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Happy Birthday, Anne Lamott!

I was first introduced to writer Anne Lamott during a creative nonfiction class I took as a junior in college. We read her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, as a way to learn how to write narrative essays without getting bogged down.

When I’m stuck writing I love to go back to her book for particular passages. It reminds me that it’s ok to be neurotic, it’s ok to have a shitty first draft, but that you just have to sit down and do it. As a writer, Lamott is open and honest and funny — three qualities I appreciate from anyone who spends time writing about themselves.

Although I’m not as familiar with it, Lamott is also novelist and memoirist (is that even a word)? Lamott describes her writing like this:

“I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness — and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine.”

I’ve never read her fiction, but have always wanted to read her three books on faith — Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. I wasn’t raised going to church or anything like that, so I feel like Lamott’s rambling journey and discoveries would be lovely to read.

Anyway… Anne Lamott turns 55 today, so let’s all wish her a very happy birthday!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Vasilly April 10, 2009, 9:51 am

    Happy birthday, Anne! Thanks for letting us know. She is one of my favorite authors of all-time. Traveling Mercies is her best book on faith.

  • Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) April 10, 2009, 9:54 am

    Great tribute post. I loved reading Bird by Bird!

  • Mindy Withrow April 10, 2009, 2:58 pm

    Bird by Bird became one of my favorite “writers-on-writing” when I read it last year; I rank it up there with Eudora Welty’s On Writing and Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners. I have Grace (Eventually) but haven’t read it yet—hope to get to it soon!

  • belleofthebooks April 10, 2009, 3:00 pm

    Bird by Bird was the best thing I took from my creative writing class. I loved the book and even though my professor had very specific requirements for a creative writing class, I managed to take Lamott’s ideas and use them in my writing.

  • Wendy April 10, 2009, 8:30 pm

    What a fantastic tribute to a wonderful writer – I love Anne Lamott’s work and her book Bird by Bird is one of those books I have re-read and look to for inspiration in my own writing. Happy Birthday, Anne!

  • wordlily April 11, 2009, 10:22 am

    I love her Bird by Bird, as well as Traveling Mercies. I’ve read Plan B, want to read Grace (Eventually), and I’ve read at least one of her fiction titles.

    Happy birthday, Anne!

  • Julia Smith April 11, 2009, 2:38 pm

    I hadn’t heard of Anne Lamott before today, but thanks for the head’s up. A book you return to over and over has got to be a life saver.

  • Rebecca Reid April 13, 2009, 9:43 am

    I have Bird by Bird in my TBR. While I consider myself a writer wannabe, I still haven’t taken time int he past year to *write* so I guess I have a ways to go….

  • Care April 14, 2009, 3:30 pm

    I really enjoyed Bird by Bird, too,

  • Jeanne April 17, 2009, 10:10 am

    I love all of her non-fiction. All new mothers enjoy Operating Instructions, for instance. And as a person of doubt, I still enjoy the ones you mention (Traveling Mercies, Plan B, Grace Eventually). Oddly, though, I don’t much like her fiction.