pre first draft ~anne lamott

I had a great idea for a new book, although come to think of it, maybe it is just a Facebook post. But it would be called Pre First Draft, and address the way we suit up and show up to be writers, artists, and general tribal-two-stomp creative types.

I think it would begin with an admonition: if you used to love writing, painting, dancing, singing, whatever, but you stopped doing it when you had kids or began a strenuous career, then you have to ask yourself if you are okay about not doing it anymore.

If you always dreamed of writing a novel or a memoir, and you used to love to write, and were pretty good at it, will it break your heart if it turns out you never got around to it? If you wake up one day at eighty, will you feel nonchalant that something always took precedence over a daily commitment to discovering your creative spirit?

If not—if this very thought fills you with regret—then what are you waiting for?

Back in the days when I had writing students, they used to spend half their time explaining to me why it was too hard to get around to writing every day, but how once this or that happens—they retired, or their last kid moved out—they could get to work.

I use to say very nicely, “That’s very nice; but it’s a total crock. Continue reading

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quote du jour ~nepo – there is a great choice…

There is a great choice that awaits us every day: whether we go around carving holes in others because we have been so painfully carved ourselves, or whether we let spirit play its song through our tender experience, enabling us to listen, as well, to the miraculous music coming through others.

~Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage

quote du jour ~lamott – writing and reading…

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

remember your song

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There is a tribe in Africa where the birth of a child is not counted from when they’ve been born, nor from when they are conceived,  but from the day that the child was a thought in the mother’s mind.

And when a woman decides she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love and physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.

And then when the mother is pregnant, she teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. Continue reading

a legacy of heart

Tonight I learned that a friend of mine passed away last week. We did theatre together a million years ago and probably hadn’t seen each other in a couple of decades, but I had reconnected with him, as I had with many of my old theatre friends, through Facebook. I enjoyed reading his posts, including one from a few weeks ago, the clip of Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women delivering “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” speech.

Bob had an amazing voice and a wicked sense of humor, but what comes to me as I think back is his kindness. Continue reading