”

Bird by Bird.

About writing.

And, in the description, I saw this quote by her … from the Introduction to the book.

But the idea of spending entire days in someone else’s office doing someone else’s work did not suit my father’s soul. I think it would have killed him.

I understood. At a gut level I understood. I bought the book.

This morning I started reading the Introduction.

MAIN_AnneLamott “So I tell them what it will be like for me at the desk the next morning when I sit down to work, with a few ideas and a lot of blank paper, with hideous conceit and low self-esteem in equal measure, fingers poised on the keyboard.”

Hideous conceit and low self-esteem in equal measure.

Did I tell you about a situation recently where I took a story I am working on with a writing partner … and asked two friends to read the first draft of the first two chapters … to see if the story was compelling.

I got two grammar critics pointing out miniscule errors.

I questioned one of the errors and put it out there for an internet writing group to check. Actually I only wanted the one phrase checked. “thankful of” versus “thankful for”. But I included my sentence before … and the one before it that my partner had written.

“People who had been busy had paused when they’d eavesdropped on Sandra. The temporary lull in the noise caused her to look up. They quickly went back to their own jobs, thankful of her being angry at someone else.”

And. They. Ripped. It. To. Shreds. Shreds I tell you. All of it.

All 54 comments worth.

I can’t even imagine what they’d do to the whole thing. Or this blog. *shudders*

Reading further into the Anne Lamott Introduction I saw this …

I could make the story happen. I could make it vivid and funny, and even exaggerate some of it so that the event became almost mythical, and the people involved seemed larger, and there was a sense of larger significance, of meaning.

… and I thought of several posts here, where I tried to do exactly the same thing. Or as my friend Toozie says “Hey, you’ve been making us laugh for years with your stories. Of course you should write.”

I tell a good story. So they say.

And then this …

Then I wrote some terrible, terrible stories

… and I know I’ve done that too.

I finished reading the Introduction.

As of today, here is almost every single thing I know about writing.

I’m going to really like this book.